Spring Cleaning (for your workout gear) & What to Do with Old Workout Gear

April 17, 2017

I’m sure I’m not the only one tempted to upgrade some of my workout pieces, but first I’ve got to clear out the old workout gear. Read on to figure out which pieces to toss and what do with them.

old workout gear

Spring has sprung, and it’s a great time to give your closet that ole’ spring cleaning. It feels funny to call out Spring when I live in San Francisco, where more or less, all seasons kind of feel the same. But even so, I’m using the season “change” to encourage some apartment clean up.

My task isn’t too daunting. My closet underwent a serious detox when we prepared to move across the country. But just nine months later, I feel like my closet is once again more full than it needs to be. Really, I haven’t shopped much at all since the move, but I know there are many things taking up unnecessary space–mostly workout gear.

While I did a good job donating and selling clothes prior to our move, I brought WAY too much workout clothes. In New York we didn’t have laundry in our building and I did a wash about once a month. Meaning I needed about 30-40 of each piece of workout clothes (30+ pairs of leggings, sports bras, tops, etc). I accumulated quite a collection over the years and while it was annoying by the end of the month having to wear workout clothes I didn’t even like, it was worth it to avoid laundry day.

But now in SF, we’ve got a washer and dryer in our unit (life-changer!) and typically I only wear my top 10-20 favorite workout items on repeat. All those items at the bottom of the pile? Sorry, you gotta go.

To help in my workout gear spring cleaning, I read Well+Good’s The 5 Activewear Pieces You Need to Get Rid of ASAP. The summary is: old items that are stretched out, stained items, sneakers after 300-400 miles. Knowing these rules, man I have a lot of stuff to get rid of.

The one rule I disagree with is the suggestion to ditch sports bras after one year. Sports bras are expensive and I can’t imagine throwing them out after only a year. Also, when you’re shuffling through 40 sports bras at a time, one likely won’t wear out after a year. If you’re wearing it multiple times a week, maybe.

With that being said, these are the rules I live by with my workout gear.


Three Items To Say Goodbye To

Items that you don’t feel good in

It’s time to Marie Kondo your workout gear. Try on a tank top and if it doesn’t bring you joy and you don’t feel like your best self, consider getting rid of it. Feeling good while you workout is key, and if your gear is making you feel like a schlub, move on. All those items at the bottom of my workout gear pile? They fall into this category.

See Through Pants

I mean, obviously. But do you actually know which leggings are giving everyone a peek at your undies? I speak from (embarrassing) experience. Some of your favorite leggings that you thought had you covered, might not be as opaque as you once thought. Leggings that are too tight, are cheaply made, or have been worn so much they’ve lost their elasticity, may be see through. Before you make your way to yoga, bend over in front of the mirror and make sure you’re good to go. Iffy or see through? Toss ’em.

Broken in Sneakers

If you’re an avid runner, remember to get a new pair about every 6 months. Keep an eye on when your favorite shoes are on sale, it doesn’t hurt to buy a new pair early and have them ready to go when your current pair gives out. Don’t ignore the 6 month or 300-400 mile rule, you can really hurt your feet and legs if you keep going in worn out shoes.

And a bonus rule: One in, One Out

If you’re addicted to buying new workout clothes, control your closet by setting the rule: one in, one out. Whenever you want to invest in a new pair of tights, think about which pair you’re willing to get rid of in order to make space. Can’t think of a pair to donate? Then you probably don’t need that new pair after all (sorry!). If a long list of leggings you don’t like anymore comes to mind, start that clean up!

Now that you’ve accumulated your pile of gear to get rid of, where’s it all going to go?


Three Things to Do with Old Workout Gear

Pass It On

Maybe you’re tired of that Lorna Jane crop top, but your bestie might love it. We’ve all bought new gear to only wear once and later realize we don’t love it or it doesn’t fit right. The money has already been spent; someone might as well enjoy it, pass the goodies on to your friends.


If you spent a pretty penny on a Lululemon gear, it can be painful to realize you’re over something and it’s time to go. To ease the pain, sell it on ThredUp and maybe get a few bucks back. Whatever they don’t sell, they’ll donate. I’ve sold a ton of clothing on ThredUp and while you don’t get much money per piece, sell enough and it adds up. It’s super easy to sell which is why I like it, but if you want to put in more time and effort and likely get more money out of it, sell on eBay or Poshmark.


What about those beat up sneakers? Donate them to Soles4Souls, a non-profit that distributes shoes and clothing around the world, find out how to contribute here. There’s also Goodwill, or donate old shoes to Nike and they’ll recycle sneakers into sport courts and other products, read more about that program at NikeGrind.com.

Happy Spring Cleaning Everyone!

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