Closing the Loop: The Ultimate Guide to Purging Sustainably


*Originally posted on Sept. 13, 2016. Updated and re-posted Spring 2019. All of these resources and opinions are my own and are not affiliate links.

Purging and simplifying is a healthy process.

However, just because we have reached the end of the road with our things, doesn’t mean they have reached the end of their life cycle! Closing the product loop keeps textiles, furnishings and electronics out of landfills, provides for people in need, and keeps our earth healthy. Here are a few resources to help close the loop, including a few resources specifically local to San Francisco. Here we go!

I am looking for inspiration, where do I start?

Book: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

A little motivation and strategy on how to reduce clutter, what to get rid of, in what order to get rid of it, and how to find a home for what stays. Simple read. Sparks inspiration. #DoesItSparkJoy

I’m ready to purge my closet! Umm..  Where can I donate my things?

When donating clothing, the Goodwill, Salvation Army and Out of the Closet are my immediate go to’s.

For San Francisco readers, one of my favorite thrift stores is Community Thrift Store in the Mission. This nonprofit supports a long list of local social service organizations. Want to support one of these organizations? Drop off your donated items and name the organization you’d like to benefit from the sale of your goods. Here is a list of Welcome/ Unacceptable items for your consideration.

I want to recycle clothes I’ve bought and worn by returning them to retailers.

UNIQLO has an All Product Recycling Initiative  that accepts used UNIQLO clothing and either donates the clothing to families in need worldwide or recycles the fabric. Return your used UNIQLO clothes to any UNIQLO store.

H & M stores collect garments “from any brand and in any condition” and recycles them into new clothing. They currently integrate 20% of used clothing fibers into new textiles.

I want to buy refurbished aka ‘renewed’ clothing.

The Renewal Workshop is a newly formed company to watch. They are partnering with retail brands to acquire, refurbish and resell “their returned and excess apparel through a proprietary process.” You can view their launching Indiegogo campaign Here.

I want to sell or buy slightly used clothes.

Order a Clean Out Kit from ThredUp. ThredUp is an online consignment store where you can buy or sell like-new clothes and accessories.

Poshmark and Tradesy are additional online platforms to buy and sell your clothing and accessories. Tradesy is where you will go to buy and sell designer fashion brands.

I’m ready to invest in a minimalist closet!  

Meet Cuyana. An SF based clothing line whose philosophy is “Fewer Better Things”. In support of this philosophy, with every Cuyana purchase, you receive a reusable bag to fill up old clothes. Cuyana donates these clothes to their nonprofit partner H.E.A.R.T. and gives you a 10% discount on your next Cuyana purchase.

I, umm… have bigger things to let go of.

Ready to get rid of the big stuff? These online marketplace platforms might be a great start. To let go of just about anything check out Let go. For furnishings there is Trove, and for high-end furnishing in particular there is Chairish.

If you have bulky stuff you’d like to get rid of, but can’t donate them or sell them (think, stinky old mattress) and you are in SF (sorry non-sf folks) you can connect with Recology directly to have your Bulky appliances, electronics, mattresses, furniture, carpet and padding, etc. picked up. 1-2 pick ups are free.

What about my electronics? (SF)

This one is also San Francisco specific — but there may be similar programs in your area to look up!

So, we can’t just throw our batteries (or other toxic stuff) into the trash. If you need to get rid of toxic electronics ewastesf is a great resource. Some items are free to drop off and some items cost a small fee to be recycled.

Wait! I want to keep my Skis --but I don’t have a place to put them. (SF)

If you live in San Francisco two things are most likely true-- You have a ‘space’ issue and you enjoy the robust on-demand culture we have here in the city! OMNI is a great  ‘on-demand’ storage solution. They pick up, drop off, photograph and catalog all of your belongings.  You pay per item vs. storage unit and you control it all via an app on your phone.

If you live outside of San Francisco and have resources to share, please share them in the comments below. How you declutter sustainably?

Thank you for taking this journey with me!

From my heart center to yours, Noemi