12 Reasons We Keep Clothes We Don’t Wear and How to Move Past Them

12 Reasons We Keep Clothes We Don't Wear & How to Move Past Them

This post is all about the common reasons we keep clothes we don’t wear or love. And how to move past these common challenges to simplify and declutter your wardrobe.

Many of us (myself included!) sometimes struggle to let go of clothes, even those we know we no longer love or wear.

And in noticing this, I realized there are some common reasons why we keep clothes we don’t wear anymore. Common stumbling blocks that are easy to get tripped up on when trying to purge your closet.

And these common reasons that make it difficult to let go of clothes you no longer love or wear can be what’s holding you back from creating a simplified wardrobe you love.

Knowing why you’re holding on makes letting go easier

Understanding why it’s hard to let go of clothes you no longer wear is the first step. Often, once you understand what’s making you want to keep clothes you don’t wear or love, it’s easier to move past these mental blocks and effectively purge your closet.

Once you know why you are struggling to let go of clothes, you can use this strategy, along with these tips and tricks, to start simplifying and decluttering your wardrobe more effectively!

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Why we keep clothes we don’t wear and how to move past them:

12 Reasons We Keep Clothes We Don't Wear & How to Move Past Them
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

1. The item is new or barely worn and you feel guilty about wasting money on it

Sometimes you buy something you think you’ll love and wear, but it just doesn’t work for you.

Maybe it shrank or lost its shape in the wash. Or it doesn’t match with anything else in your closet. Maybe you bought something trendy, but never feel comfortable in it. Or you wanted something new but settled for something that was just ok, rather than waiting to find something you love.

Whatever the reason, it’s in your closet but you aren’t wearing it. It’s time to let it go.

Remind yourself that the money is already spent. Keeping it in your closet will not get the money back.

In fact, keeping it will only prolong your negative feelings, making you feel guilty every time you see it.

If it’s not something you love, you are rarely or never going to wear it anyways. It’s just taking up space in your closet. Let the item go and use it as a lesson for how to make better choices when shopping in the future.

2. It’s something you are “supposed” to have in your wardrobe

It’s easy to allow yourself to be restricted by someone else’s rules. Maybe you’ve heard there are certain classic wardrobe staples everyone should own, like a little black dress. But when you try on your classic black dress, you realize it actually doesn’t fit quite right.

Don’t keep something that doesn’t look and feel great just because it’s a classic staple you should have. If you don’t love the way it looks and feels, you won’t wear it anyways.

Your wardrobe should reflect your lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to make your own rules. If you don’t need or want a little black dress, let it go.

If having a little black dress fits your taste and lifestyle, but you don’t love or wear the one you have, let it go. Then shop thoughtfully for a new one. Take your time to find a replacement that really suits your body and needs.

Another example of following someone else’s rules is with color.

I’ll use myself as an example. I like to wear a lot of dark neutrals, like black and grey. But I used to believe that wearing mostly neutral, dark colors was against “the rules”. And I should include brighter colors or patterns in my wardrobe.

But since simplifying my wardrobe, I’ve realized I don’t actually like wearing bright colors or bold patterns. And now I stick to what I like instead of following someone else’s real or perceived rules.

Let go of trying to follow someone else’s rules and figure out what works for your body, preferences and lifestyle. That’s how you’ll end up with a wardrobe you love!

3. You tried a new trend, but it doesn’t work for your body or life or is already out of style

Maybe you bought something trendy to update your wardrobe, but the item never really worked for your body or life, so you never or rarely wore it. Or the trend quickly passed and it’s already out of style.

Try figuring out what your signature style is. Meaning the types of clothes you look and feel your best in. Think about your favourite kinds of outfits, or your go-to outfit choice when you want to look and feel great.

For me, I feel best in skinny jeans, a longer loose-fitting top, a cardigan and a pretty necklace or scarf to finish it off. That’s my signature style.

Once you figure this out, it’s easier to resist and let go of trendy items and stick with what works best for your body and life.

Figure out your signature style. Then, let any trendy stuff go that’s no longer working for you and your style preferences. It’s just taking up space.

And remember your signature style and what works best for you when you’re shopping or adding new items to your wardrobe.

4. Your weight has changed and you have clothes in multiple sizes

Try to only keep clothes in your closet that fit you right now.

Having clothes in sizes that don’t currently fit, adds to the visual clutter in your closet and makes deciding what to wear more difficult.

Plus, if your weight change is not something you are happy about, seeing clothes that no longer fit can cause negative feelings.

If you want to keep some clothes in different sizes than you are wearing right now, be very selective about what you keep. Only keep the items that you absolutely love and would feel excited to wear again.

Then, if possible, rather than storing them with your current wardrobe, box them up and put them out of sight. Or keep them in a spare closet if you have one.

For example, if you’re planning to lose weight, you’ll probably want to treat yourself to a few new items to celebrate when you do. Only store the items you currently own in a smaller size that you absolutely love. Then add a few new pieces as needed.

The great thing about a minimalist wardrobe is that you don’t need many pieces to have a complete wardrobe. You can easily have a versatile wardrobe with 30 pieces or less.

By saving only the pieces you love and adding in a few new pieces if your weight changes in the future, you’ll still have a functional capsule wardrobe without storing boxes and boxes of clothing in various sizes.

5. You’re keeping an item for a certain type of event or occasion

Sometimes you have an item you rarely wear but are keeping “just in case” a certain occasion arises.

But instead of keeping something you rarely have occasion to wear, try to think of alternatives you own that you could wear for that occasion, but also wear other times. Versatile pieces are essential to a smaller wardrobe.

For example, I had a few dresses I only wore when we were on a tropical vacation. Because of the style or cut of them, I didn’t usually wear them at other times.

I also had a few dresses and skirts that I could wear regularly and also wear on a tropical vacation. I realized I only need to keep the ones that I could wear for more than one occasion.

Try to limit the things you keep in your wardrobe that are very specific to one event or occasion. Keep things that are versatile enough to work for a variety of different occasions in your life.

6. You’re keeping an item “just in case” or as a back-up

Keeping things, especially clothes, “just in case” is a common stumbling block many of us face.

My thought process was something like “What if I can’t do laundry for 45 days in a row? Shouldn’t I make sure I have enough clothes so I can wear something new for all 45 days?!”

In reality, I do some kind of laundry almost every day. And if we ever are without laundry for more time than usual (away on holidays, our washing machine breaks down, etc.) even if I only had 7 shirts, I could wear each one twice and be decently clothed for two weeks.

Another thing I often found myself doing was overstocking.

I thought “If I like to wear black t-shirts I better make sure I have 10 so I always have one available!”

Again I reminded myself that I can do laundry and have an item clean again very easily.

12 Reasons We Keep Clothes We Don't Wear & How to Move Past Them
Photo from Max Pixel

Sometimes rationally thinking through these “just in case” or “what-if” scenarios is all you need to do to let go of this scarcity mindset.

Think about what you actually need and wear in your wardrobe. Chances are you don’t need as much as you think.

7. You don’t have anything to match or wear with an item

Sometimes you buy something you like, but for some reason, it doesn’t work with the rest of your wardrobe.

You try to convince yourself the item will work…as soon as you find the right pants/bra/sweater/scarf/accessories/whatever.

The key to a smaller, but more loved and useful wardrobe is the ability to mix and match the pieces.

Keep things you can wear in lots of ways, with lots of other things you own.

If an item is already causing you trouble because you don’t have the right pieces to make it work, that’s a sign it’s not a good fit for your lifestyle or your wardrobe. Time to let it go. Stick with pieces that easily work with the rest of your wardrobe.

8. Some things look and feel good, but you’re tired of wearing them

Sometimes you have things that still look and feel good on, but you’re just tired of wearing them.

This can even happen with things that used to be your favourites. You used to wear an item often, but now find yourself tired of it and not wearing it anymore.

When this happens, it’s ok. You got your use out of the item, now let it go and let someone else love wearing it.

9. You know you don’t wear an item, but you are having a really hard time letting it go

These items can be tricky. Sometimes the best way around this situation is to use a “maybe box”.

