Finally January has ended, I have no idea why, but every year January seems to last a lifetime, just to make sure you don’t forget a new year has started, or perhaps to give us the impression that we have a little bit more time to start with our new year’s resolutions during the first month of the year.
But February is here and although it is generally still a cold and gray month here in Rimini, the countdown to Spring has definitely started and the days are getting longer and longer. Due to that Spring fever, February to me also means DECLUTTER. It is the month in which I feel the un- resistible need to clean out the house and get rid of what we no longer use, or have outgrown (me in width, my son in age and length).
After pulling everything out of the closets, selecting, cleaning and putting back in what I decided to keep, I generally end up with a pile of stuff I no longer need. I admit that years ago, a lot of that pile ended up in the trash bin. Since a few years, I have become more and more conscious on how to give my items a second life.
Clothing is the first part: as for most people, only a few pieces in my wardrobe are used until they really fall into pieces. And then again, even wool sweaters that have wholes, can still be recycled, some brands (for example, Rifo from Italy) use recycled wool or cashmere. They start from used items, remake the wool and recreate new items with them. Unfortunately there is no Arket shop in Italy yet, but this Swedish brand actually collects old clothing in their shops to give them a new life.
The items that are ruined, will be used for cleaning (swiping the windows with the fine cotton fabric of old sheets or shirts, works wonderfully well!) or sent to get recycled as a fabric. I also always at school of my son, as they often collect (small) pieces of fabric for the art classes.
Items that can still be used, get divided in pieces that I give away to friends or people I know, who I know will appreciate them. I even organise from time to time a “swap party” with friends after we have all cleaned out our closets. Every friend has a piece you really envy and wearing something that was pre-used by a person you like, gives it an even more special value.
Other pieces will be dropped off in the “vintage” shop here in Rimini: they start collecting pre- used items per season at the beginning of each season, decide the price and every month I can go and collect the money for the items that were sold. It is not a big business deal, but every season it permits me to buy a few new pieces with the money I got for the old ones. And yes, when I pass by the shop it happens that I see a piece I like and I use what my credit to buy another piece instead of cashing the money.
I do the same with the clothes from my son: he outgrows things so fast, that I go a few times per season to drop off bags with his “old” stuff at the second-hand store for babies and kids. They also collect baby and kid’s gear, from toys to bicycles to furniture.
Last but not least, a lot of stuff goes to charity. Not only clothing, but also toys, small furniture, and kitchen tools: as I cook a lot, kitchen tools are a favourite gift idea among my friends for me, so I am really happy then to kick out the old and keep the new, but I am even more happy to know that what I discard, will not only get a second life, but will help people less fortunate. And so, a part from being a tiny little bit more green, it also gives me a good feeling, and a decluttered house, which was the goal I started from ;-)