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How to manage clothing after your closet detox

Not sure what to do with the clothing you no longer need after the closet detox? Read on for some tips on how to manage it sustainably.

You might have already said a  final goodbye to all the clothing you decided to let go during you latest closet detox. You’ve found it easier to breathe and navigate through your minimized wardrobe. Not sure what to do with all clothing you no longer need? Read on for some tips.

While there are tons of closet detox articles and tips online, only a few of them mention what to do with the cast off. However, just tossing old clothes into the trash can simply isn’t good enough. First of all, there are huge problems with textile recycling. According to the EPA data, out of 12.8 million tons of clothing waste generated in the US in 2017 alone, only 13.6% can be recycled. Second, our cast off clothing ends up in the developing countries, killing thousands of people and nature with poisonous fumes as they decompose without proper disposal. Finally, for every item you throw in trash, there often is someone who would find it useful.

Let’s sum up the piles or boxes you might be having now from the closet detox.

Seasonal – seasonal items you will unpack later this year

Keepsakes – must-keeps that you may reconsider a year from now

Repair – clothing that you like but is either damaged or needs to be redesigned

For sale – items that makes sense to sell

Home – items that you pledge to wear or use at home

Give away – items you will give away to people you know

Donate – items you will donate

Recycle – items to throw away

What do you do with all this?


Since you’ll revisit your Seasonal wardrobe soon, keep it close to your heart. It’s a good idea to remove it from the closet and store it in the boxes or in the highly user-rated Spacesaver storage vacuum bags from Amazon. You can easily slide them under the bad until the right time comes.


Same for the Keepsakes. If some items have sentimental value, even though you would probably never wear them again, consider creating a memorabilia out of it – think Hard Rock Cafe with Beyonce’s sequin performance dress shining from the wall. Check out Project Repat and Too Cool T-shirt Quilts, companies will turn your old clothes into fun and functional quilts and bedspreads.

A quilt made from old t-shirts, made by Too Cool T-shirt Quilts


Minor wear is not a reason to part with your favorite clothes. Repair clothing goes into a special DIY treasure box where you can prep your goodies for the redesign session. Analyze your Repair pile. Could it be that you don’t take care of your clothing properly? We will talk about how to take care of your clothing later in this Style Guide. You might also consider alternating some things with the tailor or do it yourself – broken seams and zippers, wrong length and other problems can often be fixed quickly and easily.


The Donate pile might be the largest among your castaway clothing. New York and New Jersey Goodwill stores alone collect 85.7 million pounds of clothes every year. According to Smart, an association of used clothing collectors, only 20-25% of this clothing is sold through thrift stores. The remaining 80% go on a journey to third world countries.

You can read more about how to donate your clothing here. 


Textile recycling is, unfortunately, still a huge problem worldwide. In most countries there is no established system for recycling clothing. According to Waste Management, a US-based waste management company, there is currently no way to recycle clothing and textiles in general waste. The saddest part is that 95% of textiles that end up in the trash can actually be recycled.

Read more about the common myths of textile recycling and more tips in this post.

Sparkpick on how to manage clothing after closet cleanout

Wear or use it at home

There might be some items in your recycle pile that you can use in your household. For example, an old t-shirt can get a second life as a cleaning rag. Move them into a home pile to find its new beginning. Finally, there’s no reason why you can’t dress up at home!

For sale

Reselling your clothing is one of the most rewarding ways to move towards sustainability. Not only can you find a new life for some great items but also you know with some level of certainty that they won’t end up in landfills.


Read more about reselling your old clothing here.

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