Now that a new season is here, it’s time to take an inventory of your closet. It will be necessary to pack away your out-of-season clothing and replace them with weather-appropriate attire. If your inspection has revealed that it’s time to freshen up your wardrobe, there are ways to give your look an upgrade without spending a lot of money. Renae Chiovaro, Savings.com DealPro and founder of the blog How to Have it All, shared some tips with The Cheat Sheet for how to clean out your closet for spring and save money on replacing items.
1. Take inventory
Have you ever purchased an item only to discover when you get home that you have something just like it sitting in your closet — with the tags still attached? When you don’t take regular stock of what’s in your closet, it’s easy to keep purchasing similar items in the same style or color. Chiovaro says the first step to building a wardrobe for a new season is to decide which items to keep. This will help you avoid overspending.
Chivaro suggests purging items from your closet that are identical and keeping tabs on this expensive habit. Says Chiovaro, “You don’t need 10 of the same color shirt or sweaters. I was amazed to find how many black sweaters I had. They were slightly different styles but basically the same. Limit yourself to a couple and purge or donate the rest.”
2. Host a clothing-swap party
Who doesn’t love a good party? A clothing-swap party will not only allow you to catch up with friends, but also save a few bucks. “The goal of a clothing swap is to find items that are new to you. Have your friends clean out their closets, and then set a date for a swap party. The more people involved the better. On the day of the swap, have people arrange their clothing in categories. For example, you might have pants in one section and shirts in another. When all clothes are organized, the swapping begins!” says Chiovaro.
The deals expert stresses that it’s important to set some ground rules so that your party won’t end in chaos. The first rule is that whomever claims an item first gets it. Another rule is that unclaimed clothing will be donated. You can develop additional rules that work best for you and your party guests.
3. Use your smartphone
An item will often be much less expensive online than in the store. When you’re at the mall Chiovaro recommends putting your smartphone to work by searching online for an item that you intend to buy before finalizing the purchase. “…You might as well wait the few extra days for shipping if you can potentially save a few bucks. Always stop before you shop. Search for additional online coupons at sites like Savings.com as well. They have coupons from stores like Gap, Express, Macy’s, and Bloomingdale’s to suit anyone’s personal style,” says Chiovaro.
4. Let go of emotions
Don’t hold on to items just because they have sentimental value. If you’ve been keeping that old, tattered T-shirt from high school just because it reminds you of old times, it might be time to let it go. Old, unused items will only overcrowd your closet and morph into a dusty pile of untouched clothing and accessories.
“If you wore a particular dress to a special event, you might have a hard time getting rid of it even if it no longer fits. The problem is when you look at the dress it brings back the emotions from that night. However, if the item is no longer usable it’s just taking up space. Let the piece go and instead hold on to the memories or the pictures from that event,” says Chiovaro. The same goes for gifts that you never use and have no intention of using. It’s best to give these items away. Chiovaro mentions how she struggled with releasing gifts of her own. “I had several pieces that were given to me as gifts but I hated the colors. I finally decided to let these items go; they were just taking up space,” says Chiovaro.
Also pay attention to your emotional state when you go shopping for wardrobe replacements. Don’t shop when you’re mad or even when you’re in a celebratory mood. Shifts in emotion can lead to overspending.