The SG Guide To

    Spring Cleaning

    6th March 2013
    Happy Wednesday! Intern Gabi (who I finally met this week face-to-face for the first time! No surprise – she was super great) is here to explain why you guys really, like, really, need to clean out your closet.
    Take it away Gabi..

    Spring cleaning is a role traditionally reserved for the woman of the house. The wife cleans her husband’s closet, the mother cleans her son’s, and maybe the girlfriend cleans her boyfriend’s closet and it leads to a huge fight because she throws out the only remaining memorabilia of his high school garage band that lasted exactly one fortnight.

    imagesA closet every mother would love  á la Doug Funnie


    So maybe to save yourself from heartbreak and your lady from the extra work, you should learn to clean it out yourself. You don’t lose any of your favorite things, and she has one less thing that she can say she did for you that you were ungrateful for. Sounds like a win-win to me.

    The first step is to decide what you will discard.

    Get rid of anything….

    1. you haven’t worn in the past year

    If there are things in your closet that haven’t been touched other than moving them out of the way, maybe you should move them out of the way for good. Even if it still has the price tag on it, if you haven’t worn it yet, you probably aren’t going to wear it in the future. The exception to this rule is clothing reserved for special occasions, because you’re just not going to wear that as much as your other clothing, so you might as well hang on to it.

    2. that doesn’t fit

    Plain and simple, YOU KNOW what does not fit you. If you don’t know if it still fits, try it on. Don’t lie to yourself, if its too tight because you gained a few pounds, or too tight because you lost a few, get rid of it and treat yourself to something that fits you NOW. If you reallly don’t want to part with it, bring it to a tailor and see if they can make it work.

    3. that is damaged goods

    This means anything discolored, faded, stained or holey. It’s past its prime, and you shouldn’t want to be seen wearing it.

    The next step is to decide HOW you will get rid of this stuff.

    Your options are…

    1. SELL

    I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a hoarder, so I need a good reason to part with literally ANYTHING. And every piece of clothing I have has some minute sentimental value, so you can imagine how hard it is for me to clean out my closet. Getting paid for my clothes makes me feel better about losing a part of me, because I justify it by saying I will spend that money on new parts of me. I like to think that line of thinking is very shui of me (SG note: I have no idea what that means, so I guess Gabi is much more shui than me?).

    So how do you determine what you can sell? If it still has tags on it, if it was only worn a few times or wasn’t worn at all, if it’s a well-known brand and if you bought it in the last two years, there is a good chance the store will take it. Check out stores like Plato’s Closet or any local secondhand or thrift stores. Each store has their own guidelines, but the worst case scenario is that they’ll pass on it. And if that happens, that’s more things that you can potentially…

    2. DONATE

    Get the good vibes by giving your clothes that are still in pretty good condition to someone who needs them. Anything that you think was worth selling is DEFINITELY worth donating. You can add a few more things to this pile, like maybe your bootcut jeans that have extra whiskering from wear. As long as the button and zipper work, they will be of help to someone else.

    3. THROW OUT

    This is for all things that fell into category 3 above: holey, stained, and faded. This is also for underwear, because second-hand underwear is not something that should exist.

    If you have a copious amount of clothing left that you can’t bear to get rid of due to its sentimental value, consider making a craft out of it. Make a t-shirt quilt, a pillow cover, frame it – the possibilities are endless. But if you aren’t really willing to do that, there isn’t really a good reason to let them sit in mothballs. Like Andy and his toys in Toy Story, the right thing to do is to let them go.

    Tell Me:
    Who does the spring cleaning in your house? Have any tips to add?
    • average joe

      I keep a spartan closet. I hate clutter

    • kellen owenby

      I need to do this! I have so much clothing that I used to wear when I lived in Chicago that I just don’t have any use for now that I live in Atlanta…

      • average joe

        had to the same with our chi-atl move as well

    • Chris Rogers

      My closet is in serious need of a clean out. One tip I keep reading but have yet to do is, turn all of your hangers around backwards on their bar. As you wear clothes replace them with the hooks the right way, at the end of a set period of time, get rid of all the remaining backwards hangers because you don’t wear those items.

