Autumn Closet Detox

Every year, as the weather jumps from humid and sweaty to bitterly cold, we Texans take its cue and scramble to prepare for winter during a small window of time: rediscovering our storage bins, relocating those ornaments and decorations, and repurposing our closets for cold temperatures. But nothing is more off-putting than pulling out your winter wardrobe…only to come face-to-face with an already overstuffed closet! With autumn in full swing, its time to ditch those out-of-season summer clothes and grab your donation box– because we’re about to detox your closet!

From Sentimental to Sustainable

The first step is always the hardest step, and in this case we begin our cleansing journey on an emotional note. Sentimental attachment to clothing is one of the main causes of clothes hoarding, and the consequence is always, without fail, an overstuffed closet!

Not only is severing ties with those worn, tattered, and downright unused clothes healthy for your mental wellness, it’s an opportunity to flex your sustainability muscles. Donating unwanted clothing and jewelry is a fantastic avenue for recycling these items while also reducing your carbon footprint (they’d end up in the landfill otherwise!).

Segregating Your Discard Pile

So you’ve finally come to terms with your overstuffed wardrobe…but now what? The thought of diving headfirst into a chaotic mess of fabric can make the process of choosing what stays and what goes seem impossible — so step back and remember the cardinal rule in closet detox: take it one category at a time. 

1. DONATE: The donation pile will mainly consist of out-dated and worn clothing/accessories that are in good enough shape to give to another person…but too out-of-season to try and sell. While overly used socks aren’t usually accepted (make sure they don’t have an odor!), you can always donate items such as pants, shirts, scarves, bags, belts, shoes, jewelry, skirts, etc. Donating is the most eco-friendly category, as well as the most charitable!

2. SELL/CONSIGN: Selling unwanted clothes to stores and consignment shops is a more lucrative option when discarding your wardrobe. Consignment shops choose the most fashionable and least damaged clothing from your pile to sell to other customers; if the item sells within a particular amount of time, you will receive a sum of money from the shop in return. These shops are usually picky, however, so expect to only have a few of your shirts or pants chosen! As for the fate of your unchosen items, simply donate them.

3. KEEP: “Keep” items are the clothing that you absolutely cannot live without. Once you comb through your wardrobe twice (filtering out the donate and sell items), these are the clothes that should still be hanging proudly!

**Tip: Try to filter out your categorized clothes in one day. Dragging this process out over the span of days and weeks can not only become tedious, but fruitless in the long run.**

A Closet Detox Test

But what if, even after all of this organizing, your closet is still too stuffed to fit your winter wardrobe? Be this your first or fifteenth round of closet detoxification, everyone needs some help combing through the “keep” pile. Thankfully the clothes hoarders of the past banded together to come up with a list of questions to test the resolve of your remaining wardrobe!

Lay out your leftover clothing and quiz yourself over each item:

  • Have I worn it in the past year?
  • Does it fit me now? (Now, not in a month if I lose a few pounds…)
  • Can any damage, stains, or smells be mended?
  • Can I wear it to more than one place/event?
  • Would I buy it again, at this moment? Or has my style changed?
  • Is it stretched out or shrunk?

When the Battle Is Done…

The key is to ignore any sentimental attachment while evaluating each piece. How many unused clothes have been merely repurposed into neglected PJs and permanent closet decor out of guilt (i.e., it was a gift), out of memory (“I bought it at a concert 4 years ago!”), or out of hope (i.e., that expensive gown you bought just incase of an invitation to a fairytale ball)?

The beauty of fashion is that the donation of old clothing always leaves room for a fresher, newer version of you. Your clothes and your style evolve as you do, and the satisfaction of a tamed, leaner closet space is a one-of-a-kind sensation. Once you’re able to fit those bulkier winter coats and sweaters into your closet with ease, you’ll quickly forget why you held onto that old wardrobe in the first place!