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Noted: Tracking Your Used Clothing

Mar 16, 2012

by Chappell Ellison

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

A change in season brings a change of wardrobe, causing many of us to rummage through our closets, filling trash bags with mounds of clothing to donate. After going to the trouble of dragging those garbage bags to the Salvation Army or a Goodwill, we hope that our donation helps a good cause. We assume that our goods make it to the racks to be sold for a profit that benefits a charitable organization; however, that isn’t always the case.

An article in GOOD reports that only a shocking 15 to 20 percent of clothing donations are resold in U.S. thrift shops. The rest is either sold to become industrial wiping rags, recycled into insulation, or shipped to other countries. While the most desirable vintage items are sold to Japan, Africa receives the bulk of our secondhand clothing, making it one of the continent’s top imports. This exchange is documented in films like T-Shirt Travels, which shows how imported American used clothing is responsible for killing off the Zamibian clothing manufacturing industry.

Perhaps the most surprising statistic in the article is that Americans only keep 21 percent of the clothing we buy each year. The facts are astonishing: not only does America export the majority of its donated clothing, we simply can’t reabsorb the amount of clothing we give away. We have an overwhelming excess of garments.  No longer a hand-me-down culture, cheap clothing prices have made it affordable to buy into new trends and toss out last season’s look.  If every clothing manufacturer in the U.S. shuttered today, it’s not farfetched to believe that we’d still be able to clothe every person in the country for several years. However we decide to deal with our wardrobe rejections, they present us with an opportunity to reflect on how we value our possessions, providing a chance to improve our personal understanding of our consumption habits.

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4 Featured Comments

  • fairylandbeads

    fairylandbeads from fairylandbeads said 6 years ago Featured

    As a former employee of Goodwill, I was shocked with the amount of items (not just clothing) that were thrown away- but it's not always the thrift store's fault. Often times because people were too lazy to wash the clothing before donating, or for some absurd reason donate heavily soiled clothing- I often saw whole bags and pallets of items that had to be thrown away because someone was an irresponsible donator. It was really said to see good quality items that were mixed in with moldy clothing that had to be tossed for health reasons. I think education about how to donate would help, along with the urge to shop at your local thrift stores more often, would cut back on the amount they throw away. :)

  • ArtyDidact

    Sharon Parker from ArtyDidact said 6 years ago Featured

    I enjoy shopping at thrift stores and estate sales, and this article makes me want to do that more! I am often amazed at what good condition clothes are in when I buy them secondhand. I tend to wear my stuff until it really is only good for rags! And we do use them for rags -- much better than paper towels for most cleaning and cleanups. Crafting from the good bits of fabric on otherwise worn garments is great, too, and Etsy is filled with clever versions of that.

  • elizasteindesigns

    Eliza Stein from elizasteindesigns said 6 years ago Featured

    I love a good thrift shop! Now, when I walk into a clothing store and things aren't arranged in rows by color I walk right out of there. Also, it's interesting reading the comments from some people who've worked in other countries and have seen what happens to the clothing donations. It blows my mind that a country like Nicaragua has huge factories that produce clothing for export to the US, then that same clothing gets sent back to them as a donation. The same thing happens in other industries like food and fuel-- it's all done for export, and the people are stuck with leftovers or donations. It makes it so hard to develop local business.

  • yimmekedesign

    Diana from yimmekedesign said 6 years ago Featured

    If we knew all the details of how things are done concerning recycling and trades to foreign countries we probably would be very distraught. It is great that there are so many goodhearted people who contribute to their community and neighbors. Unless we have the strength and power to move mountains while being overloaded with the whole world around our necks, I think it is a great idea to share and do good with and for the people we live with every day. Support your local thrift shops and other local businesses. Contribute by living simple, by being hospitable and by recycling your used items to people with the same ideals. Who knows we may come to a point where we can actually SWAP our clothing with other countries instead of them having our leftovers.

290 comments

  • channingtaylor

    Channing Taylor from channingtaylor said 6 years ago

    Well, now I know! All the more reason to repurpose what you've got :)

  • Zalavintage

    Zane Saracene from Zalavintage said 6 years ago

    and I recently learned that we, USA, make less than 5% of our garments here, that means we're importing 95% of our disposable fashion market... great post Chappell!

  • VintageEye

    VintageEye from VintageEye said 6 years ago

    I buy all my clothing at Goodwill & other second hand shops while searching for vintage goodies to sell in my shop, of course! :)

  • Iammie

    iammie from iammie said 6 years ago

    Interesting!

  • amysfunkyfibers

    Amy Gunderson from amysfunkyfibers said 6 years ago

    Great article, it would be interesting to note how much or little of our wardrobe at home that we actually wear also. I tend to have the favorites that I wear the most...........sure is wasteful once you think about it. Thank you for bringing this subject to light.

  • uswatsons

    Sylvie Liv from SylvieLiv said 6 years ago

    Interesting! I guess I always just assumed that my donated clothes would be hanging for sale somewhere in the area. How neat though! Thank you for the interesting article.

  • goodbeads

    goodbeads from goodbeads said 6 years ago

    Very interesting,good topic!Shall buy some new clothes this season:)

  • pulloverthecar

    Pull Over The Car Vintage from pulloverthecar said 6 years ago

    This is really fascinating. Of course, cutting down the clothes we buy would help, but I'd love to hear alternatives to donation that are better for the rest of the world in the short term.

  • flintandspark

    Amy from flintandspark said 6 years ago

    Really interesting article. Crazy to think that only 15-20% of clothings is resold here!

  • birdie1

    Laurie from BirdinHandVTG said 6 years ago

    Great post! We really do need to change our consumption habits. Lets not be slaves to the fashion industry but more individualistic about our style. And, of course, buy more handmade and vintage.

  • kimberly7099

    kimberly7099 from kimberly7099 said 6 years ago

    That's one reason I have a Pack Rat problem... I donate as often as I can but am very choosy on what I donate because I've seen the overflowing trash dumpsters behind some of these Thrift Shops.. I don't mind giving it away, I just want to know someone will get some use from it and it won't wind up in the landfill. I'm even okay with places that sell or donate their overstock to other countries...just not the thrift shops that throw it out in the dumpster. I have a friend who's parents make a yearly trip to Mexico and take a large trailer full of donated clothing and household items. I save my clothing for them.

  • calming123

    marea said 6 years ago

    There is always the option to consign clothes in your local area...this is what both my daughters do ... i give them my clothes to add to theirs and that solves the problem for me as well...it's all good ! Marea :)

  • rebourne

    Marni from rebourne said 6 years ago

    Just another reason I upcycle wool and shop at a post-consumer warehouse. The warehouse is full of garments being sorted and baled to be shipped around the world. I love being part of the solution, and making items that daily help reduce the amount of disposable diapers in landfills. Wool is a magical fiber!

  • ljersey

    Lisa Jersey from JerseyGirlTrinkets said 6 years ago

    Interesting!

  • KaiceJoy

    Kirsti Joy from KaiceJoy said 6 years ago

    Very interesting to find out how little we actually keep and how much is sent "away"....even tho my kids and I "live" on hand-me-downs and thrift store/consign store things. We rarely buy anything "new"....thanks for the great post.

  • OnToVintage

    OnToVintage from OnToVintage said 6 years ago

    Used clothing also accounts as the biggest contributor to garbage dumps and land fills thereby clogging our valuable ecosystems.

  • MadCapClothing

    April from MadCapClothing said 6 years ago

    Oh if I could have all the $ back I've wasted on disposable clothing! I would definitely invest in some well-made classic pieces that would live on in my wardrobe year after year. I now try to make a majority of my own clothing so I can control the styles and fit of each item. Thank you for this enlightening post and keep them coming!

  • RitaVanTassel

    Rita Van Tassel from RitaVanTassel said 6 years ago

    As a hard-core thrifter this was very interesting - I've walked into Value Village to find them loading up a shopping cart of children's books from the shelves that were going to the dump as they were unsold. It was a way of "circulating" the stock. It made me much more selective about the items I purchase as well as the where I send them to be re-used.

  • loralyn1

    Laura King from LoralynDesigns said 6 years ago

    Yikes! Looks like I'll be paying more for articles of clothing that last longer rather than cheaper disposable items going forward. Thank you for the article.

  • myvintagecrush

    Kathleen from myvintagecrush said 6 years ago

    Nice post :) Wear vintage!

  • PinesVintageClothing

    Pine from GoodOldVintageOnline said 6 years ago

    Fascinating!

  • uniquefabricgifts

    Unique Fabric Gifts from uniquefabricgifts said 6 years ago

    Interesting article! Thanks for sharing!

  • AvianInspirations

    Ashley from AvianInspirations said 6 years ago

    Very interesting.

  • LiliDMagpieCreations

    Lisa Giddings from LiliDMagpieCreations said 6 years ago

    I'm Stunned...Thank you for posting this info! I'm going to look into giving used clothing to local shelters and possible alternatives...

  • chavezar

    AudreyRose said 6 years ago

    I am wearing a t-shirt I bought @ 1lb for 25 cents back in the 90s. I still wear the shirts I bought then, sadly many of them are falling apart. A few years ago we were at a thrift shop and we found my sister's wedding dress from '93! Craziness!

  • ShabbyNChic

    ShabbyNChic from ShabbyNChic said 6 years ago

    Wow, makes me think twice about my clothing. I think most of us assume it goes to someone local in need. So glad you shared this!

  • thisthatandchristmas

    Shelley Robillard from ThisThatAndChristmas said 6 years ago

    Informative! Never really thought about it. That is why I love posts like this, gets one thinking. I love my local thrift stores and I often see stuff I've donated in there, when I'm looking for new treasures. Kimberly7099, I'm glad you are thoughtful about what you donate. One of the reasons those dumpsters behind the thrift stores are full is people "donate" stuff that isn't usable anymore. No wants those bags of t-shirts with holes and stains, or the couch that has been in storage with the mice. I'm glad someone is cutting those clothes into rags, at least they will get some use. But I have seen people donate stuff I would never bring back into my home. As much as we try there is eventually a time when an item has to make its way to the landfill.

  • asundrynotion

    asundrynotion from asundrynotion said 6 years ago

    Reselling donated clothing for rags has gone on for decades and the major thrift store charities have been 'big business' for a long time. This doesn't mean their profits are not helping worthy projects and people locally. These stores provide jobs, many times to those with disabilities or in some stage of of physical or other rehab. Worthwhile? You bet.

  • artefleur

    Fleur from artefleur said 6 years ago

    my wardrobe goes through 3 steps before ending up at the local goodwill, I give the nice one to my friends, sell the rest in a yard sell, I keep some to make bags or pillows and the left over goes to the thrift store...

  • BarbiesBest

    Barbara Handy from BarbiesBest said 6 years ago

    I'm cleaning closets right now for a remodel and know my mid 90's split skirt suits will not sell anywhere and the rest of my business attire would not sell in the small resort town in which I now live. Nothing is really cool vintage, either not old enough or not cool enough. I get sick to think about my old but usable clothing getting tossed in a dumpster. I've seen it happen in my town. My friend MissLindaCreates.etsy.com uses lots of fabric in her designs so I'm her anything she wants. I don't care if it gets cut up, I just don't want to see it thrown away.

  • CoutureFunk

    CoutureFunk from CoutureFunk said 6 years ago

    I'm just a clothes hoarder..I still have stuff from 20+ years ago. Good diet plan..if your pants don't fit..refuse to buy new ones! Lose the weight! Haha Honestly though with up-cycling being all the rage maybe one day that will make up the majority of "new" clothing sold. We can hope!!

  • BlackStar

    Katie McClanahan from WearYourWild said 6 years ago

    Back in the late 70's there was a small town in TN that was thrift store heaven. Literally mountains of clothes that people would go through in at least 5 warehouses. We began to notice how difficult it was to get cotton clothes and asked the owners of one. They said that they went through the bales of clothes as they opened them and took out the cotton to sell for rags. We're talking about 50's clothes! If you knew to ask, they'd let you go into the back room where they stored these treasures. We would buy as much as we could, at $.25 - $.50 cents each. If I could only go back now.....

  • sandboxcastle

    H Wang from sandboxcastle said 6 years ago

    I feel like the odd one out.... some of my stuff I've owned and still wear from half a decade ago or more. Last weekend my boyfriend had to cajole me into giving up a bag of old T-shirts, socks and trousers - too threadbare and holey to even donate - that I had been saving for the oft chance I had a craft project that could use it. (But but ...the design is so nice! and the fabric so soft!) Don't get me wrong - i am guilty of my share of cheap trendy things - but I guess i tend to wear them to their deaths instead of toss or donating them.

  • TwistedWhimsyDesigns

    Joanna Otten from TwistedWhimsyDesigns said 6 years ago

    wow, I had no idea! I will be sharing this information with family and friends. We certainly have become a society of consuming and turning a blind eye to the life cycle of products. Thanks for sharing.

  • tigermucha

    Teresa Mucha from tigermucha said 6 years ago

    Interesting article, thanks for sharing. I know at times I am a "wanter" and I am trying to be more of a "needer."

  • genisepark

    Genise Park from genisepark said 6 years ago

    That is why I love weaving it provides me the opportunity to reuse clothing into another functional item such rag rugs and table runners. Knit t-shirts, denim and cotton socks all end up in my rewoven pile. Thanks for sharing the info great article.

  • AsBoldAsLions

    Amanda Molandes from AsBoldAsLions said 6 years ago

    Very interesting article. I volunteered in a thrift store once and quickly found out that about half of the donations were sent to Africa or South America. It's crazy, huh?!

  • luckyrosiescreations

    luckyrosiescreations from luckyrosiescreations said 6 years ago

    very interesting

  • donefound

    katrina tomlin from donefound said 6 years ago

    quite interesting indeed. thanks.

