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Do You Need to Clean Out Your Closet of Unneeded Clothes? Here’s How to Go Through the Process


We get it. Things happen and you just might be that person that buys too many clothes and falls victim to online shopping at 10:30 pm on a Thursday night. It happens and you’re only human, right?

Members of the Millennial and Gen-Z population are notoriously bad for buying too many clothes and eventually we run out of space to fit it all. That’s why our rooms are overflowing with clothes we’ve tried out (but didn’t like enough to wear out), our closet doors can’t fit around the number of hangers holding items we need to keep, and dresser doors are busting at the seams with things we had to sift through to find that perfect shirt that went great with the new pants you purchased.

But what do you do when it becomes too much and you need to make a change? Here’s what you should do, according to an expert in the clothing and fashion industry:

Get organized

For this article we had the chance to talk with Jackson Cunningham, Founder of JJ Suspenders. JJ Suspenders were founded in 2014 and are a popular men’s suspenders online, as well as in hundreds of boutique stores around the world. JJ Suspenders are created using unique fabrics, high-quality detailing, and real leather – a contrast to the mass-produced and low-quality suspenders found elsewhere. With skinny, leather, classic, and formal suspender styles to choose from, there’s a unique suspender for just about everyone.

Cunningham is one of the two founders of this brand and has obviously become knowledgeable on the clothing industry through his 8+ years working with JJ Suspenders.

For those people who are in need of clearing out some clothes, the first step is to organized he says.

“You can’t just start firing clothes this way and that. You need to set up a system and create a plan for how you’re going to tackle the project of cleaning out some of your clothes or you could end up with a bigger mess than what you started with.”

He recommends the following steps:

(1) Sort your clothing by item and start with one specific area. For example, get all your shirts together in one place. Do the same for pants, shorts, shoes, socks, underwear, etc.

(2) Create piles for each decision. Ie: A pile for items you’re keeping, a pile for items you’d like to get rid of, and even a pile for the items you’re unsure of.

(3) Completely clear out each section so you can get right to the bottom of that area. You’ll feel better about it. Once you’ve gotten through everything and have it all sorted in whatever pile you feel it fits in, take the items you want to keep and begin to find a place for them.

(4) Try your best to create areas that can be easily organized. Just an empty closet doesn’t give you much room to organize things. Instead, use totes, bins, drawers, hangers, and cubbies as a way to keep things separate and sort things as much as possible.

(5) Don’t throw things in randomly. You should clean them, fold them, and organize them neatly so things are easier to sort through and can be found easier without too much pain. Be creative and take pride in how neat things are as you find a spot for them. These are items you are keeping, so each piece deserves a home.

What to do with items you don’t want?

“Do not be wasteful with your clothing, even if there are items you don’t want to keep,” says Cunningham. “There’s always an option for what you can do with the pieces you don’t want, so be patient with them before just discarding them.”

Some smarter options for the items you don’t want include:

  • Friends and family who could use the items and might be interested. Make sure you emphasize your desire to see the clothing be used rather than discarded when asking them if they’d like the clothing.
  • Donate it to a thrift store. Look into the thrift store and see where the money goes. If it’s a community store, then it might be beneficial to donate your clothing there so they can sell it at a reasonable price to others who need it.
  • Donate it to an organization that provides clothing to people in need. These are in every city and many organizations do an excellent job in sharing clothing, food, and other necessary items with members of your community who could use it.
  • Gift it. Chris Trembath of Dynamic Gift provided some insight into the idea of gifting second-hand clothing and believes it is a wonderful idea, if the items are in usable shape and you have a relationship with the person that fits with this action. Many people would love to be gifted some new clothing for a birthday or celebration and, with vintage clothing being so popular these days, it could be a slam dunk!

A quick guide to making decisions on items

Some people really struggle to make decisions when sorting through their clothing. And many people are so bad at making decisions on their clothing that they could finish their clean up and still have almost as many items as when they started.

A quick way to make decisions on those ‘maybe’ items is as follows:

  1. Make a pile for any ‘maybes’ you have.
  2. After you’re done with everything, take a break and come back to the ‘maybe’ pile once more with a fresh eye and make yourself be a little tougher through your decision-making process then you were before.
  3. Bring in back-up! Ask someone you trust (and who knows your style and whose choices you enjoy) to go through the pile with you and help you make decisions. Try the items on for them if you have to and explain your decision-making for each item if you have to.

If you can’t make a decision on an item and it’s really troubling you, then keep it. But if you have any doubts about the item and you don’t think you’ll wear it, then cut the cord and get rid of it. Someone else could benefit from it and maybe even love it!

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