Does your closet contain a bridesmaid's dress circa 2000 or jeans you haven't worn since Girbaud was cool?
Next time there's a rainy afternoon forecast, it might be a good time for a little spring closet clean-up.
Line up some good tunes, set aside a couple of hours, and recognize that you will likely experience these "10 Emotional Stages of Cleaning Out Your Closet."
As you fold up your winter duds and resurrect last year's spring/summer wardrobe, ask yourself these questions:
- Did I ever wear this last season?
- Am I likely to ever wear this again?
- Does this fit me well? (NOW. Not twenty pounds from now.)
- Do I feel pretty, confident, or powerful when I wear this?
- Is this item in good condition?
- If I was shopping right now, would I buy this?
- Is this item in keeping with current trends or my own personal style?
If the answer to two or more of these questions is "no," why are you hanging onto the item? If you have trouble with this kind of thing, enlist the help of a friend whose style sense you trust to decide what should go.
As you go along, make a shopping list. Faded or frayed staples will need to be replaced—and what about that skirt you've never worn because you don't have the right top to go with it? Take pictures of items that might be tricky to pair items with, or difficult to describe to retail clerks.
Think about how you might repurpose items that have sentimental value, but you don't wear anymore. If you're crafty, use old bridesmaids dresses for decorative pillows or create a quilt from all of your 10K T-shirts (or find a company that does).
Before you go "donating" all of your castoffs to your local resale shop, keep in mind that the standards for what will be accepted vary from venue to venue. Some will only accept "gently used" items, and dropping off anything that doesn't fit that description could actually create an expense for the organization, which must pay for disposal. For guidelines, check the organization's website.
Two local organizations are happy to take your clothing, no matter how out-of-date or distressed:
North Kent Community Services in Rockford accepts clothing in any condition, as well as handbags, shoes, and accessories. Useable clothing is featured in its marketplace, designer and high-end pieces are sold through local resale shops to help support NKCS' food pantry, and damaged clothing is sold to be recycled into rags or insulation, or sent to developing countries.
Goodwill Industries in Grand Rapids also participates in an extensive recycling program, and will accept broken toys and electronics, ripped clothing, shoes, and many other items, with the exceptions of tires, large appliances, mattresses, paint, car batteries, and electric heaters.
Written by: Jennifer Reynolds is the staff writer at West Michigan Woman.