Happy first day of Fall! There are a few activities that seem ubiquitous on nearly everyone’s autumnal agenda (extra large pumpkin-spice latte, please). One task that inevitably makes the list? Fall cleaning, a.k.a. the perfect excuse to give your closets a little TLC. While you’re swapping in your favorite sweaters and corduroys, why not take a critical look and consider how you can streamline and simplify by paring down your belongings.
Yes, that hypercolor t-shirt may have garnered envious stares in its day. We totally sympathize that you shelled out some serious cash for that designer jacket … during the Clinton administration. But hanging on to pieces you no longer need, wear, like or fit into isn’t doing you — or your closet — any favors. These items occupy valuable real estate, and they also can make it more difficult to find the pieces you really love. Here are a few tips for identifying clothing you can cast from your closet.
- Nix the formal wear you’ll never wear
One-time-wear bridesmaid dresses and formal menswear pieces are an easy place to start when cutting items from your closet. That goes for suit jackets in outdated cuts and colors, as well as prom dresses and other gowns that are more than a few years old, too. Cherish the photos and other keepsakes from the event, and not the dress itself. Just think of all the extra space it will free up in your closet when all that tulle is gone!
- Lay old costumes to rest
That masterful Halloween ensemble from a few years ago isn’t rising up from the dead to make another appearance, so why is it still taking up space in your closet? Even if it was a proud DIY project that you spent days making, let old costumes rest in peace by donating or recycling them. If you’re the type who keeps a costume box around, now’s a good time to consider whether six different pairs of animal ears, a couple of dusty wigs, and a rainbow tutu are really items you still need to have in your possession.
- Assess your go-to’s with fresh eyes
Sometimes you can opt for a favorite go-to item so often that you don’t even realize how common wear and tear has taken its toll. While this can give jeans an amazingly unique character and a lived-in feel, the same doesn’t quite apply to ripped, faded, bleach-stained or hole-filled t-shirts, jackets or dresses. Pass along your stained and worn out shirts before someone else notices how your once red shirt is now an undeniable “pinkish,” or can see skin you’re not trying to show.
- Ditch the aspirational and experimental items, along with the guilt
How long have you been holding on to items that will “look cute when I’ve lost 10 pounds…”? Ditch the aspirational someday clothes (and the accompanying guilt!) and make space for the everyday clothes that fit right and already make you look and feel great. This also applies to out-of-your-budget purchases and impulse fashion risks that seemed great in the moment, but never really caught on or felt quite right. Accept that lime green will never be your color, you’re done with your pantsuit days, and you’ll just never find the right occasion for that designer tube top. Admitting defeat can be freeing!
- Say thanks but no thanks
Friends and relatives may show their love in the form of socks, blouses, beaded purses, and brocaded belts, but passing along these generous gifts does not make you a bad person. Show your appreciation for the kind gesture but don’t feel obliged to keep it forever. The longer you hold on to it, the bigger the chance you might accidentally re-gift it back to them.
- Set a cap on pajamas and workout clothes
Old concert tees, shirts with logos of colleges you didn’t even attend, shorts from former sports team uniforms, and freebie giveaways…it’s a category of clothing that’s easy to accumulate. Don’t just keep items because “there’s nothing wrong with them,” set a limit to how many t-shirts and workout shorts you actually need, and donate the rest. Someone else can almost certainly benefit from the literal shirt off your back.
Now, what to do with all these clothes?
Environmentalists, sentimentalists, and frugal-ists, breathe a sigh of relief. We have good news. You can recycle your clothing and shoes (from any brand) by bringing it to a local Levi’s store and you’ll receive 20% off any full-priced item.
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