Put anything you are having a hard time letting go of in a box. Seal the box, put it out of sight somewhere and mark it with a date in the future, maybe 2 or 3 months from now. Put a reminder in your phone for that date. If you haven’t thought about or wanted any of the items in the box when the reminder goes, donate the box.

Having a “maybe box” gives you a safety net if you’re worried about purging too ruthlessly and then regretting your decisions.

I often use a “maybe box” when I’m having a hard time letting something go.

I have even retrieved a few items of clothing from my “maybe box” on occasion. However, each and every item I’ve brought back from the “maybe box” was always donated shortly after. There was always something that made it go in the “maybe box” to begin with.

Try to trust your instincts and your first reaction when deciding what to keep or get rid of.

But if there are a few items that you’re struggling with, try creating a “maybe box” to take the pressure off yourself. It can ease the fear of regretting any of your decluttering decisions and let you be bolder with what you are willing to try living without.

10. Something was a gift and you feel guilty getting rid of it

Remind yourself that whoever gave you the gift gave it to you to make you happy. They wouldn’t want it to be making you feel bad or guilty now.

The gift was given, you appreciated it and thanked the giver. What you do with the item now is up to you. If it no longer makes you look and feel great, it’s time to let it go.

11. It’s something that holds sentimental value and is hard to let go

There’s no question that sentimental items can be some of the more difficult items to declutter.

But try to be intentional and selective with what you keep for sentimental reasons. Maybe set a limit for how many sentimental items you will keep. Then, only keep the things that are really important to you.

There are lots of creative ideas you can do with sentimental clothing.

There are t-shirt quilts, framing a small piece of the fabric, transforming a special item into a pillow cover, taking a picture of the item or you wearing the item, etc.

If you’re really struggling with too many sentimental items, some of these ideas might be ways to honour the memory without taking up space in your closet.

But remember to be selective with these ideas too. You don’t want to transfer sentimental clutter from your closet to unfinished projects in your craft room or décor items that add clutter to your home.

12. It’s something you’d wear in your past or future lifestyle

The clothes in your closet should reflect your lifestyle now.

If your lifestyle is different from what it was 5 or 10 years ago, let go of the clothes from your past lifestyle.

The same goes for the future. Don’t fill your closet with things in anticipation of a future lifestyle you want to live. Or wished you lived.

Unless there are concrete future plans for what you’ll need and when you’ll need it, make your wardrobe a reflection of your current lifestyle. Not one that may or may not occur at some time in the future.

Think about your life, right now. How do you spend your time? What types of clothing do you need for those activities? Keep the clothes that work for your life, right now.

Be realistic about what you actually need in your wardrobe and get rid of the things that don’t fit with your lifestyle.

How to let go of clothes you don’t wear or love

If you’re having a hard time letting go of clothes you no longer wear or love, I hope this list helps you make some progress purging your wardrobe.

Often once you’ve identified the reason why you’re struggling to get rid of something, letting it go becomes easier.

This post covers the most common reasons we keep clothes we don’t wear. Use this list to figure out why you’re struggling to let go of some of your clothes you don’t love or wear.

Then, once letting go becomes easier, you can start decluttering and simplifying your wardrobe to create a wardrobe you love and that serves you well.

Do you find yourself struggling with any of these common reasons that make decluttering your clothes challenging? What holds you back from getting rid of clothes you know you don’t love or wear? What has been your biggest struggle when it comes to purging your clothes? Let me know in the comments below.

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140 Comments

  1. Ok I totally needed this!! I’m always going through my wardrobe to clear it out but always seem to keep things I don’t need! I’m definitely guilty of keeping gifts because I’d feel bad getting rid of them. Thanks for such a great post. 🙂

    1. Thanks Sarah! Letting go of clothes can be tricky sometimes, I totally understand! Sometimes once we understand WHY it’s hard to let them go, it makes it easier to let go. Thanks for reading, I’m glad you found it helpful!

    2. I accumulate a lot and give away a lot and after my husband died I didn’t want anything so gave too much away I regretted later and had to re-buy a lot of the things I got rid of so now I feel more cautious to part with things in case I can’t get over the regret. But I also re-cycle unwanted gifts I don’t use and I don’t feel guilty about this because my mindset is that that it is given to benefit others.

      1. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. I agree that you need to find a balance in decluttering that works for you. It can definitely take some trial and error. I like the idea of focusing on the benefit you can give to others by getting rid of unwanted and unused items. That’s a great perspective! Thanks for sharing your experiences and insights, and thanks for reading 🙂

        1. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your daughter. You have my most heartfelt sympathy. Giving away things that belonged to a loved one who has died is very difficult and I’m sorry you are regretting giving away her things. Thank you for reading and please take care <3

  2. It is great to hear more and more bloggers/writers/influencers referring to the “why”. We do need to clear that up first, before we start unnecessarily acquiring more stuff, clothes and books at the top of the list. Great tips!

  3. The multiple sizes of clothing is so true! One of the ladies I go to the gym with is down to a size 8 from a size 20 (massive yay’s for her!). And she still has 2 size 20 outfits in her closet. She can’t tell you why she has them. The closest we’ve all come up with is that they’re a reminder to not let herself get that big again.

    1. Wow, good for your friend, that’s amazing! If you’re weight is fluctuating it’s easy to hang on to clothes in different sizes, even if you don’t mean to! I think it’s important to be intentional and take out anything that no longer fits before you add new clothes in a different size.

      In your friend’s case though, if keeping a couple of things to remind her how far she has come and to keep her motivated it maintain a healthier weight, I think that’s great! Even though she no longer wears those items, they are serving a purpose to keep her motivated. As long as they are a positive reminder for her and it’s only a couple of things, if it works for her, that’s great! Thanks for reading and for sharing 🙂

    1. Yes, those are tricky ones and I think a lot of us hang on to clothes for those reasons! Sometimes acknowledging WHY you’re keeping stuff you no longer wear is enough to give yourself permission to let them go. Thanks for reading, I’m glad you found it helpful!

  4. Haha. I totally related to this today. Ive been putting this off for months. I finally sorted everything the other day with the intention of getting rid, but theyve ended up back in my bed draw ? Ive done exactly the same with my little boys clothes that hes outgrowing. I cant bring myself to get rid of his baby clothes!! ?

    1. Yes, even with the best of intentions some of these roadblocks can make it really difficult to let things go! Hopefully recognizing WHY you’re having a hard time letting things go will make it easier to actually give yourself permission to get rid of some things. Thanks for reading!

    1. Yes, those things can be hard to let go of for sure! Just remember that the money has already been spent, if you’re not wearing it, it’s just adding clutter to your closet and making you feel guilty about not wearing an expensive item. It can be hard to let go in the moment, but it feels so much better once it’s gone! Thanks for reading! 🙂

  5. My biggest problem is I have gained weight and they don’t fit….but….of corse I think I will get into them again. NOT

    1. Weight changes can certainly make things challenging. I think it’s best to only keep the clothes that fit you RIGHT NOW in your closet. You can store your favorite items in different sizes for when/if you need them again. But that way you feel good knowing everything in your closet looks and feels great on you. Thanks for reading!

  6. One of the smartest approaches to a common problem I’ve read recently. You’ve helped me think of everything that is sensible when I approach hangups that keep my closet too stuffed. Job well done. Thanks.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Liz! I really appreciate it! I’m so glad to hear this post helped you. I hope it will make it easier to let go of things you don’t love or wear in your closet. Thanks for reading and thanks again for your support!

  7. I’ve been purging my dressing room, lots of clothing for occasions- yoga, gym, cruising, evening, shopping, house and garden clothes etc… Literally bags of clothes gone, not replacing them but still more to purge – the ‘hard’ things, thats where your brilliant article will help. The reasons why we keep things- how obvious but have not read this before and it makes perfect sense. Am looking forward to revisiting my clothing armed with your 12 reasons! Thankyou Melissa for writing this inspirational and commonsense approach to minimising a lifelong accumulation of clothing clutter.
    P

    1. Wow, that’s awesome Linda! Good for you!! I’m so glad you found my article helpful. You’re totally right, clothes have a funny way of accumulating and it can be tricky to let some of the “hard” ones go. Sometimes once we figure out WHY we are keeping things, it’s makes it easier to let them go. Thanks for reading and sharing your progress. I’m so happy I was able to help and inspire you!

