It’s Almost Fall! What to Keep and Throw Out From Summer

It’s that bittersweet time of year when we pack away all of our summer staples and make room in our closet for the items more appropriate for the chilly fall weather. But do you really need to keep everything that you’ve added to your summer closet this season?

It can be tough to predict what you’ll want to keep around for next year and which summer trends will be long gone by the time next summer rolls around. Plus, you’ve knocked around so many pairs of flip-flops that maybe they’re better off being tossed. And is that sports sunscreen still going to be good for next year?

To make your closet purge less stressful, we’ve rounded up the items that you should consider tossing and also made the case for what to keep. Read on for a guide to making the transition from summer to fall easier than ever—at least, where your closet is concerned.

What to keep

Sunglasses

Caveat: It’s possible that there might be a hot new sunglass trend next summer that you’d rather try instead of repurposing last year’s shades. But even though your outdoor time is about to decrease significantly, that doesn’t mean you won’t need to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays. It’s a fact that the skin around your eyes is the thinnest and most sensitive, and also the most susceptible to sunburn—even in fall and winter. So make sure you’re wearing SPF and keep those shades handy for to use during your morning commute. 

Dresses

Again, we’re not predicting the future here, but if you found staple summer dresses that you were in love with this season, hold on to them for next year. Chances are they’ll still be in style. Plus, layering is always in for fall, so keep a few of your more basic dresses in your closet, and consider wearing them with tights, leggings, a scarf, and a cozy sweater when temperatures start to drop.

Bathing suits

You never know when an impromptu vacation might pop up. But even if the chances of you laying on a beach somewhere in the dead of winter are slim, don’t you want to keep the possibility alive by hanging onto your favorite summer swimsuits? With holiday engagement season right around the corner, it’s totally plausible that you’ll have to jump on a plane to a destination bachelorette party a few months from now. Hold on to those swimsuits!

Sports bras

Those super cute sports bras you wore out to post-workout brunches don’t have to be tossed. In fact, the shelf life of most sports bras ranges from eight months to a year and a half, as long as you’re not wearing the same one every single day and are taking proper care of it when it comes to washing it. Never put them in the dryer!

What to toss

Sunscreen

So, you invested in a high-quality sports sunscreen for the summer to get you through all of your toughest summer workouts. Congratulations, you responsible adult you! The downside, unfortunately, is that the active ingredients in that bottle of sunscreen aren’t going to be as active when next year’s warm weather rolls around.

Technically, it will still protect you, just not as well. So you’re better off tossing that bottle and buying a new one next year. Insider tip: Buy a smaller bottle, or if you have a workout buddy who’s also in need of a high-performance sunscreen, split the cost of the big one and divvy it up into two different bottles.

Flip-flops

Before you freak out, we’re not suggesting that you trash the high-quality sandals you invested in at the start of the season. No, we’re talking about your everyday sandals, particularly those rubber ones that you beat up while running errands.

Not only is the rubber likely shot on these shoes, but they’re likely not supporting you properly anymore if you wore them for three months straight. Plus, if you haven’t been diligent about cleaning them, there’s likely a host of bacteria living in them that you don’t want to preserve for next season.

The summer clothes you didn’t wear this summer

Time for some tough love here. If there’s anything in your closet that you can only wear during summer that didn’t see the light of day all season long, it’s time to find a better home for it. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, like the cocktail dress you didn’t wear because there were no occasions that called for it or a pair of strappy sandals that would have been perfect for the fancy rooftop happy hour that you never made it to. But if the item in question doesn’t fall into that category, it’s time to toss it. To make parting less painful, donate them to a Salvation Army or clothing drive in your area, and think of how happy they’ll make their next owner.

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Danielle Page is the founder of ThisisQuarterlife.com, a blog that provides necessary information for navigating the awkward phase of adulthood known as “quarterlife.” Danielle’s work has been featured on Cosmo, Woman’s Day, Your Tango, Bustle, The New York Times, Thought Catalog, Elite Daily and the Huffington Post.