Implement your own hanger strategy this spring by thinning out your closet and donating to Goodwill

Do you wonder if it’s time to practice minimalism? To pare down your life and focus on what really matters?

Millions have embraced this movement by embracing three tenets of the lifestyle — order, simplicity, and harmony.

It’s not about creating personal angst or suffering or depriving yourself of material happiness. Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear, from worry, from guilt, from feeling overwhelmed. It’s about eliminating the trappings of a consumer culture that threatens to swallow us.

Goodwill Central Coast supports a minimalist lifestyle, helping inspire people to declutter their homes, donate items they no longer need, and live a more simple, purposeful life. Those donations, in turn, help empower others through meaningful employment.

So, where to start? Today we will focus on the bedroom closet, a great place to begin a minimalist approach. We all fall into the routine of supporting fast fashion, the clothing industry business model of replicating high-fashion designs and mass-producing them at low cost to the consumer and high cost to the environment.

Thinning out your closet begins with a grammar lesson. Don’t confuse the words hanger and hangar! A hanger is a shaped piece of wood, plastic, or metal with a hook at the top, from which clothes may be hung. A hangar is a large building with an extensive floor area, typically for housing aircraft.

The goal is to own enough clothing to use a few dozen hangers — not a few dozen hangars!

So what’s your hanger strategy? Here are some ideas on how to reduce the sheer volume of your closet contents:

  • Begin by removing the clothes that are stained, ripped, or faded beyond recognition. According to a new report from the Council for Textile Recycling, the average American throws away 70 pounds of clothing every year. Collectively, that’s approximately 3.8 billion pounds of waste. Earth911.comis a one-stop shop for recycling resources, listing recycling centers by item type and zip code.
  • Remove off-season clothing from your closet to free up some needed space. If you didn’t wear an item at all last year, consider donating it to Goodwill. Then, store the remaining pieces in a separate closet where they will not be in your way cluttering up your closet.
  • Get rid of clothes that don’t fit once and for all. If you’re in-between sizes, certainly keep some clothing from both. But more likely there are a number of ill-fitting items that can be removed entirely — whether you changed sizes, the item shrunk or stretched, or it never did fit quite right. Those ill-fitting items are weighing you down physically, mentally, and emotionally. Pass them on to someone who can use them.
  • Reduce your need for additional accessories. If you’re holding on to something until you find the “perfect accessory,” let it go. In the future, look for pieces that complement your existing accessory pile. After all, if you’re constantly adding things to your closet, you’ll never get ahead.
  • Reassess current trend purchases. The fashion industry gets rich on one principle: constantly changing fashion trends. Don’t chase this fantasy. Find your favorite timeless fashion and start playing by your own rules.
  • If you want to make significant progress thinning out your closet, remove every item entirely from the closet. Return only the pieces you truly love. It is important that you physically handle each item at some point. The physical touch forces decisions.
  • If all else fails, pick a number. To start, choose 10. Thumb through the clothes in your closet and remove 10 items. Put them in a bag and drop them off at your nearest Goodwill Central Coast donation center. Likely, you will find the task was not that difficult. In fact, once you get started, you may find 15 or 20 things to remove.

Remember, most of us wear 20 percent of our clothing 80 percent of the time, and would live much happier with fewer wardrobe choices than we have now. But you’ll never realize that until you test it out.

A thinned-out, the minimalist wardrobe is less stressful, less time-consuming, and more convenient.

And there’s no time like the present to get started. It’s easy to donate gently used clothing, accessories, and household items you no longer need to Goodwill Central Coast. Not only will your donations be given a new life in our retail stores, but the profits raised from the sale of your donated goods are used to fund job training and employment services for our friends and neighbors. Goodwill helps change thousands of lives through the power of work, and your donations help make it possible!

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