Spring clean sparks joy, but what do we do with unwanted items and unwearable garments? Garage Sale Trail and our local circular economy businesses in Sydney shared with us tips on how to use their service to sustainably spring clean our homes.
1. Sell your unwanted items at Garage Sale Trail (online!)
Garage Sale Trail is back on November 13-14 and 20-21 – perfect timing for spring clean. This year they are taking the nation-wide festival online.
Speaking of their mission, Gabby Nuich from the Garage Sale Trail says, “Australians are one of the highest consumers of textiles in the world, second only to the US. Annually Australian’s acquire an average of 27 kilograms of new clothing per person, and discard around 23 kilograms of clothing to landfill each year. (awe.gov.au).
Working to change this, the Garage Sale Trail encourages everyone to buy or sell second hand at over 10,000 garage sales across the nation.
Whether you’re hosting a garage sale online or in the community, we give you the platform to sell your good quality pre-loved clothes directly to your neighbours and friends. It is super easy to get involved - simply jump onto the Garage Sale Trail website to register your garage sale for free and then take part in the festival. We provide a bunch of free tools and resources to help you be successful too.”
Don’t miss it. Register to sell or shop here: garagesaletrail.com.au/register
2. Get a wardrobe makeover with Francisco in Newtown
Francisco Alcazar a Newtown-based fashion designer and artist. He’s a textile alchemist. He engineers anything ordinary into a stunning statement for a circular economy.
“Materials, fabrics and used clothes have multiple lives. By reusing and repurposing what you own already, we tackle the main issue – the overproduction and overconsumption of cheaply made clothing from fast fashion.
I collect these used materials, some of them given by my friends and neighbours, some of them found on the streets. I then reimagine, transform and make them into garments that are unique, responsible and beautiful.
We have so much sentiment and attachment to our wardrobe. Why throw your clothes away? Let’s do a wardrobe makeover! We’ll fix, fit, amend or completely transform and up-cycle any of your garments that you don’t wear anymore.
A circular economy can be fun and creative. I want to inspire our community to reimagine the possibilities with resources that are already existing.”
Get an appointment with Francisco: www.franalcazar.com
3. Book The Bower for a repair or collection
Visiting the Bower Reuse & Repair Centre is like going for the most amazing treasure hunt. They repair your broken goods. They also take your unwanted items, repair, repurpose and sell them. For more than 20 years, The Bower has saved 2,580,194 kg of items from landfill.
The Bower's spring clean tips:
“When it comes to spring cleaning, we know how tempting it can be to call on a rubbish removal service to move on any unwanted stuff, but is it sustainable? What you put in your red bin and most of the bulkier items you put out for council collection are sent to landfill.
Plan forward using our web booking tool to avoid sending things out to the landfill. If you’re in the middle of a clean and your ‘chuck’ pile is getting out of control, upload your unwanted household items that are still in good nick to our booking tool. Our collections team will assess and notify you regarding possible rehoming options in 1-2 weeks.
It’s a process. But sometimes the best option isn’t the quickest or the easiest. Even if we can’t help directly, we offer a Reuse Database that has hundreds of reuse and recycling options for you to try."
Book a collection with The Bower: bower.org.au
4. Recycle your tricky-to-recycle items with RecycleSmart
We've subscribed to RecycleSmart (for free because we're in the City of Sydney council!). We've been collecting most of our spring clean items like broken socks and unwearable tops for them.
“After your spring clean, you may find yourself with bags full of pre-loved clothes, broken electronics, old batteries and lightbulbs that hid in your drawers for years.
We know it can be overwhelming to try and figure out how to recycle these tricky items … that's when RecycleSmart comes in: we collect your tricky recyclables from your doorstep and recycle them for you!"
How it works:
Pack your bag: Scoop up all those tricky-to-recycle things and put them in a shopping bag.
Book your pickup: Choose a date that’s convenient and book your Power Pickup on RecycleSmart website. You can subscribe for free or choose the one-off Power Pickup ($2 a bag).
- RecycleSmart does the rest: Place the bags outside your house on the date of your Power Pickup, before 8 am. They’ll come by and make sure your stuff goes to the right place.
Put your wearable and unwearable clothes in separate labeled bags. Wearable clothes are donated to local charities, unwearable items are recycled to recover raw fibers.
If you have a big polystyrene block, don't break it!
- Always delete your data before recycling your e-waste.
Recycle smartly here: recyclesmart.com
5. Build a circular textile system in Australia with Circular Centre
We had an inspiring chat with Alison Jose, Director of the Circular Centre:
“If you caught the Wardrobe Crisis interview with Liz Ricketts of the Or Foundation, you may have learnt of the horrors and negative impact that our unwearable clothes are having in Ghana.
We need Australian operators to commit to sending only good clothing otherwise the claim that they “keep thousands of kilos of textile waste out of landfill” is just keeping it out of Australian landfill only.
Without circular economy systems, all textiles end up in landfill, which not only contributes to the climate crisis, but is also a waste of resources."
Alison's spring clean tips:
- Choose 3 items from your wardrobe that need mending and are still in good condition and learn how to repair, add a funky patch, or see the latest trend of “visible mending” and put your own signature on it.
Then choose 3 items that need updating, perhaps a tweek to re-fresh, and take it to your local tailor. They are the experts and can revamp a beloved outfit. This way you are also helping to give-back to people in your community who may have lost work during the lockdowns.
- Do a thorough wardrobe assessment. Donate to charity, but first appraise it from the perspective of your bestie or even a Ghanaian mother, teenager, Aunty or Uncle – they too need the support?
- If they are no longer wearable, send them for recycling. Check your local councils and communities if they recycle textile, or book RecycleSmart as mentioned earlier.
Lastly, think about your consumption and riddle me with this - what do you get if you cross Marie Kondo with the 14th Dalai Lama? The perfect question: “will this bring me joy?”
Check out Circular Centre’s collaboration with General Pants for their Denim Redesign Competition at @circulardenimau and follow @circular.centre for more exciting progress about their Circular Textile Precinct.
Start your zero waste refill delivery this spring. Sydney only.
We refill and deliver lemon myrtle laundry powder and dishwasher powder in Sydney. We collect your empty glass jar and deliver your refill to help reduce plastic waste and carbon emissions. Shop here