The new year is here – and I’m sure we’re all tempted to do a closet purge to start the year fresh! Before you completely bulldoze through your wardrobe, here are some hacks to help you REfresh while reducing, reusing and recycling. Let’s make 2022 the year where sustainability and eco-conscious decisions are the name of the game. 

Before Your Start Your Closet Purge:

-Feel beautiful before you start.

If that means doing your hair or makeup, do it! When you feel good, you can get a better gauge of how you feel in your clothes, and how they’ll look when you go out in them. You don’t want to feel frumpy before you start, which might make you ditch some clothes that don’t deserve it.

-Get some style inspo.

Envision the type of style you want to rock, and the type of wardrobe that would facilitate that. Doing some style research can help you rethink some old pieces and learn how to wear them in a different way.

As You Purge Your Wardobe:

-Mix it up.

Can you try making “old new again” by wearing your old clothes in a different way? You could try layering them, or mixing them with pieces you’ve never tried before.  For example, if you have a white button up you’re undecided about, you can also get style inspiration by typing “white button up outfits 2022” in Google, or searching #whitebuttonup on Instagram.

-Consider why you want to let the piece go.

Clothes That Don’t Fit: If they’re too big, consider if you can layer it or add a belt to make them more tailored to you. If a dress is too small, can you wear it as a tunic or cut the bottom off to make a crop top?

Clothes You Don’t Feel Confident In: If you don’t feel good in something, try mixing up the outfit to see if that can change your opinion on it. If not, it’s time to give away.

Clothes That Are Worn Out: Add them to your repurposing pile! See below. 

Impulse Buys: Look for style inspo for how to wear it. If you’re feeling lukewarm about the piece, bring it to your clothing swap or donate where appropriate.

-Take note of what you’re missing.

For smarter future shopping, it’s good to take note of versatile pieces that you truly need. Is there a piece that could tie together many of the items you already have? Instead of tossing some of your clothes, could you actually be needing something to help bring the outfits together? Having a clear idea of the pieces you need can also stop you form making impulse buys in the future

After Your Closet Purge:

-Donate better.

We’ve all been tempted to drop off loads of our clothes to the nearest thrift store (and it’s much better to donate than to toss them straight into the dump!). However, many large chain thrift stores end up sending many of the clothes “to recycling,” which ultimately end up in the dump. If you’re able, try to expend a bit more effort to find shelters or smaller organizations that are more specific about the items they need – they may be better at putting to use the clothing you donate. 

-Hold a clothing swap.

A clothing swap is a great way to find the items you’re missing and encourage your friends and family to buy new less often! You can easily host a clothing swap – just ask a circle of friends to bring over their unwanted clothing items, and “shop” each other’s wares.

-Repurpose fabrics and clothing items.

For heavily worn clothing items, your instincts may be to throw them in the trash rather than donate. However, think about many of the ways you can repurpose your items. Well-loved cotton t-shirts make amazingly soft lounge or pajama tops. You can also repurpose cotton tees as makeup guards for your clothes: just cut a large square that will fit over you face and head. If you apply your makeup or skincare before you get changed, you can put the square over your face and head before you pull your clothes over your head, which will prevent makeup transfer. 

Jeans and pants: could you cut the pant legs off to make denim shorts?

Soft terry or cotton materials can be used for rags for cleaning or polishing. 

If you really can’t repurpose the item, you can find a recycling depot that can hopefully make use of it.