Different By Design

Fashion Spring Clean: What to Keep, What to Store, and What to Donate

by Rebecca Casamayor

With temperatures warming up once again as we head into spring, it’s time to shed those winter layers. If you’ve already got spring fever about updating your wardrobe with new spring pieces, you may want to tackle your closet first to make room and do some pay it forward with fashion donations. 

Get Ready

We all drool when gazing at the cavernous closets of the rich and famous on home design shows. Some of the walk-in closets are bigger than our entire living space. But don’t despair, you can make room for the old and new. Many women have to swap out one season’s clothing to make room for the next. Every closet clean-out results in at least a few pieces for the donate pile, but what will you do with all of the fabulous winter coats and sweaters you want to keep? 

If you do not have enough closet space and are storing your seasonal clothing, there are a few simple storage hacks to use.

Tip: Make sure everything has been cleaned, either washed or dry cleaned, before putting it into storage. Not only will stains get darker with time, but some stains could also leak onto other clothes while they await their next season. And let’s not get started on moths! Cleaning everything first will keep the destructive critters away.

As for how and where to store, there are options depending on your space and budget. You can choose airtight plastic storage containers that can be stacked to free up space. But if these prove too much for your budget, cardboard containers can work but keep in mind that they aren’t as sturdy or airtight, leaving your clothes susceptible to moths, dust, and even mice.

You can also opt for a clean, empty suitcase, or several if you don’t need them for travel. 

If you have the room, you can also purchase a rolling rack for longer items like coats and dresses that need to be hung. Some rolling racks come with a fabric garment cover to keep dust away. But if you don’t want to use a rolling rack, but still have items that require hanging, ensure you use all of the sewn-in hanging hoops on the dress or top to keep the garment from becoming misshapen while in storage, and always use a fabric garment bag — not plastic bags — for extra protection.

You should also buy acid-free tissue paper if you have delicate items that you want to protect.

Lastly, store items in a cool, dark, dry place to prevent fading or mold growth.

Get Started

Getting started with any spring cleaning project can be the hardest part. Start by blocking off a whole day (or maybe even the weekend) to allow yourself plenty of time to go through all of your clothes without stressing.

Next, go through every item in your closet and place it in one of four piles: keep, store, sell, or donate. If you have no interest in or time to sell clothing, your job just got easier — sort your items into three piles.

A closet purge can be hard, but it’s easier if you follow two simple rules. First, get rid of anything that doesn’t fit and has been waiting to be altered for six months or more. 

Second, let go of anything that doesn’t make you feel fantastic. It doesn’t matter how much the item cost or who gave it to you. If you don’t love wearing it or don’t need it, don’t keep it. Any item that hasn’t been worn in a year or more shouldn’t be allowed back into your closet. 

Place every piece of clothing in one of the three or four designated piles. Repeat the process with the clothing in your dressers for a complete wardrobe spring cleaning.

Fill in the Gaps

Now that you’ve done the hard work of cleaning out your closet, you get the reward of buying some new spring outfits. Look for any gaps in your wardrobe. Is your closet full of suits and office outfits but missing casual pieces for your days off? Did you part ways with all of your classic T-shirts and now need to buy new ones?

Take note of items that are missing every time you get dressed, and then add them to the list. Some eternal, key spring pieces include a good denim jacket, white pants, floral tops and dresses, and a good pair of heels or wedges

Then, think about the current spring trends like a sleeveless midi dress or an embellished jacket. Buy a few on-trend items you really love, add a little flair to your closet classics with punchy colors and beautiful prints, and voila, you’re set for spring.

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