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  • Buying clothes can consume a big chunk of your budget - especially if you have kids and teenagers. "Out of style" clothes can end up in the trash even though they still have a lot of life left in them. How can you make clothes last longer?
  • Buy gender-neutral clothes. Young children especially are usually willing to share shorts, t-shirts and sweatshirts, or wear hand-me-downs.
  • Choose styles that will last. Traditional styles like blazers, jackets and sweaters endure and are worth spending more money on. Buy a few items in more trendy styles that can be "recycled" at thrift shops or consignment stores once they go out of style.
  • Shop at thrift shops and consignment stores. One of my teenage daughter's favorite boutiques is a consignment store where she's never paid more than $15 for an outfit. She never goes shopping there unless she takes something from her closet she wants to trade in: It's her favorite way of recycling.
  • Hold a swap meet. You may be tired of your clothes, but your neighbor, work colleague, or girlfriend might love them. Invite a group of friends over who are about the same size (or in a couple of close size ranges). Ask each to bring five to ten items they're ready to rotate out of their wardrobe for something different. Each person could leave with five or more new items that they've swapped for their own old clothes.

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  • Never throw clothes away unless they've been reduced to rags. Dozens of charities, ranging from Purple Heart to the Goodwill, will gladly take your clothes and get them to people in need.
  • One World Running , a non-profit organization based in Colorado, ships used but wearable running shoes, soccer gear and baseball equipment to Athletes in Central America, Haiti, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • You can donate athletic shoes you can no longer wear to Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program. Nike grinds up and recycles the shoe material to build playground mats, basketball courts and running tracks. Find a drop-off site near you.

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