When you’re gifted a pair of socks from your grandma, dress shirts from your partner and maybe a sweater or two from your niece this holiday season, take the goddamn hint. It’s time to update your dated wardrobe and retire your 2012 Uniqlo button-downs.
But wait a moment before heading down to Goodwill with Hefty bags full of clothes from the back of your closet. Goodwill and Salvation Army are overrun with fast-fashion items that are just sitting on the rack. It’s 2019; who needs a Forever 21 “Doing Real Stuff Sucks” shirt? This might be why 26 billion pounds of textiles still end up in landfills every year.
Friends, you can do better with your retired styles. There’s a wide array of options out there.
Like what? Well, if you’re my mother, you make a shit-ton of rags and create a commemorative quilt out of your three sons’ Little League gear. But a more realistic option is to look for local thrift stores and consignment shops. It’s a poetic home for all that Small Business Saturday shit you bought five years ago and feel too guilty to toss.
With 22 locations nationwide, Out of the Closet is a socially conscious alternative to mass-clothing-donation companies like Goodwill. Ninety-six cents of every dollar Out of the Closet makes goes to parent company AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s HIV/AIDS programs. It’ll even do pick-ups from your home, provided at least two donation items are pieces of furniture.
There’s also the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and you don’t need to be a recovering Catholic like me to donate. The L.A. branch is the largest thrift store in the city and serves up to 200,000 disadvantaged people a year. Why not reconcile your Catholic guilt by donating your old khaki pants and maroon polos? That way, some high school student doesn’t have to buy a new uniform and give more money to the Catholic Church.
If you have a few vintage pieces to get rid of — like, say, a Members Only bomber jacket or ’90s Lee straight-leg jeans — we can clothing-swap. Send them straight to my Brooklyn apartment where I promise to stunt on all the cool gays in my vintage dad jeans.
Seriously, though, sell your best vintage pieces on popular Gen Z thrifting apps like Depop and Grailed. If you’ve been hoarding clothes for over a decade, now is the time to cash in on the ’90s and ’00s style revivals. Get out those Marc Ecko jeans, Carhartt overalls and Converse All-Stars high-tops.
Selling clothes online is not nearly as tedious as you think it is. Sure, you’ll have to get a few boxes, but these apps streamline the process for anyone who’s already extremely online. And, who knows, if your stuff is cool enough, you might even gain some new Instagram followers interested in your hip wardrobe.
The final way to ditch those buckets of old clothes: simply cut out the donation or digital thrifting middleman and go directly to the Euphoria Teens in your life. Seventy percent of my wardrobe comes from an underground clothing ring between my aunt and me. Tired of her husband’s Seinfeld-era oversized shirts taking space in their closet, she secretly hands me a Target bag full of his Old Navy tees, Sears jeans and Banana Republic jackets at every family gathering.
So what I’m saying is, ditching those old clothes doesn’t have to be sad if you’re over 30. Maybe you’ll impress the Gen Zs in your life and feel cool for once.