  • KarolinFelix

    KarolinFelix from KarolinFelix said 6 years ago

    Here in Ireland you just leave a bag of clothes under a goodwill/similar shop. So it's like 1 step really. I bought maximum 3 new things this year... my wardrobe is tiny! ^_^ It's a good thing to exchange clothes with friends if you can. You can get something "new" and get rid of things that you got bored of <:

  • evoreedae

    Virginia Huitron from evoreedae said 6 years ago

    Take it to a shelter or a local coat closet. No money will be made off of it, but those who need it most will be able to use it and will be grateful that you did. Just make sure that it is in wearable condition. No one deserves lesser quality than you.

  • brighteststar

    jessica from brighteststar said 6 years ago

    Great article... Thankyou!

  • ILoveBeads1971

    Pam from ILoveBeads1971 said 6 years ago

    wow, very interesting.

  • remainewicked

    Rain Harbison from remainewicked said 6 years ago

    There are so many great reasons to shop at our local thrift stores: it supports our local economy, it gives jobs to people in need, it keeps perfectly good clothing and linens out of the landfills, it's economic and it's always a surprise on what can be found there. This is exactly why, my entire shop, is comprised of Upcycled clothing! Thanks for this great article :)

  • guziks

    Stephanie from Phylogeny said 6 years ago

    Thank you for this article, and I'm amazed by all of the informative responses to it! I've never really been one to go through clothing quickly (jeans from a decade ago? still wear them unless they have ripped knees... and even then I stash them away for crafting projects), but I have on occasion (or during a move) brought my used clothes to the local salvation army/goodwill. I never really thought about what happened to them, but I figured that if I didn't want them anymore, at least they would go to some use by someone somewhere. It's sad though to think that those clothes could be ruining an industry in a country desperately needing economic growth. I've been buying fewer things lately and of higher quality, but this is definitely something I'll pass along to my friends and family. Food for thought!

  • NannyMadeandfound

    Melinda from sixtybeansVntg said 6 years ago

    Another good article, information we al need to think about more. I also do most of my shopping at 2nd hand shops. I grew up wearing hand me downs, guess it feels natural, along with the fact I hate paying the retail prices! I also find reselling clothes through a local consignment shop to be another source of income. Have found some great things at garage sales, then turned around and sold for higher yet reasonable prices. Everybody wins!

  • 5gardenias

    kathi roussel from 5gardenias said 6 years ago

    Great info here-- I've often wondered about this very thing. In addition to our closets--our stores are overstocked. I imagine many of those items go the same route or are incinerated. Such waste. i do try to bring my used clothing to shelters and centers for refugees, and for emergency relief-- this way it's more apt to be of use.

  • shopnonniejohns

    shopnonniejohns from shopnonniejohns said 6 years ago

    Great article. I grew tired of having items in my closet that were never worn. I vowed to only buy things I absolutely love and could imagine wearing for years to come. New and used. As a result, it's been really easy to stay away from the big box budget brands.

  • ImmortalPomegranate

    Melanie Cuno from ImmortalPomegranate said 6 years ago

    I just went thrift store shopping yesterday! So many great useful items there. I got a couple of frames, and kids books for super cheap!

  • AlternativeBlooms

    Alternative Blooms from AlternativeBlooms said 6 years ago

    My daughter and I regularity visit thrift stores, It is something I love to do and she has caught the bug too. I believe it is important to send the right message to the next generation. It is not enough to say reduce, reuse recycle - we have to live it out. Iris' (12 yrs) is elated when she finds a great shirt at an unbeatable price. She is wise to know her dollars are precious and will go further when thrifting. I was alway's worried my children might grow up in a spoiled generation but every little trip to thrift helps! We give and we receive.

  • AgelessThings

    AgelessThings from VintageAgelessThings said 6 years ago

    Brings a tear to my eye. Thinking about all those vintage items out of circulation. Trust me, I'm buying them up as fast as I can!

  • InMaterial

    Peggy McCallum from InMaterial said 6 years ago

    What a great article. I buy the minimum amount of clothing and most of the time I buy things I truly love and can see myself wearing for years and years. We need to ask ourselves, "Can we really afford to use the huge amount of water and energy that goes into manufacturing and transporting perpetual mountains of clothing in this age of 7 billion people and counting?"

  • artwink

    Paula from artwinkjewelry said 6 years ago

    I have read that we wear about 20% of the clothes in our closets. So I've made it a mission to make sure I wear everything I own. This has greatly reduced the amount of clothing I own. That includes shoes!

  • moonros1950

    Kathy Giddings from MoonbeamsCottage said 6 years ago

    I love shopping thrift shops! Finding it harder to find really quality fabrics there... surprised to find that so much is recycled out of this county... bring the economy back home... Shop American Made

  • mygoddess

    indre from HelloMyGoddess said 6 years ago

    yes, your articles are always absolutely great. I've been a thrifter for many many years. As a teen, back in the 70's i remember finding silk 50's dresses for 5 cents apiece!!!!! I'd wear them with high tops forever and ever. still have some old finds from back then! i never throw out old clothes and manage to recycle almost everything. don't like the cheap new stuff anyway. I have heard that the stuffing to all the airplane seats are made of old clothes. that's a good use! someone mentioned that the old stuff with stains/holes gets dumped. well, no! the good stuff gets dumped, too, i've seen it happen. that's because even the thrift stores have too much merchandise! another great reason to love etsy and our community of careful consumers :) someone mentioned

  • prendasbyenid

    Enid from prendasbyenid said 6 years ago

    Wow, this is very interesting.

  • nascentstudio

    Jill Tatroe from nascentstudio said 6 years ago

    I actually realized that organizations in our country were shipping donated clothes to Africa, when I was watching a documentary, and the villagers in a small community somewhere in Africa were wearing western T-shirts, and clothes. At least they're being used. I like the thought of blue jean insulation, and recycled rags too. I wear a lot of 2nd hand clothing, and donate or resell what I'm not using. I hope the items and the proceeds are going to a good cause. I'd never donate something that was ratty, I'd rather use it to make my own rags, or for a project.

  • fabriquefantastique

    Jan Marriott from fabriquefantastique said 6 years ago

    in my email box today.....'you can never have too many.....buy them all' yada yada http://ca.mg5.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch

  • fairylandbeads

    fairylandbeads from fairylandbeads said 6 years ago Featured

    As a former employee of Goodwill, I was shocked with the amount of items (not just clothing) that were thrown away- but it's not always the thrift store's fault. Often times because people were too lazy to wash the clothing before donating, or for some absurd reason donate heavily soiled clothing- I often saw whole bags and pallets of items that had to be thrown away because someone was an irresponsible donator. It was really said to see good quality items that were mixed in with moldy clothing that had to be tossed for health reasons. I think education about how to donate would help, along with the urge to shop at your local thrift stores more often, would cut back on the amount they throw away. :)

  • fabriquefantastique

    Jan Marriott from fabriquefantastique said 6 years ago

    wrong link....

  • amandang1

    Amanda Ng said 6 years ago

    @zalavintage: matters of raw materials and place of production are often tricky. we should keep in mind also that the US is the largest exporter of cotton by a wide margin. so for a cotton shirt at least, it might say "made in china" but there's a good chance the cotton came from the cotton fields of texas.

  • WeThreeTrees

    Jenna Callahan from WeThreeTrees said 6 years ago

    My family and I donate most of our clothing and unwanted items to a local Christian place called Salt and Light (The founders were featured on Extreme Makeover Home Edition), and they give away clothing to people in need in the community for FREE. I volunteered there once, and was happy to find out that the clothing that isn't put out on the racks is recycled. There are only two ways about it. Seeing that first hand made me more than happy to shift our habits about donating to Salvation Army or Goodwill, to Salt and Light instead. Maybe if you are uneasy about where your clothing will go, try and find a charity who does a similar thing- then call and find out where your clothing will go if it doesn't make it to the racks to be given away/sold. And I agree with fairylandbeads- don't give soiled clothing to ANY place! Have the courtesy to wash your clothing before donating it. [Oh, and no one wants to wear second-hand underwear. Just sayin :)]

  • PomDecors

    ElleJay from 20thCenturyKitchen said 6 years ago

    I purchased a whole new wardrobe in 1998 and filled it out over the next few years. I had to donate just about everything then in my closet after a significant weight loss. I am reasonably sure my clothing was purchased in the USA because of the large sizes. Some items still had the tags attached. I was very picky and frugal about my new wardrobe, and the result was a rainbow of choices in classic styles that I have worn ever since. I went for quality and avoided trendy pieces. When something does wear out, I can use the piece for my own cleaning rags (like for polishing bakelite with Simichrome).

  • HandsomeandBella

    Ali Perez from HandsomeandBella said 6 years ago

    I am so glad this topic was brought up as I think about waste a lot and how it relates to our society. I rarely buy retail. I more often purchase secondhand. Even "cheap clothing prices" are expensive to me for the quality. So lately when buying retail, I have tried to stick to the concept of basics I will have forever. Sweatshop free tees, 501s and fisherman sweaters. Sometimes a little pricier but not when we are talking about the price-per-wear.

  • AMD

    AMD from AMD said 6 years ago

    It's astonishing how much of a temporary, throw away culture we have. I only recently realized I can buy more bath towels even though I still have useable bath towels.

  • WingedWorld

    Vickie Moore from WingedWorld said 6 years ago

    Interesting! Now I feel like less of a cheapskate for keeping a tattered batch of old T-shirts along with all my “presentable” T-shirts.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery said 6 years ago

    When I was a kid I used to take hand me downs, my parents simply couldn't afford to regularly re-clothe a growing youngster! I don't buy as many clothes as I used to after all how many pairs of jeans can you wear at once!

  • HILDASelements

    Hilda Sigrid from HILDASelements said 6 years ago

    Very good article!

  • OffTheHooks

    Ashley from OffTheHooks said 6 years ago

    the same can be said for food; our culture produces far too much food than we can eat and so much of it gets thrown away.

  • VintageMarketPlace

    VintageMarketPlace from VintageMarketPlace said 6 years ago

    Yes I have worked in the clothing recycling warehouses of St. Louis. It is amazing what gets baled up for africa and what sells to Japan. I worked in the hey day of Japanese buying and I sorted 1000s of pounds of clothing a day. We would make rag bales, vintage bales and 3rd world country bales out of what we didn't find satisfactory to sell retail. Truck loads would leave the factory each day. It really makes you stop and think of all the waste that has started since mass production has began in retail. Clothes don't hold up anymore and we are forced to go buy new every season because the goods of today don't last Seriously, will our kids and grandkids even find our clothing or will it just be hole ridden and see thru rags?

  • L2Country

    L2Country from L2Country said 6 years ago

    Wow...what an interesting article!...TXs for this!...."L"

  • GyldanPineapple

    Ashley Huziarski from GyldanPineapple said 6 years ago

    Wonderful article!! Thank you for posting - it is really making me second-guess donating all my un-worn clothes and re-purposing them instead. I may test out my quilting skills :)

  • ArtyDidact

    Sharon Parker from ArtyDidact said 6 years ago Featured

    I enjoy shopping at thrift stores and estate sales, and this article makes me want to do that more! I am often amazed at what good condition clothes are in when I buy them secondhand. I tend to wear my stuff until it really is only good for rags! And we do use them for rags -- much better than paper towels for most cleaning and cleanups. Crafting from the good bits of fabric on otherwise worn garments is great, too, and Etsy is filled with clever versions of that.

  • undertheroot

    undertheroot from undertheroot said 6 years ago

    Nicely written and explored. Along the years, thrift has changed shape and wakefulness is blossoming now. Thank you for perking our ears again and again.

  • honeyblossomstudio

    Kristi from honeyblossomstudio said 6 years ago

    Thank you for posting this article. We had several "drop off" boxes for used clothes set up around our town and people were filling them up like crazy. Then, most people were shocked to learn their donations were being turned into rags for profit. Their "donations" were not going to a non-profit to help locals.

  • daisytoad

    daisytoad from daisytoad said 6 years ago

    As a frequent volunteer at our local thrift stores I've seen this in action. What people also need to realize is a lot of what is donated is simply unusable as clothing again. People will bring in bags and bags of smoke filled, animal hair matted, unwashed, filthy clothing. So be sure you figure this in to your percentages. Most thrifts, not all, are run by volunteers. Most times volunteers are in short supply, therefore the thrifts are understaffed and unable to stain treat, wash, iron and such. Please before deciding not to donate to local thrifts, consider the percentages also contain these unusable items. Our thrift donates unusable items to local animal shelters, other items that are not usable in the local store are then sent on to larger city thrift stores.

  • Cestpourbibi

    Cestpourbibi said 6 years ago

    That´s so crazy...

  • truu1

    Sarina from PopRockJewelry said 6 years ago

    interesting!

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat said 6 years ago

    Good grief, I wear my clothes till they fall off my back, then recycle them into rags for my own use. The secret is to only buy a small number of items, made from only natural fibres (check the stitching is natural too, sometimes cotton & linen items are sewn together with polyester thread) When my rags get to the end of their useful life they go on my own compost heap to be recycled into food for body & soul (fruit, veg & flowers!) Old tee-shirts & sheets make the best rags ever & towels can be donated to animal shelters where they never have enough.

  • paisleybeading

    LuAnn Poli from PaisleyBeading said 6 years ago

    Good article. Those statistics were not what I'd expected at all. It seems as if thrift store shopping is being done more lately. At least in my neck of the woods. Eastern PA.

  • xZOUix

    Zoui from XZOUIX said 6 years ago

    such is life,...good article...

  • sonyarasi

    Sonya Rasi from sonyarasi said 6 years ago

    interesting!

