A cluttered closet is the perfect target for a spring cleaning spree. Not only does it give us the opportunity to streamline our space and our style, but also allows us the freedom to fill in any gaps with more thoughtful purchases. For this week’s set of Earth Month Eco-Challenges, we’re finding a-way-a-day to tend to our personal environment while still keeping in mind the eco-impact we have on our shared environment.
Eco-lifestyle expert, Ashlee Piper of The Little Foxes, already whipped our wardrobes into shape last summer with her Closet Detox series. Read below for seven more of her tips on how to show a little earth-friendly love to your closet. Challenge yourself to try one each day this week, then join us next week for a whole new set of Earth Month challenges!
Monday, April 11th: DETOX YOUR CLOSET
Spring is a perfect time to do a closet detox, and boy, do we have a good one (complete with a timed playlist to keep you focused!). Shop your closet for items you love, purge the items that no longer serve you, clean that closet ‘til it shines and donate, consign and swap the castoffs. The result? A well-edited wardrobe that suits you, saves you precious time and donations that benefit others.
What did you donate and how do you feel about your closet now?
Tuesday, April 12th: Don’t Trash Your Fash
Old, stinky T-shirts; athletic socks that have seen one-too-many tennis matches – some clothing items are pretty much impossible to donate. Never fear! These items are awesome for repurposing into stuff you’ll actually use. Soak them in a sink full of warm water and baking soda. Rinse, dry, and cut ratty T-shirts into rags that can be used for cleaning. Socks make awesome dog toys when tied tightly together like tug ropes (they’re going to get destroyed anyway). Don’t have a pup? Your local shelter may be interested in taking repurposed pet toys to keep lonesome animals awaiting adoption occupied.
How did you repurpose your your cast offs?
Wednesday, April 13th: clean up your laundry act
We all have to have clean clothes, but did you know that 90% of energy used during a conventional wash cycle is expelled on heating the water? Green your laundry routine by washing on cold, eschewing the dryer whenever possible for air drying (and if you have to use the dryer, fold and smooth clothes while they’re still warm to avoid wrinkles without having to fire up the iron), avoiding dry cleaning (which uses toxic chemicals that pollute waterways forever), and use cruelty-free, natural detergent like Dr. Bronner’s castile soaps or eco-detergent from The Simply Co., which is packaged in repurposed and recyclable glass jars.
What’d you do to make your laundry routine even cleaner?
Thursday, April 14th: buy nothing
Studies show that only about 4% of our shopping habits are out of necessity. That means that 96% of our shopping consumption is due to emotional reasons. But, baby, you and I know that what you’re seeking ain’t at the store. Take a day (or longer!) to not buy anything. Leave your wallet at home, do a free activity, eat what you’ve got and bask in the simplicity and joy of not spending. Why is this eco-friendly? Because many of our purchases are at fast-fashion outlets, which contribute to the mounting 11 million tons of textile waste that Americans put in landfills each year (not to mention the people-harming aspects of sweatshops).
What did you do instead of shopping? How did it feel?
Friday, April 15th: Spread the love
Spread the eco-love and get your friends and family in on the action. Choose a group activity that’s eco-minded, like a beach cleanup, clothing swap (might we suggest some biodynamic wine to get the party started?) or tree planting. Fun fact: Planting shrubs and trees to shade your window unit air conditioners helps ‘em work 10% more efficiently. Every little bit helps, and by setting a good example, your squad will want in on the earth-loving action.
What did you do with loved ones to benefit the environment today?
Saturday, April 16th: Shop Second-hand
Need a new outfit for that weekend wedding or a jacket to weather the spring showers? Before you rush off to the nearest big-box store, check out your local thrift, consignment and resale boutiques. Not only is shopping second-hand less expensive, but you can nab some seriously stylish finds (like a Stella McCartney mini dress for $32 or timeless Burberry Trench for $55 – true stories) and help stem the 70+ pounds of textiles each of us contributes to landfills annually (imagine hauling that bushel around). Plus, many resale shops donate proceeds to important causes – my favorite place supports an LGBTQ health center. Plus plus, you’re pretty much guaranteed to never have a wardrobe overlap with the other partygoers. Win/win/win.
Tell us about your favorite second-hand finds!
Sunday, April 17th: Calculate Your Carbon Footprint
We all try to be green, but do you really know the kind of toll you’re taking on the planet? This handy site takes your energy intake, transportation (all those flights and Ubers!), shopping, dietary habits and other factors into consideration to generate your, your household’s and even your business’s carbon footprints. And the results are… eye opening.
What’s your carbon footprint?
Check out last week’s Kitchen Week Challenge and pick up a few good tips.