Saturday, 21 November 2009

Can I recycle, recycled clothes?

Dear reader,

A new piece of furniture has come into my life. A lovely oak wardrobe from the late 1940s. It smells like chestnuts and has wonderful brass hooks and a heart-shaped lock and key. But its arrival has caused heartache, it’s been filled already by my robust collection of new and vintage clothes and shoes.

(LEFT: the wardrobe)

So, contemplating a life with no more purchases, I’m seeking some advice … can you recycle recycled clothes?

When you buy second-hand, it’s almost like giving an unwanted puppy a home. Shoulder-padded jackets, embroidered shift dresses and heavy winter coats with big brass buttons demand to be loved again. It’s this tangible sense of memory and history that you can hold in your hands.

It always seemed as if I would be the person providing a “final resting spot” for an item that had been disregarded. They would be resurrected again as part of my daily Dynasty and 1950s fashion fantasies, a glorious “autumn age” for an unwanted garment.

So, I unloaded the wardrobe and laid everything out on the floor. If I was going to do this, there would be some sort of fair process to it. There laid before me was a shimmering anthology (yes, literally shimmering, I have a thing for bright, shiny things) of the last few years. I couldn’t throw out a faux-fur lined cropped jacket from Fat Helen’s (Chapel St) or a red-leopard print shirt (with a scoop neck) from Grey’s Op-Shop in St Kilda.

Neither the shirt with the pearly embroidery around the collar, a bright green dress (in at the waist, out at the hips) or this cropped long-sleeved black lace top from Brunswick Salvos. Every item had some excuse, and some vague sense of attachment and story.

A blue top (which I had hacked from a dress) reminded me of a boy I once kissed and a crumpled red jacket of the time I left my car lights on at Coles and ran the battery flat on a rainy day. So there I was, reliving my own memories in other people’s unwanted clothes.

I’ve repacked everything back into the wardrobe. It remains a crowded, musky space. I’ve considered wearing as many clothes as I can during the day to maximise the amount of space in my wardrobe. Though with the current heatwave, this seems like a sweaty and uncomfortable option.

Can I send recycled clothes back to the op-shop? Will they be loved again? What should I look to throw away first? I’d love to hear thoughts from anyone!

love and regards,


(p.s - I'm new to I op therefor I am, so thanks for reading! come check out my blog if you have some time!)


A Melbourne Girl said...

Of course you can re-recycle clothes. No brainer !
Just make sure you use the same rule as always: If you haven't worn it or used in in the past 12 months, then set it free for someone else to appreciate. They'll love it just as much as you thought you would.

I love opo-shoppibng. I got some great stuff at the St John Of God store you mentioned on Diamond Creek Road. Really terrific. Table cloths and damask napkins, as well as a pair of jeans and vintage knitting patterns pre-decimal currency and a dres patern that will be sensational.

If you love it, (but haven't used it) set it free.

A Melbourne Girl said...

Sorry about the spelling and typos....I'm hopeless at this time of the afternoon after a champagne cocktail.


Miss Claire said...

You should definitely send a few bits back, if you're willing to part with them! I guess that some of my vintage clothes must have been owned by a few people, especially the older pieces which show some wear. Your owning of them and love for them only adds another chapter into their long, happy life!


Jayne said...

Set them free BUT in a completely unrelated part of town so you're not likely to be tempted to buy them back or see someone else wearing them ;)

Gina E. said...

Why not recycle your recycled clothes again? I've had people say to me "You must have a huge wardrobe, you have so many clothes!" But what they don't notice is that after a few wears, some of my less favoured purchases are washed, pressed and returned to the opshop (any opshop) and 'traded in' on new recycled stuff!

recycled in melbourne said...

Thanks everyone! The 12 months and no wear idea is a good one!. I think I have some clothes that would come under and should be recycled again.

... Though I will I have to set them down in an opshop on the other side of town!


Thuy Linh Nguyen said...

I have a Camberwell Market stall every couple of years to clear out all of the recyled clothes that don't fit/suit me any more. That way, I get to talk to people about the story behind the clothes, find them a good home, and get some cash back to buy more clothes. :)

recycling clothes said...

Yes, you can always recycle but why bother when you can turn your unwanted clothes into cash? Then you can buy the one that you want afterwards.