A well-edited and organized wardrobe is something to envy. A few months ago, as I stood in front of mine, almost in tears, I felt shame and dread. I was ashamed. After all, I had no idea what was in there, and it was dreadful because I had not worn more than 90 percent of what was there in a long time. After all, it had been over three years since I edited my wardrobe. I had gotten to the point of tossing and donating. When I finally took all of it out and moved them to another room, much of the stuff I had not worn in almost five years. Other things include things I would never wear again, and I am unsure if I have ever worn them. The ill-fitted, the ultra-cheap, and the return I did not make all stood there looking at me.
Do you sometimes stand in front of your wardrobe and wonder how you accumulated so much stuff?
Our hungriness for new clothing has increased significantly over the past two decades, mainly because of fast fashion and online shopping. We buy stuff we do not need just because they are on sale or a new trend. But when we decide to elevate our lives or do something good for the planet, we must look at all areas of our lives, including our wardrobes. We are placed in a position where we have to decide whether to toss or donate items that no longer serve us or bring us joy.
Being an editor of our wardrobe or declutterer of our homes is not second nature to many of us, but you can become good at it. It can sometimes take a while to get there, but I promise you, you can. Editing my wardrobe took time, but I must say I got to the point where I enjoyed the process so much that I have now scheduled an edit in my calendar for every three months.
Getting rid of stuff is mentally exhausting, but with a mindset shift, patience, and a little prioritization, you can get to a place where you feel good about your final wardrobe edit while doing something good for your fellow human being. Although, we are still talking about Style here. I believe a well-edited and organized wardrobe is the perfect place to begin; read on for tips to get started.
Tips to get started
Know why you want to edit your wardrobe. How will it make you feel when it is completed? Will it make your life easier? Question your intention.
Make a list of all the things you need for your new well-edited wardrobe. One that you love and will enjoy for a long time. Then brainstorm and list items you think you currently have [we all have more than we think we do]. Finally, cross-check both lists and determine which things you must keep and why. I found this an excellent exercise because now I know what I have and need. Therefore any shopping I do in the future will be intentional, and the things I buy will be what I need to complete my list.
Start with one place.
Editing or decluttering is an exhausting process. Therefore, taking your time, giving yourself grace, and practicing patience are best. Start with a drawer or shelf, and then go from there. If it feels overwhelming, begin in a place that will require the least amount of effort. This is an excellent way to start.
Hit the reset button.
Sometimes it is best to pull the bandaid off. Remove everything from your wardrobe and take it to another room. After a flurry of removal, you will have the ability to start over. Seeing the progress of a cleared area gives you momentum to go through the pile of stuff you just removed, making it is easier to toss or donate the items no longer needed.
Before we get to the things you should toss or donate, there are a few things I would like to discuss. First, it would help if you kept the items below in mind each time you are at the crossroads of tossing or donating.
So what should you do or not do when donating?
If an item in your wardrobe no longer serves you or brings joy but can be valuable to someone else. You can also decide to resell the item online or donate it to charity or goodwill.
So, then the question becomes what to donate and where. And what things are the best to donate and what things are not. For example, do you Donate the beloved red pumps you no longer want, or do you throw them away? Are those red pumps so worn out and shabby that you will no longer wear them yourself? Then that is a definite toss.
Always ask yourself, “does this have any value left that another person can take
advantage of?” If the answer to that question is yes, do not toss it. Donate it instead. Donating is a beautiful way to help others out, but if the item is not in a condition where you would wear it yourself, do not give it to another person. Be kind and donate gently used items that respect the recipient’s dignity.
What Items Should You Donate?
- Any clothing that is in decent shape but you no longer want,
- shoes, sneakers, and boots that are in good shape
- and gently worn Costume jewelry.
What Items Should You toss?
When considering whether to donate or toss an item, remember that if it has no value to you or anyone else, then tossing it in the trash is best. Things that are falling apart or worn out, or if you ask yourself, “who would want this piece of junk?” Then it is likely that you should toss it.
- Clothing that is falling apart,
- anything that you believe holds no value for anyone,
- cheap, trendy, torn, or stained things,
- worn out shoes
- and broken jewelry.
We all overconsume and should try to do our part to become more sustainable. Unfortunately, donating the clothing and accessories we no longer need is not the perfect situation. And we are nowhere close to having the ideal solution for our overconsumption. However, we can each do our part and donate ethically.
According to the NYC Department of Sanitation, we collectively send 200 million pounds of textile waste annually to landfill. But an estimated 95 percent of this landfilled clothing has market value and could be recycled. So choosing to donate is a good thing.
Americans already donate so much used clothing; U.S. thrift stores can resell only 20 to 40 percent. So while we are trying to do our part, here is how we can shop more sustainably. We can buy fewer, better pieces of fashion so that your future wardrobe edits will yield fewer, better donations.
Donate specific items to New Yorkers in need.
There are two main kinds of clothing donations. The first is “in-kind,” when you get your clothing into the hands of New Yorkers in need. And the second is clothing donation for resale.
