5 Tips to Make Your Closet More Sustainable

Sabrina Lopez
August 10, 2018
3 min read

When I think of sustainability and being environmentally-friendly, I admittedly exclude my wardrobe from the areas I try to reduce my carbon footprint. With companies committing to ridding their stores of plastic straws, and others installing solar to create their clean energy, it’s easy to forget that this section of our lives can also be changed to impact the environment positively. We wear clothes daily, and this frequency has much-untapped potential to make our world more sustainable.

Clothing, the way we manufacture it and shop for it now, is a big drain on the environment, and the fashion industry is one of the most wasteful in the world. A recent report shows that only 1% of clothing is recycled, and each year, half a million tons of microfibers contaminate waterways, harming marine life, not to mention the harmful carbon dioxide emissions of mass-producing and transporting clothing.

Creating a sustainable closet doesn’t have to mean throwing out all your clothes and spending tons of money on ones made with strict, environmentally friendly practices. You can start small with a few shifts in the way you might normally buy clothes, which will leave you with a sustainable closet over time. Below are a few easy things that all of us can do to shop more sustainably to ensure our clothing choices have the smallest impact on the environment.

 

1. Realistically evaluate how much you’ll wear it

I’m guilty of not doing this one enough. Sometimes, I’ll see something and buy it without a second thought, only to end up in a donate pile after just three uses. Instead of impulse buying, evaluate how much you’ll wear something realistically. If it’s more of a one-time piece of clothing that might be out of style in a season, try to skip it and go for something that has more longevity and that you can, and want to, wear repeatedly.

 

2. Look for high-quality clothes made to last

This one involves a mind shift in how you might typically shop. With this, you’ll spend more upfront but buy less over time, helping you save money in the long run. Investing in high-quality clothing that is made to last rid you of the frequent need to replace clothes that wear out after only a couple of uses.

 

3. Donate your unwanted clothes

This one probably sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s important to remember. Instead of leaving items you don’t wear hanging in your closet, donating them helps other people be more sustainable by buying your old pieces instead of new ones. Having a general rule that every time you buy something, you’ll donate something in your wardrobe is an easy way to keep up with this.

 

4. Prioritize natural fibers

Being more conscious of what material your clothes are made of can go a long way in creating a sustainable closet. Clothes made out of synthetic materials, like polyester, nylon, and acrylic, can decompose anywhere between 40 to 200 years and account for a large percentage of clothing sitting in landfills. They also require chemicals and can pollute the water supply in some countries. Choosing more natural fibers, like cotton, wool, or silk, is a great way to work towards a sustainable wardrobe.

 

5. Change your perspective

An environmentally friendly closet shouldn’t evoke images of brown-colored clothing that lack appeal. With more brands and companies shifting their focus to sustainability, it’s been easier to start creating a sustainable closet you’ll want to wear.

If you’re looking for more ways to make your life more sustainable, we invite you to download our complimentary whitepaper: Is Solar Right for You? to explore if solar is the right choice for you and your home.