I’m a hoarder. Kind of.
I recently moved to a new apartment and I was going through some old boxes when I found a box full of every cheerleading and track and field t-shirt I received in high school. I kept telling myself I was going to sew all of them together and make a t-shirt quilt someday.
What value did those old t-shirts carry? Little to none. The same goes for all of the old clothes you have stuffed into the shadowy depths of your closet. This includes that one tattered sweater that’s pilled and misshapen almost to oblivion and that white shirt that’s now more of a yellowish-gray color.
Here are some guidelines to help you clean out your closet and some suggestions to help you figure out what to do with all the clothes you’ll be purging.
Would you buy it from a store today? This is an incredibly effective rule of thumb. Would you buy that faded black blouse right now? Pull out your wallet to pay $45 for that lumpy blue sweater (*Miranda Priestly voice*)? Put that dated skirt with the itchy fabric on your Christmas list? If the answer is no, it’s time to get rid of it.
Try to be as objective as possible. Use this guideline to get rid of each garment that has reached the end of its useful life. This tip is a powerful source of motivation to take care of your clothes so they’ll last longer. Also, I hope it encourages you to buy more classic staple pieces that will stand the test of time and ever-changing trends.
Does it fit properly? Poor tailoring is a quick way to turn a $400 suit into a $40 one. Great tailoring will do the reverse. Don’t cheapen the look of your clothes by allowing them to be too loose or too tight, too long or too short. If a garment doesn’t fit properly, take it to a seamstress. Rips and tears? Get it fixed. If it is beyond repair, toss it. You don’t need a closet full of clothes you can’t fit. You’ll end up staring at countless shirts, pants, skirts, coats, blazers, and jewelry each morning wondering why it feels like you have nothing to wear.
I sifted through my closet recently trying to find items that I hadn’t worn in a while. I stumbled across the bow-front jacket pictured below and realized it’d been sitting in my closet for a while. I hadn’t worn it because it was too big. After taking it to my go-to seamstress, I turned some closet filler into one of my favorite jackets.
Have you worn it sometime in the last year? This gives you enough time to make it through all four seasons before assessing whether to get rid of a garment. If you didn’t wear it last winter, there’s no point in keeping it in hopes of wearing it this winter. Here’s the happy ending: the more clothes you clean out now, the more room in your closet you’ll have for new clothes.
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR OLD CLOTHES
Dress for Success. Getting rid of new or gently-used business attire? Dress for Success is an organization that provides interview clothes, shoes, and accessories to women looking for employment. I love the overall aim and mission of Dress for Success and donating clothes to other working women is an easy way to help.
H&M. I appreciate the new eco-friendly, sustainability campaign H&M has been working on. Take your old clothes to your nearest H&M store and you’ll get 15% off your next purchase!
Goodwill. Old faithful. Your donation helps the job training and job placement services that this organization provides to those in need!
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