Almost everyone hates getting rid of old clothes – I know from firsthand experience. The act of giving away something that you paid for is painful. Even if a shirt looks hideous, you hold onto it. You think that maybe you’ll have an occasion where you’ll wear it in the future. Nine times out of ten, that never happens.
Instead, that ill-fitting blouse sits in your closet, and gets continually buried by more new clothes. These old, ignored pieces of clothing need to go. If you have trouble recognizing when it’s time to retire clothes, here are some signs to look out for.
1. It Doesn’t Fit
The next time you clean and organize your closet, try on some of your older clothes. Throughout the years, you may have gained or lost a little weight. The dryer may have even shrunk your clothes. Either way, you’ll soon realize that the shirt and jeans that once fit have become too big or too small.
Unfortunately, this happens to everyone. If this piece of clothing hasn’t fit in a while, then it’s time to bite the bullet and donate it.
2. You Spot Stains and Rips
Take a good look at your old clothes. Do you see any stains or small rips? Clothes with irreparable rips and permanent stains just aren’t worth keeping, as you likely won’t wear them in the future. Feel free to throw severely damaged clothes in the trash, and donate any salvageable items.
3. It Smells
This might sound gross, but old clothing is prone to become smelly. After your clothes sit in your closet or dresser for years, they begin to carry a musty scent.
While you can sometimes get that smell out by running your clothes through the washing machine a couple of times, this smell should tell you something – that you haven’t worn it in years! If you manage to remove the scent and you love the clothing piece, then keep it. Otherwise, it’s time to part ways.
4. Your Clothes Are Out of Style
Styles constantly change. Something that you wore five years ago has likely gone out of style. While style isn’t everything, you might feel comfortable wearing something that’s trendy.
You should also keep your personal style in mind as well. If something doesn’t suit the look you’re going for, just toss it.
5. It’s Uncomfortable to Wear
You have a sweater tucked away in the back of your closet that you wore only once. After experiencing the torment of itchy and scratchy fabric, you decided to never wear it again.
Just because something looks good doesn’t mean that it’ll feel good on your skin. Any clothes that pinch at your waist, are too tight around your arms, irritate, or just make you feel plain uncomfortable don’t belong in your closet. Comfort matters more than style.
6. Your Tastes Have Changed
This one is easy. You have clothes that you love wearing, and others that you don’t. Any article of clothing that you don’t absolutely adore shouldn’t have a place in your wardrobe.
7. Your Life Has Changed
As we go through life, we pick up different styles and clothing to suit our current circumstances. For example, your previous job might’ve required you to wear slacks and a dress shirt. If that’s the case, you probably have a section of your wardrobe dedicated to business casual clothes.
You don’t necessarily need to have all of those fancy clothes in your closet if you don’t wear them on a daily basis anymore. Pick and choose what you want to keep – give away everything else.
The same goes for other types of clothes as well. Don’t go to the gym as much as you used to? Cut down on those workout clothes.
8. You Haven’t Worn It in a Year
When it comes to getting rid of old clothes, the typical rule of thumb is to give away anything you haven’t worn in over a year. Not wearing certain pieces of clothing is a sign that you just don’t like it anymore. The only exception is more formal wear, such as a nice dress or suit, that you don’t wear as often. Check out our beginner’s guide to cleaning out your closet for more tips.
9. You Ran Out of Wardrobe Space
There comes a time when your collection of clothing gets too big. If you open your wardrobe only to find dozens of shirts strewn about with no extra hangers, it’s time to let go of some tops. Making your wardrobe a little bit more minimalist will help you save a ton of space for clothes that you actually love.
10. You’re Moving to a Different Climate
Is your wardrobe filled with bulky sweaters, sweatshirts, scarves, and other cold weather items? It might be time to get rid of your old clothes when you move to a completely different climate. If you’re going from snowy mountains to sunny beaches or vice versa, clean out what doesn’t make sense to make room for more appropriate clothing.
11. You’d Love Some Extra Cash
Not loving your wardrobe and want to start off fresh? This is a great reason to get rid of old clothes. Even better is if you also want some extra cash. You probably have numerous items that you’ve barely worn or you’ve take such great care of them that they still look like new. Consider selling your clothes to online or local consignment shops to earn some extra cash.
Take what you earn and create a wardrobe of items you’ll actually love wearing.
12. You’re Moving
Do you really want to fill up a new closet with clothes you never wear? If you’ve been putting off going through the items in the back of your closet, now’s the time. Instead of having to pack up more boxes to take with you, pack up some boxes for your local thrift shop instead.
Tip: Want to add some new clothes to your wardrobe without breaking the bank? Shop at these online thrift shops for affordable fashion.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if my closet is too small for what I have left?
If your closet is still busting at the seams, don’t worry. Divide your wardrobe into seasons. Then, compress clothes for other seasons and store them in the back of your closet. Never place leather, silk, cashmere, or wool in compression bags or it’ll ruin them.
You can also simply pack seasonal clothing in a box in your basement or attic, or rent a small storage space.
If my weight fluctuates often, should I still get rid of my old clothes?
If you know your weight fluctuates regularly, you’ll want to keep various sizes. However, still get rid of any items you don’t like or don’t ever wear. This makes more room for the clothes you do love.
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