Closet Confidential: 6 Power Purging Tips

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Psst! Your closet needs your attention. There are clothes—hidden somewhere behind your new fall stash and last year’s homecoming dress—that you’ll most likely never wear again. Maybe it’s because they don’t fit quite so well. Or maybe you’ve rethought the color combo in that sweater. (We know: chartreuse sounded like a good idea at the time!)

Whatever the case, don’t let those neglected garments waste away. Pass them on to someone who needs them. So without further ado, here are our instructions for the one-day closet purge-for-a-cause:

1) Enlist a friend…preferably an honest one. Pick the friend who will tell you when it’s time to let a particular article of clothing go. (Incidentally, sisters are fabulous at this.) At this stage, you might also want to grab a macchiato or a soda. You’ll need your energy.

2) Lay it all out. Start by pulling out ALL your clothes. Lay them on the bed, the floor, wherever. You could be all organized about it and group by season or theme (good for you!), or you could throw it all in one crazy pile. Doesn’t really matter. Just get it all out of the confines of your dark closet or dresser.

3) Mix it up. Sometimes when you introduce your clothes to daylight again, you notice some former gems. Think about how you might save an ignored shirt, dress or skirt, and pair it with something newer. Get creative! And you just might save some money by “shopping your closet!” However, sometimes it’s time to get ruthless…which brings us to #4…

4) Make the call. If you haven’t worn that polka-dotted button-up shirt in three years and can’t devise a fresh look for it, LET IT GO. (By the way, this is a great time to unload clothes that aren’t flattering and exist in your closet only to make you feel bad.) Likewise, it’s time to part with clothes that aren’t in great shape and can’t be cleaned or altered back to their former glory. Create a new pile for these clothes you no longer want or need.

5) Assess the potential for donation. It’s important to donate items that are in good and reasonable condition. So if something made it to your “get rid of” pile because it has a hole or stain, this doesn’t mean you can simply unload it on a charity. Damaged clothes should probably be thrown away. (Or if you have some future Project Runway contestant for a friend, see if she can use the fabric!)

6) Choose your donation site! There are SO MANY possibilities here! Obviously there are national organizations like Goodwill and The Salvation Army that have donation sites all over the country. These are great options. But you can also think more locally. Is there a Church in your area that collects clothing? A school? Another non-profit organization with an annual clothing drive? Plus, if any of your giveaways include prom dresses, there are numerous organizations like “Donate my Dress” that collect formal dresses for girls who might not be able to afford a brand new dress for an upcoming event. Don’t hesitate to choose more than one donation site. Then crank up the radio, deliver your clothes (or set them out for pick-up), and feel good about who might wear them next! (PS. Click here for more juicy tips on how to donate your stuff.)

Finally, a special thanks to Tim Gunn’s A Guide to Quality, Taste, and Style for many of these closet-purge tips!

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