It’s that time of year again when warm weather is upon us! Meaning now is the perfect time to get your summer wardrobe ready and organized. Conveniently, following a few simple steps, you can make a change that will not only give you extra space, but also helps individuals in your community.

Wash. Clean clothes are happy clothes! Washing everything you own gives you the perfect opportunity to take an inventory and help determine which clothes you’re going to keep and which ones will be stored or donated. Something you should incorporate into your wash routine is regularly reading the care instructions located on the tag. Although it can seem obvious, reading the tag, separating your delicates, and correctly managing your wash settings, are the best ways keep your clothing looking top condition.

Inspect & Sort. Once everything has been washed it’s time to inspect and sort your clothing into four piles- keep, donate, recycle, seasonal. During your visual inspection you’ll be checking the size, while judging the condition by looking for any stains, holes, missing buttons, etc. Anything that doesn’t pass your inspection and cannot be donated, place in the recycle pile. If the garment still fits, is in good condition, and can be used as a staple item for multiple outfits, place it in the keep pile. If the item is new or gently used, a duplicate, or no longer fits, but is of high quality and in great condition, place them in the donate pile. Everything else, is seasonal and will be discussed in the next bullet.

Pack & Store. Each pile you made (keep, donate, recycle, and seasonal) all need to be packed and stored differently to maximize space. Items you’re keeping can go back into your closet, and organized according to your preference. For extra space, consider organizers or collapsible hangers. Neatly fold and double bag your donation pile, but separate the men’s and women’s items accordingly. To recycle textiles, consult your local waste management facilities or locate a textile recycling center, each may have their own preference on the manner in which they’re delivered. Seasonal items like winter coats take up a lot of space, so properly packing and storing them within a clearly labeled plastic tote makes them easier to stay organized.

Donate. Clothing is a basic necessity, so to help those in need, there are national and local organizations that support a wide range of causes. The Salvation Army, for example, helps 25 million U.S. citizens annually, providing them with everything from clothing and shelter to global aid and education. Local veteran associations, homeless shelters, and many religious organizations also accept and distribute clothing among the community. However, don’t forget about youth and teens, they need fashionable and durable clothing too. May marks National Foster Care Awareness Month, so in support, consider donating new or gently used clothing to local foster youth in need!

Replace. There comes a time when you must move on. Conveniently, now you have some space! However, avoid filling the void with low-quality or trending fast-fashion textiles that won’t last. Replacing one article of clothing with it’s sustainable and transitional alternative is a great way to start small. From Fair Trade Certifications guaranteeing ethical production and labor, to organic certifications like the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS), apparel manufacturers like Pact go beyond to produce environmentally-friendly products that follow strict quality standards. In fact, farming organic cotton consumes 91% less water and generates 42% less CO2 annually than conventional cotton farming. Meaning what we buy, wear, and care for matters. That’s why it’s important to do your research and buy with intent.

Setting aside time to get organized is a great way to reduce stress while practicing the ways of a minimalist. Staying organized is a year round task, but when done seasonally, it becomes much less daunting. So put on some music, prepare the washer, and get organizing!

Grab a coffee and keep reading! 31 Days of Presence Over Presents takes our family on a month long adventure of living in the moment.

Photo Credit: Jill Wellington, Steve Buissinne, Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash, Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash, Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash