Cleanse Your Closet

Spring is (attempting) to be in the air. The flowers are blooming, the trees are budding, and your closet is bulging. As winter rolls out, you are prepping for spring: waxing, tanning, and losing those extra five pounds your sweater could easily hide, but a tank top cannot! But as you cleanse yourself from the winter blues, do not overlook the largest elephant in the room. This elephant come is every color and disguises itself in minis, camis, slacks, dresses, and accessories. The elephant? The content of your closet!
Filled with trendy has-beens and “I used to fit into those” items, our closets have become a fashion graveyard. There are the 80’s and 90’s trends like the mid-drifts Brittney Spears and Sabrina the Teenage Witch made popular. Then there are the ghastly Christmas sweater Grandma Betty gave you FOUR YEARS AGO! These clothing “ghosts” are haunting you and are holding you back from becoming the true Fashionista you know you are. Luckily for you, it is a problem that can easily be fixed!
When a person walks into his/her closet and proclaims, “I have absolutely NOTHING to wear”, they might be stretching the truth just a tad. Because unless you are homeless and do not have a closet, chances are you do have something to wear, just nothing you want to wear. Being in college and on a shoe string budget, how can you justify purchasing new items when your closet is already full of (you fill in the blank)? Going with the spring theme, why don’t you spring clean your closet?
Step inside that big black hole. Take a look around. What do you see? Four white tees that all look the same? Six pairs of jeans, half of which you will fit into again…one day? Oh yeah, and do not forget that ridiculous snowman sweater from Grandma. Whether you want to admit it or not, you do not wear half of these items. Here’s a quick rule of thumb for separating the weeds from the flowers. If you 1) have not worn the article of clothing in a year or more, 2) no longer fit into the item, or 3) bought the item when it was a trend, which has since gone out of style…you need to remove those items from your closet.
Congratulations, you’ve overcome the first hurtle! But we are not finished yet! If you are like me, you weeded out about half of your closet. Now what? If you want to be honest, you should probably go through your clothes ONE MORE TIME. You’d be surprise the extra ten or so items you will pull out. Now that you’ve weeded, it is time to organize. You need to find the best way to organize for you. Fashion experts (I’m talking the writers of Vogue, InStyle, and Cosmo) recommend pairing clothes by colors – put all the reds together, the pinks together, etc., and arrange from one end of the color spectrum to the other. Personally, the ROY G BIV color scheme leans on the overachieving side and makes my closet feel more like a Forever XXI then my personal closet. Others recommend arranging the clothing by types: pants, shirts, jackets, tops, etc. And if you want to get really OCD, you can separate each category into sub-categories. For example, separate your tops by casual, date night, etc … this may come from a tad of experience.
No matter how you arrange your closet, there are still those bad habits that tend to linger. For example, you have a “really cute top” that has been sitting in your closet…for six months…with the price tag still on! You’re on a budget, remember? And don’t give me, “but I just haven’t had an occasion to wear it yet” excuse. Don’t keep price tagged items for more than two weeks. If you haven’t worn it by then, take it back! Use the money on items you will actually use. For example, it is wiser to purchase (and even spend more) on timeless key pieces, like gray, white, and black T’s, tailored slacks, pencil skirts, black sling-back shoes, a comfy pair of neutral flats, and of course a great pair of jeans, that can be worn again and again and again, then to waste money on trendy pieces that won’t last for more than one or two seasons. If you have your key pieces in neutral tones (any variation of grays, whites, browns, blacks), then use your accessories to vamp up the color, change the look, or even be trendy. A crazy patterned scarf from Target will cost you way less than the Ugly Betty style poncho that didn’t last more than one or two winters.
The second bad habit all women tend to do is hold on to their skinny clothes hoping to one day to fit into them. Although you were once a size zero before puberty took a hold of you and gave you hips, holding onto those cherished jeans, will not motivate you to lose the extra 10 pounds you’ve been trying to lose for three years now. In a study published in Fitness magazine, it was found that holding onto your “skinny clothes” can really mess with your mind. Instead of inspiring you to drop the weight, it actually encourages you to head back to the fridge for a second helping of every girl’s best friend and worst enemy…Ben and Jerry. You look at your “thin clothes” and realize you can’t fit into them anymore, thus hating yourself more, thus turning on the emotional eating part of your brain. And as in the size 0 circumstance above, it just might be physically impossible for you to EVER fit into those clothes again. So why beat yourself up? Don’t you think you deserve new clothes when you reach your goal weight instead of fitting into has-been jeans?
Ok, we are almost there, one last hurtle to go! You stand back and look at your amazingly awesome organized closet. It looks fantastic! Then you turn around and nearly trip over your “rejects” pile. Oh, great. Now what? First and foremost, do not go through the pile again and find “old friends” that you are tempted to keep! You need to get rid of them. But how? There are three easy ways to do so. 1) Donate them 2) Sell them or 3) Give them to your friends.
The perks of donating your used clothes (in good condition, of course) to places like Catholic Charities, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and Community Services League, is that you get a tax write off! Although your Christmas sweater won’t give you an overflowing bank account, it will give you enough pocket change to make a difference. Two summers ago I did an experiment. Would I get more monetary value if I sold my used clothes at a garage sale or if I donated them? Answer, DONATE! Surprisingly, the value I received from the tax return was GREATER than what I’d get at a garage sale…plus I didn’t have sit to sit in my sauna of a garage for three days with smeary makeup and frizzy hair. Not only does your wallet weigh a few extra pounds, there is someone out there that is so grateful for your generosity. So, in essence, you are fulfilling your “do a good deed a day” quota as well! As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
Selling/consigning your clothes is another option for getting rid of your closet rejects. Places like Plato’s Closet, and Pete ‘n’ Repeat are great places to sell your used clothes. I will warn you, they do not take everything and usually the cash you receive is a lot less than you expected. For example, for a $90 pair of shoes (practically new) I received fifteen dollars. You can also sell your clothes on Amazon or eBay. Typically, people are looking for designer on those websites, but if you’ve got a killer pair of pumps that you no longer wear, someone might just eat them up!
Now that the weeds are gone and your closet is a ROY G BIV of flowers, I’d say my work here is done! You have spring cleaned your closet and in essence, your mind. You’ll be amazed next time you walk into your closet and find you actually do have something to wear (or that you can find the top you were looking for this time!) And, bonus…you even made some money on your old clothes…just enough to buy some new accessories. Ahhh, don’t you love a good spring cleaning!?
~Girl in the Pink Shoes