March 21, 2013

Clean Sweep

When a new season rolls around I usually find my drawers and closet busting at the seams. I try to take out time to look through my clothes and donate what I don’t wear anymore. This makes room for new purchases. About a month ago I decided I was tired of having to shove my clothes in my closet and drawers and wanted it to be easier to access and look at. I came out with a large pile of clothes, shoes and accessories I was ready to part ways with.

I am usually one to donate my clothes, but this year since I am raising funds to go on a mission trip to India I put it out on facebook to all my friends and fellow college students that I was selling clothes. I priced items very low and still made a significant amount. I still recommend donating over selling, but since desperate times call for desperate measures..selling on social media was a great outlet.

Here are some tips I have come up with along the way that may help you and encourage you to do a clean sweep in your closet.

 –Take out time to clean. It is difficult to plan how long it will take to clean out your closet, so take a day and if you have time left at the end of the day…reward yourself with some tea.

Motivate yourself. Put on a feel good movie, television show via hulu or netflix or just some good tunes to motivate you.

Try to stay organized. I say try because when cleaning out a closet, things can tend to get out of hand quickly. Make piles for keep or donate/sell (whichever you decide) as well as piles to put away for the next season. Have two trash bags handy for trash as well as donations.

-Ask yourself questions. Asking yourself simple questions like “When was the last time I wore this?” “Will it come back in style?” “Is this worn out?” “Do I enjoy wearing this?” will ease your experience and aid your difficult decisions, if I am having a hard time deciding if I want to keep it or not I usually just put it in the donate pile because I will usually have the same difficulty if I am contemplating wearing it.

 -If you haven’t worn it in the last season, you probably wont wear it in the next season. This goes for sweaters you always bypass while getting dressed and shoes you don’t think goes with anything. If I haven’t worn a sweater all winter, I am not going to pack it away for the following winter. I usually donate.

-Think of others while sorting through clothes. If you have ever heard a friend gush over your bag or dress…remember those moments and see if they would like to take it off your hands.

Keep basics. Only if they aren’t worn out or ratty. If they are, donate them (or throw them away if it is a point of no return) and invest in new basics. This goes for: leggings, undershirts, solid color cardigans and button ups.

-Reuse & Upcycle. If there is a sweater or shirt you just wish you liked a little more, try putting your own spin on them. For example, if you like that sweater but it is getting old, add studs to it. If there is a shirt you think is cute but want it to be a little more on-trend, cut the sleeves out. There are plenty of upcycling tutorials online, I also love to find inspiration for upcycling on Urban Outfitter’s Urban Renewal.

Box it up. Since I have limited amounts of space, I put away spring/summer clothes in the fall & winter. This frees up room as well as makes it a surprise to open up the boxes and see clothes I forgot about.

-Keep things fresh. To make sure you take good care of the clothes you have, give them a good wash and when they are just sitting in drawers keep afresh smelling satchet in the drawer. Here is a great tutorial to make your own.

Clean before you donate. Be courteous and clean your clothes before you donate them. This is a small gesture that makes everything nicer. Hey…maybe even iron them;)

Weigh the difference: donating vs. selling. Personally, I enjoy donating more than selling but selling is a great option when you are looking to freshen up your wardrobe. You can sell in a pop-up shop on your blog, instagram account, ebay or even just let your friends know you are selling some clothes.  Everything is a learning experience, so maybe try out both donating then selling and see what you like best. Look at your own situation and decide for yourself what you want to do: donate or sell. If you do decide to sell, a good idea is make a free basket and fill it with items people can grab if they buy something.

I hope these come in handy and encourage you to clean out your closet. Don’t get overwhelmed, just take a day out of your week and take it one step at a time.