  • zabbaleen

    zabbaleen from zabbaleen said 6 years ago

    Great article! I've always stressed the importance of buying fewer, quality items (both new and vintage) over buying cheap, trendy, junk at forever 21, old navy, etc. The way clothes were made back in the day is virtually unparalleled today. Buy quality items made from quality materials and buy vintage! Your wardrobe will be timeless and classic!

  • lizworthy

    Liz Worthy from lizworthy said 6 years ago

    Let's hear it also for the Clothing Swap where friends get together and trade clothes! I'm looking forward to one my roommate is organizing next month.

  • TheInvintage

    Molly Green from TheInvintage said 6 years ago

    love that Etsy is discussing this! When I moved to Nicaragua (where the used clothing industry is thriving and charging insanely high prices) I was really disillusioned....now instead of heading to good will I'm trying to upcycle my clothing

  • purplmama

    Peggy from purplmama said 6 years ago

    HOLY CRAPORAMA!!!! Thanks for this unpleasant but very needed and enlightening article! I'm absolutely sharing this! .. Wow.. yet another example of our western waste mentality. .. Oh, but I do agree with daisytoad; many "donations" to thrift stores and charities truly are unusable. What are people thinking??

  • SmokedPaprika

    SmokedPaprika said 6 years ago

    Where on earth is Zamibia?

  • BucktownVintage

    Irene McKirdy from BucktownVintage said 6 years ago

    I stopped at a neighborhood garage sale and saw a jacket I had donated to the local Salvation Army for sale.

  • dottywalker

    Dotty Walker from SewThoughtfulBlanket said 6 years ago

    Very informative. You never know what you're going to find out here on Etsy.

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 6 years ago

    A suprising statistic.

  • KettleConfections

    KettleConfections from KettleConfections said 6 years ago

    This is very good to know - it's unfortunate that this problem can only get worse as the quality and fabric of clothing decreases. People will just give away 'worn' clothing more often. Even from reputable retailers, the material of the fabric wears out after a few times in the washing machine.

  • VeiledIntensity

    Bethany from ParadoxicalPhoenix said 6 years ago

    I keep my old clothes so that I can reuse as much of the fabric as possible. I have a small cubby shelf for each color. :)

  • WhitePoppyBridal

    Sharon and Michelle from WhitePoppyBridal said 6 years ago

    Very interesting article! Lately I'm finding that with the exception of jeans and cotton button up type shirts my clothes are more or less disintergrating by the end of the season and suitable only for cleaning rags or the bin. In contrast, items that I made myself are still going strong in my mother's wardrobe over 10 years later. Amazing to think that so much worn clothing is donated each year that the US can't reabsorb it....

  • grandmae1

    Ellen said 6 years ago

    Our Church thrift shop had to close last year for lack of volunteers . We gave away clothing in this small area, and some of our local Ukrainian friends shipped heavy coats and clothing back home. We were constantly amazed at the bags full of really dirty clothes that people dropped off. Our church is thirty minutes from the closest laundromat and the cost of washing donations was one of the major problems. Now our closest thrift shop is more than thirty minutes away. I feel very bad for the families who now have to spend so much money on gasoline to get to a store that charges almost as much as a big ...mart store!

  • AllengroveVintage

    Mary from AllengroveVintage said 6 years ago

    Wow. Great article. I used to buy a lot of cheap clothing each new season, but recently I've started investing in quality items from new and thrift stores, that i can have for years to come. And now I won't feel bad for turning old shirts into cleaning rags for my home.

  • nicolerisinger

    Nicole Risinger from SoSewOrganized said 6 years ago

    We have a local thrift store that we donate to regularly. We are apparently among the privileged few to have such a store! Almost every week we see something in the store that used to be ours, so we know that what we donate is being sold back to locals. The items in the store are normally clean and the entire store, albeit small, has the air of a place that is run with care. After reading this post, I am all the more thankful for it!

  • calming123

    marea said 6 years ago

    If you are in an area where garage or yard sales are possible it is good to make a little extra money and the ones left over ? ...we used to put up a sign and give them away free to people in our area...at least we saw where they went...there are always some people who can't really afford to buy and just come to look around... so i hope that was helpful to them, and their families as well... and if you never tried your hand at quilting do it it's so fun! there is a quilt group here if your not sure how to start...then you could sell the quilt on etsy :) marea

  • NoFrump

    Ashley of Pamplepluie from Pamplepluie said 6 years ago

    Interesting article! Now I feel even better than ever about not buying new clothing...almost ever. The rare exception for me is when I decide to buy a pair of jeans here, a pair of shoes there. Otherwise, I find an astounding selection of garments I really like in my local thrift store—they always have a more varied and better-priced selection than I can find in most local department stores. My personal fashion THRIVES on others' wardrobe refuse, and I couldn't be happier! Good for me, good for the planet.

  • debbyhillberg

    Debby from DebbysHandmadeGoods said 6 years ago

    My Mom either made our clothes or purchased them at Goodwill while we we growing up. I am still wearing clothes I bought over ten years ago. I have a small wardrobe that fits on one of the three closet racks. I have seen so much waste in my life. Thanks for the article.

  • poppys4cast

    poppys4cast from poppys4cast said 6 years ago

    We need to start 'The Great American Thread Industry', made up of processing plants (warehouses) to salvage clothing parts and recycle clothing into all that thread we're going to need for up cycling into the next generation.

  • kmanuelson

    Krista from kmanuelson said 6 years ago

    I too can testify to Nicaragua's love of used clothing. Most people wear Hollister, Abercrombie and other 'American' brand rip offs here. They're obsessed. Those of us who do not want to wear the poorly made rip offs choose to shop at second hand shops. There are more second hand shops than shops that sell new. They charge almost the same price as thrift stores in the US, which I found interesting. Some still have Goodwill and Value Village tags on them. I just bought this week a vintage purse from the 50s, made in Japan, in great condition. No one has appreciation for vintage here so it was cheaper than the other purses. I also bought a vintage Coach bag for $6. I would definitely rather see thrift store clothing shipped to Central America and Africa than end up in landfills.

  • loopyboopy

    loopy from loopyboopy said 6 years ago

    I find this article interesting in many ways. First, yes we as a culture (I"m in the US) buy crap, mostly just to buy it and throw it away or donate it. Where it goes is not in our minds we just know its outta our sight. Problem solved. I appeciate this article for bringing that to light. My problem with the article is that IMO Etsy perpetuates these buying habits. Not only with clothing but with all items with its trendy marketing. Promoting the continuous changing trends and the lower, cheaper priced goods. Seriously the blog committee and the marketing committee need to sit down and get on the same mind set!

  • VainVintage

    KD from VainVintage said 6 years ago

    wow! almost everything i wear comes from thrift store, since i was a child. I wish America wasn't so wasteful

  • tomsgrossmami

    Tom's Grossmami from tomsgrossmami said 6 years ago

    Interesting.

  • FlowerThyme

    Kirsten Hausman from FlowerThyme said 6 years ago

    Very good article! I am a huge supporter of thrift stores -- they're where I get 75% of my clothing, not to mention household items for use and decoration. Not only are things cheaper but I can support non-profits and help them accomplish their missions. However, I freely admit to over-shopping and changing my wardrobe over often, but with most items already being second-hand I don't feel as bad. Thanks for this food for thought!

  • treasurebooth

    Kelly from treasurebooth said 6 years ago

    Wow, a lot to think about! I have always opted for timeless pieces in my wardrobe and have avoided trends/fads for 2 main reasons--I normally don't care for what is popular and they change so quickly it seems both silly and impractical to attempt to keep up. I'm reading a book called Inside the Victorian Home and I must say the Victorians can teach us so much about being more efficient. If their clothing wasn't homemade, they ordered basic wardrobe pieces for very specific purposes that could be worn for years and passed down as well. We are so wasteful in this day and age--it quite honestly makes me ill to think of how disposable everything has become, clothing included. Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful article.

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage from accentonvintage said 6 years ago

    Very interesting! Too bad that we have so much and others so little!

  • naturallyinspired

    Chelsea Mae from naturallyinspired said 6 years ago

    Do a clothing swap with your friends it's awesome!

  • zoilafarrell

    Zoila Farrell from ZeesCollection said 6 years ago

    Every time I go to the Goodwill store I see them dumping lots items and clothing which haven't sold. They much rather throw the stuff away than to run a clearance sale. There are people who could use these things but can't afford their prices. For this reason I have stopped donating to Goodwill. Books I don't want I take to the Public Library in South Carolina where they need books. Any books they don't want gets sold. All my other stuff goes to a local thrift store which doesn't get much donations and which runs strictly on a volunteer program. They take the items and clean them and are truly appreciative.

  • Macramaking

    Ellen from Macramaking said 6 years ago

    I buy almost all of my clothes from Goodwill & 2nd hand shops. I had no idea we shipped to other countries like that.... great article!

  • BigBadBuddha

    BigBadBuddha from BigBadBuddha said 6 years ago

    I love buying my clothes from Salvation Army and Goodwill

  • VeraVague

    Vera and Victor Vague from VeraVague said 6 years ago

    wow. shame, shame.

  • squeakymeeper

    Nyki M said 6 years ago

    I was a Goodwill employee for a few years and it's shocking just what people donate. There would be clothing coming in that was ripped to shreds, covered in manure, or stained so badly that I wouldn't use it for a dust rag. Of course, that was just the CLOTHING aspect of it. We would get in used adult toys, couches that the whole back would be ripped out among other things.

  • farmpigger

    farmpigger said 6 years ago

    clothes swaps are great, don't know if anybody else mentioned it- too many comments to read

  • snugglyugly

    Indira Villalobos from snugglyugly said 6 years ago

    I buy all of my cashmere sweater from Goodwill. Great article, thanks for the info.

  • snugglyugly

    Indira Villalobos from snugglyugly said 6 years ago

    I buy all of my cashmere sweater from Goodwill to make my monsters. Great article, thanks for the info.

  • sandboxcastle

    H Wang from sandboxcastle said 6 years ago

    @Nyki ...so those Reddit posts about the stuff people donate were true! @__@ I don't have much nice stuff but it only makes sense to donate only things that are still useable ...else its just junk. I think the moral is not "don't donate your stuff" but more "Be more critical of what you buy as not to generate more junk"

  • picklevalentine

    Libby Stone from PickleValentine said 6 years ago

    I am donating to our local resource center from now on. The heck with Goodwill and the Sallies. I wear the same classic styles for years and I do use what is in my closets. I think long and hard before adding anything.

  • ClaudiaLord

    Claudia Lord from ClaudiaLord said 6 years ago

    I once saw a man wearing a tie that I had made which I had donated. Nice to know that someone was able to use it.

  • scrapsalot

    Susan G said 6 years ago

    I still donate decorative household items and things like that to local charity-run thrift shops, but I have started donating clothing directly for people who need it. Currently I donate through my daughter's high school - they run a "clothes closet" that is actually a small storage facility and everything donated goes directly into the hands of families who need and use the items.

  • SilverWishes

    Kristan from SilverWishes said 6 years ago

    Hey, I just thought of another use for those piles of holey t-shirts, sweaters that sort of disintegrated through the washings, and endless lonely socks... Cut 'em up into smaller bits and use as dog bed filler! The pillow type beds are constantly getting squished down. Hmmm, off to experiment:) Thanks for the thought-provoking posts!

  • junquegypsy

    junquegypsy from junquegypsy said 6 years ago

    My family spent a summer in Zambia as project coordinators for a medical building project 15 years ago. I learned then about the two-ton bales of used American clothing that was shipped in and sold for resale at small flea market style stands and shops. We were also told about several local fabric factories which had closed as a result of the glut of incoming cast-offs. In fact, at one small local stand, we found a t-shirt from one of our back home local stores. I had to buy a used pair of boots from one of the village used clothing shops and they were way more than I would have paid for them at home. So, you see, it's not only America that is hurt by imports. We flood third world countries with our throw-aways and impact their economies too. It is a small world with an unbelievably complicated and intertwined economy.

  • FiretailFinch

    Deborah Brearley from FiretailFinch said 6 years ago

    Great post...we all really need to slow down and kick back...we...including myself do things without thinking of the bigger picture...this article helps us to understand the bigger picture that we are all part of, contribute to.

  • laker24

    Richard Fegette from laker24 said 6 years ago

    If Portland Oregon Is your thing found a really cool shop Put A Bird On It. Celabrating the Weird and wonderful state of mind which is Orygun. Check it out

  • SuziSanSouci

    Suzi McDuff from SuziSanSouci said 6 years ago

    Wow, shocking and sad how much we buy! Thank you for the article! It's inspiration not only to keep reusing in my own home but to spread the word too. Maybe this makes me sound like a Green-nerd but reusing and re-purposing is fun! I think more Americans would enjoy it too... once they get brought over to the green side. ;)

  • gracengraphite

    gracengraphite said 6 years ago

    If you can put up with the spam and the occasional weirdos--CRAIGSLIST! It's handy for local transactions, especially if you're unable to hold yard sales. If you're not looking to make a bit of cash you can always donate things under the "Free" section and your stuff might actually wind up with someone who really needs it. I've had some annoying experiences with it, but some very amazing ones as well. I'm glad I have several local thrift store options. I've been relentlessly trolling them several weekends in a row. ;) I decided to swap out an old medium-weight coat for a more waterproof used one, and a couple of weeks later I saw my donated coat hanging on a rack in the store, which was really nice. Used clothing just has so much more meaning and personality than new! I wonder about who used to own them and what experiences they had in those pieces, and it makes me want to take even better care of them to keep them going.

  • lovinffhmusic

    Emily said 6 years ago

    Clothing being recycled into insulation isn't such a bad thing. IT KEEPS US WARM.