  8. I read this article this morning and got rid of quite a few cloths in my closet. I’m sure if I did a second round I’d find more stuff to depart from!
    Thank you for the insdpiration!!!

    1. Thanks Megan. Good for you for letting go of more than half your wardrobe, that’s awesome! What prompted you to do your big declutter? I’m always interested to hear what inspires people to take the plunge! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who had too many back up items! 😉 Thanks for reading 🙂

  9. I have done 3 separate Konmari passes. Each time I find more that just don’t spark joy. The amount is smaller but still more to cull. I’m at the point that everything I have sparks joy in the sense that it fits, looks, good, great shape BUT…I have so many in that category that the volume is not sparking joy.
    Ex: I have 4 pairs of knee high boots, 2 pairs of Uggs (old comfy for heavy snow and new cute shoe boot comfy cuteness). I have 11 pairs of short boots all colors and good brands (Born, Frye, Ralph Lauren) hiking boots, water shoes, flip flop TEVA, Keens, 2 running, gym show, several Keds 4 Sandels. Over all near 40 pairs of shoes. I tend to wear my cognac Frye and black combat boots the most. Should I just cut the number in half just to get the number down. I’m heading towards ‘cozy minimalism’ and think 40’pairs of foot wear is too much. Today was the first day all winter that I wore the tall gray boots.

    My question is do you get rid of nice well fitting items for the sake of reducing volume?

    1. This is such a good question Susan, and a really tricky part of decluttering. It can be hard to decide what to do with things that look and feel good, but you just have too many. I think when you say the volume you have left is not sparking joy, that’s your answer. All the “stuff” we have in our homes and closets adds weight to our lives. Even if it’s neatly organized and out of sight, it’s still there and weighing on our mind.

      If the amount of clothing and shoes you have in your closet is causing you stress, or even just not bringing you joy, I think it would be worth it to try to reduce it further. You could even try boxing some of it up and storing it somewhere outside of your closet. Set a reminder for yourself for a few months in the future. If you haven’t needed, wanted, or even thought about the things in the box you could donate them and feel confident that you won’t miss them. This would be a great thing to try with your shoes. Box up half of them and store them somewhere with a reminder to revisit them in 3 months. See if having fewer items makes you feel happier and more at peace with your closet in the meantime. If at the end of 3 months, you haven’t needed or wanted the shoes, get rid of them!

      It can be really hard to get rid of things that are in great condition and fit you well, but if you’re not wearing them often anyways, they are just adding clutter to your closet. Keep the things you love and wear often. I hope this helps. I’d love to hear an update about what you decide to do and how it goes! Thanks for reading 🙂

    2. Susan, I’ve got more shoes than I’ll ever NEED, but I’ve also got a ton of shoes that I love and wear, even if it’s just several times a year. And I wear them all at some point. If you purchase good items that are not trendy, enjoy your shoes as long as you want. No rules. It’s your closet. I’ve got shoes that make me happy to wear and are decades old. One thing that helped me stop being overwhelmed with the amount of shoes is that they’re all in dollar store plastic boxes, stacked neatly and labeled so that I know exactly what I’ve got. Sometimes I find that organized cures the stress of numbers. One can un-clutter successfully and happily without being a minimalist or molding into someone else’s idea of what they should own.

      1. Yes, I completely agree Peggy! It’s very important to find the amount of stuff that feels right to you. Your version of minimalism doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s because you get to decide what works for you and what is too much. I think finding that balance is such an important part of minimalism. Deciding what “enough” is for you and your life is the key. Thanks for reading and sharing your insights!

        1. I know this is an older post/comment but I agree that it’s finding what works for you. I can live with fairly little clothing (I tend to wear the same kind of look most days), but don’t try and pry my shoes or scarves away from me! They’re what make me feel happy and what put my outfits together in ways that look different. I know my wardrobe will always have more accessories than clothes, but that’s my happy balance 🙂

          1. Yes, you’re exactly right Ali! The most important part of creating a wardrobe you love is figuring out what works for you. Rather than trying to follow someone else’s wardrobe rules or what works for someone else. I love that you’ve figured out what you like and need to feel happy with your wardrobe and have found balance. That’s awesome! You’re right – balance is key! Thanks for reading and sharing your insights!

      2. Good tip. I tried this and it works. Especially if you are finding it hard to part with them. Nine times out of ten you will not put them back in your wardrobe/closet. Here in the U.K when Grenfell Tower burned down. People took clothes out of their closet and ran to the centre to give them to those who needed them. Did they stop to think. NO. There was a greater need. Another tip is to have possessions but not to allow them to possess you. This is when it becomes hard to let go of clutter. I am practising detaching myself from what I own. It then becomes easier.

        1. That’s a great point, Doreen, thinking about others who need your unworn clothes more than you do is a great motivator to let go. So is working towards becoming less attached to the things you own. Thanks for reading and sharing your insights, you shared a lot of value!

        2. I know this is an older comment, but I still wanted to add my two cents. 😉 I did a juge wardrobe decluttering and wanted to have a capsule wardrobe. Then I noticed I had much more t-shirts than I needed, but I loved and wore them all. I decided that I would keep a selection for the capsule wardrobe and store the others away for when the first selection wears out.
          Well, at the end of the summer, I’ve taken away 3 t-shirts and my “excess number” is down to 2 or 3, which isn’t really enormous…

          For shoes, especially if they are high-quality, this could be a possibility, too. And of course putting some shoes away for later might also help you realize which ones are your real favourites. And of course designer shoes are easy to sell when they are in good state. People are much less reluctant to buy shoes second hand then clothes.

  10. Great post, I’m going to have another go at purging this Easter weekend. I often go to de-clutter my wardrobe and end up only getting rid of one or 2 items! my wardrobe is bursting at the seams! One thing I’m trying is that I’ve put all the hangers one way and then change it the other way if I’ve worn it. Those that have not changed after 6 months are going! I did this in January and there are still so many things I’ve not worn. This post has definitely helped! Thank-you 🙂

    1. Turning your hangers around is an awesome way to see what you actually wear on a regular basis. I’m glad the post has helped as well! I find letting go of clothes can be a tricky thing for a lot of us. Good luck as you do another purge this weekend, I’d love to hear how it goes! Thanks for reading 🙂

  11. I find it helpful to think of people that WOULD wear and enjoy the clothes that I don’t. Lots of thrift stores are thrilled to get stylish clothing, and many put the proceeds directly back into the community. It always makes me feel good to drop off a trunk-full of unneeded clothing, and they can usually give you a receipt to use as a tax deduction! It’s a win-win for all parties!?

    1. That’s such a great mindset Dawn! It does make it easier to let go of clothes you aren’t wearing when you think about the people who will benefit from them. Thanks for reading and for sharing your excellent advice!

  12. Your list inspires me to further declutter my wardrobe. The comment about clothing for the present so valid. That’s my weak spot – forget I no longer need business type outfits. Thank you.

    1. That’s great Cynthia! I’m glad you found it helpful! It took me a long time to let go of my work clothes as well. Not only had I invested a lot of money in building that area of my wardrobe while I was working outside the home, but it also required some mental letting go of that part of my life. Thanks for reading!

  13. I would have one more category: I love this item and don’t want to wear it in case it gets ruined. I have many items I love, but rarely wear because they are “too special” or “too nice.” My life revolves around going to a job where I might be outside loading boxes to inside the office in airconditioning answering emails and so I dress to lower common denominator never quite feeling “put together” but then again never wanting to look overdressed. As a minimalist, I don’t want to purchase new things only to find they don’t fit my lifestyle but I have yet to find a look or style that works for tropical weather/indoor/outdoor/professional mostly male workplace. (I am the a rare female missionary bush pilot.)