“In-Kind donations can be given to organizations like:
- The autumn coat drive for the homeless
- spring prom dress drives
- Dress for Success for office-appropriate clothing for women
- Career Gear for men
- Room to Grow for Baby Clothing
- Bridal Garden for wedding gowns
- Free the Girls for Bra
Clothing donations for resale
Unlike Dress for Success, nonprofit thrift shops like the Salvation Army and Goodwill aim not to give your old clothes away to the needy. Instead, they sell your clothing to fund their services. Therefore, selling a top or dress for $5.00 will be more valuable to someone in need than that dress or top. For example:
- Housing Works sell used clothing to fund lifesaving services for homeless and low-income people affected by HIV/AIDS.
- Cure Thrift Shop does it to send funds to type 1 diabetes research and advocacy.
I was hoping you could use the listed resources and pass them along to friends and families. I also donate to St Mary’s clothing drive.
Donation etiquette tips
Please do not donate soiled, smelly or moldy clothing. It is not okay to do that. Store donations in a dry place until it is picked up or dropped off. It is also polite to wash or dry clean your donation if it needs it, I called around and most charitable organizations can not and do not launder every donation that comes in.
The six-month rule
I would be a hypocrite if I did not include my six-month rule. The six month rule is one of the best ways t o purge your cloths because it can be used in two ways. As I edited my wardrobe, there were items that I removed that I was not ready to donate, and it would have been a waste to toss them. So I created the six-month rule. First, I bought a storage bin from Target to store those items. I then scheduled in my calendar a date six months in the future to revisit those items. At that time, I will re-evaluate them to determine whether or not I will donate them.
Secondly, if you have not worn something in the last six months, chances are you are never going to wear it again and it is best to toss it.
I know it was a lot of information, but we are finally here, toss or donate these items from your wardrobe now.
Here is a list of 20 items to toss or donate from your wardrobe.
- Your worn-out bras. You know, the ones you have been holding onto because they were expensive, but they no longer offer the girls any support. I get it bras are costly, but we need to change our bras every few months for optimal fit and support.
- Stretched-out underwear. You know, the ones that are comfy but they stretched out. Yes, toss them now.
- Scuffed shoes. Overly worn shoes, peeling, scratched, or scuffed.
- Jeans that do not fit. You know, the jeans that dig into your skin or roll down. The unflattering ones. There are jeans for every body type, but it takes effort to find them. I am living proof that it will take trying many, many, many pairs of jeans to find the right ones. But, I believe it is worth the effort. I am looking for my perfect pair; I know it is out there.
- Bridesmaids dresses. You know the ones you promised to alter so that you can wear them again. You will never adjust it, trust me, so donate it.
- Your wedding dress. Hear me out, this is one of those items you do not need to toss or donate, but you do need to take out of your wardrobe. Get it cleaned and store it well.
- Anything that does not fit you right now. That pile of clothing that you are waiting to wear when you lose that extra ten pounds, you can store it or donate it; however, you have to remove them from your wardrobe. Follow the six-month rule.
- Anything that misrepresents you or your lifestyle. We all go through seasons in our lives; with those seasons, we accumulate things such as clothing, associates, and so much more. However, as we enter other seasons, those things become a misrepresentation of who we are: our personality or aesthetics.
- Clothing from another life. For me, this is my life in extra frumpyville, they were so comfy but started to make me feel bad about myself, and I needed to let them go. For you, it could be corporate clothing from the 9 to 5 corporate job you quit.
- Jewelry you no longer love or are broken.
- Extra frumpy clothing. We need frumpy clothing. Frumpy clothes help us feel safe and comfy, especially in the colder months. But you do not need five or six sets of this kind of clothes? I think two or three sets are a good number.
- Impractical clothing. Remember extra bell sleeves? They got into everything, my food, cocktail, and the sink whenever I washed my hands. Please get rid of them.
- Broken embellished clothing. Beaded items, sequins items, etc. I know these items can be expensive, but if they are broken, toss them.
- Damaged clothing. Toss any stained and torn items with missing buttons or hanging strings.
- Painful Shoes. I know you have a few pairs.
- Shoes you have not worn in five years or more [I know you have some]. My friend Rozebud’s Gucci heels fell apart at dinner, which was hilarious. She had not worn them for over six years, and they had dry rotted.
- Mismatched socks. No need to explain. We all have some. It is time we toss them.
- Broken sunglasses. Stop gluing them together or placing scotch tape like my friend Viv [she is okay with me telling you this and has promised to toss hers if you do].
- NWT [new with tags] items. You know the things you purchased in your wardrobe with the tags. That pretty blouse you were sure you needed but have not worn, and it has been over a year? Yes, those items, I had a bunch. Some could not fit, so I donated them, but for the ones that did fit, I promised myself I would wear them at least once, and If I still liked them, I would keep them. If I did not, I would donate them. I kept my promise, held a pair of pants, and donated the other eight pieces.
- Clothes you will never repurchase [because of Style, color, shape, etc.]. For example, I had a mint green Zara shirt with shoulder pads that I purchased because it looked beautiful on an influencer. But, unfortunately, it did not look very good on me. So I would never repurchase anything in that color or Style. And although I paid more than I would like to admit, I donated it.
And there, you have 20 things you can toss or donate from your wardrobe. Do you have anything to add to our list? Comment below and let us know.