  • crownring

    crownring said 6 years ago

    At the risk of unintentionally offending someone, I have to say part of the problem is that we are living in "the Walmart era", where clothing is dirt cheap and usually so cheaply made we have no problem tossng it out on a whim. I didn't grow up that way and I don't live that way either. BTW, my husband has been thinning out his music collection and sells his excess to a music store in another city from time to time. More than once he's been told they love it when he brings in CDs and DVDs, because they're in perfect shape, no chips, no cracks, no scratches, and no...ahem... foreign substances dried onto the discs. And when I say foreign substances, I am talking HUMAN BLOOD, VOMIT, and GENERAL FILTH! Why in the name of __fill in the blank__ ,would anyone believe they could sell something coated in complete filth to a renowned music store? And why do people donate utter crap to charitable organizations and think they're somehow doing a good deed? It's beyond my understanding........sigh.

  • NatureAngels

    NatureAngels from NatureAngels said 6 years ago

    If we focus on quality instead of quantity, I guess that would be step #1. I don't mind my used clothing being re-purposed, but I will definitely concentrate on buying fewer quality items that I will keep longer & then can consign. I too refuse to pay retail for clothing. I buy from re-sale and thrift shops for myself and my family. I will definitely focus on buying fewer better quality items that we can hang on to and then pass on to others for their use, to ensure our items don't end up in the landfill. Thank you!

  • elizasteindesigns

    Eliza Stein from elizasteindesigns said 6 years ago Featured

    I love a good thrift shop! Now, when I walk into a clothing store and things aren't arranged in rows by color I walk right out of there. Also, it's interesting reading the comments from some people who've worked in other countries and have seen what happens to the clothing donations. It blows my mind that a country like Nicaragua has huge factories that produce clothing for export to the US, then that same clothing gets sent back to them as a donation. The same thing happens in other industries like food and fuel-- it's all done for export, and the people are stuck with leftovers or donations. It makes it so hard to develop local business.

  • KKSimpleRegalJewelry

    Krista from TheBeadtriss said 6 years ago

    Rather interesting! ~KK~

  • littlexbekahxbug

    Bekah and Sara from StitchesandHearts said 6 years ago

    oh WOW! thank you SO much for sharing this!!!! It really puts things into perspective.

  • sciostarbug

    Kristen from sciostarbug said 6 years ago

    I love thrifting , but have stopped shopping at and donating to big organizations like Salvation Army and Goodwill. Mostly I have done this because both organizations (especially Salvation Army) are extremely anti-gay and even have fought against marriage equality and I cannot and will not condone with my donations or shopping dollars that type of small-minded discriminatory behavior. So I have done as other commenters have done; consignment shops for clothing, libraries for books, and everything else that is in decent condition gets upcycled by myself or 'adopted' by my friends and family. Giving back to your own community in an inclusive, hate-free way is awesome!

  • lizmehrer

    lizmehrer said 6 years ago

    What kind of bothers me, however, is how "unaffordable" so much thrifted and vintage clothing has become...because thrifting and vintage have become popular trends, these practices have become the latest victims of commercialism. I WANT to be "green" and recycle clothing and buy used, but when half of the time I can find the same thing NEW at a fraction of the price, on a budget, I have to go with what is more affordable. And the word "vintage" has become so over-used as a selling mechanism...I've seen Gap skirts produced in the last 5 years sold as "vintage" here and on other sites and priced at MORE than what they were originally valued at. Sorry for my rant, but I've felt this way for a while now!

  • KMalinka

    Natalia from KMalinkaVintage said 6 years ago

    Awesome article!

  • Melindamilkshake

    Melinda from MelindaMilkshake said 6 years ago

    Fascinating !

  • LisasCottage

    LisaSD from LisasCottage said 6 years ago

    I really encourage you to donate to the smaller organizations that are out there. My Mom has been donating for years to some local nuns who have yard sales to raise money to help those less fortunate. We save our unused soaps and shampoos from our travels and the nuns hand them out to the homeless to use. When my nephew has a foreclosed house to empty ( you wouldn't BELIEVE the things people just walk away from) he gives the furniture and things to the nuns and they get it to people who need it. They are truly saints who are selfless and just want to make the world a better place. I seriously question these big thrift stores who say they are there for the "veterans" etc. Who is overseeing them? Who watches the percentage they give to others? Give to your local shelters instead...

  • honeystreasures

    Michael and Lisa from honeystreasures said 6 years ago

    How true. I love thrift shop shopping. You never know what you'll find that still has plenty of life left in it. Quality over quantity. I think one of the reasons vintage is so popular is that it's simply a better made article of clothing for the most part. They made things to last back then. These days, the clothing falls apart or gets holes after one or two washings. Poor quality fabrics and cheaply made construction.

  • fiordalis

    fiordalis from fiordalis said 6 years ago

    I buy good quality, classy, well made clothes that I love wearing for many years, and I will soon start making my own. I occasionally donate good, usable clothing, and never throw things in the trash, but will find other uses for them, from dust cloths to doll clothes, and lots of other things in between. I recycle just about everything. Great article!

  • ivystudio

    ivystudio said 6 years ago

    As one who has been a vintage thrifter and recyclier of all clothing since the seventies, the biggest concern is not what is sent to Africa or Japan but what ends up in teh landfills in our own country. Most of the clothing, even soiled ones, can be repurposed into other things, such as insulation. Most cotton items can be recycled to make something else. The terrible waste is not using them at all. And of course, you should pare down, wear what you have, cherish your items and buy long term. This idea is good not only for the clothing but all things you own. House, pets, clothing, jewelry, pots, pens, personal items. The other way is to make your own but beware of what you use. Buying new stuff to make something unless yhou can use recycles is just as wasteful. I have known for years the thrift stores send overseas. Use your local consignment shops. If you stuff does not sell, they give it back to you. Some will give you store credit so you can shop for new items, sort of like a swap. Make a deal wlith your local thrift store or consigner to take old things off their hands if you need sweaters or t-shirts to make your upcycled clothing. The key to all of this is to USE LESS. That saves the most resources. OVerall, I find ETSY to be recycle-friendly, since most of the people here do something from something else. Which is nice. I love the idea of old mens' jackets turning into purses and cool hats, old t-shirts into various items of clothing or dolls. It's also important that people value the hand made factor. Making something with your hands and your imagination, using an item which had another life before is a truly wonderful thing.

  • RetroRevivalBoutique

    RetroRevivalBoutique from RetroRevivalBoutique said 6 years ago

    Fascinating article

  • metrohippie

    nancy rieger from metrohippie said 6 years ago

    short and sweet DONATE CLEAN ITEMS so they stay at home and CAN be used ! (a volunteer)

  • MeadowlandDesigns

    Catherine Sorensen from MeadowlandDesigns said 6 years ago

    Wow, a short article that started lots of discussion. That's great! For me, I love and wear my clothes to death {it takes forever since I've been taught to be a good steward of what I have} and am very careful when looking for new {or used} items to find styles and colors that go with what I already have. I have my own style that I stick to so if what I'm wearing is in fashion...it's only by accident!

  • lovelygifts

    Linda from lovelygifts said 6 years ago

    Interesting article!

  • KilnGoddess

    KilnGoddess from KilnGoddess said 6 years ago

    Most of my jeans and jackets come from the thrift. I'm rough on clothes but get a good wearing til they become rags. Just the other day I wore thru the seat of a pair of well loved thrift store bought jeans and I cut them up, cutting the legs off for use in recycling clay, cut the pockets off for use in a project I want to make and what ever was left that didn't have a seam or zipper went into the rag bag. The seams and zipper did get tossed in the trash. A couple of years ago one thrift did a 'any clothing you can fit in a shopping bag for $5' sale...I was congratulated for stuffing a bag fuller than they had ever seen and have jackets, sweaters and ugly silk shirts that will last me years(the ugly silk is used in making some clay items btw).

  • pepperpressny

    Ursula from pepperpressny said 6 years ago

    I've been passing my gently used clothes (except for few beat up ones) to relatives in another country who will gladly take anything 'American'. Also, recently discovered Freecycle.org - people who actually want my unwanted stuff, are happy to come and get it.

  • yimmekedesign

    Diana from yimmekedesign said 6 years ago Featured

    If we knew all the details of how things are done concerning recycling and trades to foreign countries we probably would be very distraught. It is great that there are so many goodhearted people who contribute to their community and neighbors. Unless we have the strength and power to move mountains while being overloaded with the whole world around our necks, I think it is a great idea to share and do good with and for the people we live with every day. Support your local thrift shops and other local businesses. Contribute by living simple, by being hospitable and by recycling your used items to people with the same ideals. Who knows we may come to a point where we can actually SWAP our clothing with other countries instead of them having our leftovers.

  • liddysopretty

    liddy sopretty from liddysopretty said 6 years ago

    Interesting article!

  • MamaDragonBreath

    MamaDragonBreath from MamaDragonBreath said 6 years ago

    Nice article, but being a family of five on a single budget, it doesn't make sense to buy vintage when new is so cheap. Thrift store, yes- I practically live there, especially for the kids clothes because they grow so quickly. But if you REALLY want people to start buying vintage, maybe suggest that people lower their prices. Vintage here on etsy literally makes me laugh out loud because the prices are so ridiculous.

  • 2xisnice

    Mildred (Millie) Petterson from 2xisnice said 6 years ago

    Very interesting article. I usually donate to the local thrift shop in our area, who truly helps the community.

  • FullCircleRetro

    Piegota from FullCircleRetro said 6 years ago

    Wow..surprising facts!

  • LoveLoveandMoreLove

    Haley Thomas said 6 years ago

    It's amazing how our everyday decisions effect the rest of the world, I think that it's so important to be aware of this so that we can make the most responsible compassionate decisions. Buy used clothing, rock vintage fashion, go your own way ; )

  • studiorandom

    Dana Seilhan from studiorandom said 6 years ago

    I'm so frustrated because I'd love to buy vintage or whatever, but vintage doesn't come in plus sizes. Unless they were making muumuus back then, and I wouldn't be caught dead in one, not even around the house. I'm working on weight loss but it's slow. Even then, given my family history of type 2 diabetes and obesity, I will always have to be vigilant that I don't regain. I am the type who could go around in jeans and t-shirts forever, I really am not that big of a fashion plate, but they're making those cheaper and cheaper now. I can't make a t-shirt last a year anymore without it getting tiny holes or worse. Jeans are made more and more cheaply. It's almost like the system forces you to buy--and even when I don't stick with vintage, thrift shops almost never have a good plus-sized selection. Meh. I suppose I had better quit procrastinating and take up sewing, huh?

  • Railin

    Mel from Cuteling said 6 years ago

    Quite astonishing facts ... I do agree with MamaDragonBreath about ridiculous prices on vintage clothing. There's no way something used should be more expensive than new stuff, unless it's some designer item or such ... most of the vintage stuff is just regular mass market production, yet the prices on them ...

  • opendoorstudio

    Martha Layton Smith from opendoorstudio said 6 years ago

    I work at a Thrift store Called the Treasure House... we might have a dumpster pick up once a week and usually that is only less than half full! ... we have a small rolling dumpster... and I have to be honest, the only thing that tends to do inside would be some broken glass that is impossible to recycle, and some waste from the trash cans throughout the building. Volunteers bring home the cardboard on a regular basis... for recycling. The bags and packing material we recieve things wrapped in, become the wrapping we use when we sell an item. When we process a bag of clothing, we look for stains and major wear, we price what we can and package the rest for another charity who will sift through, sell what they are able and then get money for the poundage of clothing donated. Baby items and other things, go to a little place called repeat boutique. Many of the local churches provide vouchers for the homeless and pads shelters, so that they can "shop" there for free to fulfil the needs they might have for simple things like the clothing on their backs. other folks donate things directly to Repeat Boutique and a volunteer at our shop brings in the nicer things for consignment... that way both charities benefit as well. That is a major source of income for both of us. WE donate the old school books (not considered vintage) as well as electronics to a program called "Scarce". They go through and use some items for schools and recycle so that someone can benefit from what we are donating. We tend to price almost everything we are able. We have crafters who may come after the broken or chipped china we set aside. We save socks and gloves for the homeless that a little old gent brings down to Lower Wacker Drive in Chicago to provide for those less fortunate there. It feels good to know we are not throwing things in dumpsters, but passing them on to others who will benefit from them. We make EVERY effort to do so... our profits go to help children and Families in the Chicago area, with counseling, legal aid, medical help and more. great programs all! Reduce, reuse, pass on, recycle...! Lets try to keep things out of the dumpsters and ultimately out of the landfills.. for a happier and cleaner Earth!

  • byjodi

    byjodi from byjodi said 6 years ago

    Great article! So glad you posted this incredibly important information!! People need to know.

  • SavonsFrais

    Susann Weinberg from SavonsFrais said 6 years ago

    I've known for over 30 years that a great probability of the clothing given to thrift shops goes to rags to make rag paper, or like you said above. Rags. Also, the American garment industry isn't the reason why there is a glut of clothing in the US (90% of the industry has been dead for the past 25 years. I know. I am retired from that trade that I've been working in since 1974) That is, except for indie operations. 95% of clothing bought in the country is made oversea and not just China. Try Jordan. I've seen some articles of clothing that were made there. Even if you were to make your own clothing, virtually all the fabric is made in China. Flax grows in abundance in the Dakotas and not a speck of that flax goes into linen production. They're growing the flax for the flax seed because it is more profitable. But go try to purchase linen and it is $20/yd. And it's imported!

  • sarahscookies

    sarahscookies said 6 years ago

    Great Article! Great info to pass on to others.

  • Mary92354

    Mary McKennell said 6 years ago

    Two comments--I have clothes that are 20+ years old that I still wear because I like them. I cycle my clothes seasonally so they last a long time. Second comment-when I do donate my stuff it goes to one of two places that are locally owned and operated. I see my stuff for sale in the thrift store later on! And the other place I give to is a place called the Blessing center. They set up used clothing in a botique atmosphere so that homeless people can choose their clothes in a dignified way.

