When it comes to decluttering our homes, a huge part of the task usually involves sorting through clothing. Over the years, we collect new clothing as trends change and as our own lifestyle changes. We then hang on to items we’re no longer wearing simply because we have the space for them.
But the impact of an overflowing wardrobe extends beyond the space it takes up in our homes. The excess clothing burdens our daily lives, making it difficult to find something to wear every time we get dressed. When you simplify your closet, you get down to the best and most useful items in your wardrobe, and save time and decision-making stress every day.
Sorting out the good from the bad can be quite an undertaking. So I’ve laid out some tips to help you choose what clothing items to keep and what to let go of. Bonus: At the bottom of this post I’m sharing a free checklist to help you cut down your closet!
Store off-season clothing away.
One of the simplest things you can do to declutter your wardrobe is to store your off-season clothing away. If you live in a part of the world where the weather changes drastically from season to season, you’re going to have clothing that you’ll only wear during certain times of the year. By putting your summer clothes away for the winter (and vice versa), you’ll clear a huge amount of space and be left with a cleaner and simpler closet.
I’d recommend investing in a couple plastic bins that you can use to organize and store away off-season clothing. Tip: At the end of each season, go through your clothes as you’re storing them away and get rid of items that you didn’t wear.
Get rid of things that don’t fit you.
As you go through your wardrobe, you’ll be surprised at how many items you find that don’t even fit you. We tend to fall into the trap of keeping things that don’t fit us, thinking that we might change sizes in future and need them later. While bodies do change, ask yourself whether the burden of having these extra items in your closet is worth the money you’d save in the long run.
You might think there’s no harm in hanging on to items that don’t fit. But these clothing items tend to inspire feelings of guilt, frustration and discontent. Whether an item is too big or too small, every time we see it or try it on, we experience dissatisfied thoughts like, “I love this top – I wish it fit me”.
You may be anticipating a change in your size and trying to avoid spending money on a new wardrobe in future. But if even if you do change sizes, you’re likely to want new clothes anyway.
Get rid of things you don’t feel good in.
If you’re aiming for a closet that is both simple and functional, get rid of any clothing item that you don’t feel good in. Sometimes we hang on to pieces because we feel they are on trend or because we think they look good on the hanger. Basically because we feel they should look good on us.
But no matter how nice a clothing piece looks hanging up, if we don’t feel good in it, we’re not going to wear it. Don’t hold on to a clothing piece because others insist it looks good on you or because you’ve spent a lot of money on it. Every item in your closet should make you feel like comfortable, confident and in alignment with yourself. Let everything else go!
Let go of things that aren’t comfortable.
Comfort is key for most of us, especially with our clothing. Be critical with your wardrobe and let go of anything that doesn’t feel good. Uncomfortable clothes are a huge waste of time and space, because no matter how pretty they are, they don’t get worn.
You may try on one of these items every so often, thinking you can make it work. But you’ll only end up hanging it back in your closet because it just doesn’t feel right. Often these clothing pieces are items that cling to the skin in funny places, have scratchy fabric or ride up irritatingly. Let them go!
Lose things you aren’t wearing.
This tip is super simple, but one of the hardest to follow. We tend to hang on to clothes we aren’t wearing because there’s often no concrete reason why they’re not being worn. We may even like them, but we just don’t wear them!
So here’s a trick to help you identify what you haven’t worn and push you in the right direction. Turn all the hangers in your closet around the wrong way. Every time you put something you’ve worn back in your closet, stick the hanger in the right away. After a few months, anything you haven’t worn will still be facing the opposite way.
Exceptions! You may want to allow a few exceptions to this rule. For example, clothing kept aside for special occasions (ex: a formal dress or a tuxedo) likely won’t get worn very often, but that doesn’t mean you need to get rid of it. Be mindful as you go through each unworn item and ask yourself whether you’re likely to need it in the future.
Get rid of “just-in-case” clothing items.
We have all fallen victim to the just-in-case mentality. Resist! As you sort through your clothing, stop yourself whenever you find yourself hanging on to an item “just in case”. These items tend to be pieces we don’t wear because they don’t fit, are uncomfortable, are not our style, or are damaged. But we hang on to them because we get pulled into thinking, what if we need them someday?
We may have trouble letting go of an expensive top even though we don’t like it, just in case we do like it one day. Just in case the trends change and it comes in style again. Just in case we go somewhere unusual and we want to wear it. But there are hidden costs to keeping these unworn items in our homes.
They take up space, add mental clutter and make it more difficult to find the clothes we really want to wear. Ask yourself if these hidden costs are worth the money you might save by storing an item just in case you might wear one day.
Enlist the help of a friend.
The prospect of going through piles of clothes and letting go of old favourites can seem overwhelming. So overwhelming that you may delay starting the task or not take it on at all. So here’s what I suggest: Convince a friend to keep you company. How you bribe them is up to you, but pizza or beer usually works!
Friends also come in handy because of how well they know you. If you’re not sure whether you’re really wearing a clothing piece ask them if they’ve ever seen you in it. If you’re not sure if you like something, ask them their opinion. If you feel taken aback when they reject a piece it may be a sign that you should keep it. But if you feel like they’re talking sense – let it go!
I’ve given you my best tips and you’re almost ready to simplify your closet. But I’ve got one more thing for you. I created a free checklist to help you go through your closet and cut out what you don’t need. Get the checklist by signing up to my vip list below. You’ll also get access to my entire library of free resources for a simple living lifestyle!