What To Do With All Those Old Clothes

by Hayli Goode

A couple times a year, I'll do a massive closet purge. Oddly, the struggle isn't decide what clothes to omit, instead, the struggle is always what to do with the old clothes I'm done wearing. I'm currently working on a capsule wardrobe and I have a giant pile of clothes in the middle of my room I have no idea what to do with. Donate? Resell? Give to friends? Do my friends even want these clothes? Just leave them in a pile on my floor?

For about two weeks after the "great sacrifice," as I call it, I usually choose the latter. While I don't have a problem creating a stack of clothes I no longer wear and will mostly likely never wear, I do have a problem just letting go of the pieces. Call me sentimental, but I lived life in those clothes. I made some pretty great memories while I was wearing that black shirt. And I ran my first marathon in those pants with the inappropriate hole. It's hard to simply get rid of those things.

Don't get me wrong, I love paying it forward with my clothes. I am a younger sister, so I understand the importance of hand-me-downs. And I am happy to donate to Goodwill or friends any day. But in case you're in need of a few extra dollars or certain pieces have some memories you're not quite ready to toss, here are five alternatives for what to do with your clothes after you're done with them.

1. Crafts

Turn your old shirts into something you'll use again. Even if you don't own a sewing machine, learning to sew the old-fashioned way could be a great skill to hone. Make a memory blanket or DIY a picture from of swatches from a certain shirt with a note of why it's important to you. The DIY possibilities are endless here.

2. Sell

For those pieces that don't have many memories attached to them, there are actually boutiques and consignment shops that want your old clothes. And will exchange them for money. It's glorious. And it honestly feels like you're robbing the store.

I first discovered this my freshman year of college. At my first internship I told my boss I was downgrading my closet and asked if he wanted any pieces for his studio. The ones he didn't take, he suggested I take to Plato's Closet to see if I could make money from any of my clothes. My first trip gave me over $30 for clothes I simply no longer wanted. While other trips have been not as successful, this is a great way to make a quick buck before dinner with friends. Do they want your pit-stained white tee? No. Do they want the BCBG dress you wore to homecoming junior year? Most likely.

The clothes are then sold at a lower price (otherwise known as thrifted) than what you originally paid for them. And sold to someone who will actually wear them again. So the black shirt can live on.

3. Try A Clothes Exchange With Friends

Sometimes this is the opposite of cleaning out your closet, but still makes for a great afternoon with friends and snacks. Encourage all of your friends to clean out their closet before the next season, then plan an exchange party. Make some cupcakes, gather a couple of coffee tables, and lay out the clothes you no longer want. Then shop through your friends clothes! It's the perfect way to finally steal that lace shirt you love, but your friend no longer wants.

4. Gift Them Away

You get a shirt! And you get those shoes! And you get a new pair of pants! Instead of just donating them, try gifting your clothes away to friends to to family friends with younger children who will one day grow into your clothes. You'll be the Oprah Winfrey of their closets.

5. Donate

If consignment shops won't take your clothes and friends don't want them, good, old-fashioned donations to Goodwill is never a bad option. In fact, so many people will appreciate your donations. Plus, it can be fun to run into old pieces whenever you do your first-of-the-month-sale vintage shopping. Oh, and it will finally get that pile off your floor. I leave this as the last option, because there has been some discrepancies as to what happens to clothes after you donate them, but just do your research, and you should be good to go.

Images: Roberto Trm/Flickr Giphy (5)