Today's mission is to declutter your wardrobe of excess or old and worn out undergarments. To help you this article has tips for what to keep and how to get rid of the items that you'll no longer store in your closet or drawers.
This mission is designed to be done while we're focused on the Organize Master Bedroom Closet Challenge and/or the Organize Master Bedroom Challenge, which are two of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenges here on the site, depending on where you keep these types of clothes within your home.
Instead of trying to get rid of all your clothing clutter at once, and then feeling overwhelmed, or pulling out too many clothes all at once and making a big mess, I've broken this task up for you into a series of missions, some of them focused on the type of clothing item, while others are focused on clearing out the places you store the various types of clothes, such as in drawers in your bedroom, or shelves in your closet for example.
As always, when decluttering any type of clothing, make sure to use these 9 questions to help you with the process, so you can feel good about the choices you make.
During this Declutter 365 mission I want you to evaluate whether to keep or get rid of the following types of clothing items in your closet or dresser drawers that are considered undergarments. This list can include:
Some people may consider socks undergarments as well, but we do have a separate mission for decluttering socks since for many of us, we've got a lot to go through and it takes a while to sort through them.
There are certain thought processes or objections I've noticed when Declutter 365 participants do this mission, and they tend to include one or both of these issues:
Let's take each of these concerns in turn, and putting them into a helpful perspective as you tackle this task.
Undergarments are the type of things we wear every single day, and change daily. That means a nice pair of underwear or a bra can, over time and with use, look and feel worn out.
There's nothing wrong with wearing clothes for their full life. In fact that can save resources. But there comes a time when the underwear has a rip or has developed a hole, or the elastic in the bra is sagging, and it's time to let these items go. The key is to wear these items until they're worn out, but not past the point of them being worn out.
You are worthy of having nice underthings, even if you're the only person that sees them. After all, uncomfortable, holey, or stained undergarments can make you feel uncomfortable physically, or make you feel less confident emotionally, even when you're the only person who knows why.
Therefore, as you do this mission take a look, with a critical eye, toward all of your undergarments and get rid of those which have become overly worn out, and need to be replaced. This is especially true if you have plenty of not worn out pairs of underwear or bras to wear in their place. Get those better ones into rotation, and work on wearing them out now. It's time!
The other concern I often hear from Declutter 365 participants when doing this mission is wondering how many of these undergarments, particularly bras and underwear, you really should keep?
After all, you really don't want to run out of clean underwear. That's a legitimate concern!
As I discussed more in my article about how often to wash various types of laundry, you should wash underwear after every wear, and your bras should be washed at least every 3-4 wears, perhaps more often if you sweat a lot in them.
With that in mind, as long as you've got an organized laundry routine and schedule like we worked on in a previous 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, you can easily figure out how many of each type of undergarment you need to have to make it between laundry loads.
That means, for example, if you do laundry once a week that you'll need 7 pairs of underwear and 2-3 bras, typically, to get you through the week between laundry loads (assuming all goes as planned).
I do suggest you have a few extras though beyond that minimum you calculate you need, because that minimum number assumes everything goes as planned, and we all know that things don't always go as planned.
Some common occurrences that throw off your plan, and can necessitate more undergarments, like underwear, include accidents (this is especially important for toddlers who are potty training), hot days that cause you to sweat and require an extra change of all your clothes, inability to get your laundry washed for a day or two of your norma schedule, or when the washing machine breaks down.
Those few extras of bras or underwear come in handy then, to give you a bit of margin so you never run out of clean underwear, while still not needing to keep five weeks worth in your underwear drawer either.
For women, I also suggest that you have close to a week's worth of "special time of the month undies" that you can wear while menstrating, so your nicer onces don't get excess blood stains. (Here's my blood stain removal guide though, on the sister site Stain Removal 101, in case you need it.)
Knowing what a more reasonable number of pairs of undergarments is can help you identify how many you really do need to keep, and then you'll feel more comfortable letting the rest of them go.
Once you figure out the ideal number of underwear and bras you do need though, make sure not to go under it. That means when items do wear out make sure to replace them, if otherwise you'll have less than your ideal number! I know someone once who kept throwing out old underwear that were too worn, only to realize eventually she'd overpurged and needed to run out and get some new undies!
Once you've decided which undergarments you're getting rid of, the next step is to decide how to get them out of your house.
With a lot of clothing items the two main choices often include donating or selling the clothing item. Undergarments have some different considerations though.
Some people may disagree with me, but my personal rule when decluttering these items is that I do NOT donate or try to sell used underwear. I wouldn't want to buy or receive someone else's used underwear so I'm not going to try to subject other people to mine or my family's either.
However, if you don't want the underwear to get thrown into a landfill another alternative is to find a place that recycles clothing and other fibers, and donate it to them.
While I have a personal clear cut rule about not donating underwear, I believe that you can donate other types of undergarments, such as bras, shapewear, and at least some types of non-underwear lingerie.
This seems to be a prevalent belief, because this is the same rule many charities have in place, where they will accept gently used bras and other undergarments, but not panties, boxers and briefs.
As always, when donating anything, if it's so worn out you're getting rid of it for yourself it's not fit for you to donate to someone else. Instead, in such situations I suggest either trashing worn out items or looking for a clothing recycling location for them.
Otherwise, there are actually charities that specifically solicit bras and other gently used lingerie, since these items can be expensive, and they want to pass them on to those in need. I hope later to write an article about some of these charities, but in the mean time you can do an Internet search for a term like "donate bras" to find charities in your area that want these types of items.
I hope these instructions have inspired you to get rid of your underwear clutter, so your wardrobe and closet contain only the items that you love, and look and feel good on you.
When you begin to declutter the feeling you get is contagious, so if you're loving the results you're getting I would encourage you to keep going.
I've got a whole series of 15 minute decluttering missions (eventually 365 of them!) that you can do.
Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the order you can also grab the 15 minute daily decluttering mission calendars and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!
In addition, here's a round up of all the Declutter 365 missions on the site for decluttering clothes of all kinds.
Top photo courtesy of sunshinecity
I would love to hear from you, sharing your thoughts, questions, or ideas about this topic, so leave me a comment below. I try to always respond back!