  • recycledwares

    Nerrissa W from RecycledWares said 6 years ago

    What a great article. It is nice to know that our clothing is being used and reused, but not so great to hear that it is because we are so wasteful. This is a hard one for me - I think it is wonderful that our fabrics are able to help other countries make products, but also sad to hear about the impact it has on some economies and groups of people. I try to buy almost every article of clothing second hand. I don't even know when the last time was that I purchased a new blouse or pair of pants from a department store - maybe 3-4 years ago. My undergarments are about the only pieces I buy new.

  • CaduceusNeckwear

    CaduceusNeckwear from CaduceusNeckwear said 6 years ago

    Very interesting! I don't usually donate clothes because I wear the living daylights out of them, and I won't donate clothes that I wouldn't wear myself (clean, no holes, good condition, etc.), although I do buy jeans and skirts at the thrift store. I usually donate household items. I'm working on a box now of dishes, pots, & pans (my mother in law gave me some of her old sets--hubby's family is very acquisitive, and I am not, which sort of works out well for me, but is also somewhat distressing; case in point--I got a hand me down vacuum from them that still had out of the box stickers on it, because they got a "better" one. By contrast, my mom bought me one when I moved out, and I had no real plans of getting a new one until the old one gasped its last; used it for 6 years until this one, and I donated it happily with the remaining bags knowing that it was still very functional).

  • misscharlottejewelry

    Joyce Davies from JewelryByCarlotta said 6 years ago

    I wear a garment until it's ready to be used as a cleaning rag! I'm not interested in what's "in". I buy what works for me from a catalog co. But I'm very interested in thrift stores now.

  • JunkStoreAddict

    Joy from JunkStoreAddict said 6 years ago

    Just wanted to toss in my 2 cents on this subject, having spent a few years in the thrift shop industry. I know for the thrift shops I worked with, as well as the local goodwill and Salvation army, we have a company that buys our "unsellable" clothing by the pound. (they then send it for precessing and divide it up by clothing used for rags, and clothing to be sent overseas) There is another company that buys unsellable shoes by the pound to send overseas. And yet another that deals in books & magazines, to be used as textbooks/learning material to schools that are unable to afford them. Another group for plastics. And a small local establishment that works on old computers and equipments for schools in need. So, just because your items might not hang in your local thrift shop (or maybe they did and the right person didn't come in and buy it) doesn't mean that it went to waste. The system is a wonderful way to keep items out of the landfill and it still supports the local community and economy. In thrift shops everywhere your generous donations: help raise money for their cause, give elderly and mentally handicapped folks, etc. a place to volunteer & be connected to a way to give back, help people afford nice things, give all of us thrift shop junkies something to do on weekends, and help folks overseas. Its wonderful cycle that extends beyond just clothing( in a lot of regions) and is a growing trend in the thrift shop community. So nice to see this article written and spread the knowledge of re-using (and also show how much excess so many of us have)

  • AlisaDesign

    Alisa from AlisaDesign said 6 years ago

    Great article!

  • sarahknight

    Sarah from sarahknight said 6 years ago

    I'm not a clotheshorse, nor, apparently am I that fashionable. So, I can't say that I go out and buy a new wardrobe every season, because I don't. I tend to wear things until they're no longer wearable... which means I haven't exactly contributed to the system spoken of in the article. Because when something is full of holes or has a giant rip in it, I exercise the power to simply throw it away. All things cannot be saved forever. Some clothing is simply utilitarian, and utilitarian things tend to be subject to the wear of utility. Addressing clothing en masse as 'the fashion industry' ignores the whole of statistics, in that socks, underwear, and bras don't last forever. And that simply throwing away those items doesn't have a direct effect on one particular industry in one country. Statistics are a complex thing. The only way that I fit into the 21% is if you're counting all the utilitarian clothing I dispose of in a year after I have literally worn it out... which has very little to do with fashion in Zambia and more to do with the price of oil.

  • parisvintage

    parisvintage from parisvintage said 6 years ago

    Folks...ALWAYS donate to an actual NON PROFIT thrift shop...one of the largest in the entire country (can't name names here) states that they support a certain medical research foundation with the money they make...so you think you are helping to contribute to a very worthwhile society...in actuality, they give only 10% of their "profits" to the society and pocket the rest!!! So they are given free inventory, sell it, keep the money...millionaires are on their board...and this happens everywhere...anyone can start up a thrift shop and receive donated inventory and sell it as long as they are affiliated with some group and they send them a check every month. To me, this is absolutely unethical. So ask..."are you 100% non-profit"?.

  • blessedvintage

    Hope from blessedvintage said 6 years ago

    save your mother wear vintage

  • JodyBallArt

    JodyBallArt from JodyBallArt said 6 years ago

    Love reading some of the comments! It is nice to hear that others like me buy from Thrift stores! Love the bargains there and it IS good to know that it is the ultimate recycling option.

  • yesteryearshome

    Mary Halttunen from yesteryearshome said 6 years ago

    My husband runs a local thrift store and sadly a large qty of the donated clothing is not resell able leaving the store to deal with how to dispose of it. Some people use donations as way of taking out their trash. On the other hand the are some amazing quality, vintage styling, or unique design clothing hanging in thrift stores everywhere that need found and reused or re purposed. Some feel they don't need to wear used clothing they can afford to buy new. I argue that is not he point. I love a good deal and they are just waiting for me. I say shop on I can't even remember the last time I bought at the ...mall.

  • DiscordVintage

    Discord Vintage from DiscordVintage said 6 years ago

    Clothing donation bags aren't for your unwearable trash.

  • misspoppys1

    Marie Allen from misspoppys1 said 6 years ago

    I`m from the UK and there are many doorstep `charity` clothing/bric-a-brac collectors who make profit from our goodwill, the most I have had a my house is 4 in one day. Some even steal the bags left out for other reputable charities. I always take my stuff straight to the shop. I do shop at charity shops and often my whole outfit is secondhand. its always more interesting for me to shop in this way as you never know what you will find and in this economic climate you can treat yourself to top brand items without paying full whack for them and you are helping charities. I`m just not interested in current fashions and only try to buy classic items which will last. I`d never wear something for one season and then just chuck it away. this makes no sense to me!

  • Reneeloveandco

    Lakesha Scotland from ReneeLoveandCo said 6 years ago

    Very interesting article, with two sisters we always wore hand me downs since we were young. Now that I'm older I still give my clothes away to my sisters first then friends who may want them. For clothes leftover, we bag them up and send them to shelters for people in need. I love thrifting though, there's always a great find when I do, especially in jewelry.

  • ikabags

    IKA PARIS from ikabags said 6 years ago

    I donate most of our clothing and unwanted items to a local CROIX ROUGE box, or some people picks up from our home.Toys, table, big box etc. Always good way for sleep well . Thanks for reminder !

  • bj1952

    Barb Pfister said 6 years ago

    The WWII generation were much much better at recycling than we will ever be.

  • Spicewoodfarm

    Spicewoodfarm from Spicewoodfarm said 6 years ago

    I am a salvage artist and I make purses out of retired sweaters, hats from the cashmere sweaters I find, the list goes on. The only clothing I purchase new is underwear, everything else comes from thr thrift shops I haunt for sweaters. My favorite thrift shop sells clothing for rags and for paper for the stationery industry (Ever hear of high rag-content fine stationery?), but only after it has been in the thrift shop through the appropriate season. One should be careful about donating items. Check out the "charity" you are thinking of. Many of the thrift shops claim to be charities, but are really only interested in money, not helping people. Some of the larger "chain" thrift shops have experts who "cherry pick" through the donations and sell stuff on ebay. That means that the local shoppers do not get the best stuff.

  • deuxmarse

    g deuxmarse from deuxmarse said 6 years ago

    you'd think exporting our used clothing to third world would help, but in fact its something thats bringing them down. makes you think. i used to be proud of myself to donate hehe.

  • my2handsstudio

    Donna from my2handsstudio said 6 years ago

    I'm fortunate enough to have a local charity, that not only runs a local thrift store but runs a food bank and whatever else is needed. I've bought thrift for a few years now and it,s very freeing! I also recycle thrift and everything else too. Found a blog -- The Thrifty Chicks! Excellent

  • AamusAttic

    AamusAttic from AamusAttic said 6 years ago

    Local Thrift shops, for those of us that still want to donate but without this isue, dont have this option. I donate to Save-the-Family in the Phoenix area and have seen most of my clolthing on their racks after. They are also my Shop of choise for buying clothing. If you ask the volenteers at your local thirft shops you may find a good fit for local donateing that helps locally.

  • janthieme

    Jan Thieme said 6 years ago

    One local food pantry also lays out used donated clothing, The Mom's and Dad's are very happy to get something else so needed. This article was very interesrting.

  • Beadsaplenty

    Beadsaplenty from Beadsaplenty said 6 years ago

    That unreal! I must be against the grain here because I always wear what I purchase and then a couple years later, I give mass quantities to Goodwill that are worth recycling.

  • AamusAttic

    AamusAttic from AamusAttic said 6 years ago

    The Manufacutres went bankrupt in 1991. That is 20years ago.The film you sited was made in 2001, 10years ago. Whats happening in 2012? This story evoced a lot more Questions about this issue than I can possibly put here.

  • TNTees

    TNTees from TNTees said 6 years ago

    In the US an outstanding amount of clothing enter the landfills- approximately 68lbs per person each year! You would be surprised to find out that some of your donations may end up going directly to the landfill! Over capacity and poor quality are both factors here. If you are donating clothing that have stains, rips, tears, or just out of style they could be on a fast track straight to the dump. What can you do with these unwanted items? If you're crafty repurpose them, there are a ton of great tutorials online. I strongly encourage you to look into clothing recycling programs that might be available in your area (I offer one directly through Trashn2Tees: read here for more info- http://trashn2tees.blogspot.com/p/recycleyourclothes.html) I also recommend checking out WearableClothes.com if you are in the NYC area

  • LDCraftSupplies

    Leslie from LDCraftSupplies said 6 years ago

    Great Article! Since i was a child, i've been a big TS shopper of everything and anything!! As a kid it was the best place one could go and spend the day. Where else could you get art supplies, doll clothes, books, dress up clothes, and anything else a child would desire in her own world of imagination, all in one location. Perfect for a "latch key" kid!

  • mlox2010

    Lynn Oxenford from mlox2010 said 6 years ago

    90% of my clothing comes from the thrift store, and the rest is thing , believe it of not, I've had so long now they have come back in style.LOL I shop the thrift 3 to 4 times a week for the idems I use in my crafts. I'm all about recycling and reperpous ! The thrift store I shop the most, ships to Haiti and all the income the shop makes goes to the battered women's shelters in our area. I am not surprised at some of the news, but the repercussions was a shock. I wish everyday that America would wake up !!!!

  • janicewd

    janicewd from janicewd said 6 years ago

    Very informative read. It is fun to rummage thru and find items to recycle in some way shape or form. Your article makes me want to do that. I am thinking.....

  • LoveButtons

    Julia K Walton from FireHorseVintageHQ said 6 years ago

    I got an inkling of this when I saw a small, local charity shop filling up a huge van with 100s of bin bags of unwanted donations. Still, I suppose it all gets used one way or another in the end. I try and use some of my worn out clothing to make rag rugs and textile art, but I know it is just a drop in the ocean. I also try to make really sure that I will definitely like and wear a new article of clothing before buying it. I always try things on first - I used to have too many 'bargains' that were never worn in the past.

  • lauralynn

    Laura from mairseedotes said 6 years ago

    I can't read this without thinking of smartmonkey (a shop here on Etsy) and how she repurposes discarded sweaters by downcycling them (is that a word? it is now!) into yarn for people to use again. Genius!

  • bhangtiez

    Jana from bhangtiez said 6 years ago

    Wow! Good insight into the cycle, thank you. I am lucky to have a lot of people whom I get hand me downs from. I think something that we should all take away from this article is to BRING BACK THE CLOTHING SWAPS! With our friends, or whomever we would enjoy hangin out with. It's a great way to share what we have with eachother and get a fun, new/gently used item for our wardrode in return. It can also be a great chance to just get together and have a good time with friends, family, etc.

  • jill2day

    jill from jill2day said 6 years ago

    Every single bit of supply fabric for my garments, is not only purchased at thrift shops, but only at charity-based thrift shops. It is astounding to see at the items that are there that are from last season. I have not purchased a new item of clothing (okay maybe underwear) for my own use in about 4 years now!

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm from baconsquarefarm said 6 years ago

    Your article has caused me to stop and ponder the clothes hanging in my own closet, from the 70's to current year. The fuxuation of weight gain affects the clothes I wear each year, I've lost a bit of weight and can now wear clothes I loved from 5 years ago. The 70's clothes would make good recycled new creations by someone, wools and blends of wool suits and lace from that era as well, hangin in my closest or attic of this old farmhouse. Oh love to shop second hand stores great finds.

  • mbwarn

    Sarah W from lokisluckycharms said 6 years ago

    The reason we don't hand down is not the cheap prices, it's the cheap (shoddy) construction of most clothing on the market because it's mass produced in sweatshop conditions. Quality and price are closely correlated so correlations to either are hard to distinguish. Still, I'd happily share clothing between family members if it didn't wear out in a single season. We certainly hand down what we can afford to purchase from LL Bean.

  • ShadowLife

    ShadowLife from ShadowLife said 6 years ago

    I'm sooooo discouraged by this! I have not bought a new item of clothing in years because I made the decision to stop adding to the the landfill and supporting the consumer culture! I thought recycling clothing was a way to aheive both objectives! Can't stand the thought that my efforts contributed to the fall of an entire industry, in the third world no less!!

