Sometimes going through your old clothes is fun, and feels like a great purge. Sometimes, it’s super stressful to try to make room in your closet or clean out your clothes before, say, in my example, a move to another state. Here are some tips to keep you sane, and help you get rid of your clothes.
1. Be ruthless. If you haven’t worn that dress in a long time, and can’t think of when you’ll wear it again, toss it. If you are hoping to fit into those jeans again, toss them. If you’re holding on to a top because you experienced a happy time in your life while wearing it, but haven’t worn it in a long time, toss it. Be ruthless. A lot of the time, clothing is easy to forget about (and fun to remember when you look back on old photos). But if you find an item of clothing in your closet and go “Oh! I forgot about this!” chances are, you forgot for a reason. Sure, every now and then you will re-discover an item that you will wear all the time. But make that the exception to the rule, and not the rule. Otherwise, what is the point of cleaning out your closet?
2. Don’t try stuff on. Often, the temptation when cleaning out your clothes is to stop and try stuff on that you haven’t worn in a while. But save that tactic for the items that you really think you’ll wear a lot. Taking the time to try on everything you haven’t worn in a while, and properly consider it, will double the time that you spend cleaning out your closet. And it will cause you to re-consider items that you won’t wear, and put them back in your closet. I have a black dress that I’ve literally never worn, but that I kept putting back in the closet because I’d try it on and fall in love with it again. And while it was a great dress, I don’t miss it, I didn’t need it, and I certainly didn’t need to waste time turn back and forth in front of the mirror trying to decide if I should keep it or not.
3. Think about classics. Even if you are ruthless and decide not to stop and try things on, you’re still going to come across items that will give you a long moment of pause. The best way to decide whether or not to keep them is to think about whether or not you really need it (do you have a lot of black dresses? do you really need another one), and whether or not it is a classic. Examine that item of clothing hard. Does it have some specifically trendy element about it that won’t hold up for too much longer? In the early 2000s I had a lot of tops with rhinestone studs on them. When cleaning out the closet a decade later (before I’d learned these skills), those were tossed in the trash can quickly. But the funny thing is that I considered throwing out a lot of those tops for years before it became obvious that they were out of style. Look at the clothing you have in front of you and think about whether or not it’s worth hanging onto something that may become dated later.
When you get a sizable chunk of clothes that you’re getting rid of, be sure to take them to the Goodwill. It can’t hurt to stop in and look at a few more dresses and tops.