Do you have a closet full of clothing, yet nothing to wear? Is everything crammed in so tightly that everything’s wrinkled, and you can’t even see what your choices are? We only wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time anyway, so why not purge a few things? I promise this is a case of less is more. It will be so-o-o much easier to get dressed when you can see all of your clothing and know that all of it fits, flatters, and is ready to wear.
When it comes to your clothing and accessories, clutter is anything you don’t wear, no matter what the reason is.
For each item, ask yourself these questions:
Do I wear it? Really? How often? Be honest. If you can’t remember, there’s probably something wrong with it. Does it fit and flatter? You should only have clothing handy that fits you right now. Is it in good condition? If it needs mending or tailoring, fix it! If it can’t be saved, forget it!
Does it suit my current lifestyle? Do you still wear suits to work? If not, they are taking up valuable space. Same goes for activity-specific clothing when you no longer take part in the activity.
Can it be worn with multiple items in my wardrobe? Clothing orphans can take up a lot of space. It’s easier to put together an outfit, and to justify the cost of a new item, when everything mixes and matches!
Or, if you really want to cut to the chase:
Would I buy this again right now if I had the chance?
If you can answer yes to all these questions, wonderful, it stays! Just be sure to store it in an organized manner, so you can find it quickly when you are dressing.
Here are some reasons why it is difficult to part with closet clutter:
- I’m waiting for it to fit me again. If you insist on keeping “fat” and “skinny” clothes, store them elsewhere.
- It reminds me of a good time. That’s nice. Do you have a photograph of yourself in that outfit? If not, take one now…or just purge it anyway. You’ll have more good times, I promise!
- It was a gift. Great, so it’s yours to do with what you want, right?
- I bought it on sale – or – I paid good money for it. So what? Don’t clutter your present with past mistakes!
- My favorite charity might want it. OK, perfect – bag it up and take it there today!
- I might be able to sell it. If you are already an avid eBay- or yard- or re-seller, great! However, if you aren’t, save yourself the hassle and just donate it.
- My friend/neighbor/coworker might want it. Ask them. Give it to them today.
The bottom line: If you don’t wear it, it’s clutter.
If you need help making decisions, call a friend or a professional organizer. It is a myth that a professional organizer will make you get rid of all your stuff. A good one will help you identify what you use, love, and need to keep, and will help you store it or display it in an organized manner.
What do you have in your closet right now that you are willing to part with?
What have you been hanging on to that you secretly really know is just clutter?
Share with us in the comments below!
Related: The Closet Clutter Flow Chart
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I used to be really bad at grabbing stuff on sale, even if it was a blouse that would only go with one skirt that I owned. Now I’m much better at choosing things that mix and match, possibly to the point where I’m a bit boring…
One item I can’t seem to part with is my Levis shirt from the 90s. Every once in a while I will put it on over a T-shirt just to justify keeping it.
The best way to save money is to NOT buy stuff on sale! 😉 But I say the Levis shirt is a keeper as long as you still love it and wear it “every once in awhile”. 🙂
Thanks – that makes me feel better. 🙂
Thanks Hazel. I went through my closets in December and took out 3 white bags (not overfilled) of clothes that just don’t make the cut anymore. I made an itemized list as I was bagging them up. It was a nice tax deduction.
I did hold on to a few things classic items that were to small. I’m working on that. Finally got serious about shedding some pounds on Feb 1. I tried on my skinny jeans this morning. Not quite there – maybe 5 more pounds.
Love the “would I buy this again if I had the chance”
Hazel, I love your point about if it was a gift it is yours to do with what you want. I’m in the process of getting rid of my skinny clothes. I’m going to use the would you buy it today to lean that collection out.
I find that that one — “It was a gift” — hangs a LOT of people up! When it comes to skinny clothes I think it’s fair to keep one size down….but even then, you don’t love ALL of them, do you? Good luck!
I’m guilty of the fat skinny conversation. Gradually working my way through until all I have is clothes that fit and that I love. These suggestions will come in handy.
See my reply to Jamie regarding skinny clothes. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting!
The ‘I might be able to sell it’ is a sentiment I hear frequently! And my response is the same as yours!
Great post, Hazel. I love the questions you ask and the things we so often hear clients say when deciding what to keep or let go of. But perhaps my favorite is your myth clarification.
Love how you said, “It is a myth that a professional organizer will make you get rid of all your stuff. A good one will help you identify what you use, love, and need to keep, and will help you store it or display it in an organized manner.”
I wrote that line years ago (this is a refreshed post)….funny, though, in light of current organizing events! (Minimalists, Kondo, etc.) Thanks for commenting, Linda!
Great tips! Another thing I heard recently is to think if there was a fire in your closet, what pieces of clothing would you grab. In that scenario the only thing I would save is a shirt that belonged to my father. He’s been one for almost 7 years and I think of him every time I look at it and when I wear it. I’m considering trying a capsule wardrobe…stay tuned on the blog.
The only reason I would have to grab clothing is that it’s so hard for me to find anything I like that fits! I don’t think I have anything particularly sentimental anymore, but I know many people do. And my wardrobe, by virtue of the fact that it’s so small is already a “capsule” — LOL! I look forward to your blog post on the topic.