Creative Ways to Green Your Wardrobe
We've all heard the mantra: reduce, reuse, recycle. But, did you know that you could adopt such sustainable behavior when it comes to the clothes in your closet? With a little creativity and imagination, you can reduce clutter, reuse items you already have, and recycle old stuff into unique, new outfits. Besides looking good, you'll be protecting the environment for future generations.
Consider the following tips to green your wardrobe:
Turn old clothing into new outfits: Take some time to dig through your closet, and pull out items that have gotten lost in the clutter. Try combining these items in new ways. A mid-thigh dress could serve as a tunic with jeans, or an old scarf could be turned into a new belt. When you buy new jeans, turn an old pair into cut-offs.
For every item of clothing you buy or receive as a gift, give one item away: Most of us have items of clothing that we haven't worn in months, or even years. Your closet could be full of items you could donate and never even miss. A good rule of thumb is if it has been hanging in your closet for one year and you haven't worn it, donate it to charity.
Remember, fashion is cyclical: This means that old clothes from the 70s and 80s, including hand-me-downs, are back in style. Dig around your parents' and grandparents' closets and attics for old clothing and accessories that are so outdated that they're back in vogue. One of dad's old, plaid ties, for example, can add flair to any outfit. Or, grandma's old lace-up boots may look great with a long skirt. Broaches from a bygone era can add an eccentric flair to plain sweaters or jackets.
Hunt for treasures in consignment shops, in thrift stores, and at yard sales: Shopping for vintage clothing at second-hand shops has several perks. First, the price is right. You may be able to get five or six items for the price of one item at a department store. Second, you aren't likely to see someone wearing the same thing. Third, everything you buy is already soft and broken-in, particularly jeans. So, go ahead and hunt for treasures. Just be sure to wash before wearing.
Shop online for green deals: You can find just about anything on the Internet these days, including specialty green clothing, clothing made from recycled materials, or all-organic lines. The organic clothing market is growing quickly, which means that products are becoming more affordable and more accessible. You can find pure, durable fabrics that are made in sweatshop-free environments and certified fair labor apparel, which means that the items have been produced with socially responsible practices both in agricultural production and all stages of the post-harvest production process.
Resist fads: Stores that pass quickly from trend to trend are often filled with cheap, poorly made clothing. While they may be budget friendly, they are often wasteful, especially when you consider manufacturing and shipping. Instead, seek to purchase classic clothing that is well-made. A select few pieces may last longer, and you won't have to replace clothing as frequently.
Host a clothing swap: Invite some friends to clean out their closets and gather swappable items, including clothes, shoes, and accessories. You may limit the items per person to about ten or twelve, and remember, the more swappers you invite, the more sizes and styles will be available to other swappers. Generally, garments and/or accessories are checked in before the exchange begins. In return for their items, guests are given one button or ticket per item, which serves as currency for buying new items. After the swap, any leftover items may be donated to local charities.
Greening your wardrobe involves more than just color. You can do your part to protect the environment by reducing, reusing, and recycling your clothing.
Live and Let Live:
Tips for Animal-Friendly Living
From family pets to wildlife, all animals deserve to be treated humanely. Consider the following tips to promote harmonious coexistence with our furry friends:
- If a bird accidentally becomes trapped inside your home, wait until dark. Then, turn off all indoor lights, open a window, and turn on an outside light���the bird will usually fly out toward the light.
- Birds have been known to nest and raise their young in chimneys. If a bird sits on top of a chimney for warmth, it can inhale toxic fumes or fall down the chimney. To avoid this, cap your chimney. This will prevent birds, squirrels, and other animals from entering the chimney. It will also keep out rain and leaves.
- Hold on to those helium balloons! They may rise gracefully, but they eventually come down as litter. Sea creatures like turtles, dolphins, and whales often mistake them for jellyfish. If swallowed, they can cause an intestinal blockage and result in death.
- Twine, rope, and wire can all get tangled around an unsuspecting animal. When disposing of twine or rope, tie it into a big knot. Twist wire into a ball or knot and throw it in a trash can.
- Dispose of plastic properly. For example, the plastic that holds a six-pack of cans together can look like food to an animal if it ends up in water. Animals can get hurt or killed when these get wrapped around their mouths or necks. Always cut plastic six-pack holders into little pieces and dispose of them in a trash can.
- Whether floppy-eared or cotton-tailed, wild rabbits are adorable and entertaining���unless they are destroying your newly planted flower beds and vegetable gardens! To keep rabbits away from your crops, cut corn cobs in half and soak them in vinegar for 24 hours. Place them in your garden and replace every two weeks or so. The smell of vinegar is a natural rabbit repellent.
- If squirrels are digging up your yard in search of food, deter them and other animals by planting non-edible flowers, such as daffodils. Or, after planting, lay a mesh wire over the soil. Be sure the openings in the mesh are big enough for the plants to grow, but not big enough for animals to invade.
- Feeding wildlife, including birds, creates an artificial food source that will also attract other animals. Be cautious before leaving any food outside for wild neighbors.
- Be sure there are no food sources available by keeping garbage containers sealed and only putting your trash out on pick-up day. This will help keep squirrels, raccoons, and other small animals away.
- Yellow jackets are less likely to sting if they are not disturbed. If one is nearby, simply cover your face with your hands and slowly walk away. They are more likely to sting if they feel threatened by swatting or any quick movement of the arms or legs. Stay calm and move slowly.
Our everyday actions have a rippling affect on the environment and the other creatures with whom we share the planet Earth. Why not create an inviting space in your yard or garden for butterflies, hummingbirds, and other creatures? The more time you spend simply observing wildlife, the more you will want to live and let live.
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