Time for some spring “greening” – what to do with things you don’t wear

By Kate | Women
Posted Mar 25, 2013

How many times have you cleaned out your closet, dropped off heaps of things at the donation center, only to find yourself back in a cash register line thinking, “Didn’t I just get rid of one of these?” As the seasons change and we prepare for the bi-annual migration of the next season’s wardrobe, it’s time to take stock of this past season’s items and assess what you need and what to do with the rest. If you find items you haven’t worn at all this season (for most of us, that can be up to 22 pieces), before automatically following the ‘if you haven’t worn it in 6 months it must go’ adage, explore why you haven’t worn an item. Here are some of our tips for what to do with things you don’t wear.

Does it need mending or ‘pimping’ – many times items get relegated to the farthest corners of the closet because they need a simple mend or a bigger re-fix. Make some time on the weekend to get out your needle and thread and sew on those buttons or change them to give an old piece new ‘pop.’ For other items, would a new hemline or a switch from long sleeve to 3/4 sleeve make a difference? Get those items to the cleaners/tailors for a total reshape.

Was it a occasional item – like that caplet you only wear on special occasions or is a style you simple tired of – the cardigan just didn’t rock your boat this season. These items, although they didn’t get regular rotation, don’t need to go. It’s common to have a few items you wear only on occasion. If you part with them now, you know you’ll have to replace them when that occasion comes up again. Tuck them in with the rest of the seasonal lot and hold onto them.

Then there are those things you know you are ready to part with – like that navy striped top that you’ve been wearing like crazy this season, and the season before that, and the season before that. Put those items in the ‘things to donate’ bag. But hold off on the donation just yet.

In our house we do a ‘double staging’ for donated clothes; we take them out of rotation, throw them into a donation bag for 6 months and then re-examine if we really wanted to part with them or not. Usually, after a season in hiding some items in the donation bag, upon re-examination, we really aren’t ready to give up; looks like stripes will still be a staple item this spring so out of the donation bag and back into the wardrobe for that piece.

Many people are conditioned to get rid of items they haven’t worn for a season, but that continues a cycle of buying that isn’t sustainable. You don’t have to wear every piece, every season. Next week we’ll look at how to build your own capsule wardrobe from your own closet.

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