    1. Wow, what an interesting career! That is another good reason why clothes sit unworn. My philosophy is to wear my favourite items and enjoy them. If they get wrecked or damaged, I’ll be sad, but at least I got a chance to wear and enjoy them. If you aren’t wanting to do this, perhaps another solution would be to put together a work clothes capsule wardrobe, with pieces carefully selected to work for you job and make you feel good as well. And wear your nicer clothes during your off time. It may take some thinking, planning and searching, to find items that will meet your requirements, but it’s an idea! Good luck as you figure out what will work for you. Thanks for reading and for sharing!

  14. Thank you so much for this article. It is sPring (August ) in Zimbabwe, I am putting all my winter clothes away, and pulling the summer clothes out . You have really nailed it . I am guilty of all of these …….you made today so much simpler. I feel so much lighter.

    1. I’m so glad you found the post helpful Andrea! Sometimes once we realize why we’re struggling to let go of clothes, that’s all we need to be able to let them go. Thanks for reading, I’m glad to hear it helped you!

  15. I realise now that I work and have a uniform I need fewer clothes. Last week I went shopping with friends and didn’t buy anything for myself. I was proud of myself. Last year I had finally decided I’d accept my weight and bought a lot of nice clothes that fit. After seeing photos I started a diet that has worked. I’m down 2 sizes…so the past year I have had a few closet clean outs. The nicest things are in the attic. I’m scared I’ll gain weight again and have nothing,

    1. Good for you Lara, it sounds like you are becoming very intentional about your wardrobe. And good for you also about your weight loss, that’s great. I hope you continue to enjoy your carefully selected wardrobe. Thanks for reading!

  16. I never really comment on blogs, but this is the best post I’ve read since I started becoming minimalist 😉
    I can´t wait to go home and let go of these pieces that are hanging in my closet because I might wear them next summer…
    Thanks Sara!

  17. I think my biggest issue in cleaning out is that right now I don’t have the financial ability to replace. Probably 75% of my closet, I never wear, but if I get rid of that much, I feel as though I’ll have nothing. It’s a very strange feeling!

    1. I think a lot of the time we hang out to things out of the feeling of security they give us. Even though you don’t wear them, you still feel safer knowing they are there. That’s a tricky situation for sure! One thing I suggest is moving the clothes you aren’t wearing to another closet or even boxing them up and putting them away. That way you haven’t got rid of them, but you might also see that you really don’t need them after all. Sometimes we need far fewer clothes than we think we do, it’s just hard to take the leap and try it. I know it was for me! Just something to think about! Thanks for reading and sharing your experience!

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    Great stuff, just wonderful!

  19. Very helpful post. I have more clothes then i can possibly wear but a hard time letting go. Its hard to throw out torn and tattered when my job is such that everything gets ruined so i only wear the bad clothes to work. Save the nice stuff for special occasions or when going out. Except i do neither so that stuff never gets worn. And 14 yrs later I’m still the same size i was in HS so I’ve still got all those clothes too.

    1. I’m glad you found the post helpful Brittany. It might be helpful for your to have a work capsule with clothes you don’t mind if they are ruined at work. And then a non-work capsule with clothes you wear when you’re not working that you narrow down to your favourite items. Clothes can be tricky to declutter for sure. I’m glad you found the post helpful. Thanks for reading 🙂

  20. Oh my gosh do I ever need this article right at this very moment in time!! I spent the last 2 days going through my closet taking a photo of every item to post in an app to help me create outfits. I’m already at 117 “tops”, 30 “bottoms” and 32 “dresses”. And I haven’t even gotten to my tshirts, shorts, purses, outerwear, athletic wear, etc that aren’t in my closet. I thought I would pull out more items to donate/toss but instead I found things I wanted to keep or had forgotten I bought. I’m in a period of dieting (dropped a size over last week) so I was happy to find stuff that I’ve not been able to fit into for a long while (mostly jeans). I still fit in most of the “larger” stuff too and some of it is among my favorites. But there is a ton of stuff that I can now see the possibilities since I’ve been looking at outfits and how to put them together, I am having trouble letting go of them. I can’t “LOVE” all of these items so I need to just bite the bullet and start pulling out those things I’ve not worn in years. I have to think of it like that unopened bottle of salad dressing that has been in the back of the fridge for a long time; it might still be good but I know I’m never going to use it and I just need to toss it.

    1. It’s so true Tammy. It often seems like we can talk ourselves into keeping just about anything if we try hard enough! If you’re hesitant to ruthlessly declutter, a great experiment to try is to take everything except the items you absolutely love out of your closet. Store everything else in a spare closet or boxed up somewhere. Come back to those items in a month or two and see if you missed any of them or wanted to wear them in that time period. Often some time and space away from our items can help clarify if we really want to keep them or not.

      I like your salad dressing analogy! It sounds like you’re already on the right track simply because you are recognizing that some things need to go. Keep at it! Thanks for reading and sharing your experience!

  21. I heard once that everything in your closet should be able to pair with 4 other pieces. What are your thoughts here? And, maybe more importantly, where do you start that – with the everyday essentials or with the statement pieces?

    1. I have heard of that idea as well. I think it’s a great goal to aim for when choosing what to keep in your wardrobe. I personally prefer and wear a lot of neutral items. So most of my wardrobe is quite interchangeable because of that. For me personally, I don’t like making new outfit combinations, instead tending to wear the same outfits I love on rotation. It might be boring to some, but it works for me. I can get dressed easily and quickly and know I will like what I’m wearing. However, if you’re someone who enjoys putting together different outfit combinations and having more variety in your wardrobe, I think this would be a great way to help you decide what to keep in your wardrobe. Keeping the most versatile pieces that can be worn with many other items in your closet would be a great way to ensure your clothes will give you a lot of variety without needing a lot of clothing items.

      If it was me, I would start with the everyday essential items and build a base wardrobe first. Then once I had my core wardrobe put together with my everyday essentials and basics, I would add the statement pieces in from there. Once you have your base wardrobe established, it would be easy to add a few statement pieces for variety and interest, again without needing a huge amount of clothes. I hope this helps! Thanks for reading 🙂

  22. This is truly wonderful. I have been following the one in and one out rule with clothes and footwear for sometime and it really helps. I think it should be applied to everything that comes to the house.

    1. Thanks, Shuchi! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the post. I completely agree, the one in, one out rule is such a great way to prevent clutter, for clothing and everything in our homes! Thanks for reading and sharing your experience!

  23. Great post! I believe I’m the second person to remark that I’ve never commented on a post before. I just downsized to a Home that’s 60% the size of my previous home. My weakness is believing that a particular item cannot be replaced – like that cool cordoroy jacket I never wear but have never found one like it again. Do you have a cure for this phobia? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jen, I’m glad this post is inspiring you to join the conversation! That’s amazing that you’ve been able to downsize so much, good for you! I think if you’re struggling to let go of things that are unique and you are worried you’ll regret getting rid of, first remind yourself that if you never wear it, it’s just taking up space in your closet but not adding any value to your life. Then, a great way to help let these kinds of items go is to box them up and put them out of sight. Add a date in your phone for a certain amount of time, say 1 to 3 months. If by that time you haven’t wanted the item (or even thought about it!) you can get rid of it knowing it wasn’t something you missed anyways. I hope this helps! Thanks for reading 🙂

  24. This was good for me to read because I still have clothes from when I was skinnier…cute cropped jeans and tops that made me feel great, younger, and in better shape. Now they just make me sad. But I feel if I give them away (and I am pretty good at donating clothes) I am giving up on ever being smaller again. Sigh…

    1. I’m glad you found it helpful Carolyn. The thing about hanging onto clothes that don’t fit anymore is they just make you feel bad everytime you see them. We should feel happy when we look at our clothes, not bad. I’d say get rid of those clothes and keep the things that make you feel great right now. I think it’s so important that our clothes make us feel great whatever size or shape we are. If you don’t have things you feel great in right now, maybe plan to slowly and carefully start adding pieces you love and make you look and feel great. Let go of the clothes that make you feel sad and let go of the negative feelings associated with them. Make room for the things you love and make you feel great! I hope this helps. Thanks for reading and sharing your experience!

