There are many practical reasons for choosing to reduce the number of clothes in your closet. Perhaps your style has changed and there’s not enough room in your closet for both your new clothes and your old ones. Or maybe you feel overwhelmed by having way too many clothes to choose from and you want to have an easier time deciding what to wear in the morning. No matter what your goal is for freeing space in your closet, you’re sure to find plenty of tips and tricks that can help you choose which pieces to keep and which to discard. What you should do with the clothing items that have lost their space in your closet, however, can also be a bit of a challenge.
What Can You Do With Clothes That You Can No Longer Wear?
Unfortunately, approximately 85 percent of textile waste discarded in the United States (approximately 17 million tons, according to some estimates) ends up in landfills. If you choose to dispose of your clothes by throwing them in the dumpster, then it’s highly likely that your old clothes will be occupying space in the landfills near your area. Sure, there are efforts that focus on recycling clothes, but consumers should also note that about 60 percent of the textiles in the world are made of plastic and are not recyclable.
If you are conscious about your personal impact on the environment, it’s best to extend the lifespan of your discarded clothes that you aren’t contributing to this growing problem. Moving forward, it’s also a better option to shop leggings, shirts, jeans, and other clothing pieces that are of higher quality and won’t end up in the trash after just a few uses, washes, or seasonal changes.
So, what do you do with the pile of clothes that you hardly use? You can opt to repair, replace, or donate them, of course. Let’s look at each choice.
Repair Clothes That You Still Love
Choosing to repair your clothes is an option that you can try out for pieces that you no longer wear because of small but fixable flaws. Perhaps you still love a particular T-shirt, hoodie, or pair of shorts, but you can no longer wear them because they have minor damage that will mess with your everyday look. Now, not every torn piece of clothing can be repaired. It’s important to take note that repairing clothes takes time and effort, which are resources that can be quite scarce in today’s fast-paced society. As such, you should evaluate each damaged item in your pile before making the commitment to repair them yourself or having them professionally altered.
If you have clothes that you still love but no longer fit your size, see if you can have them altered so that you can wear them again. Clothes that have more minor issues, such as a missing button or a small tear, can benefit from a bit of mending and patching up. Clothes with major damage, such as a large tear or a zipper that needs replacing, for example, will require more time and effort to fix. If you feel that you can’t commit to repairing these items in the foreseeable future, you can upcycle them or use portions of them for future sewing and other art projects.
Replace Clothes That Regularly Feature in Your Outfits
Depending on your personal style, you may have pieces of clothing that you wear more often than others. Perhaps you’re into dresses that you can easily style, or you are more into athleisure clothes that can be worn in your office as well as in the gym. If you wear a particular piece of clothing too often, then there’s a good chance that it will develop wear and tear faster than the rest of your wardrobe.
These clothes can get damaged from repeated use, or they may lose their finish and design due to constant stretching and washing. Of course, it’s an option to extend their lifespan by following instructions closely when washing and maintaining them. But once extensive damage has been done, then it’s high time to replace your favorite and frequently used clothing items. Meanwhile, the damaged clothes can be turned into tote bags, dropped off at an animal rescue center to be used as bedding, turned into rugs, or incorporated into various art projects.
If you prefer to replace your favorite clothes with something like the original, then you’ll have a better chance of finding a match by exploring the offerings from the same brand. Perhaps the brand still has stock of the exact same design that you love. Alternatively, the brand may also have new or improved versions of the clothes that you just discarded. Though it may look or feel similar, make sure to check your new garment’s quality and cleaning needs. This way, you can try to extend the life of the piece from the get-go and enjoy it for longer.
Donate Unwanted Clothes and Give Others the Chance to Enjoy Them
Clothes that are still of good quality but no longer represent your current fashion taste can be donated to charity or sold at a yard sale. Since these pieces of clothing no longer represent your style or serve your needs, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll wear them again. However, other people might appreciate these clothes and want to incorporate them into their own wardrobes.
Donating your clothes to charity or handing them down to a friend or family member is a great way to find additional space in your closet. If you want to recoup some of the cost of these clothes or need some cash to update your closet, then you can hold a yard sale. Separate your clothes for donation, add a price tag to the pieces you plan to sell, and make sure to announce your event on the community’s social media pages. Who knows? Some people in your neighborhood might appreciate the fashion choices that you made when you were younger.
Consider these options and give your old clothes a new lease on life instead of throwing them out. Perhaps you can give them away to others who appreciate their value, or you can repair them so that they can extend their service. Checking your closet regularly for garments that you need to repair, replace, or donate helps to ensure that all your clothes are wearable and that you dispose of unwanted clothes while minimizing your impact on the environment.