      • ilyac

        I read this post and was just going to make the same suggestion. It’s a great tip. I did it about a year ago and only then realized how much stuff I had that I did not wear.

      • sant0s

        this is my same method – works well so far

    • average joe

      Wood Hangers. Makes a difference

    • Baxter

      And keep track of what you donate, especially if you are unloading the decent stuff you bought a while back, realized it’s not the right fit, and staring at it makes you angry. (Suits, etc.) At the end of the year, if you itemize, you’ll have a lot easier time deducting your donations if you’ve kept track on a spreadsheet or you’ve gotten a receipt from a charity. The Salvation Army has a nice guide for what you should claim for each donated item:

      • DaveR

        We had a total of 3 nice rounds of donation last year, between kids’ clothes, maternity stuff, and some items I finally came to terms with. I took a $1500 deduction on my 2012 taxes! It really adds up quick, even at $3-5 per item second hand value.

      • Style Girlfriend

        So helpful! Thanks Baxter!

    • Derric

      If something doesn’t fit quite right but you want to keep it around and/or it would be expensive to replace, bring it to a tailor and see if it can be altered.

      • Style Girlfriend

        Yes! Totally agree Derric

    • Matt M

      Yup. I go through my closet about once a year and clean out stuff I don’t wear. Need to do that soon. I used to go to places like Platos closet, but now I simply donate them.

      Good timing of the article. I need to clean mine out soon!

      • Style Girlfriend

        I usually take my old things to Buffalo Exchange; the nice thing there is that whatever they don’t take, they’re happy to donate for you, which saves a trip to Goodwill!

    • DaveR

      I am very happy to have donated MANY pairs of pleated dress pants to Goodwill last year. Or should I have burned those for the good of humanity?

      • Style Girlfriend

        Hard to say Dave, hard to say…

    • HelloNurse

      I found it difficult to concentrate on the rest of this article over my rendition of the Doug theme song.

    • Tom Sweeney

      I’ve always found it traumatic to be confronted by the poor decisions of my past self. So many bad shirts!

      • DanPatrickFlores

        Although, you may find something that you didn’t like before, but fits your style now, a la the “Return of the Shirt” episode of How I Met Your Mother.

        • Style Girlfriend

          Ten points for the HIMYM mention. Well done Dan. Well done.

          • Tom Sweeney

            But what if you find red cowboy boots?

            • DanPatrickFlores

              Then it requires GCWOK approval…or Style Girlfriend approval.

    • anthony

      whats wrong with second hand underwear? you must be crazy paying full price!

    • Max

      I just moved and have a bunch of boxes of old clothing, some in those vacuum sealed bags that don’t stay small. I need to see what to keep, sell and donate. Also have to go thru my shoes as well.

    • Jeff

      I recently donated a ton of my old Express 1MX dress shirts from my college days. Looking back, I have zero idea what was going through my head when I bought them. They were “stretch cotton”, which was just a nice way of saying cotton/spandex blend, and they couldn’t last more than two cycles through the wash. They would completely lose their fitted quality and would feel like sandpaper afterwards. Such awful purchasing decisions from only a few years back…

    • Bob

      At what age should get rid of your old punk tshirts :-)

    • Charity @isleofview

      Another laughable reason for the guy to go through his closet: then his girl won’t do it and throw away all his favorites;) I’m really terrible at getting rid of the things that I love that don’t fit anymore, I’m caught in the “what if” trap. “What if I get smaller?”

    • Fashion Fella

      It’s a strange one, throwing old clothes out is very difficult, especially for a guy, I think we’re always thinking “oh but sometimes I wear that for..” but we don’t, if someone went in our wardrobe (mine in particular) and started questioning my choices and the items I still have I’d get very defensive very quickly, haha.
      But in any case you have reminded me I need to do all of the above, cheers.

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