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Pre-Loved Wardrobe Tips For Zero Waste Living

Creating a pre-loved wardrobe is a great way to move closer to zero waste living. Zero waste heroes choose second hand clothes, and wear clothes for as long as possible. They do their best to reject fast fashion and move to a more sustainable way of life. These pre-loved wardrobe tips will help you move in the right direction.


Why Create a Pre-Loved Wardrobe?

Fast fashion is a massive problem. Huge quantities of clothes are created each year. Synthetic clothing comes at a huge carbon cost. They take a lot of energy, water and other resources to produce. What is more, tiny particles in the clothes come out in the wash and end up down the drains. And they will not decompose at the end of their useful life.

Natural fabric clothing and new eco fabrics like those made from bamboo will biodegrade. But these clothes too cost a lot to produce – in terms of energy, water, land etc.. It is also worth remembering that whatever clothes you buy have a carbon cost associated with delivering to shops, or to you.

The best option, therefore, is to choose second hand or 'pre-loved' clothing whenever possible. By choosing second hand clothing, you avoid the need to make new clothes. You also keep those old clothes from ending up in landfill. You can keep them going just that little bit longer.


Capsule wardrobe inspiration

Opting for pre-loved clothes also means going through all of your old clothes! Some of your favorite outfits may be at the bottom of the drawer. Image via Pinterest.


Finding Ways To Love Your Own Old Clothes Again

Before you go out and find new-to-you, pre-loved clothes to add to your wardrobe – wait. Take some time to go through your existing wardrobe to see whether there are old clothes there that could be given a new lease of life. You might be able to:

  • Make small repairs to old items using basic sewing skills.
  • Alter items that are too big by taking in the seams or raising a hem.
  • Upcycle old clothing to make new, unique pieces of clothing.


Mending old clothes gives them a new look

These jeans are beautifully mended with a crochet fabric by Natalia Robinson.


Where to Find Pre-Loved Clothes To Add to Your Wardrobe

If you find that your existing wardrobe is still lacking, you can find pre-loved clothes for free by:

  • Receiving clothes from, or swapping clothes with, friends or family members.
  • Sourcing clothes for free from online sites like Freecycle etc..

You can also pay for second hand clothing. Try:

  • Checking out local charity shops, thrift stores or yard sales etc..
  • Buying second-hand clothes online through Ebay, Etsy and other online marketplaces.
  • Shopping for pre-loved clothing in a chic vintage boutique in person or online.


Check out local second hand shops

Buying secondhand is good for the environment! It keeps unwanted clothing out of landfills and extends the life of perfectly usable items. Also, a lot of secondhand shops are connected to charities. Win-win!


Pre-loved clothes can be loved again. Second hand most definitely does not have to be second rate. So value old clothes and keep clothes for longer as you transition to zero waste living.



  • Min Aleong said:

    I have been making do with my clothes for over 40 years. Cull thru my wardrobe every decade, donate what is not my size anymore. Culled my children’s clothes and passed on hardly worn clothes to family and friends. Kept a few pieces, to make a memory quilt for each of my boys. Perhaps those will be passed to their kids, as a history memory from their dad’’s childhood.
    I repair where I can. Just finished repairing holes on the underside of my bedspread. The top covering is in good shape, but the mesh underside has worn out in several areas from repeated washing over the past 40 plus years.

    February 05, 2020

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