With some of your extra time indoors, now is the perfect opportunity for a closet clean out. Not only will it help clear out some clutter but it’s a great way to clear your mind for a short while too. Before you begin, it is recommended that you crank some tunes and pour yourself a drink of choice - alcohol is encouraged.
Step 1: The Sort
As the name suggests, in this step you will decide which of your clothes will stay and which will go. For each clothing item ask yourself:
- Does it fit?
- Is it comfortable?
- Do I wear it?
Does it fit?
An acceptable level of fit definitely changes as you age - like somehow we all used to be okay with low rise jeans. But now I can assure you, I will never go back - mom jeans forever. Any ways, try it on and decide if you like the way each garment fits you.
Is it comfortable?
It’s safe to say for those now WFH exclusively, the current style selections have likely changed. Though this may be temporary, it might have you reconsidering what really is a comfortable work outfit. Obviously certain items will have a bit of discomfort. Your power blazer you save for interviews and presentations isn’t going to be as comfortable as your WFH sweats that are barely acceptable on Zoom. However, your clothes should be comfortable enough so that whatever activity you would normally encounter while wearing it can be performed. If you can’t even lift your arm to point the clicker, it goes.
Do I wear it?
Something could both fit and be acceptably comfortable but you may never wear it. Have you worn it within the last six months? Within the last year? Maybe it’s not the right color or maybe it’s something you actually have to iron after every wash and who actually takes the time to do that anyways. Either way, why hoard it away in your closet taking up space while someone else could make use of it?
Step 2: Conscious Disposal
Now that you’ve completed the sort, we’ll focus on how to consciously dispose of your “goes” pile.
Is there anything you’re getting rid of that could be fixed? Any jeans simply torn or shirts missing a button? Some items can be easily repaired within just a few minutes. Below are a few links for common repairs.
- Sewing on a button
- Repair a sweater hole - No Sew
- Repair a sweater hole - Sew
- Patch thigh holes in jeans
If the repair needed is beyond your skill set and the item is worth keeping, consider finding a local seamstress or tailor to help you out. An item of good quality is usually cheaper to repair than purchasing a replacement. Seeking out a professional is especially helpful for shoe repairs. Local shops are typically responsibly priced.
If a clothing item in your “goes” pile is still in good shape, you’ve got a few different options. Surprisingly, simply donating clothing to somewhere like Goodwill or Salvation Army doesn’t necessarily mean your items will get resold. Nationwide second hand stores usually receive more donations than they can sell in a year. According to weardonaterecycle.org, only 10-20% of the clothing donated is sold at these thrift stores. The remaining 80% is either sold overseas, recycled, or sent directly to landfills. Some countries overseas have even banned this practice due to receiving excessive amounts. As an alternative, considering reselling your items, swapping or gifting them, or donating the clothing to a local secondhand store.
Swaps & Gifting
One option is to organize a clothing swap between some friends or simply invite them over (post COVID quarantine) to go through any items you no longer want. Maybe you’ve got sisters or cousins that could make use of some of the items or you know someone in high school or college that could use your old work clothes for an upcoming interview.
Local charities or thrift stores are less likely to get an overload of donations and are more likely to actually resell your items which makes them a great option as well.
If an item is beyond repair or reuse it could always be repurposed for a different use. Depending on your level of craftiness you can find limitless options - dresses into skirts, sweaters into scarves, or larger items into kids clothing. Below are just a few ideas.
Old t-shirts or sweatshirts can easily be cut up to use as cleaning rags. These could be used for cleaning inside, in the garage, or anywhere else.
If your clothes are in bad enough condition where they cannot be repaired, reused, or repurposed, recycling is your final option.
The biggest issues with clothing recycling is that it’s hard to trace where your clothes are actually going. Some companies that offer clothing recycling may be simply reselling the clothes to a third party, similar to those that the national thrift stores use, which means the clothes could end up in other countries or sent directly to the landfill.
The good news is there are several brands that will take back their own branded clothing. This is great since they typically know what materials the clothing was made from along with the item’s construction, and are able to resell or better recycle the clothes. These include:
Some companies to check out for specific clothing items include:
- The Bra Recyclers - for gently used bras and new panties
- Soles4Souls - shoe recycling
- Blue Jeans Go Green - denim jean recycling
Resources to find clothing recycling near you: