Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
May 25, 2009
Clothing circles keep dollars in your pocket
By SUZANNE ELSTON
Recycling clothing is a great way to creatively stretch your family’s clothing budget and beat the high cost of high fashion. It can also help to dramatically reduce your impact on the environment and at the same time contribute to Canada’s social programs.
For families with growing children, clothing circles offer an opportunity to exchange big-ticket items such as winter coats and dress clothes. Most kids outgrow these articles of clothing long before they are worn out.
Spring is the perfect time to set up a clothing circle with friends and family. Start by taking an inventory of what your child already has. Set aside some time early in the day, when temperatures and tempers are their coolest, and have a try-on session.
“It’s too small” often means, “I don’t like it anymore.” If that’s the case, find out why. Sometimes simply changing the buttons or adding some trim or patches can put the article back in favour and save you replacment costs.
When you’re sorting clothes, keep three boxes or baskets at the ready. The first is for clothes that require alterations or laundering, the second is for clothes that are to be discarded or donated, and the third is for the clothing circle pile. Sorting items by size makes it easier to exchange clothes in your circle.
When setting up your clothing circle, the best bet is to partner with families whose kids don’t go to the same school. This avoids the embarrassment of clothes being recognized from one wearer to another. You can organize a clothing swap party or simply agree to pass clothes down as your children outgrow them.
Clothing circles are not just for kids, either. Swap parties are becoming a great way for women to get together and stretch their fashion budgets.
Second hand stores and reuse shops provide another creative way to meet your family’s clothing needs. “Why spend $100 when you can spend $25 or less for the same or higher quality goods?” said Adele Meyer, executive director of the National Association of Resale & Thrift Shops (NARTS).
According to the NARTS website, “The resale industry is one of the few recession proof segments of retailing. Not only does it survive during economic downturns but it grows and thrives.”
“The slumping economy may draw people in, but once they visit a resale shop for the first time they are pleasantly surprised with the high quality of merchandise and are forever hooked on a new way of smart spending,” says Chris Cowman, NARTS president and consignment store owner.
For consumers, resale shops provide an opportunity to buy quality merchandise at a fraction of the original cost. There’s also the opportunity to sell, consign or donate unwanted items.
When visiting your local reuse shop, don’t forget to take along the items that you’ve set aside to donate. This helps teach your child that recycling isn’t just about putting stuff in the blue box.
While many consignment stores are privately owned and operated, reuse centres also provide a valuable source of revenue for many charities. The Salvation Army’s national network of thrift stores helps support that agency’s work as Canada’s largest independent provider of social services.
Goodwill stores provide work opportunities and skills development for people who face serious barriers to employment, and in doing so, helps to build stronger communities.
For a list of organizations across Canada that accept charitable goods for recycling or resale, visit www.charityvillage.com.
Recycling clothes benefits everyone. It saves money, helps to protect the environment and aids community social programs.
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