Wardrobe Purge: Cleaning and Fixing the Clothes that Go

(Author’s Note: Sorry this second installment of the Wardrobe Purge series took so long–the Procrastinator Queen strikes again. :P)

Once you’ve determined which clothes you want to sell or donate, it’s time to get them clean and fix any small tears.

You might wonder why you should bother with this step, but if you take the time to clean and repair these clothes, you will be saving your thrift shop/consignment shop a lot of time and effort, and making the new owners happy, too. You may even get a better price for your garments if they are clean and in good repair!

Step 1: Mend Small Holes

Before you clean the garment or even try to remove any stains by hand, fix any small holes in the garment. (If you do not sew, look around in your area for a sewing center or fabric store which might be able to direct you to someone.) It’s important that you get holes repaired so that washing and stain removal do not tear them open further.

Step 2: Remove Stains

stainedshirt Tackle any stain, major or minor, before you try washing the garment. (For instance, this shirt at left is one of the ones I’m getting rid of–the giant dark stain under the arm comes from wearing too much anti-perspirant. Regular washing DEFINITELY doesn’t get rid of this–trust me, I’ve been trying!!)
shoutstainremover This stuff, called Shout Advanced Gel for Set-In Stains, is absolutely the best and easiest stuff I’ve ever used to get rid of stains. It has gotten out stuff that I thought the dryer had baked in long ago. If you have an especially tough stain, you can spray this in and wait up to a week to let it work its magic before you wash! (I don’t know how this behaves with dry-clean-only fabric–best to let the professionals handle those, I believe.)

Step 3: Wash/Dry-Clean

Now that you’ve repaired the garment and treated any stains, it’s time to wash or dry-clean it (as appropriate). Just think, it’ll be the last time you have to deal with these clothes if they’re a pain to clean!

Final Notes

After the garment is clean and dry, examine it again to make sure you got all the stains and holes taken care of, and tackle those if necessary before trying to sell or donate it.

If the holes turn out to be too big to mend, or if the repair is too obvious or fragile, do not try to sell the clothing–perhaps donate it to a rag shop or to someone who needs fabric for craft purposes. And if a stain is too stubborn to remove, don’t sell or donate it; you wouldn’t want to buy or get stained clothing, so why try to sell or give a badly stained item away?


Getting your sellable/donatable clothes in shape is one more step to getting them out of your house. It takes a good bit of effort, admittedly but it’s worth it if it finally motivates you to sell or give away these old items!

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