The Value of Clothing

Our master closet, newly cleaned and organized

I cleaned our master closet this weekend.  Everything in its place, floors and baseboards cleaned.  The hubs got to go through all his clothing and edit out what he doesn’t wear anymore – I was not so lucky.  Your third trimester is really not a good time to judge whether you want to keep a shirt or pair of pants, so I resigned myself to going through my socks and underpants. 😉

So it was fitting this morning when I came across a study by WRAP called “Valuing our Clothes“.  Some highlights from the study:

  • the average UK household owns around £4,000 ($6200) worth of clothes – and around 30% of clothing in wardrobes has not been worn for at least a year;
  • the cost of this unused clothing is around £30 billion ($46.6 billion);
  • extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints; and
  • an estimated £140 million ($217.5 million) worth (around 350,000 tonnes) of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year.

Now, I’ve mentioned before that I buy almost my entire wardrobe from thrift and consignment stores.  And that this allows me to purchase quality regardless of the price.  But it really goes farther than that.  Once an article of clothing comes into this house, it is loved…

Can you spot the baby bump (mountain) caught in the picture??

I bought this blouse off a mall clearance rack.  I’ve worn it every fall since.  I even handwash it to make sure it stays in good condition.

I bought this blouse in the early 2000s.  Yes, that could easily mean that it is 10 years old.  And it came from one of the mall shops that churns out lower quality clothing, so I feel pretty proud of myself for keeping it in good shape as long as I have.  Will I wear it this year?  I’m actually not sure.  I might have finally outgrown the style – still on the fence.  But the point is that this shirt was valued.  And it’s not the only one.  Sure, it might be the oldest (barring some t-shirts and bumming clothes) but I know I can point out quite a few more pieces that have seen their 5 year anniversary pass and are still in active rotation.

So if you’re looking to save money in the long run, or just simplify a little bit – the next time you pull a piece of clothing off the shelf, consider whether it’s an item you can really love – for years even.  I know it’s made me feel much better about what’s in my closet.

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This entry was posted in Cleaning, Downsizing, Environment, Frugal, Simple, Thrift, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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