3. BEST: Secondhand Clothing
Buying used clothing is the greenest option of all—and a triple threat in terms of eco friendliness. It keeps old items out of the landfill, prevents resources from being used to make something new, and helps you save money.
In addition to finding high-quality used clothing at consignment boutiques, thrift stores, and charity shops, try the following resources:
ClothesSwap.Meetup.com: Find or start a community-wide clothing swap in your area.
ClothingSwap.com: Find in-person clothing swaps near you.
Swapstyle.com : On this clothing swap site, you upload a picture of an item you want to trade, search through the site for something you like from someone else, and make an offer to swap your piece (or a combination of pieces) for theirs.
Refashioner.com: This unique women’s clothing swap site allows you to display photographs of your higher-end, unwanted clothes in your personal online “closet.” Once your photos are up, the site’s “fashion police” will assign your clothes a value. You’ll get half of that value immediately to spend purchasing items from other people’s closets on the site. The other half appears in your account once someone accepts your item and confirms receipt of it.
SwapORamaRama.org: This nonprofit holds clothing swaps in more than 100 communities across the US, including at our Green Festivals®. When you attend a Swap-O-Rama-Rama event, you bring a bag of unwanted clothes as the “admission” cost, and then you may take as much or as little from the donation pile as you wish for free. But the reuse fun doesn’t stop there. Take your new finds to a “DIY” sewing station at the swap where local artists will teach you how to repair, alter, or even transform them to suit your taste or figure.
ThredUp.com: If you want to get rid of some children’s clothing and earn some cash without the hassle of holding a garage sale, consider this site. You can request a ThredUp bag for free, and once you receive it in the mail, stuff it with children’s clothing that’s still in very good shape. The ThredUp personnel will assess the value of your clothing, and you’ll receive a percentage of the sale. You can also buy used children’s clothing from the site.
Ebay Valet: Online auction site ebay.com now offers a no-hassle service where you can have valets sell your used stuff for you, including clothing. Simply send in your like-new clothes—or electronics, appliances, sporting goods, and more—using a pre-paid shipping label. Ebay valets take care of photographing, pricing, posting, selling, and shipping your items, and you get up to 80 percent of the selling price in return.
Done with some of your clothing items? Help them find new owners with our article, “Finding New Life for Old Clothes.”