Is your closet overflowing with clothes? It might be time for some spring cleaning! Here are a few ways to decide what to keep and what to get rid of (as well as some ideas on where to get rid of old clothes to!)
Since we just moved, downsizing our home has been on my mind a lot — especially when it comes to clothes. I have A LOT of clothes, most of which I probably don’t need. Going through my clothes has been something I’ve avoided most of this move, and it will probably be the last thing I do. However, spring cleaning your clothes regularly is important! Not only does it make your home feel more tidy, but it can be nice to know that everything in your closet are things you wear.
Since I’m going through this process myself, I thought I’d share some tips and my thought process that I through when sorting through clothes (both my own and Jack’s.) It may not be super warm outside yet, but it’s never too early to spring clean.
One person at a time
Just focus on one person’s clothes at a time! It can be overwhelming going through everyone’s clothes at once and deciding whether or not you need them. I know that if I did this, I would just get overwhelmed and probably stop doing it.
Before you give anything away, make sure the person who it belongs to is okay with it. While you can probably put your foot down on certain items, people become surprisingly attached to certain items of clothing. To avoid World War III with someone over something they were really attached to, run it by them before you put it in the giveaway pile.
I’m someone who is very visual, and, as I mentioned earlier, I get overwhelmed really easy. If I just got all my clothes out and put them into a huge pile (which I have done before), I quickly start just deciding to keep everything.
So, instead, it’s good to put things in pile according to season, type of clothing, etc. This way, you can visually see how much of what type of clothing you have. For instance, one time I discovered I had two of the exact same kind of pants. I didn’t need two, so it was easy to get rid of one of those. You can also discover that you have 30 college t-shirts, which you obviously don’t need. Or maybe that just happened to me!
Will you need the clothes again?
At this point in our lives, we likely aren’t done having children. So, I don’t give away a lot of Jack’s old clothes. I figure that if we have another boy someday, I might as well use most of the same clothing, rather than buying a bunch of new items.
However, if you are done having children, or the clothes are just something you won’t ever need again (such as a prom dress), then give it away! While going through your clothing, just think of the situations in which you might need them again – pregnancy, other children, etc. If you really believe you’ll need it again someday, don’t feel bad about keeping it. Just consider putting it some storage boxes for when you do need it.
What’s the condition?
While I understand that clothes don’t stay in mint condition for long (especially if you are an infant or a parent), it’s good to try and wear clothes in decent condition. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for:
- Stained – some stains can be easily removed…others, not so much. If something is still stained after trying multiple times to get it out, cut your loses and throw it out!
- Ripped – I know that ripped clothes are sometimes considered “cool” but for the most part, when something is ripped, and it cannot be sewn, get rid of it.
- Stretched – most clothes stretch over time. It’s just a fact of life. However, if it looks really bag and bad on you because it’s stretch, it’s time to retire that outfit.
- Damaged in some other way.
When was the last time you wore it?
I’m notorious for having tons of clothes, many of which I haven’t worn in a long time. Something my mom told me about recently (which I’m sure she saw on the Internet somewhere) is to put your clothes all on hangers at the beginning of the year and hang them with the hanger part facing in. Whenever you wear it, turn the hanger out. At the end of the year, if you haven’t turned the hanger around, get rid of it.
Here are a few other ways to determine whether or not you should get rid of something.
- Is it somethingyouwouldbuyright now?
- I saw this tip awhile back, and I thought it was
- Does it fit?
- This is tricky – if you are like me, you fluctuate in size. You may also want to hold on to some of your “skinnier” clothes, just in case you fit in them again someday. This is totally fine. However, I think it is important for the majority of your clothes to fit.
- Do you really even like it?
- I have attachment issues – as in, I get attached wayyy too easily! When I’m going through my clothes, I really have to think hard about whether or not I actually like half the clothes I own. When I do this, I realize that some of the things I really don’t like – either the style is weird, it looks bad on me, or I just don’t know why I bought it in the first place. If you don’t like something, it has no place in your closet.
- Is it from high school?
- If you just graduated from high school, this isn’t really a big deal. However, if you graduated from high school 20 years ago, and you still have a bunch of clothes from that time…it might be time to move on.
I often say I am not above bribing – and that includes myself. When you are going through clothes, tell yourself that if you give away 10 items, you can buy yourself something new. This can be motivation for getting rid of clothes that may be too small for you or that may have been better for a version of you that’s 10 years younger.
This can also be a good way to get your teenagers to get rid of clothes. If they are begging to get a brand new pair of jeans, require that they get rid of some other clothes first (or even have them try and sell them, to make the money for the new jeans.)
Donate or Sell?
There are many places and ways to give things away. My friend, Katelyn, wrote an awesome post about different places to donate or sell old clothes. One thing to keep in mind is that most of the places that buy gently used clothes are very picky. They usually won’t take anything out of style, faded, or that may not be in mostly-new condition. These types of stores (like Plato’s Closet and Once Upon a Child) can be a great place to sell, though they aren’t the only option. Garage sales, Craigslist or Online Yard Sales, Instagram sales, etc. can also help you sell your clothes.
However, if you don’t want to go through the selling process – just donate them. There are many places that are glad to accept old clothes – from thrift stores like Goodwill, to companies that come by and pick them up (like ARC), to shelters for homeless or battered people. Your old clothes can be a great blessing to others.
During the winter, many are especially in need of warm clothing. There are more than 45 million Americans living in poverty! Most people seem to accumulate coats over time, and chances are, they stay in decent condition since they are only worn during a certain part of the year. Burlington has a great coat drive going on this year that allows you to donate any gently used winter coats and receive a 10% off coupon in return. This is a great time to go through your closet full of coats and find ones that your children have outgrown, you don’t like, or you don’t have any use for. When I was at my parent’s house the other night, we decided to make a family affair out of it. It kind of made me laugh to watch my parents and little brother decide which coats to give away. In the end they found five coats that fit the bill. Forrest and Jack delivered them to Burlington the next day. Here’s a little video about that experience. Share your experience with the hashtag #CoatNotes for a chance to have your video featured on Good Morning America.
Over the past seven years, more than 1.3 million coats have been donated to Burlington during their coat drive. By donating your gently used coats to Burlington, you are helping your local community because the coats go to those who live in the same community where the store is located! You can find a Burlington store close to you here.
Visit the Coat Drive site to learn more and where you can donate by 1/19/2015.
Burlington Stores sponsored this blog post. The opinions and text are all mine.
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.