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Ideas for Getting Rid of Old Clothes

Friday, July 7, 2017
Too many clothes and nothing to wear is a common part of the human experience. Even my husband has things he basically never wears, only to open the closet door to a nightmare of unworn clothes taking up space. It comes from a dangerous cycle of garment overloading where we buy for a certain occasion never to see that item again. If we are lucky we’re able to carve out some time to purge our wardrobe of the undesirable and useless items that are piling up. Cleaning out our closets helps us to lighten the clutter and gain perspective on the style, value, quality, and purpose of our clothing choices. We may even feel like a whole new person!

While home with Bunny I ransacked my closet. I was sick of the mess. Unfortunately, as cleansing as it was to take items out of the closet, the snoozing monster has been piled in the corner of my bedroom for months now. The obvious answer is to donate, which I considered until my little hippie brain got to thinking that a lot of resources - money, time, energy, textiles - were spent on these clothes that needed to be recouped, if only in some small way. As usual I took to the internet, researching options on what to do with old clothes that could help me regain some of the expenses and possibly do more than sit in the local thrift shop (which is TOTALLY worthy too). I learned a lot, tried a bit, and this is what I recommend.

Trade in items for cash

Taking my clothes to Plato’s Closet has been done before so I was somewhat confident in the process. Sadly I didn’t get what I was hoping for. Stores like Plato’s Closet are usually looking for specific items and are picky about the condition and labels. If you don’t know what it is they want you are left with a little bit of a headache after lugging your giant trash bag(s) to and from the store for nothing. Still, the stores are generally local and they will give you straight up cash if you want so it’s not all bad.

Pros: local, cash option, great for name brands that are in good condition
Cons: not a drop and go, definitely undervalue the clothing, picky selection process

Start an Instagram shop

I tried this next, which was a disaster. Instagram by itself is overwhelming and I still can’t figure out why I thought this was a good idea. My Insta-game is lame. Starting an entirely new account then marketing for said account while also doing all the other things on my list was impossible. I didn’t have time to advertise or put up pictures of new clothes, and this was before someone wanted to buy and I had to figure out payment and shipping. The front end was exhausting. There are plenty of successful Instagram shops out there with great followings and consistently trendy items, and more power to them, but this was just unrealistic for me.

Pros: can do it from home, money goes straight to you, work on your Insta-game
Cons: you do all the work, your clothes are still sitting around, really only works for niche fashion that I could tell

Recycle for discounts at your favorite stores

This is by far the simplest option and maybe has the best return for the work. Like donating, you can drop your clothes off at retail stores. The difference is the discounts in return. H&M has a sustainable fashion initiative that allows customers to bring in clothes from any brand in any condition and get a 15% discount coupon. And there’s no limit to how many times you can go in! Click here for a list of other retailers who may also be going green.

Pros: SO easy, no real limit to how many times you can do it, relatively good rewards, clothes get used
Cons: the result is not cash, you have to bring your crap through the mall or mail it somewhere which might be a little weird and/or counterproductive

Invite your community to shop your closet

I’ve never done this because my clothing labels are nothing special but I do know a fellow blogger in my area who does. My friend Tonya Michelle of her namesake blog is all about fashion, beauty, and DIY. She works with boutiques and labels from all over and she gets TONS of clothes which she doesn’t always keep. Every now and then she puts the word out on Facebook that she is downsizing and invites local ladies for a night to come shop her closet (literally). I love this because she gets to meet new people while cleaning. Wouldn’t we all like to make cleaning more fun?

Pros: great for those items you only wore once, make new friends, gets it all done at one time and place, buyers come to you
Cons: you have to clean your house haha, limited inventory with an even more limited guest list


I deliberately chose not to look into programs like Poshmark or ThreadUp for a few reasons. First, my clothes are not name brands and are generally out of season. Second, I didn’t really want to share the return I got in processing or other fees. And third, I appreciate the greener options like recycling fabrics. Did you know denim can be used for insulation? I’m sure those are great ways to get rid of old clothes, but again, that system wouldn’t work for me. Anyways I’m headed to the mall these weekend to unload my old stuff and I can’t wait to be free. I hope you find the perfect way to declutter your closet too!
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