Spring Cleaning: Wardrobe Edition

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If you’ve been staring at an overflowing closet of hoodies, scarves and dresses recently, it may be time to spring — spring, get it? — into action. That’s right, folks. It’s mid-May and it’s time to kick that spring cleaning into full gear.

No reason to be overwhelmed. There isn’t a rule book for spring cleaning. You weren’t required to start on March 20th (i.e., the “official” first day of spring, in case you missed it because it was still snowing), nor do you need to pull a Disney Movie Moment by performing a choreographed dance while sweeping the floors and singing upbeat ballads with local rodents. You don’t even need to physically clean your home. Spring cleaning can take many forms, from decluttering your weekly schedule to a deep scrub of your bathroom grout. Spring is the time to check off those projects and prepare for a productive and stress-free summer. At the top of my list for Spring Cleaning 2018? Tackling my closet and dresser drawers.

This year, I decided to embark on a full clothing overhaul without spending a lot of money on new clothes. Instead, I sought to rediscover items hiding in the back of my closet, take inventory of what I already owned and purge any clothing that was ripped, shrunken, faded, or simply no longer my style.

In short, my three wardrobe detox goals were to:

  1. Give away or donate clothes that I wasn’t wearing due to fit or style
  2. Throw out damaged or worn-out clothing
  3. Figure out which staple pieces were missing from my closet and compile my spring shopping list

First, I removed every single piece of clothing from my drawers and sorted it into categories. I made four piles: (1) Keep, (2) Donate, (3) Garbage, and (4) Replace. Then I sifted through the “replace” pile and wrote down the brand and size of each item. This pile consisted of items that I liked but couldn’t actually wear because they were too old, too small or damaged. Once I wrote up my list of items to buy, I divvied up the “replace” pile between the donation bag and the trash, depending on the condition of the clothes.

spring cleaning

After I had gone through everything, I had about 70% of my clothes in the keep pile, 25% of my clothes in a donation bag, and 5% in the garbage.

Tip: Only throw away unwearable clothes. The pieces that no longer fit or are no longer your size but are still in good condition can be donated, given to friends, or higher quality items can be resold. You can resell your own items on a site like eBay, or give those items to a resale shop and let them handle the rest for a cut of the final sale price.

The second part of my wardrobe overhaul was the shopping — and unfortunately, I’m on a budget. I am still on this step, as buying new clothes can take a while when you’re looking for n item that fits the bill but is also affordable or on sale. Fortunately, sorting through all of my clothing before I started shopping enabled me to take inventory of the items I already had, so I know that I’m not wasting money on clothes that I don’t really need. I can focus my shopping on the clothing items I need to replace plus any new staple pieces I want to add to my wardrobe.

Sorting through my clothing before buying any new pieces also helped me to realize where I had gone wrong in the past. In previous years, I purchased inexpensive clothing in an attempt to save money, but most of that clothing was of poor quality. In hindsight, making the decision to invest in some well-made pieces would have saved me money in the long run. Instead, I’ve been stuck replacing the same items year after year, spending more money on low-quality crap and creating more waste.

Cleaning out your closet can feel like a daunting task, but it’s totally worth it. It feels great to know exactly what I have in my wardrobe and what I’m looking to purchase. I no longer have to waste time digging through a heap of “perfectly-fine”-but-not-quite-right tank tops trying to find one of the five that I actually wear on a regular basis.

spring cleaning

There is no official rule book for spring cleaning — it’s all about getting in touch with your surroundings and how they are making you feel. Look around you and make a list of all of those little projects that are so easy to put off in the day-to-day, then start checking each one of them off your list. Organize your medicine cabinet, deep clean your refrigerator, hang a few more sturdy hooks in the hallway closet — you may be surprised how much better you feel every day when those tiny stressors are no longer present.

First and foremost, the act of spring cleaning is about refreshing and decluttering the world around you, because it will enable you can focus on channeling as much of your energy as possible on positive and productive endeavors in the months ahead. I cannot tell you how many months passed as I looked at my wardrobe every day, thinking, “Oh, I’ll get to that tomorrow.”

Now that my clothes are finally sorted, I feel an immense amount of stress lifted. I love how my apartment looks less cluttered, and ALL of the clothes in my wardrobe are things I actually want to wear! Best of all, I’m able to put my energy into a more productive shopping process, focusing on affordable quality. It feels good to know that I’m spending my money wisely this time around — when you’re on a budget, it’s a lot more enjoyable making conscious and well-informed purchasing decisions.

So, there you have it! My 2018 Spring Cleaning: Wardrobe Edition. Leave a comment telling us what you’ve decided to tackle this spring, and let us know if you have any other tips on how you get organized and prepared for summer! Sunshine and beaches, here we come!

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