  25. Great common sense advice!:-) I’ve become determined to embrace a more minimalist lifestyle and have been going to several consignment shops in an effort to make some money in order to ease the overwhelming guilt and fear I have of one day hitting bad times financially and not being able to afford the very type of clothes I am now purging my closet of. A lot of the items no longer fit as comfortably as they once did, and I am struggling with the idea of holding onto some of these clothes and just losing some weight if I ever hit those ‘bad times.’ 🙁

    1. Good for you Cynthia, it sounds like you’re making awesome progress! I found once I really thought through and understood why I was hanging on to clothes I didn’t wear or love, it helped to let them go. And just remember, we really don’t need a closet full of clothes to have plenty of outfit options and variety. A smaller wardrobe made up of things you love to wear and look and feel great in, will make life so much easier as compared to a closet full of clothes that no longer fit or you aren’t wearing anyways. Thanks for reading and sharing your experience. And good luck with your decluttering 🙂

  26. Hi there, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your tips and advice on decluttering and purging our wardrobes. Twice a year I sort through my wardrobe and bag up clothes, shoes, belts and handbags I no longer use and donate to charity. Some items have never been worn with the tags still attached. I used to feel guilty at the expense of not wearing a dress that cost so much yet now my view is different. If I can pass it on to someone else to make use of, that makes me happy. Also, the money made from selling the item goes back to charity. I do have one dillemma about a mink fur shawl I was given by my family from my deceased grandmother. It’s genuine and in great condition but I have no desire to wear it. Most importantly, I am sickened by the thought of a beautiful fox being killed to obtain the fur for this purpose. Can you suggest what I should do with it? I am embarrassed to have it in my wardrobe (hidden out of sight) and given my views it would not be right for me to encourage anyone else to wear it (i.e. give to charity). Any suggestions please? Thank you.

    1. Good for you Deanne. It sounds like you’re doing a great job of keeping your wardrobe in check. I love that you’ve changed your mindset and let go of the guilt. That’s wonderful!

      As far as the fur shawl goes, that is a tricky situation. I have the same way of thinking about fur as you, but in this case, I think I would lean towards donating it. Even though you feel strongly against the use of fur in clothing, it’s already done, the shawl has already been made and now it’s in your possession. To me, I think I would rather know it was being used and loved by someone else as opposed to sitting in storage or thrown in the garbage. I would rather know that since the animal was already killed for the fur, at least it’s not going to waste now and someone is using and enjoying it. I hope that makes sense! I have no experience with furs myself, and I can definitely see why this would be difficult for you. That’s just what I think would feel the best for me. I’d love to hear back from you about how you decided to handle it.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your experiences and challenges!

  27. I like collecting coats and jackets. When I lived in Oregon I had several heavy coats as well as lighter jackets. I brought all of them with me when I moved to Arizona 6 years ago. Although there is snow in the mountains of Arizona, I never go there so there really is no need for any of my heavy coats, which there are probably about 6 of them, so they have been hanging in my coat closet all this time and never been worn once while here. I need to not only purge my regular closet, but I really need to purge my coat closet!! Thank you for a great article!

    1. You’re welcome Rose, I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this post! It’s funny how we hang onto things sometimes, even though we don’t use or need them. I often find once I notice and recognize what I’m holding onto but don’t actually wear, it’s easier to let them go. It sounds like you’ve got to that point too – that’s awesome. Good luck as you tackle your closet and your coat closet! Thanks for reading 🙂

  28. 1, 2 and 4 are so much me! I recently completed a major closet purge and I was surprised by how many things I was holding onto that I didn’t wear. I did my first closet purge about 5 years ago and thought I did an okay job by not letting too much in. I decided to pull everything out for spring and count how many pieces I owned, and I was blown away by how much I had. It was tough but I forced myself to sell or donate items that I wasn’t wearing anymore. Thanks for sharing this great list!

    1. That’s awesome, Amy! Good for you! I think it’s surprising for most of us to see how much clothing we have when we gather it all up in one place. But seeing it all in one place is a great way to motivate ourselves to declutter too! It sounds like you did great! Good for you! Thanks for reading and sharing your experience 🙂

  29. This is absolutely the best article I’ve read on how to get rid of clothes, although I feel like it could be applied to all my stuff (like all those cookbooks people keep giving me for Christmas that I’ve never even opened?? Outta here!). I love the one about holding on to things that people say you “should” have. I feel this way about even going minimalist. I feel like I’m finally ready to say, minimalism is not for me, I like my clothes and I don’t feel particularly burdened by having more than 50 pieces in my wardrobe. There are pieces weighing me down for sure that I can get rid of, but this article finally made me realize that I can be ok with my 200 piece wardrobe if I don’t feel burdened by it. I really love this article and can’t wait to share it with my friends!!

    1. Thanks, Katy! I’m so happy you enjoyed this post and that it resonated with you! I think you’re right – these ideas really could be applied to a lot of the stuff in our homes!

      I love what you said about minimalism and I completely agree that not everyone is interested in the same version of minimalism. I think the word “minimalism” can be kind of misleading actually. Being a minimalist doesn’t require only having 50 items of clothing. It just means you get rid of the things you don’t use/wear/love and only keep the things you do use/need/love instead. However that looks for you is your version of minimalism. Lately, I’ve been moving away from using the term minimalism as much because of these preconceived notions the word carries. And instead using words like simplifying or living intentionally. Because I think that’s what it all comes down to – deciding what you value and enjoy in your home and your life, then getting rid of anything that doesn’t align with that! However that ends up looking for you is what is right for you!

      Thanks for reading and sharing your insights – you brought up so many great points!

  30. It’s hard to get rid of clothes and shoes when you live in a state that has four seasons, from coats to jackets, sweaters to tank tops, boots to sandals, etc. What are your thoughts to organizing a closet when you need so many clothes?

    1. I completely understand this! I live in central Alberta, Canada and we definitely have 4 distinct seasons (sometimes all in one week lol!). This is how I handle seasonal clothes:
      1. I only keep clothes for the current season in my closet. I keep out of season clothes and outerwear in our spare bedroom closet. This helps reduce visual clutter from out of season items in my closet.
      2. At the end of each season when I switch my clothes out, I look through everything and decide if there’s anything I didn’t wear or don’t want to keep anymore. It’s great to do this at the end of the season because then it’s still fresh in my mind what I actually wore and what I rarely wore.
      I hope this helps! Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any more questions, I’d be happy to help if I can!

  31. the way for me to get rid of clothes was i decided i wasn’t going to wear any clothes that were bad for the environment because then they must be bad for me! i got rid of almost all of my synthetic clothing, it was amazing. this season i have 3 pairs of pants and 5 sweaters for work.

    1. That’s a great way to pare down your wardrobe. I think deciding what is important to you in your wardrobe and your whole home is a great way to get clear about what you want to keep or get rid of. Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing your insights and experience. I love the way you decided what is important to you and then let that be your decluttering guide. Great work!

  32. I used to think that it makes sense to buy more of the types of items I wear all the time. But I realised I was overdoing it and I’m only ever going to wear so many striped shirts etc. I also realised this week that I’ve been hanging onto clothes I used to love and wear all the time.

    1. Yes! I used to do the same thing, I thought I needed to have back-ups to my back-up favourites! But you’re exactly right – you don’t really need that many clothes! Letting go of old favourites is hard too. But I find we do get tired of things after a while, especially if we wear them all the time. Best to let them go so someone else can enjoy them! Thanks for reading and sharing your ideas!

  33. I’m so glad that I kept reading until I got to this question. It is also my issue. I can get rid of clothes that don’t fit, are worn out, don’t suit my style, but I am left with many that do tick the right boxed and so I still feel cuttered and look at my clothes and wonder what to where – too many choices. Putting them away for a while and seeing if you miss them is a great idea. I did it with shoes, it’s only been a few weeks but haven’t missed a pair and the ones I kept are truly the ones I go to all the time and its easy!

  34. How do you deal with the fact that you don’t want all of your clothes to look the same? I know what I like and what looks good on me – I have just become a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom again after years of working – but I do like variety in my fashion…..any advice? Thanks, Kimberly

    1. For me personally, this comes down to learning to feel content with less. When I was used to having a closet full of clothes, I worried that I would get bored with fewer clothes. But the big shift for me was realizing that I was already wearing only a small selection of my clothes to begin with – even when I had a closet full of clothes. This helped me let go of the fear of having a boring wardrobe.

