Spring Cleaning: What to Keep, What to Donate

spring cleaning

Hello, Goodwill-lovers! Nicole here from the Wardrobe Code.

Much ado is made about the “New Year” season being all about beginnings. We have a tradition of resolution-making and are generally optimistic about what is to come.

But I think the magic of new beginnings actually happens in springtime.

The new year comes at a time when, even in California, the weather is cold and damp. By the time spring comes around, we’ve spent 3 months sealed up in our homes – where it gets dusty. Once the weather warms up, we finally open our windows to find a fine (or, not-so-fine) layer of winter dust. Before you know it, we’re cleaning, organizing, reassessing and prioritizing.

New beginnings.

Cleaning and purging your home doesn’t just get rid of clutter – it cleans your slate for the year. All the things you hold dear are shined up so you can admire them, and everything you’re not that attached to is reevaluated. This time of reevaluation is perfect for pruning your wardrobe.

What to Keep: Springtime Trends & Classics, Wardrobe Essentials

When it was time for me to do my own wardrobe evaluation, I had a cache of spring and summer clothing stashed away from last year I was excited to sort through. I expected that most of it would be donated, but I found that most of it was still totally current. Here were my criteria for knowing what to keep:

spring cleaning trends florals

Florals are tough; it’s a usually a stylized pattern (not photo-realistic), so it dates quickly. For this season, stick with bright colors and a medium-sized pattern. Avoid small, delicate floral patterns or muted colors.

spring cleaning seasonal classics

Some patterns just say “spring” and always will. Polka dots are timeless, as well as nautical stripes.

spring cleaning wardrobe essentials

I can’t imagine why I would ever part with this bright pink lady jacket with gold buttons. It’s a classic cut and probably my favorite thing in my wardrobe now. I really can use it to dress something up or down. Also, hang on to denim jackets in a medium to dark wash. Their bohemian quality makes them an essential for Southern California.

spring cleaning neutral sweaters

Springtime can mean unpredictable weather, which is why it’s a good idea to always have at least 3 neutral sweaters in your wardrobe. Here I’ve got a light boucle shell, a beige v-neck and a dark heather gray batwing sweater. If your sweaters are heavy, fold them and store in your closet on the shelf above your hanging rod. Take good care of them and they will last you for at least 3 years, or longer.

spring cleaning trendy colors timeless materials

I’ve found a way to carry my vintage gray patchwork bag (top right) through every season. It’s a cool gray that works with everything. I also have an emerald (Pantone’s color of the year) crossbody I bought years ago and a straw clutch – which is perfect for late spring and summer.

spring cleaning classic shoes

When I buy shoes, I rarely buy anything too trendy. Good shoes are expensive, so I mostly stick to classic styles. Black patent leather is always a keeper, as are metallics, animal prints, peep-toes and satin d’orsays (top middle). Tip: don’t wear the same shoe two days in a row; let your shoes rest so they will last longer.

What to Donate: What Doesn’t Work

donate what doesnt look good

I’ve had this pair of green, kitten-heel shoes for a few years; it’s been tough to let them go because I love the color. But whenever I wear them, I feel as if the color accentuates the pasty-ness of my calves. In other words, the color – as gorgeous as it is – just doesn’t work with my skin tone. Off to Goodwill so someone else can wear them.

donate what you cant make work

This is another item I’ve tried to make work, but can’t quite find the right way to wear it. It’s a garment that’s good on paper: chevron print, sheer and drapey material. Sadly, I think it just might be a size too big. It’s also going into my donation bag for Goodwill.

donate what isnt you

Although I certainly have a need for conservative attire at times, this Ann Taylor blazer just isn’t me. The lapel feels a little oversized and the color is just blah! When I donate it to Goodwill, it will make a great jacket for someone working in a bank – or a creative fashionista who is looking to add her own unique touch to a wardrobe essential.

So there you have it! Keep what what you love and what makes you look great, donate the rest to Goodwill of Orange County.

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