If you are a hoarder like me, you don't like going through your clothes. You'd rather keep everything. But having an encumbered closet can be overwhelming and stressful. How do you know when it's time to clean?
Go through your clothes whenever you can as often as possible. Ideally, you shouldn't have to clean out your closet ever. But if you are new to decluttering, getting rid of unwanted clothes every season is a great start.
Our wardrobe is constantly evolving and our lifestyle changes over time. In a perfect world, we wouldn't make any purchase we regret, our clothes would last a lifetime, and we would wear them over and over again, without ever having to go through our clothes.
Unfortunately, the rise of fast fashion over the last 20 years made clothing a disposable commodity. A lot of today's consumers don't keep clothes for very long. They renew their wardrobe quickly. Used clothes become too old shortly after their purchase.
Buying the latest trends in high-street stores is now faster, cheaper, and easier than ever before. The average high-street garment is only worn 7 times, even if its life expectancy would be more than 2 years under normal wear and tear.
But getting rid of clothes is easier said than done. How to get rid of clothes and not feel bad? If you feel like you have too many clothes but nothing to wear, it's a good sign that it's time to go through your clothes.
I like to keep everything. Throwing clothes away makes me feel guilty. But making free space in our closet has many advantages. That's why I try to find positive and responsible ways to get rid of unwanted clothes.
The first step is to find the courage to sit down and decide what clothes to keep. To have less stress, more time, and space, we have to separate the essentials from what is superfluous.
Be sure to check out my list of 20 types of clothes to get rid of right now to get some ideas on how to start decluttering.
One of the best ways to simplify our life is to go through our clothes and get rid of the excess. Getting organized makes us feel liberated. There is no need to hold on to items we don't wear.
In most cases, we don't need more clothing. We need less. It's better for our peace of mind, our budget, our closet, and our planet to keep only what we need and want to wear. We must be more sustainable with clothes.
The textile and apparel industry is one of the largest polluters globally. The overproduction and overconsumption of cheap disposable clothing are responsible for tons of textile waste, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.
16.9 million tons of used textile wastes are generated each year in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That number has doubled over the last 20 years.
More than 80% of all used clothing and other textiles end up in landfills to decompose or be incinerated. Less than 1% is recycled into new clothing when more than 90% could be, as reported by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
We must buy fewer clothes and higher quality. It's one the best way to be more sustainable. And it prevents us from having too many clothes. By buying only what we need, we won't have to go through our clothes often.
By getting rid of unwanted clothing responsibly, we reduce climate change, pollution, and waste. Read up my article on 10 ways to keep your clothing out of landfills to understand how you can help.
Don't throw away unwanted clothes in the trash. With used items you don't wear anymore, you can also sell them online, drop them off at a local resale shop, donate them to charity, repurpose, upcycle or recycle them.
You can also organize a swap party with friends and family or a yard sale. Check out my guide on what to do with clothes you don't want for more ways of getting rid of old clothes.
120 times is the number of times the average piece of clothing is worn globally. But that number has been decreasing a lot over the last 15 years. Clothes are worn for about 4 times less than the global average in the United States.
To protect the environment, ecosystems, and human health, it's better to invest in durable pieces of clothing and wear them longer. Unfortunately, a lot of consumers don't want to be seen in the same outfit twice.
Buying new clothes is a daily event for many fashion lovers. Having an encumbered wardrobe is very common as a result. And going through clothes often is necessary.
How often depends on a lot of factors. How often do you shop for new clothes? How large is your closet? How many times do you wear each item? Do you have pieces you don't wear anymore?
Maybe some of your clothes don't fit you anymore. They are too big or too small. Or perhaps they have no place in your new lifestyle. Or they are simply out of style.
Read up my article on I have too many clothes but I like them all for many useful tips and tricks on how to simplify your wardrobe.
Some people don't ever go through their clothes. At least for a few years. Simply because they like what they already have. Or they are hesitant to get rid of anything.
But sometimes when there is no more room, or when it's time to move out to a new home, decluttering is a necessity.
Most consumers go through their clothes every 3 to 6 months or so. When we don't have a large closet, we have to get rid of used clothes more often. Besides, it's a good gesture to donate items we don't need anymore. Someone else might need them more than we do.
Be sure to check out my comparison between Goodwill and the Salvation Army to better understand the difference between these two popular places to donate clothes.
Decluttering regularly as often you can is a great idea. I keep clothes I still care about but don't wear in a bag away from my closet. If I miss anything, I pull it out and place it in my wardrobe again for a while. When the bag gets full, I donate all of it.
This keeps me from having an encumbered closet. I only keep my style essentials. It makes every item in my wardrobe a winner. I also follow a more minimalist approach to fashion. I try to keep only a small selection of shapes and colors, mix and match them into various outfits every day.
If you are going through your clothes for the first time in a while, start when switching from spring/summer to fall/winter clothing. This is a great time to declutter your closet.
If you don't wear anything at the current moment, it's better to get rid of it. You can do a lot of good by donating it or some extra cash by selling it. Read up my article on is it better to donate or sell clothes to pick the best option for you.
Going through your clothes as often as you can also help you improve your fashion style. It makes you keep only the best items in your wardrobe. You avoid holding on to clothing that is too old, out of style, doesn't fit, lost its shape, or needs repairs.
Look for something that can go every season. It's the easiest way to begin if you are having difficulties or feeling overwhelmed by how much stuff you have.
About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.