      Also, just because you have fewer clothes, don’t mean you can’t have variety. For example, you could make 4 seasonal capsule wardrobes and swap your clothes out seasonally. That means every 3 months you’ll have a new set of clothes, which might help give you some variety. Or you could use accessories to add variety to your wardrobe. A few scarves, pieces of jewelry, etc. can really help add a lot of variety into a basic wardrobe. Pick the things you love wearing first for your wardrobe. Then you could even add in a few extra items of clothing to add a bit more variety when mixed and matched with your favourite items.

      Focus on keeping the clothes you absolutely love. For me, only having my favourite items in my closet makes it easy to get dressed and feel good about my wardrobe because I love everything I have. When you only have your favourite items in your closet, it’s fun and easy to get dressed every day.

      I hope that helps! Thanks for reading. Let me know if you have more questions or are looking for more guidance! I’m happy to help if I can!

  35. I agree and love everything you’re saying and would love to do that,except I like to have options and dress according to how I feel on a given day,could be classical or bohemian or invisible or really out there. So how do you deal with that if the day you purge you were feeling classic and got rid of the other things you love?

    1. I totally get what you’re saying, Sheila. I think the best way to approach this is to try to identify the clothes you wear the most in each of the styles you love. For example, first identify the classic clothes that are your favourites and you always reach for. Then do the same for your bohemian clothes, etc. The goal of decluttering your wardrobe isn’t to take all of your options away. Instead, it’s about keeping your favourite, most loved items and getting rid of the rest that you don’t love or wear.

      Another good experiment might be turning all of your hangers the wrong way and then after a set amount of time (maybe 3 months or so) see which items you wore frequently and which ones you didn’t wear at all.

      If you start paying attention to which clothes are your favourites in each of the different styles you love, you can figure out which items you’re ready to let go of. I hope that helps! Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any other questions!

  36. Great advice; I will get started. Today! My vice, though, is hanging on (for literally years & years) to items which I have loved and worn a lot, but still love, including some I’ve had to repair. I don’t even notice (let alone acknowledge) if it’s time to let them go. But – & here’s the bonkers bit – by keeping them, I’m then not wearing newer stuff coz I think of those pieces as ‘new’/‘best’! (Insight: just typing this now is helping me! I’m going to only wear ‘new/best’ for a few weeks and then see how I feel and then purge! )

    1. Good for you Deb! I am glad that just writing your comment gave you insight into how you’re using your clothes and has inspired you to try something new! That’s wonderful. Sometimes it’s easy to not notice our patterns or habits with our clothes – you’re are doing great recognizing this! Good luck with your upcoming purge – it sounds like you’re ready to make great progress! Thanks for reading 🙂

  37. My problem is I did purge unnecessary clothing but have things I love but rarely get to wear anymore because I am retired. I only regularly get dressed up for church on Sunday.

    1. This is a common issue when our lifestyle changes and the type of clothes we wear changes as well. Some suggestions might be to further declutter your dressier clothes if you feel you have too many. Alternatively, you could keep them for Sundays as long as you know you are wearing all the clothes and not just the same few items on repeat. I think with time you will begin to see what would be best for you to do with these items. If you find you are never or rarely wearing some of your dressy clothes, you might be able to choose to keep your absolute favourites and let some of the others go. I hope this helps. Thanks for reading and sharing your experience!

  38. I’m so grateful to have found this post! I’ve never understood why it was so hard for me to get rid of anything… my family calls me a borderline hoarder! Thank you for sharing your wisdom on this subject!!

  39. Getting ready for a move soon has made me think about what I want to keep, and what I should donate. But I didn’t know where to start! I really like this article, it brings up good points. And it has helped me start to determine what I should keep – and what I shouldn’t feel bad about donating.

  40. We always fell in love with hanging clothes and thought it would be the best fit for an occasion but then again when worn it turns out to be the other way around. We should think about buying clothes that we will going to wear for everyday use.

  41. I went through my wardrobe a 2nd time this week after reading so many tips on decluttering (thank you) and also finding the konmari reasoning of ‘feeling joy’ helpful. I already had several bags of clothes in my spare room which have been there 6 months and I’ve only removed a couple of things permanently (as you said some I took out were returned again) but I still had new clothes in my wardrobe that I just don’t wear because I put them on and don’t like how I feel in them. I felt guilty about getting rid of them because I shopped with either my mother or sister when I bought them (lightbulb moment reading above!) and obviously tried to conform to how they think I should dress – into the spare room they have gone!
    My young daughter helped me to offset the guilt of thinking that I’ve wasted money; her wise words were “when you buy a gift for a friend or family you don’t consider that money is wasted even though you don’t keep the item for yourself, so consider you are ‘gifting’ your clothes to someone else who needs them and will appreciate them”. Love my girl 😀
    With that thought in mind these bags are off to the thrift shop this week; my next challenge, decluttering the rest of the spare room so it looks like a guest room.

    1. Good for you!! It sounds like you’re doing a really great job decluttering your wardrobe and figuring out a lot of “whys” for yourself. That’s awesome! And I absolutely love what your daughter said. Very wise words indeed! I love that, it’s so true and such a great way to think about it – thank you for sharing her wisdom with us! Thanks for reading and sharing your experience and what you’re learning along the way with us. Good luck as you continue decluttering. It sounds like you’re well on your way to reaching your decluttering goals!

  42. The item is new or barely worn and you feel guilty about wasting money on it, t’s something you are “supposed” to have in your wardrobe, Your weight has changed and you have clothes in multiple sizes, You’re keeping an item for a certain type of event or occasion are some of the reasons for keeping clothes we dont wear.

  43. My closet is so packed that I don’t even like putting clothes away and end up with baskets of clean clothes that never get put away and then I just get the clothes from the basket and re-wear. This article was very helpful and I just need to bite the bullet and get rid of things.

    1. I’m so glad this article was helpful for you, Barbara! It sounds like you’re feeling ready to do some decluttering and let go – that’s such an important part of the process! Thanks for reading and happy decluttering!

  44. As I have been reading this helpful post, I have been thinking about the mess in my house. I have always had trouble getting rid of things and my house is overstuffed with things, some with more meaning and usefulness than others. I have always put off purging closets and drawers and book cases in case I want the items again in the future. Now I am paying for years of neglecting some necessary purging. Three months ago, I had a fire in my basement. Actually, it was 3 fires at the same time and the fire marshal quickly decided that they were set because 3 fires do not start at the same time by accident. As far as I know, no one has been arrested yet for the arson, which is a scary concept to cope with. Now I have to clean out a lot of clutter and damaged items. My boyfriend and his dog and I all walked out unharmed and the firemen came quickly and put out the flames in the basement but many other items in the first and second floors were damaged by smoke and soot. All the upholstered furniture is ruined and can’t be cleaned enough to be usable. I have been told by several experts in cleaning and restoration that the smoke smell will come back in the hot weather ahead. Because of a mix up between the homeowner’s insurance and myself about an unpaid bill, I cannot afford to restore the house and have to sell it to someone who will rebuild it and sell it for a profit. It is so sad, I can hardly stand to go there and always leave soon after because the smoke smell is so bad that I start to choke. I finally found and moved into an apartment after 11 weeks of living in motels with a dog who was not socialized and is afraid of strangers. Usually, when I go to the house, I only pack up some of the things I need in the apartment or a small portion of the things on my never ending lists. I have not tackled any of the cleaning up and packing I need to do before the house is sold and just bring a box or 2 and a few bags of clothes for the changing seasons with me to the apartment. I have the option of storing things I won’t need like my good china and my jewelry making tools but I haven’t even faced cleaning out my closets and will have to soon. Your article was helpful and the ideas will be helpful when i have to get more cleaning out done in the house. Most of the things in the basement were ruined by the fires and the water from the firemen’s hoses and a burst pipe and most of it will be thrown out but I’m having trouble letting go of 32 years of accumulation of craft supplies and other things, like off-season clothes. I hope none of you ever experience a situation like this. I wish now I had done some purging before this emergency.
    p.s., The boyfriend who alerted me to the smoke after the dog got his attention, walked out on me and his dog the next day and won’t even come and take care of his own stuff. The dog came to my house at the age of 5 weeks so grew up with both of us so I had some relationship with her but she has been traumatized by the whole experience and is very clingy. She was definitely his dog and missed him terribly at first. She is also part pit bull, which made it hard to find an apartment because many places have breed restrictions but we are trying to settle in a new place. Have figured out that she growls at strangers and sometimes snarls because she is afraid. I did get her to growl less at people we see outside the apartment but she gives anyone who has to come in to install Comcast or deliver furniture a very hard time and I end up taking her in the bedroom or outside for a walk. Once she started growling less, I noticed that she was shaking while hiding behind me. I’m trying to set up sessions with a trainer to help her with some basic training like walking on a leash without pulling and for help with the social anxiety but we haven’t started yet.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about all of the challenges you’ve been facing. That sounds really difficult and I can only imagine how much stress it has put you under. I’m glad this post was helpful for you. I hope you will start to feel more settled in your new home and can work through sorting and packing your belongings at your previous house. Good luck with your dog as well. She is lucky to have someone willing to put in the time and effort to help her feel more secure and confident. Thank you for sharing your experience and your journey. I wish you the best of luck as you move forward!

