This month we are looking at how we can align with nature in our closets. The action steps this month will help you declutter, clarify what you love and feel good in, and become more conscious of quality over quantity. Let's get started!
Did you know that we typically wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time? That means that 80% of what lives in our closet is mostly unused.
We buy new clothing when we see something we like, without really giving much attention to what we will actually wear or what we really need. This month we want to give some thought to which items we might want to let go of, and be mindful about what we choose to buy. Transitioning into a capsule wardrobe is great for this purpose.
In our action steps below you’ll find some good tips on how to go about this.
Natural vs. Synthetic
To be more aligned with nature, we want to reduce excess for sure, but we also want to look at quality over quantity.
Clothing made with natural materials such as wool, cotton, bamboo, silk and cashmere, is considerably better for our planet and our physical health. Natural fibers are biodegradable and don’t contain chemicals that can be irritating to our skin.
Synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic are man-made, created in a laboratory using chemicals which can be toxic to us and our planet. Synthetic materials also take a long time to decompose, creating long term pollution. It’s a sobering fact that 85% of the plastic in our oceans, comes from the microfibers in our synthetic clothing.
There is no doubt that clothing from synthetic materials can be more practical at times, because of the enhanced properties and lower price. For sure today they are also more easily found.
So while we likely can’t avoid synthetic fabrics all together, we can improve on our balance of natural vs. synthetic, and when we do buy synthetic clothing, choose used over new, or slow fashion (hand made or small production) over fast fashion (inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers).
Nature Aligned Closet Action Steps
1. Turn all hangers around in your closet, and as you wear things put them back with the hanger turned the right way. Set a reminder for a few months from now (or whenever this season is wrapping up). Let go of any items you still haven’t worn at that point.
2. For styles you are ready to let go of (right now or after your hanger exercise), use these ways of disposal:
a) Sell or consign clothing that are in sellable shape and that are still in style!
b) Donate clothing that are wearable but not sellable.
c) For any styles that are not suitable for resale or donations, please do not put them in the garbage. Clothing in landfills take a really long time to decompose. Instead, cut them into patches for quilts, or rags to use for cleaning, or get creative by using pieces for different crafting projects.
3. When you need to buy new clothing, whether for yourself or your child, consider the function and when possible, choose natural materials over synthetic. And then, remember to shop mindfully:
a) Shop second hand first: This way we extend the life cycle of already manufactured clothing, reducing the demand for fast fashion, keeping clothes out of landfills and supporting families in our community. It’s also the best way to stick to your clothing budget as it is much more affordable.
b) If buying new, choose slow fashion over fast fashion. Support locally handcrafted styles if available, or shop smaller brands with limited production.
4. As much as possible, extend the lifespan of clothing you own by mending whenever possible.
While these steps apply to our own closets as well as our children’s, they have an even bigger impact when we apply them to our child’s closet, since our children grow much faster than us, and typically rotate through their closet every season.