  • bak2basik

    bak2basik from bak2basik said 6 years ago

    20 years ago I took a bunch of suits I wore to work at an upscale department store to a very large local church that had ties to the old PTL. When I went inside to inquire about where to bring the clothing, dry cleaned and on hangers, they pointed to a huge pile of clothes on the floor in a hallway and said 'put them there'. I left without leaving my clothes and have been very cautious about donating anything to businesses cloaking themselves in 'charity' talk. And believe me, this church was and is a business, just tax exempt.

  • Chrisgrant1

    Chris Grant from 1RamblingPaintbrush said 6 years ago

    Great article. So true. It is said we wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. I know for myself I have enough cloths to last me the rest of my life. My shop has plenty of trash to treasure to offer, and even in this small mountain community I can always find wonderful castoffs to repurpose.

  • FeltnFabricFancies

    Joan Crasten from FeltnFabricFancies said 6 years ago

    Interesting article! I didn't realize the we were sending our used clothes to Africa. What about the poor people here in the USA. Zambia's factories would be open providing jobs for their people, if we donated our unwanted clothes to OUR poor here instead. There are many charities here that help veterans, and poor people here. Plus, you can donate clothes and other stuff to raise money for cancer research. We need help too!

  • rustycow

    Kimberly McCoy from rustycow said 6 years ago

    ஜ۩۞۩ஜ▬▬♥▬▬▬ஜ۩۞۩ஜ I rarely purchase new clothing, partly because I hate shopping in stores, but mostly because I was raised on hand-me-downs and I cherish once loved clothing. I am always amazed at the amount of money people spend on clothing only to be discarded within months due to the next "hot new trend" or so "someone" dictate and people respond. It's sad really at how we as a culture, change like the wind at every new fad. Thankfully, each of my adult children, who all dress impeccably well, love to shop at second hand stores and garage sales. After reading this eye-opening Blog, At least I know I did something right! ஜ۩۞۩ஜ▬▬♥▬▬▬ஜ۩۞۩ஜ

  • aliptac

    Andrea Rose from FindingYourWings said 6 years ago

    WHOA, another worthwhile call for a heart of simplicity and global-mindedness! Every dollar we spend ripples out and has quality-of-life determining power for billions of vulnerable people elsewhere.

  • bloombird

    Ann from bloombird said 6 years ago

    Great article! Thank you. All the more reason to buy vintage, recycle and upcycle.

  • feltonthefly

    Janet from FeltOnTheFly said 6 years ago

    Who knew it could be so *difficult* to rid yourself of things you no longer want or need? I used to think that GoodWill was lucky to get my beautiful Talbot's clothing that I no longer wear, but that is still perfectly good and perfectly clean. It makes me sick to think these things could end up in a landfill or treated the same as worn out and cheap clothing. Now I'll need to source better places to donate these things. Do I have the time to research this? To drive further to make the actual donation? No, not really. But will I do that? Yes I will. And I will also stop buying things I don't *need* but only *want*. Lessons learned. : )

  • diengiedesigns

    Heidi, Karen, and Angie from diengiedesigns said 6 years ago

    We really are a country of excess. Excess everything! We are so blessed with what we have and most take it for granted and feel that anything and everything can be thrown away and replaced...instead of reducing, reusing and recycling. We love thrift store shopping! Our products use all recycled fabrics. Feels good to help in a small way.

  • refugium

    jodi from refugium said 6 years ago

    Two ideas: Host a Clothing Exchange party! Men & women bring any unwanted clothing they want to donate, and a little something to nosh. Turn up the music and the fun begins. Soon there are men in skirts and women in their new favorite jeans! I always score lots of cool clothes. Check out the Swap-o-Rama-Rama: http://swaporamarama.org/swap.htm An amazing clothing exchange event that also offers DIY workshops in sewing and altering clothes.

  • frassylady

    frassylady from frassylady said 6 years ago

    As a size 22 (difficult to shop secondhand), I buy expensive, quality clothes with classic designs that I can wear for years, and I think if you follow these standards we shouldn't beat ourselves up for donating clothes we no longer want. And so what if they end up in Africa? It's just one more example of Africans getting screwed over, and frankly that problem is wayyy bigger than some used t-shirts. I think it's important to note here that these textiles aren't ending up in landfills. Chappell, be careful not to give yourself a black eye!

  • Enchantedfuture

    Cameron from Enchantedfuture said 6 years ago

    I buy 90% of my vintage items from Goodwill and the Salvation Army. It breaks my heart to know that so much of our clothing is just cut up or shipped off. I'm absolutely inspired by found pieces and have actually begun asking people directly that instead of throwing out their clothes (Can you believe some people just throw it in the trash?), to give them to me for reconstruction and resale!

  • kimonomomo

    kimonomomo from kimonomomo said 6 years ago

    I used to buy all of my clothing second hand. As a single mother working my way through college, I had to! These days I can't "afford" to as I meet with professional clients who have high expectations, but some of my favorite items are still pieces I bought from a friend's consignment shop years ago.

  • LotzOStuff

    Anna from LotzOStuff said 6 years ago

    Another alternative to the thrift stores is to just box the clothes up and put out on your sidewalk or back alley (depending on the city). You'll find them gone by the same or next day. Speaking of the stores making rags of used clothing, my grandmother in the 30's would put old worn out (very worn out) clothes in a bag and periodically a man came by and picked them up. Grandmother called him the rag man.

  • EclecticNotions

    Bridget from EclecticNotions said 6 years ago

    Love, love this. I asked the Salvation Army about what happens to the clothing they don't sell--and it's true-it gets sent overseas. The reason why I keep recycling t-shirts into yarn. It gets a second life.

  • thisthatandchristmas

    Shelley Robillard from ThisThatAndChristmas said 6 years ago

    Someone asked the question "will our kids and grandkids ever find our clothes?" Kind of made me smile, not because it isn't a serious question, but because of my mother. My parents have a huge walk up attic and my mother has never gotten rid of anything. The grandkids are always up there rummaging about to find vintage treasures to wear. They all love thrift stores as well. My son has been home from college for spring break and made his thrift store rounds the other day. Does my heart good.

  • lauraprentice

    Laura Wennstrom from laurawennstrom said 6 years ago

    I often have "clothing swaps" with friends. We bring our clothes that we are tired of or that don't fit and trade them, it's a fun motivation to clean out the closet and get some new duds for free.

  • lauraprentice

    Laura Wennstrom from laurawennstrom said 6 years ago

    I also make it a point to help my sisters clean out their closets, I have gotten tons of new-to-me clothes this way!

  • takingshape

    Aleta Ford Baker from AletaFordBakerDesign said 6 years ago

    This is why I never buy anything new - I love Vintage and re-use everything when I can :D I am saving up for a recycled t-shirt crocheted rug now - from an Etsy seller, of course!

  • takingshape

    Aleta Ford Baker from AletaFordBakerDesign said 6 years ago

    Great article - I love vintage and never buy new - only I have my eyes on some recycled crocheted rugs from t-shirts here on Etsy!

  • QueenEsthersJunque

    Melissa Walker from QueenEsthersJunque said 6 years ago

    This reminds me of the HUGE pile of old clothing, sheets, rags and other material that is currently sitting in my living room, just begging me to sew it into something new. Oh how I wish my sewing machine was working. :/

  • ofrageandlove

    Jenny said 6 years ago

    This is shocking really, isn't it? In the UK we don't really have those huge warehouse type thrift stores you have in the US (not any around me at least!). I miss those from when I lived in the US. We have only fairly small stores with very little choice available. Though we are still pretty picky - my mum volunteers in one and the amount they throw away is really upsetting.

  • StudioCybele

    StudioCybele from StudioCybele said 6 years ago

    Interesting!

  • Hookedonhoney

    Melissa Peterson from Hookedonhoney said 6 years ago

    As a deisgner in the fashion industry, i have worked for brands that develope 12 collections per year and create a "NEW" item for every delivery assuming the customer will dispose last seasons trends. Testing w/n the company assures each garment will last 25 washes before it begins to pill, fade,and fall apart. In the company's eyes, 25 washes is well before it's no longer "in style". I am beyond excited when i find well preserved vintage that holds a story, sewn in the USA, and can still be appreciated for seasons to come. Great article and love that there is such a large community of vintage sellers perserving history!

  • Emberfox

    Emberfox from Emberfox said 6 years ago

    Hmm. I rarely shop for clothing, though I do donate clothing when it no loner fits. I am going to rethink this now. Instead of donating, I could turn it into rags myself. :/

  • Melissababycreations

    Melissa Meyer from Melissababycreations said 6 years ago

    Very informative article! Thank you!

  • cherrydollyface

    CherryDollyFace from CherryDollyFace said 6 years ago

    Great article! Thank you for posting. I was aware of some of it, but now my eyes are wide open : )

  • brauerkaren

    Karen Brauer from karensstash said 6 years ago

    There's another good source about this. It's a non-fiction work about a girl who goes to Africa to do charitable work and sees her own blue sweater (made by her grandmother with a unique label sewn in) on an African boy. The name of the book is My Blue Sweater. I forget the author's name. It also relates the same theme of our donated clothing not staying in the states, but sold or given to countries overseas. It's a good book.

  • TwoCrazyHearts

    Paula from TwoCrazyHearts said 6 years ago

    I knew someone who had volunteered at a well known donation/thrift store, this was @ 12yrs ago, and she told me some of their interesting practices. As I type this I am wearing my sweatshirt that is from and dated 1987...that's right...1987!! Better to have old discarded clothing turned into insulation, etc...than to have it in landfills.

  • GardenAngels

    GardenAngels from GardenAngels said 6 years ago

    As a child (now in my 50's) I learned to 'share' clothes with the neighbors, hand down to my sister, donate to goodwill etc, even the cloth with holes as it was made into rags and paper and now I guess insulation, which are useful and goodwill earns money for their charity. I certainly don't advocate buying loads of throw away clothes every season. I think it is best to cultivate your own look, wear your clothes until thread bare, and then let them be rags etc. If something no longer suits you upcycle it or donate it.

  • Ms2SweetVintage

    Mary from Ms2SweetVintage said 6 years ago

    Very informative !

  • JoyousCrafts

    Heather Salzman from JoyousCrafts said 6 years ago

    Wow! When we where little we always wore hand-me-downs. It was just the way we did things.

  • SassySisterVintage

    Kim Strozewski from SassySisterVintage said 6 years ago

    This article is super interesting to me since quite a few pieces of my clothing and both my daughters clothing comes from the thrifts. I've wondered where a lot of the clothing goes for years since I go in looking for vintage and have a hard time finding it. I asked one of the store managers if they get vintage clothing in very often and where it goes? Her response was that no one wants to wear those old smelly clothes, they all go in the rag truck and are shipped off for different uses. Wow! I was so surprised. I responded that I clean them up and would be interested in them. She didn't care. Needless to say, I don't go in this thrift very often. Why not keep these awesome clothes in America?

  • AngelOnAnAngle

    Loki Diaz from NarwhalsLoveDonuts said 6 years ago

    Thank you for making people like more more aware of this! I was raised on hand-me-down clothes from my brothers and taught the value of thrift and money from my hard-working father. It's rare that I actually buy new clothes, so I do shop thrift, consignment, and second-hand. I'm defiantly curious about looking into upcycling now. Besides, plenty of kids and families in America can't afford good clothing to protect themselves from the elements, so we need to be aware of what's going on even in our own communities.

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    AJ Marsden from OnlyOriginalsByAJ said 6 years ago

    Great article! You were able to put this article into inspiring and strong words. Hopefully we will start to reflect.

  • lovelytrinketshop

    lovelytrinketshop said 6 years ago

    I agree with most of the posts here, we have to much and we waste a lot. But this is the U.S.A. and our country depends on the comsumer to comsume. People sell, others buy. If not there are no jobs. No jobs, no money to buy. A circle, it's simple and complex at the same time. As far as clothing and it being shipped overseas by the ton, if we could fiqure out how to make new fabric out of the old we would be on to something. For now will have to do it one piece at a time!

  • mLindvall

    Mona Lindvall from mLindvall said 6 years ago

    It's quite sad the amount we waste here in the US. For many years I gave to the Goodwill and Salvation Army but, in recent years, I've turned to checking the "wish lists" of local homeless shelters and other local charities in need of specific items and donate accordingly. I feel much better about giving to those directly in need than taking my chances on where my used items will wind up. So many in my community are in need.

  • ProjectStockpile

    Olivia and Melissa Stagi from StagiWorks said 6 years ago

    Very interesting! I have to say I am a mother to 5 kids and 4 step kids and we accept all the hand me downs we can. I have 2 huge containers stored in my garage where my 6 year old can wear clothes from my 15 year old. I do believe they are making clothes more affordable but they are made poorly.

  • GoodMommyLLC

    C. Pease from GoodMommyLLC said 6 years ago

    A Good Will employee told me something similar years ago. I shop and donate at both the ARC and Salvation Army here in Colorado and I’ve actually seen the very things I’ve donated on the rack many, many times. The volume of clothing and goods I’ve personally seen get donated and sold is staggering to the point that I have to think that these organizations must not engage in the practices described in this article to a very large extent… at least not the ones I frequent. Once my daughter scooped up a toy I had donated thinking she had forgotten all about and enthusiastically commented about it being “just like ours!” I just told her that we sure didn’t need two then. Yikes… that was a close one.

  • HappilyEverAfter52

    Katrina from HappilyEverAfter52 said 6 years ago

    Seems to me that the "rag" business should be booming in this country. If we can make mulch out of old tires, etc. , there should be something we can do with all of the fibers that we are tossing into landfills. I know that tee shirts can get turned into rags, but some of the other items just gets tossed. I grew up with hand-me-downs as a staple. We never threw away anything until it had no life of its own. My mother's wonderful dress up dress from the 1940's lived at the bottom of the rag bag, and even her wedding dress was in there. Should have had the sense to have kept the dresses and my dad's wedding tie. Now we have memory boxes back then we had rag bags...no room for sentiment.

