Can I Still Wear It? Signs It’s Time to Get Rid of Your Clothes

Nothing lasts forever, and that includes the contents of your closet. Whether it’s a dress you spent an entire paycheck on or a T-shirt you (literally) wore to pieces. There comes a time in every piece’s lifespan where it should be either thrown away or live out its second act at a consignment store. Goodbyes are never easy, so we rounded up 10 telltale signs it’s time to toss your clothes to help out.

1. It’s covered in pills

smiling woman in wool sweater

A pilled sweater is hardly pretty. | iStock.com/m-imagephotography

Let’s talk about sweater pills, or those little fabric balls that adorn your pull-overs. Whether you wore it a couple times or it’s a wardrobe mainstay, pilling happens to every piece. According to The Wall Street Journal, sweater pilling occurs when the yarn fibers get loose or break. Using a sweater stone will temporarily keep pills at bay, but there’s no way to get rid of them for good. If your favorite sweater is covered in so many pills it looks like it’s a different texture, it’s time to part ways.

2. It’s covered in stains

Woman dropping jam

Stained shirts just aren’t a good look. | iStock.com/IPGGutenbergUKLtd

One stain on your crisp white button-down is frustrating, but not a catastrophe. There are tons of hacks for getting that red wine stain out — a bleach soak can do wonders. But if your pieces are covered with more stains than you’d like to admit, it’s time to give them the boot. A splatter-ridden shirt doesn’t look trendy or avant-garde, it looks sloppy. Whether you’re going on a first date or job interview, looking unkempt will never work in your favor.

3. It lost its texture

woman looking up while putting clothes in plastic

Too may trips to the cleaners can destroy the texture of any garment. | iStock.com/IPGGutenbergUKLtd

That soft sweater you practically lived in during the winter won’t keep its texture forever. After a couple trips to the cleaners — or accidentally tossing it in the laundry — it’s only natural the fabric will become stiff and lose its coziness. Parting ways with your favorite sweater is difficult but if it’s lost its luster, it’s only taking up space in your closet.

4. It’s ripped

Woman looking into torn jeans

If it’s ripped, it has to go. | iStock.com/ MrKornFlakes

Depending on who you ask, ripped or pre-ripped jeans can stay in your closet. But when it comes to your shirts, skirts, and dresses, the decision’s unanimous: Toss it. While anything that rips along the seam can be easily repaired, those tears at the front of your dress can’t be saved. And before you merely consider slapping a patch on the problem, do us a favor and don’t. Patches might’ve been cool in the ’90s, but we’ve come a long way.

5. It’s dingy

dirty shirt hanging

If all the bleach in the world can’t brighten your white shirt, then you need to retire it. | iStock.com/erllre

Simply put, your white T-shirt should be white, not coated in sweat stains. If that whitening detergent doesn’t work its magic on those dingy whites, you might want to consider throwing them out.

6. It no longer fits

young woman trying on dress and looking at her reflection

Only keep clothes that fit. | iStock.com/g-stockstudio

At The Cheat Sheet, we appreciate bodies of all shapes and sizes, but there’s no denying your figure is likely to change over time. Whether your favorite work pants are too big or too small, keeping something around that doesn’t fit is a waste of space. Unless you are pregnant or have fit issues due to that time of the month, these clothes will just be collecting dust in your closet. Since some of your pieces may not be past their prime, you might want to try reselling them at a consignment store or donating them to a charitable cause.

7. It’s no longer age-appropriate

young female looking through a clothing closet

Your age matters when it comes to the clothes you wear. | iStock.com/AVAVA

We hate to say it, but wearing your low-rise jeans and tube top won’t bring you back to your glory days. If you want to appear responsible, successful, and professional, you might want to take a serious look at the contents of your closet. We’re not saying your wardrobe should only consist of stodgy power suits and modest shirts, but finding pieces that adhere to your personal style and age are of the utmost importance. Not sure which pieces you should leave behind? Here are seven clothes and accessories you should ditch by the time you’re 30.

8. You have multiples of it

Clothing on hanger

You only need so many solid, long-sleeve tees. | iStock.com/kurmyshov

Having a signature look — whether it’s a blazer and jeans or a tailored dress and heels — is an easy way to streamline your morning routine. While we believe you should own multiples of the products you constantly wear, we also think you should make the most out of your closet space. Why should you own five casual black dresses if you’re more of a pants girl? We can’t think of a logical explanation, either.

9. It’s itchy

sweaters in the closet

You’ll never wear something that itches, so it’s time to toss those scratchy sweaters. | iStock.com/Jelena990

If that wool sweater is itchy at first wear, it’s always going to be itchy. And since we can’t think of any reasons you’d want to wear something that’ll keep you scratching all day, we recommend you toss it.

10. The tag’s still on

Woman girl removing cutting label

Those clothes that sit with the tags still attached just aren’t going to get worn. | iStock.com/Voyagerix

“I’ll wear it one day,” you keep telling yourself as you swipe past that never-worn silk top. Maybe you’re worried your going to get it ruined or perhaps you’re waiting until you hit your goal weight (see No. 6), but if you haven’t worn it by now, you probably never will. Instead of letting it sit in your closet for all eternity, you can use that money you made selling it at a secondhand store to buy something you’ll actually wear.

Follow Kelsey on Twitter @Kmulvs and Instagram @Kmulvs

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