  45. I liked that you said that it is a good idea to have nice clothing to keep for special occasions. I think that this would make it easy to attend work events and weddings. I would consider purchasing new clothing to keep on hand for special occasions.

  46. I identify with all these points. But I also have the extra problem of having a hubby who won’t let go of stuff, will dig through my donate pile and tell me that I can’t get rid of something. How do I fix it?

    1. That can be tough for sure. What I always recommend is focusing on decluttering just your stuff first. If nothing else, this will simplify your life. But seeing you enjoying the benefits of your simplifying efforts may inspire your husband to warm up to the idea as well. I hope that helps! Thanks for reading 🙂

  47. I have the same problem as Trish, I go through my own things, but my husband doesn’t want to let me get rid of MY unwanted things. This is usually things that HE likes how they look on me, but I don’t feel comfortable wearing. I have way too many of these items that have survived purge cycles and I’d really love to let go of them. Any thoughts?

    1. I think the best approach to take is having an open and honest conversation with your husband. Even if he likes certain clothes on you, if you don’t feel your best when wearing them, they won’t be items you are excited to wear. Perhaps you could work together to find clothes he likes and you feel great in too? That would be my suggestion, I hope it helps!

  48. You hit the nail on the head with this article.
    My problem is I set out to purge my closet. Then as I start out ok then I see something and say oh I could wear this with that, so I put them together. And when I’m finished I’ve only gotten rid of a few things. And then a couple of months go by, and the cycle starts all over again. I don’t really need any of the things I keep because I’ve been Retired for 4 years now.

    1. I’m glad to hear you could relate to this post too, Kandrith! You might have more luck using a “maybe box” when you’re decluttering your clothes. Simply put clothes you know you don’t wear, but keep talking yourself into keeping in a box, seal it, and put it out of sight. Set a reminder in your phone for 1 to 3 months from now. If the reminder goes and you haven’t wanted, needed or even thought about the clothes in your maybe box, it might be easier to let them go. I always find a little time and space away from things makes it easier to make some decluttering decisions. I hope this helps. Thanks for reading!

  49. I apologize, as this isn’t completely about clothes in my closet. My last parent, my mom, passed away in Sept. 2017. As an only child, after my dad passed away on May 2009, I moved in with my mom. She has lots of extra’s of most everything, but she did have them organized. Unfortunately, I did pick up that same habit from her, but when I have tried to organize, it ends up being a worse mess, everywhere, & I get discouraged. As I don’t know or close to anyone here in this small rural area, have drifted away from friends from other places I lived, & the only family I call once every couple of months,as they’re busy, I have no one to help give me a push to get decluttered. That’s my major problem, having any motivation to keep me going. Also, as my work history now, due to lack of opportunities in my field in this area don’t exist, & tried Security guard work, which I thought I did well, but after almost a year, no warning or reason, my supervisor which helped me get the job (as he did yard and other work at home, especially when I was traveling for my job. I was able to remain with the same company & later moved to another site in need, lasting about 1 month, & due to a negative comment from a cleaning lady, I was still able to move around the corner to yet another site with a great boss, but even though they had us trying to do at least 2-3 things at a time, & this particular day, knew there was a food truck coming to bring free Christmas dinner’s for all the workers, I missed checking them in, being away from the security office, but saw they had arrived, I made the mistake of going to them, checking credentials, & writing signing them in (as they were already there & I could see them unloading the trays of Christmas dinners, lastly, they were expected, although arriving 2 hours late. This unfortunate incident led to the last straw doing that & was fired &” Dec.2019 & have not or been able to find job( especially 1 which is not hard labor, as I just turned 56). I was unable to continue with any travel job as they require a home address of a family member to receive mail, after mom’s stroke the day I was returning to my job in Arkansas from TN, as I was lucky enough to have time of to visit a few days on Mother’s Day 2017, & wanted to visit in case there was something she was unable to do, which I could, lastly had been dealing with metastasized breast cancer. I only found out she quit taking her anti hormone treatments for that (she didn’t like the menopausal type extremes which it caused). The guy who I sent mom money to mow & take care of anything needed, he would stay & talk to mom for almost an hour after he’d finish his work & that’s how I had found out( after mom passed away due to her threatening to kill him if he ever told me, and the cancer had with a vengeance, about 2 months prior to my visit. She was a very strong, proud, & independent, and she knew I’d worry, which she thought would either interfere with my job or that I’d quit, although unable to financially & due to contract, except when her stroke occurred as I was the only family she had & someone had to sign her into the hospital, give them insurance information, and approve of any treatments. Sorry for rambling on. I have tried starting to declutter, and due to the need of having to find anything that I can sell, due extremely needed money, I end up partially going through a box, moving most aside, putting them on the once bare kitchen wall, & on top of that, have been collecting quite a few boxes, especially for using to pack & ship after selling/ or just donating. Also, I start, with my intention of working on just 1 area, but always get sidetracked, usually finding something belonging somewhere else, then will putter around another room piled with just as much clutter, & on a rare occasion, even finding something in the new spot I had just moved to & end up in another room. By this time, I need a break & upon even thinking about returning to it, I I’ll look at what I thought I was making progress on, yet find it looks more like I had a thief break in & made a huge mess, get discouraged, & not returning to declutter until a month or so, after getting tired of seeing the mess. I then end up doing close to the same as before. I did finally get the laundry/pantry room, completely organized & decluttered, only to learn after bumping into the outside dryer vent & it broke off due to years of weathering. As I was going to see if I could super glue it back together, I saw the entire vent tube only had less than half the amount of space to vent dryer air, due to years of dust, lint, & whatever else that was almost blocking good outflow. After looking & finding an article online about this being the 2nd most common cause of house fires, & got around to trying to clean it , with a dryer vent hose cleaner & starting with hooking up, per instructions, the shop vac on the outside , I realized after a closer look that not only was the vent hose too fragile per materials it was made from, but was also felt that it was beginning to fall apart, which now meant I would have to buy a stronger, less flexible for me to try (although I might have to try) due to my ex-dog walker(when she was living in the area with her parents & daughter)when I was working, her husband was going to do it but, time went to fast & had trouble getting him motivated before the she had returned to her job, only back in Alabama, 4 & a half hours away, & I have no idea when she returns to visit her parents, if he’ll be with her. I don’t have the money to pay to have it done, although the task is almost, possibly will even be unable to move the extra stiff hose through the inside wall to get it into the room at the rear of the dryer(& the crawl space to access it is extremely very small for my mass & minimum space, plus having to crawl into the only small opening in the very rear of the house and crawling on hands & knees all the way to the front of the house, before even finding out if I have a chance to get it wedged into & up the inside wall to the point of where I might be able to get to it from inside, pull it through and hook it up. Years ago, mom had bought a new tv antenna and the latest better reception cable, and had me get under the house, crawling from only 3 different places/rooms to pull out, with her help on the inside, making sure it was the antenna cable & not the paid cable tv cable, & easily exchange & replace with brand new. Due to the very large water lines, along with minimal space to crawl, I’d have to crawl extra to get around the long, blocked off area, taking a much longer route to get to my next spot. Although that was about a decade ago & in more flexible as well as a few pounds lighter, I still remember the extreme pain & aches I was left with for several days after all that crawling to replace/ upgrade the antenna cable. Also knowing the dryer vent hose is much further away to crawl to, yet my friend’s husband had moved everything in the only decluttered & organized room to pull out the dryer to get a look & see if he’d be able to get behind the dryer without moving more stuff, leaving the room a mess. I’m quite sure the reason he continued stalling, eventually allowing him an excuse, as he knew he’d be leaving for the long drive back to his house for wife to get ready for & be at her job on time (which I unfortunately had no warning of time constraints)to get the job done, was after I showed him the very small & only entrance & the length he’d have to crawl before even attempting to begin. Know, due to the weight of the dryer, I’d be remiss to try & get it pushed back in place, as the hose still needs to be done. I did manage to get through, just, the small entrance under the house last night, finding & throwing out cushions along my minimum distance to get to the underneath of the main bathroom shower drain, hoping I’d be able to get it unclogged, as the extra declogging from the inside at the source, which has always worked any & every time I’ve cleaned it out before worked. Unfortunately, this time after a thorough cleaning/clearing out, and running the water, it actually appeared to drain even less than prior to declogging & it feels so unsanitary upon finishing a short shower with the water, at the highest point would be ankle deep. Sadly, the thicker pvc hoses underneath the house was glued & was afraid that, not only might I possibly break it trying to get it apart but also possibly cause a leak due to how many pvc pipes appeared to be running through the same pipe. At least there’s another bath/shower in the master bedroom, although it had never been used other than to store stuff/ only piled with different size boxes for extra packaging to save money upon needing after selling different size items online, but I cleared them out & piled them with the already overly packed top of the bed in that room, allowing me to at least finally be able to take a shower. Anyway, again I do apologize for going on & on, I just wanted to give you an idea of the state of my life since I was fired last year, although I’ve been trying to figure out a wide ranging niche & name (that would help drive people to my site) also, even before getting fired) for a profitable blog, which I could do in conjunction with selling( for much needed income to pay for monthly expenses, minus no auto or house payments to worry about, thanks to my mom being extremely well with budgeting & always being tight with money spent. One of the reasons/excuses for taking so long getting started on the blog & having more options to get the best price for anything sold on eBay is I had to gather all the laptops, for updating, and changing/resetting from mom’s information to my info, finding & getting the printer setup on, & getting the virus/ransomware protection, especially on the Windows laptops, as the only one that I had was completely wiped clean due to ransomware. I’ve been having to use my iPad, which is actually easier, except any tablet/iPad doesn’t have)although unsure why)access to the extra & more useful items needed to get the most out of eBay & most likely everything I will need access to for getting my blog & eventually website up & going. I’ve been fortunate enough, although unable to find a name for the site, found a lot of info & inspiration for content. All the while, I have even tried the suggested 20 minute declutter, yet once I begin, I can’t help but continue until I start getting scatter brained & trying to do several things at once. Luckily, I keep the bedroom doors closed so no, if I had a visit, would see the unbelievable, cluttered & even (due to needing to find something in one of the overly cluttered rooms, and many, many piles & stacks of stuff) strewn about mess, other than the piles visible in the dining room, corners around the kitchen table & an older Mac Pro laptop, with possible needed tools & new increased volume items, awaiting for me to get around to updating, downloading anything on the hard drive I don’t want to loose, onto either an external hard drive or large enough gig USB drive, before taking my laptop in there to watch, so I won’t mess up )as this will be my 1st time changing out & updating a hard drive for possibly needed extra space, due to Apple being more secure & never getting attacked to the point of having to throw a 3rd laptop out because of the ransomware attacks which ruined the hard drives on 2 different Window laptops, 1 was here. & the other time was while out of state( & was a necessity for my travel job), fortunately for me, mom was still alive & although it takes time, & patience, she was always good about being able to repair or fix laptops, and (although she did have to buy a brand new hard drive, she was able to figure out how to get Windows back on the drive, which I read about & could only find info that upon putting a new hard drive in would require hundreds of dollars to purchase the Windows O.S. just to be able to restore it. Mom managed to save it, although I had to remove some of her stuff & add, update, & buy & install the best reviewed anti-ransomware program to hopefully prevent the complete destruction of a 3rd laptop, actually its the updated 1st laptop, which mom was able to repair, even though it,took her almost a month due to ordering a new hard drive, & the complexity of getting everything back in working order. Again, I do apologize for rambling, although it’s most likely due to staying at home, sometimes for as long as 2 months, but normally only getting out once a month on average & since I’m not a religious but am spiritual, so I don’t go to church nor do I care to go to any bars, which I’ve researched is the best places to meet new people in a small rural town. I appreciate your time, if you were able to find the time, with your many other daily business & family time. Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Janice, I’m sorry to hear about all the struggles you’ve been facing. It definitely sounds like a tough situation. As far as the decluttering goes I would try to continue what you’ve been doing trying to do a little bit at a time. Try to focus on starting and finishing one decluttering task before moving onto something else. With any decluttering project, it does often get worse before it gets better. So don’t be discouraged if it seems less organized and messier while you’re working. That’s normal! I hope that helps. Take care!

  50. I’m totally guilty with #7! I tend to buy clothes and overlook if I have something to wear with a specific piece that I buy. It’s pretty difficult to convince yourself that it’s not working with anything, though! Haha!

    1. Yes, it can be hard, you’re right! I think the biggest thing is being aware of it so when you’re shopping you can take what you have to go with items you’re considering buying into account. Just knowing about it can help you buy things that will work better with your current wardrobe! Thanks for reading 🙂

  51. I like the idea of clearing out your wardrobe to make room for new clothes. I feel like if you could sell your items, that it would be a good way to fund your next clothing purchases. I’ll have to consider getting some luxury designer clothes so I could have high resale value if I decide to do that when clearing out my wardrobe.

    1. That is one option. Selling clothes you don’t wear or love to fund the purchase of clothes that will work better for you. I encourage you to think about buying clothes you will wear and feel good in for years to come so you can avoid the cycle of buying, then decluttering, then buying more. Thanks for reading!

  52. Thank you so much for this post! I am desperately in need of downsizing my clothes collection. My attic is 75% full of clothes and shoes. I am horribly embarrassed to say I have piles and piles of clothes everywhere. I say to myself I am a borderline hoarder. I now understand boarderline should be deleted from that sentence, I am a hoarder of clothes who saves them with hopes to someday fit in them again. I have a very small house and have paths everywhere. It causes tension with my husband. I hadn’t thought about why I keep these things until I read this article, shaking my head yes, that is me the whole time. Thank you for opening my eyes with doable solutions for tackling this mountain of clothes,

    1. I’m so glad to hear this post was helpful for you. Being ready to let go of things is such an important part of the process, and it sounds like you are ready. That’s great. Thanks for reading and sharing your experience. Good luck as you begin to tackle it!

  53. Just wanted to say when I got to reason 12 about the past & future lifestyle, I pretty well had to set the phone down and “study on it”, as Andy Griffith says. Just having verbiage to describe that long-standing tendency I have. I was a teacher for several years (so I have a bunch of stuff from that), and I may teach again in the future (so I’ve held on and sometimes still buy a “good deal” on something I might teach in). But this is definitely going to help me let go of those old items AND keep me honest when I’m shopping for new items – if it doesn’t fit my right now lifestyle, then it’s not time to buy it. That way, when I *need* something for my right now lifestyle, I won’t feel bad about investing in the purchase! So good! Thanks so much for helping me crack the code on that hang up!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that tip really resonated with you. Sometimes it’s just shifting the way you think about something that makes all the difference. Thanks for reading and sharing your feedback, I really appreciate hearing from you!

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