  • BeJeweledNH

    Lori Morse from RevivalJewelryStudio said 6 years ago

    Thank you so much for bringing this important topic to light! I almost never buy clothing (or any other household goods for that matter) brand-new. I just can't bear to buy items I know were made overseas for pennies in factories that are likely sweatshops. I can't believe how much great stuff I can find for myself and my family at local thrift stores. Many of the small thrift stores in my area directly benefit a local charity so I know my $$ is making a difference locally. There is also a fantastic local shop owner who is dedicated to buying fair-trade, eco-friendly, and/or local items for her shop and if I am going to buy something new, I'll buy from her. Go forth and thrift, buy vintage, buy handmade and local! :)

  • giselaandzoevintage

    Gisela and Zoe from giselaandzoevintage said 6 years ago

    i've seen this first hand behind thrift stores, palettes of perfectly good clothes in the process of becoming rags..even vintage! that's why i not only scour for vintage at thrifts but at these warehouses too. vintage re-sellers and those who buy second hand save allot of perfectly re-wearable clothes. and if we would buy more quality made in america clothing half of the clothes would not go to waste. most of the fast fashion clothing become rags in just a few washes anyways...but i understand we all can not afford more expensive clothing so it's a tough debate, but that's what thrift stores are their for :)

  • DelilahsAttic

    Madeleine Keller from ThoseGoodVibrations said 6 years ago

    wow how interesting! it's funny that Japan gets the good stuff. I feel like I am not a part of that statistic on keeping only 21% of the clothes I buy every year. I have many articles of clothing that I have owned for years! But the fact that I don't shop much may come in to play here... When I do shop, I usually go to thrift and secondhand shops, or I just take my mom's old clothes. Hooray for atypical consumer habits!

  • wonderbread

    Brittany Penrose from wonderbread said 6 years ago

    I work at a Goodwill and you would be amazed by how much of the donations we get are just garbage. Therefore we can only use about 20% anyways. People don't want to go to the dump so they come to us to get tax write-offs. Its really sad for all the people who actually are trying to make a difference. I think repurposing what's left into rags is a good way to use otherwise unsellable clothes. We package up towels that have seen better days and sell them as rags at my store, makes me feel better than if we were to just throw them out.

  • tigersanddragons

    tigersanddragons from TigersandDragons said 6 years ago

    I rarely buy new clothes, but as stated previously by other posters larger sizes are rare in vintage and plus sized clothing selection in second hand stores are pathetic. Even when I bother with the plus sized stores to look at new clothing, I am shocked at the terrible fabrics, and horrible unflattering designs. Just because you're large doesn't mean you want to wear stretch polyester.... and the some of the thin t-shirts and fabrics that clothes are made out of today have no durability. *********************************************************************************So I try to invest in clothing that I can wear for years, both second-hand and new. Cottons, cotton-poly blends, linen, wool and some rayons are fairly durable and worth wearing. Also if you take care of your clothes and wash what you can in cold water and hang to dry, they last a lot longer and you get less colour fading. Sometimes I re-dye my favourite pieces when then get washed out. Or take second hand clothing I find in light colours and dye them beautiful purples, blues and blacks...since I rarely find the purples I love in the stores.

  • JeanRameyArt

    Jean Ramey from JeanRameyArt said 6 years ago

    Wow! that's really interesting. Especially the part about how people only keep a small percentage of the clothes they buy every year. I think it is so wasteful to buy clothes and only wear them a few times and then feel you have to buy new ones.

  • DogwoodWinter

    Z, N, and S Dossey from DogwoodWinter said 6 years ago

    I like CoutureFunk's diet plan. It would totally work. Anyway, I've always wanted to have a clothing swap party! I'd love to get all the things I can't wear anymore and trade them around with friends and other folks in the community!

  • TessyMcIntyre

    Theresa McIntyre said 6 years ago

    I have to say that I am not at all surprised. I also agree with at least one other poster that Etsy ( I love you I do Etsy!) pertuates part of the problems in as much as Etsy is trendy and uses the vintage for the shops and such. It does make the cost go up and it does make many things difficult to find in a thrift store. Keep it up though all you vintage sellers at ETSY! What you sell is in no landfill, not overseas (unless sold) and repurposed! Thrift stores are very big business. It makes me sick. It used to be that you shopped at thrift stores because you had not enough money to purchase new. Now,if you go into a thrift store like goodwill and salvation army you will pay just pennies below what you would new. They pick out the donated things either to use for themselves, save things for relatives and think that many things are worth much much more than they are really worth because someone that works there says so. The best thrift stores are often those supported by a religion and the D.A.V.'s (Vetrans). There is a thrift store where I live, yes it is a chain and yes it is for profit but they do not hide that fact. You can still get a ton of great things there. This store called "Savers" keeps each and every thing that is donated to a store in THAT SAME store. I live in an area that is a bit on the pricey side (I am at the low ,very low end of that side LOL, any lower and I would not be in the county) I can go into my local savers and get tommy hilfiger handbags for $7.00. Brooks brothers suits for $12.00. A good shop. Costly on many things because they want to make money and thrifters that want to purchase to resell themselves will not do well here. It is a good place to actually do usefull shopping. If you donate anything thay give you a 20% off coupon to use when you shop. A good deal. The other 2 store I mentioned are horrible. They will not lower the cost of anything. They will not donate anything. They DO actually throw away merchandise that is in perfect and usable condition. They will even take dishes and break them so people cannot pick them from the dumpster. They WILL NOT even consider taking them to shelters or laying out a "free "table. Watch where you donate. Donating is good, do it, do it often. It is much better to actually give things away to those that you know need it and will use it. Great article. I learned a lot. I thought that it was cut short and it feels as though something is missing.Another store I should have mentionedbut failed to are those thrift stores that doneate to battered families. They DO give families everything they need they do not throw things away. Repurpose, reuse,help those in need, have garage sales and do consignment and of course sell on Etsy. Love one another and live life the best that you can.

  • fuddydud

    fuddydud said 6 years ago

    ive been collecting vintage clothing for years and am planning to start an upcycling store on etsy making purses and other useful items also to sell at the farmers markets this summer . ive been waiting for just this time to come. great.

  • laarniandtita

    Laarni from laarniandtita said 6 years ago

    I went through my closet intending to purge but instead of taking them to the local thrift store to donate, they took a detour towards my sewing room. They will get a new life there.

  • BeachedBeadCompany

    Elisha Morrow from BohoBeadShop said 6 years ago

    I just went through my closet - I wish there was a way to skip the thrift store/Goodwill and donate clothing directly to thoose in need.... Any suggestions anyone?

  • Used2Bes

    Dianne Nethery from Used2Bes said 6 years ago

    When making donations, especially household items such as towels, blankets, pillows, etc., don't forget your local animal shelter or humane society. They always welcome and USE items like these for the animals.

  • PetticoatsPlus

    Cindy Scott from PetticoatsPlus said 6 years ago

    As a former thrift store volunteer and vintage clothing seller, I see points beyond this article. I cannot speak for Salvation Army or Goodwill, as I do not know how they dispose of merchandise that is beyond selling. However, several shops in our area make every effort to recycle. Soiled and torn clothing is baled and sold by the pound. Purses, shoes, toys, caps, belts and some metals are also boxed and recycled. The non-profit makes so much per pound, which in turn benefits programs they support. It works. If you found clothing in our dumpster; it is because of mold or cigarette odor. Even our recycler would not accept those items. This said, we are a nation of gluttony that translates to our wardrobe. Buy vintage, recycle or continue to donate where it will do the most good! Consider volunteering at your favorite shop! Take a turn in the back room! It will surely open your eyes!

  • AdvikaClothing

    Jamie Brock from AdvikaClothing said 6 years ago

    Thanks, great post!

  • LilMamaCat

    LilMamaCat from MimiBabyBoutique said 6 years ago

    This is why I love giving on Freecycle and also donating to local outreaches that give the clothes directly to children who are taken by foster care with only the clothes on their backs (or to shelters, etc) - places that I know the people need the clothes. Or, I had them down to family and friends when I can. I'd love to learn more about re-purposing, though, since I hate having to get rid of clothes that I could wear if I knew how to "fix them up"

  • ransomedtreasure

    ransomedtreasure from ransomedtreasure said 6 years ago

    Interesting article, as Cindy Scott from Petticoats Plus says above, there are some points beyond the article which might be noted. I volunteer at a local charity which receives clothing donations. It puts out every piece that is not torn or stained. Perhaps this is not typical. Another local charity collects bags from the doorsteps of varying neighborhoods in the Atlanta area and puts almost all (according to those who work there) of them in one of its several local thrift stores. I have noted that even sometimes stained or torn garment make the racks. After a certain length of time, all unsold clothing goes to that thrift store's outlet. Where the prices on Thursday are $1.75 per piece. The price goes down a quarter each day. On Wednesday it is only open in the morning and each piece is a quarter. I have gone in there on Wednesday only once. The line to purchase wrapped all the way around the store and most people had their carts piled high over the top with clothing. Some of these peoplel were taking the clothing to sell in their own second hand stores. Some were taking it home, and some were sending it to other countries to be sold as second hand merchandise in little shops there. Perhaps those in the third category affect the local market, but I don't think they affect clothing manufacturing as a whole. The one woman I know who does this has only a small shop. She purchases in the US and then takes the clothing to her tiny town in Grenada where people are thrilled to purchase the things. I looked up the Good article. There are no references listed for its statistics. I'm not saying I don't believe it, but I would love to see the references :) 15% is a very low number considering my experience.

  • kathleenmcmahon

    kathleenmcmahon from kathleenmcmahon said 6 years ago

    Great article. It really does make me appreciate re-purposed and locally made clothing that much more.

  • saranee1974

    saranee1974 said 6 years ago

    I donate to Goodwill and Salvation Army. I buy from them too but since I am a plus size it is difficult to find stuff my size. I do buy jewelry and accessories at fantastic price (e.g.a Tommy Hilfiger backpack for $5!) from these places. I donate books and other household goods more than clothes. I wish I could donate my clothes to missions, where they will go directly to the needy. I am from India and it is very easy to donate there and you get to see the recipients. Yes, we have household helps (not all Indians are doctors or engineers) and all our gently used clothes go to them and their relations. They troop in and select their own clothes from the 'donate' pile that the household sets aside. Infact sometimes those clothes look better on them than it ever did on me! I have seen 'systematic donation' here in the US but it is a different feeling to see the shy smile on a young teenager's face when she chooses her clothes.Also there are traditional barter vendors who roam the streets. They will take your gently used clothes and give you some useful household items for their value like a plastic bucket or canisters etc. They in turn sell those clothes in villages in an unorganized 'second hand' market. Either way I think the clothes reach the needy more effectively.

  • caffeinequeenie

    caffeinequeenie from caffeinequeenie said 6 years ago

    Interesting read! I'm really intrigued by the fact that most vintage goods go to Japan, would love to know why vintage is so popular there!

  • bellawolf86

    Autumn Campbell said 6 years ago

    this just makes me confirm that we should give to shelters like second hart a food-bank/ clothing aid place. I don't like giving to the goodwill because every time i've gone to them to look for clothes or other items they are now competing with ebay. I am not joking I have crossed paths many times with unmarked items at goodwill and asked the worker if they had a price for it and saw them take it to the store manager and he got on the backroom computer and looked on ebay. There shoe racks are a joke most of the time the shows are over 10 some times 20 bucks which makes no sense. Either we should re-purpose our clothes ourselves or give the clothes to shelters where you know the clothes will given to some one in need instead of forced to pay.

  • Craftelina

    vik and ig from Craftelina said 6 years ago

    Thank you for this article. In Israel we have various Gmilut Hasidim centres and teh donated things are distributed amongst the needy. I guess, regardless to where teh donated thing gets to it is important to donate, rather than to throw away.

  • angelamkelly

    angelamkelly said 6 years ago

    I am a community relations and development director for The Salvation Army in Silicon Valley, Northern California. A few little-known facts about our thrift stores: 1. All of the proceeds from our stores support FREE residential, 6 month-long, drug and alcohol rehab programs for men and women. Including, addressing the addiction, family counseling, parenting skills, work re-entry, transitional housing, etc. 2. Social services like rent and food assistance for struggling families are funded by financial gifts and the red kettle campaigns. 3. Nothing is put out that has holes or stains. Anything sub-standard for the stores, does get sold for rags. 4. The Salvation Army is one of the largest recyclers of E-waste, taking even non-working items to recycle, in order to fund its programs. In fact, very little goes to waste, as nearly everything has a market. Even shoes with no mate are sent to International service, to be distributed to the poor in nations/communities like the slums and refugee camps of India or Afrca, where shoes are a luxury, and two shoes of the same size is something to celebrate, regardless of the fact they don't match... 5. All services are provided without discrimination. I hope you will continue to support all the thrift stores for the many non profits that DO respect your gifts and notions by making the most of them, using the resources and "Doing the Most Good". Peace and Love to you...

  • SnowdropsDesigns

    SnowdropsDesigns from SnowdropsDesigns said 6 years ago

    As a seamstress and designer, I go out of my way to create my items to be long lasting and durable so I find this to be a particularly fascinating and surprising article! Although I've noticed how much more clothing my friends tend to purchase, I had no idea that most people viewed clothing to be so expendable. Since I wear mostly classically styled clothes, I usually get years of use out of them. I've always had a method of how I wore my clothes down. At first they are "nice" clothes and only for going to town and socializing. As they wear out or a few become outdated, they become inside work or "home" clothes, then outside work clothes and then rags. Some of the items that I am saddest to have wear out are the oldest. Those old soft shirts that keep showing up in photos year after year... ahhh, nothing like them:-) The older they get, the softer and more drapey they become and the more I wear them lol! Some of the clothes in my closet are as old as 10yrs and more! I don't save every single item of course, so I shall give it more thought as to where I'm going to donate in the future. I always thought that Goodwill gave the unsold clothing to homeless shelters so I was happy to drop things off there in the past. I will have to look into this issue more.

