Stop being a closet hoarder

(Graphic by Joshua Awolade)

(Graphic by Joshua Awolade)

It’s officially that time of the year where you have to say good-bye to sun-kissed skin and short-shorts. Even though we’ve had a surprisingly warm burst of weather in these past few weeks, now is the time to start packing away our beloved summer items and start preparing for the long cold months ahead of us.

While this time of year can be depressing, as we’re forced to transition into layers, scarves and cozy outerwear, this is also a great opportunity to evaluate the state of your closet. For all of the proud shopaholics out there, spring cleaning is too far away to wait. Plus, cleaning is a perfectly good excuse to avoid studying for a couple of hours!

As a fashion hoarder myself — I have clothes from high school that I still won’t give up — I know that it’s hard to give up that band tee shirt you bought at the Paramore concert or throw out that one item that you bought in the wrong size and never wore. However, if you’re anything like me, eventually you have to start making room for the items in your closet that you actually do wear.

In our capitalist-driven consumer society, we love to shop and it shows: it’s estimated that most people only wear about 20 per cent of the contents in their closet regularly. Without even realizing it, we love to consume without reason and often, we end up with more than what we need — or stuck with impulse buys that we will never wear. For my fellow hoarders, ask yourself this: am I actually going to wear this if I keep it?

If an item has been in your closet for more than a year and is still unworn, chances are you’re not going to wear it – especially if the tags are still on. Even if it suddenly comes back into style, if you haven’t worn it by now, it’s highly unlikely that it was within your fashion taste anyway.

Cut your losses and let it go. Don’t worry, seasonal outfits for Homecoming, Hallowe’en and St. Patrick’s Day don’t count!

And what should you do with that huge bag of pre-loved items? Donate! As the weather gets colder, it’s good to have a little empathy and donate to those less fortunate. There are many stores that will happily take your unwanted clothes.

The Salvation Army and Value Village accept clothing all year round and those good feelings are just as satisfying as purchasing a new shirt at the mall.

If you’re not interested in giving away your clothes for free, there are local consignment stores such as Unit 5 on King Street and Carousel Clothing in Kitchener where you can take your pre-loved items. They will compensate you for your generous donations.

H&M launched a green initiative and for each bag of clothes that is dropped off in their store, they will give you a coupon for $5 off every $30 purchase. While this may be perpetuating the endless cycle, at least your old clothes will be appreciated by someone else.

Happy cleaning everyone!

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