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Remove, Donate, Swap, Sell... and Repeat

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At first, this may sound like an odd instruction, but think of this as a new mantra for spring cleaning your closets.

Pockets empty from buying new clothes? Closets full of last season's fashion? What was a sartorially good idea last spring now, after a mere 20 wears, turning into nothing more than a thief of your precious closet space? Such questions are the constant refrain of the spring cleaning season.

So, to address (rather than undress, in this case) a question we are all likely to have asked more than once, what exactly is the 'proper way' to dispose of unwanted clothes and how can I trust that my donations will be put to good use?

Spring cleaning shouldn't only apply to household chores. Your closet needs a thorough clean, whether you like it or not. Closet cleaning is good for the soul and, of course, being reminded of what you already have is never a bad thing. It may be easier said than done, but adhering to the one year rule (if you haven't worn it in the past 12 months it should go to a new home) should be your goal.

Maybe that stunning skirt needs a new home or that delightful dress would have a better life being adorned by a new wearer...

To assist and encourage you to embrace this process, we have compiled a few of our favorite tricks for you to use as you clean your closet, donate your dresses and generally get rid of clothing items that are surplus to requirements.

Don't wait, donate...

Donating clothes to charities is important. Not only are you cleaning (and liberating space in) your closet, you are helping the needy and in some cases, protecting the environment. What's not to like about that?

With so many clothing donation options available, researching the best method could maximize the impact of your donation.

From apartment buildings to retail locations, grocers to drugstores, there are donation bins aplenty and a variety of programs from which to choose. These programs will take any textiles available (whether wearable or not) and either donate reusable clothes to the needy or recycle unusable ones into materials like housing insulation or car seat stuffing. Textile recycling bins will even take destroyed clothes, doing twice the good by keeping what can't be worn out of our nation's growing landfills and donating to those less fortunate.

Parties to part with clothes...

Having a party to part with your clothes. Sounds like a plan. These parties are a fantastic way to get together with a group of friends, have a good time and revitalize, refresh and restyle your wardrobe. Basically, someone hosts the party, guests bring clothes to the venue and everyone gets to swap clothes at no cost. Simple, practical, enjoyable. When the party wraps up (as do you in your new clothes), any remaining items can be donated to charity or good cause organization.

Clothing Buy Back Programs

It's so simple. All you have to do is take your clothing and accessories to a buy back store, let the clerk review them and discuss any offer made for the purchase of the items. Of course, any offer the store may make will be based on style, condition, and brand. Depending on the offer, you are free to either accept in-store credit or cash in exchange for your clothes or take them back for donation elsewhere.

Textiles and Imagination...

We all know that, when we review the contents of our closet, some items are no longer fit for purpose. Even so, we still seem unable to part with them, sometimes for sentimental reasons or because we know we will never find that item again.

When you reach that point, it is time for Crafting Goddess and DIY! That gorgeous cobalt blue skirt, the one with the red wine stain down the side...cut it up and make some boho headbands for summertime. Perhaps you can take a few old shirts and make your own infinity scarf or get creative in any number of other ways, using clothes and imagination to create something new from something old.

Bring your clothes shopping

Imagine if, every time you go shopping, you could take your old clothes with you and receive a discount on new clothes at some of your favorite stores. Well, you can. From H&M to Puma and The North Face many retailers will accept, at their discretion, previously worn clothing. On top of this there is more good news...the clothes can be from anywhere, so it is not a program limited to the label of the store.

Stop, shop and donate. When you do, the stores that offer these deals will recycle the fabric in an attempt to "green" the fashion industry, so there is simply no down side to this.

As the spring cleaning season has given way to a sartorial summer solstice, remember all the options and benefits that are on offer. From helping those less fortunate to rejuvenating a cluttered closet, some new clothes or accessories and potentially a little more money in your pocket, there is plenty to inspire you.

It is always important to remember that, in order to gain your good deed card, you must ensure that your donations are going to a good cause. If you have your heart set on a traditional donation, try to research the places where your clothes will reach the most worthy recipients. Always look for charities who are advertising their need for items and please, and never throw old clothes in the garbage.

Make your donations count by giving them to those who value your trash as treasure. When you do this, everyone's a winner.

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