Donating with Dignity

I was recently browsing the Patagonia website and started to read about the company's sustainability and attitude toward repairing and recycling clothing.

As somebody that has previously downsized their wardrobe and freely donated anything and everything to local clothing banks it struck a chord - I was getting it all wrong.

Everything tends to go in - suits, formal shirts, t-shirts, even cycling gear (I draw the line at underwear!) - with not a second thought to who might actually want, need or even use this eclectic mix of clothing. After all, I'm doing a good thing, right? I'm donating to charity.

But after reading Donating with Dignity I saw what was plainly obvious - my good intentions are completely off. I'm simply passing on the task of sorting through (and ultimately disposing of) my garbage to someone else. Charities often have minimal resources that are often stretched thin. They also often serve specific demographics that often require specific types of clothing (I cringe when I realise I have previously discarded a winter jacket I used in sub-zero temperatures in Scotland into a clothing bin destined for communities on the Pacific Islands). Most importantly, they have standards. They don't need to be carpet-bombed with my shabby, mis-matched and ill-fitting rejects.

As part of my quest to live more purposefully I'm about to embark on another cull of my wardrobe as I downsize a little further - but this time I intend to do so more mindfully. I'll donate more thoughtfully, and find other ways to effectively recycle any clothing that does not make the cut.

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