Not everyone’s relationship with clothing is the same. While price is important to some people, trends are more important to others. Some people like to shop secondhand, and others feel uncomfortable with it. There’s no wrong or right way to shop, because it’s a personal thing. There are tangible ways to clean up your closet and make it more meaningful though — no matter how you like to shop.
My year of purposeful living has taught me a lot. I spent an entire year buying nothing but secondhand clothing. I feel incredibly accomplished knowing that I helped my wallet and the environment. The water that my shopping habits alone have saved is enough water for the entire state of California for 14 years, according to thredUP. But I also felt ready to tackle new ways of shopping purposefully as well.
While I could thrift for the rest of my life and be content, it’s not exactly the most conventional way to live. I get that, which is why I’m here to explain some of your other options. Brendan Synnott, founder of PACT Organics, and I were talking about some of the ways to live purposefully during our call the other day. The way that he talked about it so casually made me realize that it is common to him and I because we practice these shopping habits daily. We’ve both made them a part of our shopping habits.
There’s a reason that he calls them tangible ways to clean up your closet. These are all extremely do-able. I am proof of that. While it does take some work — all revolutionary life changes do — it is worth it for you, the environment, and the people who make your clothing.
Of course, the main way to clean up your closet and shop ethically is to, well, not shop at all. That is the one way to make sure that none of your purchases are hurting anyone or anything. I couldn’t do that. For one, I love clothes too much. For another, I like to shop. It’s not the act of shopping that makes me want to change my habits. It’s my love for the environment and the people in it.
If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to stop shopping either. Luckily, there are three other main ways to tangibly clean up your closet. These shopping habits will help your wallet, the environment, and actually make you proud of what you own. Synnott has revolutionized the fashion world with PACT, but you can revolutionize your closet in three easy steps.
Getting a second use out of an item is the first pillar to cleaning up your closet. Taking something old and making it new again saves an item from the landfill and also cuts down on your carbon footprint. I’ve already talked about this a ton of the blog, but there’s no better feeling that scoring an awesome deal and doing a little sartorial recycling.
2. Shop Sustainably
The next step to making your closet a little more meaningful is to shop sustainably. Invest in clothing that is doing more than just getting likes on Instagram. It can make peoples’ lives better.
“Having the certifications around fibers that are not destroying our planet and standards that are not hurting people in the process of making it,” says Synnott. “That should be your second barometer in terms of what you’re buying.”
This option costs a little more. Why? Because fast fashion means cutting corners. When you don’t cut those corners — like paying your workers fairly and making sure materials are sourced ethically — you pay more money. Would you rather get a great deal and hurt someone in the process or pay a little more to make sure it’s create fairly? It’s your choice.
3. Buy For Use
If you’re looking to not change your shopping habits too much, this is the place for you to start. The third tier is to only invest in pieces that will get used. We all have that one item — or two or three, let’s be real — that you can’t let go of, but you also don’t ever wear. That’s not only taking up space, but it’s also hurting the environment.
“Buy for use, don’t buy for occasion,” Synnott says.
Instead of going out and buying an outfit just to wear it for one occasion, buy because it’s a staple. Put your money towards something that you will wear and love. Clothing was made to be worn.
No matter where you are on your journey to live purposefully, there is a way to clean up your closet. It’s possible to love and feel proud of every single item hanging in your closet. It might take time and dedication, but it will be worth it. Trust me.