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What to do with Your Unwanteds?

Believe me when I say, I have clothes. With years of practicing what I preach (a strategic personal style & image management system), and growing a wardrobe of garments and accessories that mix and match together creating many looks, I found that I had the ‘bulging closet’ syndrome. Like the painter with the house of peeling paint, I decided to stop and take the time audit of my own garments and wardrobing needs. Using the same techniques I utilize with my clients, I really thought through what I actually need in my closet and dresser drawers for my weekly and monthly ward robing needs.

Although the bulk my clothes are timeless pieces, I keep my wardrobe current by adding in a few trendy pieces here and there which need to go once they are no longer relevant. Fortunately, by only buying perfect pieces that fit within my defined personal style, I had no garments staring at me saying “Why did you buy me?” Over time, however, some of my favorites had become tired and worn. As I sorted out the items no longer in style as well as those tired and ready for a new life, I asked myself “What do I do with ALL that is not going back in to my closet?!”

Times have changed, and, thankfully, there are new options available for moving your unwanted garments into their next life. I did the research and found some for you to consider.

Re-Wear – Clothing that can be worn again can be sold as second hand clothes. Options include consignment shops, buy and sell stores like Style Encore or shops that support a specific organization (like the Discovery Shop that supports the American Cancer Society). For garments and accessories at least 20 years old, options include vintage clothing houses, with many now considering designer pieces vintage if they are 10 years or older.

Reuse – Old clothes and textiles can be turned into other products, such as cleaning cloths. Kalamazoo entrepreneur, Kori Jock turns upcycled t-shirts in to new undies with her company Upitees since 2011. So get creative and think outside the box!

Recycle – Everything else can be turned into textile fibers and used for things like insulation. Companies like H&M Group believe fashion is far too precious to end up in landfills. No matter brand or condition, you will find their garment collecting initiative worldwide. American Textile Recycling service also offers a donation bin within the Kalamazoo area.

Use these sustainable suggestions for finding new homes, repurposing or recycling your treasures. Not up to the game of purging and repurposing your own wardrobe? Enlist the expertise of an image professional to help you revitalize your wardrobe by careful curating what you keep…and what you let go.

Kelly Duggan is an Image Consultant specializing in executive and personal image development, etiquette and communication skills. She is a certified member of the Association of Image Consultants International. Contact Kelly at: www.kellyduggan.com.

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