  • Petalspink

    Petalspink said 6 years ago

    I like to donate to our local PAWS. But this was an insight into thrift shopping I didn't know. I buy few clothes as I wear a uniform to work. I try to use everything as much to it's ability as possible. Sadly, here in the U.S., we seem to waste far too much.

  • thepolkadothen

    thepolkadothen from ThePolkaDotHen said 6 years ago

    My twentysomething daughter and her friends have clothing swap parties.

  • slatevintager

    Nikki from slatevintager said 6 years ago

    Good article! Recycle and repurpose is the way to go.

  • berrymorin

    Rona B said 6 years ago

    I attended a clothes swap a couple of years ago. And I still have a few shirts that I wear from the swap. It also was a great afternoon, hanging out, meeting new people and trading clothes.

  • UntoldTreasureTrove

    Leezel Nazareno from UntoldTreasureTrove said 6 years ago

    I am in the process of really digesting what I'm buying, instead of buying just on impulse. There's so much that goes into clothes: the material, the time spent working to buy the item, and the impact of what it will become later. Great article!

  • OnTheBody

    Nicole and Nancy Cyrhoda from OnTheBody said 6 years ago

    An interesting fact about used t-shirts: Some companies that provide t-shirts for employee uniforms have policies stating that any leftover shirts must be destroyed if they say "STAFF" on them. The idea is that the shirt, if donated and re-purchased, could be used to impersonate a staff person. (Think summer camps and day care programs-- places you don't want a stranger to be able to come in and pretend that they are in charge) I was lucky enough to get a large amount of "STAFF" shirts to cut up for t-shirt scarves that would have been destroyed otherwise.

  • sianykitty

    Siany from sianykitty said 6 years ago

    It's a sad reality. Consuming culture has been in our society and now we're paying for the consequence.. I used to love buying clothes just to wear them for a weekend or a couple of times, now I reduce this activity even if it's on sale because at the end we become slaves to these clothes..

  • dustyluckvintage

    Amber from dustyLuck said 6 years ago

    Wow I never knew how much was thrown & sent away! This article is quite insightful & really gets you thinking about the way we use clothing in America, not to mention all the rest our society just tosses out to sit in a landfill. How long do we really think that's going to last?

  • KiraArts

    Kira Sinclair from KiraArts said 6 years ago

    90% of what I wear are items that I've found at thrift stores. (And FYI, I am a plus-sized girl...size 20...so it IS possible to find cute, plus-sized clothes at thrift stores!) I frequent a small, church-run thrift store where almost every item of clothing is $1. I go there, not only to shop for clothes to wear, but also to find colorful sweaters to repurpose and make into the stuffed creatures that I sell in my Etsy shop. (And all my friends know to donate their unwanted sweaters to me!)

  • KiraArts

    Kira Sinclair from KiraArts said 6 years ago

    I am also former employee of Goodwill. While I agree with some of the comments I've read from other thrift store employees about irresponsible donators (ie: pretty much "donating" their trash), I think the stores have too-high standards sometimes concerning items that are not perfect, but could be repaired or upcycled. When I worked at Goodwill about 6 years ago, I was so frustrated by the standards we were to adhere to as to what was acceptable to put out onto the sales floor. Items of clothing with easily-repairable rips or small, concealable stains had to be put into "salvage", large hoppers of discarded clothing that got sent off somewhere and sold by the pound (reading this article has now given me an insight as to where it was going). Employees used to be able to purchase "salvage" items for 99 cents (if there was an easily repairable item we wanted), but while I was working there, the policy changed and we could no longer buy salvage items. I was also frustrated at the prices we were required to mark the clothing with. We had a list of brand names that we had to mark up $2 above what the normal price would be (if a long sleeved shirt was normally 3.99...a brand name shirt, like Old Navy, would have to be marked up to 5.99). A lot of times the prices I had to put on brand-name clothes were higher than the clearance rack at the actual store! I was aghast when our district retail manager told us once "We're not here to sell clothing for poor people". Wow. Most people, when they hear the term "Goodwill", associate it with helping poor people! I donate my stuff to my local, church volunteer-run thrift store now. At least they want to help poor people and are not obsessed with making money.

  • mathildacraft

    Lauren said 6 years ago

    I was told by our local Salvation Army that many of the garments that go unsold actually go to the dump. I wonder how much is not mentioned in this article. :-/

  • sewfunbags

    Doris Ellen from HiddenFaces said 6 years ago

    This is a interesting ,thought promoting article. We buy a lot of our clothes in the thrift store .I normally keep my clothes for years ,don’t change my wardrobe every season . Just buy a few extra pieces of clothing. We just donated a headboard shelf that was my sons to our local thrift store. The shelf was in excellent condition but they never put it in the store. I saw it sitting next to the trash bins for a couple weeks then it disappeared . Was wondering if they throw it out. Next time were putting something like that on our front driveway with a big FREE sign (more likely to go to someone who needs it).that way.

  • ilovesmallbites

    small bites from iLoveSmallBites said 6 years ago

    I had no idea about that. This is good to know.

  • MyBijouxBoutique

    Susannah Thibodeaux from MyBijouxBoutique said 6 years ago

    Great article! I haven't read all the comments, but haven't seen anyone mention freecycle. Some women trying to make ends meet being a single mom & getting back into the workplace don't care if your skirt suit is from the "90s as long as they could look professional. Lots of folks need household goods because they have to start over or lost everything. I still remember as a preschool child when we lost everything to house fire there was a country man who was a family friend who brought me and my sis a couple of stuffed toys from one of those old time roadside "dumps". My mom hurriedly put them thru the wash. We appreciated that gesture and still remember 30 years later.

  • rivahside

    rivahside said 6 years ago

    This is a very eye-opening article. It is true that lots of people donate absolute JUNK, that's only fit for the garbage, to thrift stores.

  • CassiopiasCreations

    Lisa from CassiopiasCreations said 6 years ago

    Wow...dissapointing for sure, especially because I have always been a thrift store junkie!! I started when I moved out on my own & continue it today with my children. We have saved thousands of dollars by shopping resale shops or yard sales & purchasing name brand clothes in the process. My friends used to ask how I could dress my children so well & I'd say, "I'm a thrifty mom!" It just shows how wasteful our nation has become and believing having more is the norm. Maybe this article will help open eyes so people can donate to homeless shelters, single parents organizations, under-aged mothers homes etc. Thanks so much for this article!

  • nicilaskin

    Nici Laskin from NiciLaskin said 6 years ago

    Great article. I think most people do not realize how wasteful we as a nation and society have become. While i do love buying new clothes it happens only once or twice a year the rest i buy in thrift stores or in yard sales.

  • vanessaeight

    vanessa from midcenturydesignhome said 6 years ago

    Like everywhere, the UK is feeling the financial squeeze. Many of us seem to be hanging onto clothes we would usually have donated and replaced with the new seasons style. This however means our charity shops are crying out for donations. I love shopping in thrift store, you always find something different and more individual. Great article:)

  • EastThomasLee

    Lee Thomas from EastThomasLee said 6 years ago

    This is good to know.

  • EastThomasLee

    Lee Thomas from EastThomasLee said 6 years ago

    best things

  • twentytwotwenty

    twentytwotwenty from twentytwotwenty said 6 years ago

    Interesting, yet sad. If people looked at Goodwill more as it should be 'donating items to people in need' rather than 'getting rid of their junk' then maybe they would take better care of the items that they donate. It's sad to hear what's wasted. I appreciate the post. I both buy & donate to thrift so hopefully I am doing my part to help!

  • cathyhod

    Cathy Hodkiewicz from comfycabinboutique said 6 years ago

    I love thrift and second hand stores. It is interesting when going through the shops to imagine the person that owned the piece beforehand, especially beads and jewelry. At one time a grandmother probably cherished what the consumer is now admiring and contemplating. My grandmother wore earrings every single day! Now I do!!

  • onlineleila

    That Leila Girl from onlineleila said 6 years ago

    As a life long Second Hand Rose, I discovered that there are options to large thrift store operations for clothing donations. I generally now take my offerings to local area church thrift stores, shelters or other community based organizations who are preparing for fund raising sales. This I believe offers the greatest opportunity, beyond finding individuals and famiies for the bulk of clothing to remain in my community. I never ask for a receipt and that in itself is often a gift of recognition to the volunteers and/or modestly paid staffers for their time as well. I always thank them for the gift of their time in their valued endeavors. It is so easy to spread a little sunshine this way and I do not stockpile any of my own or others' items they give me because they know I am re-investing in our shared community for us all. I consider this time as small gift of my own energies into where I live and work. I only share clean, folded or hung items. Thank you to all my grade school teachers who were good examples of civic participation.

  • clio164

    Stephanie Chiu from clio164 said 6 years ago

    I am really surprised that no one has mentioned freecycle.org yet. Freecycle is community based site that people can post things that they no longer need and would like to give away for free. The site connects people who have things and don't need them with people who do. I think their are some common sense restrictions on what can and cannot be posted, but otherwise anything can be posted. Freecycle is a great way to give things locally to people that need them.

  • greenyogini

    greenyogini from greenyogini said 6 years ago

    Fantastic article! (And SHOCKING statistics!) Keep it green! Upcycle, recycle, buy vintage (and handmade), reuse, mend, and swap! (And ditto to Stephanie Chiu - Freecycle rocks!)

  • jfreakbol

    Cindy Rohr from heartChicago said 6 years ago

    I love thrift stores! There's a huge one near my house that sells everything. It's like a treasure hunt. It's a great way to save money, and I love throwback and distressed looking stuff. Stores try to imitate that kinda stuff, but it's not the same, and not as cool. Actually, the hat I'm wearing in my esty pic is thrift ;)

  • BetwixtBoutique

    Krystle Morgan from BetwixtBoutique said 6 years ago

    I am a thrift store addict... but I also have a rule that every time I bring something "new" (whether it be retail or thrifted) into my home, I have to get rid of something else. I live in a tiny, tiny house though. I usually cut up old clothing for rags if it's stained/in rough shape, or if they're nicer, I give it away to family/friends or donate. We have these bins set up all over town for clothing donations. I wonder if these bins are really going to needy families or if they are being sold off like the thrift store donations...? Many of the churches in my area host "free clothing days," where they just give donated clothing away for free. It's open to anyone, regardless of your finances. I am going to start thinking harder about whether I really need something when buying new.

  • SusOriginals

    Susan Mann from SusOriginals said 6 years ago

    I used to donate to out local thrift shop...and to Goodwill...when during a stint as a volunteer..I discovered how much clothing they were throwing away...I changed how I donate...I am now a member of a re gifting site...that donates to people who have lost everything either due to fires, or acts of God..such as tornadoes, hurricanes...etc....just last week there was a special plea in our local site ..as a southern Illinois town had been hit by a tornado and was completely levelled ...FEMA...had refused all or any aid to this town..so there was a family who had relocated to the small town I live in..and were staying with their sister..the 3 boys in the family had been enrolled in the local school..but had left there home..with nothing..and needed clothing and school items...my brother had visited over a year ago...left a bag of clothing that he NEVER came back to pick up(he lives 45 minutes away)..when I offered these clothes to the mother of those boys..she litreally asked me could she come pick them up immediately..and we are talking slightly After midnite here..it was a major race before she got here to go through my shop and turn out 3 sets of school supplies for her boys before she got here...but I got it done...when I told my brother I had donated his clothing..he started to get upset..until I pointed out to him..that HEY..he hadn't needed ANY of those items enough to come pick up in a WHOLE year..and they had gone to a GOOD cause..it is gratifying to know..that Now .nothing I donate goes into the dumpster!

  • MissingHeirloom

    Elizabeth Pickett from MissingHeirloom said 6 years ago

    We as a nation (USA) have gotten so hungry for 'goods', many of them disposable cheap goods. Buy those set of inexpensive, pretty, low fired dishes from your local store - after a few get chipped - donate them - and go buy something new. Where has our mentality gone about using something up? wearing something out?? Think of the money that could be saved - and perhaps used in a much better way!

  • yqsl66

    Ada Ada from idajewelry66 said 6 years ago

    Great article!I love a good thrift shop!

  • franhaywood1

    Fran from FrancyThat said 6 years ago

    It makes me wonder what the statistics are for the UK - I feel a world survey coming on ;~) My business on Etsy.com revolves around recycling vintage and retro goods - whatever I find interesting I post in my Etsy.com Shop and share it with those that have similar values. Fran

  • CaitrionaK

    Caitriona Kinahan from RedLipstickVintage said 6 years ago

    The best finds are in thrift stores!

  • girlbyAileen

    girlbyAileen from girlbyAileen said 6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this article. So good to know! Makes me happy to know that I am upcyling my clothing into something new. Greatly appreciated article!

  • MoodyMe

    Melissa Moody from MoodyMe said 6 years ago

    As a small time designer, finding fabric is always a challenge. When I discovered I could re-purpose good clothing that was discarded into items like hats, purses, and jewelry, a whole new world emerged.

  • woolybaby

    Josie Marsh from WoolyBaby said 5 years ago

    What this article misses is that only 15% of clothing is donated at all! The remaining 85% stays in peoples closets or goes to landfill. Of the 15% donated, then 15-20% of THAT is resold at thrift stores. The amount of clothing purchased by this country is staggering.

  • legacyboutiqueinc

    Zuleim Murillo from LegacyBoutiqueinc said 4 years ago

    LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!! HTTP://WWW.LEGACYBOUTIQUEINC.COM

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