Closet Clean-out

My last post touched on what to do with your UFOs but what if you don’t sew?  A large majority of people have a closet stocked full of clothing that they don’t wear.  We keep things because we spent a lot of money on them, they have sentimental value, we think we will fit them again someday, and sometimes we keep things just because.  There are dozens of reasons to hang on to an item of clothing but unless you are actually wearing it, there is no good reason to keep them.

So lets clear out the closet.  Depending on how full your closet is, I would suggest setting aside at least one full day to do this.  The first thing to do is take everything out of your closet and dressers and lay them out.  It may be easier to do this in a large open room so if you have a small bedroom, take it all down to the living room.

The next thing to do is separate into two piles.  Be honest with yourself when doing this.  The first pile is going to be the stuff you wear regularly and by regularly I mean at least once every two weeks.  These items must fit and must be in good condition.  Don’t try to fool yourself by thinking that you might want to wear that item tomorrow when you haven’t worn it in over a month and it doesn’t matter if you are still 5lbs from fitting those jeans you wore every day before the kids came along.  Be honest and be harsh.  The second pile will, obviously, be everything else.  Once you have your first pile sorted, fold it up and put it away, keeping a mental stock of what you now have in your closet (or keep it set aside if you need the visual reminder).

Next we tackle that huge pile of clothing that is left over from the first sort.  This is where you need to keep in mind what is in your closet now.  Go through the pile and sort it out into one pile that fits and one that doesn’t.  It doesn’t matter if it’s in style, or if you haven’t worn it in years, just sort it out.  Set aside the pile that doesn’t fit, we’re now going to sort the pile that does fit.

Go through the pile and sort out anything that is not in good or wearable condition.  By this I mean anything that has holes, faded colours, is threadbare, has broken zippers or missing buttons etc.  Next you want to take a good look at each item and decide if it will fit in with your current wardrobe or not.  Try to set aside any feelings of sentiment.  If there was anything in this pile that fits with your current wardrobe and you will definitely wear, fold it up and put it away.  From what is left, if you have anything that would fit with your current wardrobe and all it needs is a quick fix, like replacing the zipper, you can put it aside in a fix pile.

Now it’s time to decide what to do with everything that is leftover.  The obvious would be to donate anything that is in wearable condition (no holes, fades or broken closures) to good will.  You can then flesh out your wardrobe with a shopping trip.  While I’m all for the shopping trip and who wouldn’t be, if you are trying to save some money you may consider going through the pile to see if there is anything else that is salvageable.  $10 + cost of zipper is usually way cheaper than buying a new skirt or pant.  Some things you need to take into consideration, however, are your sewing skills (if you plan to take this on by yourself), time, and necessity.  If you plan to do any fixing/altering on your own you will need to have both some sewing skill and the time to complete your projects.  Again, you need to be honest with yourself.  If you don’t see yourself being able to fix/alter on your own, then you have the option to take your stuff to a seamstress.  Also consider whether it is really necessary to fix that skirt or put new buttons on that jacket.  Just because it may fit in your wardrobe doesn’t mean you need it.  Who really needs 5 black blazers anyhow?

Tired yet?  Take a break, have a cold drink and something to eat.

Now that your closet is cleaned out you have three options for all the left over clothing.  Option one would be to simply pack it all up and make a trip to the local good will store.

Option two would be to have a clothing swap.  Never been to or heard of one?  It’s pretty simple.  Pick a night to get together with a group of your girlfriends, the more, the merrier and the better the clothing selection.  Tell everyone to clear out their closet of anything they aren’t wearing or don’t want and this can include shoes and accessories too.  It doesn’t matter if everyone is the same size, chances are someone has lost/gained weight and has something that will fit someone else in the group.  You can be organized and sort everything out by sizes/styles, draw number to see who goes first etc, or simply dump everything in the middle of the room and dive in, just make sure to have some wine and snacks available. 😀  Once everyone has picked out what they want, everything else is packed up and taken to good will.

Option three is a little more involved so I’ll write a separate post about it but this is where you can get creative.  Take stock of each item of clothing you have leftover from your closet clean out and decide whether it can be repurposed.  Maybe you have a dinner party coming up and that old bridesmaid dress could be remade into a cute cocktail dress.  Perhaps you have children, the younger the better since they love anything you make for them, and that old pair of jeans or that huge corduroy skirt could easily be cut into a pair or two of  new pants for your toddler.  There are hundreds of options if you take the time to consider them.

I hope this has been helpful and if you are in the Kitchener/Waterloo area, remember I’m available to do repairs and alterations for you!

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