11 Excellent Reasons to Get Rid of Your Clothes

A post from the past

This weekend found me with a few hours to myself which meant I was finally able to switch out my seasonal clothes. I’m not sure what kind of mood I was in but boy I wish I could have bottled it. Let’s just say ruthless doesn’t even begin to describe the fierce parting I was doing with the clothes that crossed my path and looked at me wrong. My goodness did I ever get on a roll and it felt great! That first day I got a respectable garbage bag of clothing gathered up for the thrift store.

And then the next day, after evaluating how great I felt about a lighter closet and a freer me, I got really wild and gathered up TWO more bags of clothing to go. I’m not kidding, I was on fire.

Here’s my final tally:

3 sweatshirts, 3 pairs of pants, 12 sweaters, 2 hoodies, 3 coats, 2 vests, 11 pairs of capris, 12 pairs of shorts, 42 shirts, 6 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of boots, 1 purse, 4 dresses, 1 skirt and 4 pairs of pjs.

Grand Total = 108 pieces!!!!

That my friends is called insanity right there and it has my name written all over it. Now before you get all crazy on me and wonder what me, a girl who purges on a regular basis, could be doing with that much clothing, let me explain.

None of it was cluttered in my closet. I am very fortunate to have a closet to myself that I don’t have to share. Plus all my out of season clothing is stored under my bed. So I had the space for it physically but what I now know is that just because you have the space for something doesn’t mean you have to fill it. At each season end I go through and giveaway anything that hasn’t been worn that season. This year I changed my criteria slightly. If I’ve only worn it once or twice during the season then obviously I don’t love it that much and it could go too. This is the year I decided to ONLY keep the pieces I absolutely love and wear all the time which apparently isn’t that much ๐Ÿ™‚

For example, I realized that I have my few favorite jeans and wear them frequently. Why bother with a bunch of others that are just okay if I’m only wearing my favorites anyway. Me and this “just in case” business are done. I only kept my very favorites because those are the ones that fit me great and the colors look good on me and as a result I feel great wearing them. If it means I wear fewer pieces of clothing more of the time, well then that’s the way it’s going to be.

Org Junkie’s Tips to Help You Part with Your Clothes

1. If you haven’t worn something in a year then out it goes regardless of condition, price or size. Why a year? Because you cover every season in that period of time. If you haven’t worn it during the year, you probably never will.

2. If you have a piece of clothing that you wear but are annoyed with it every time you do, seriously stop it.

3. If it’s waiting to be mended and it’s been waiting for a long time then enough is enough already.

4. If you hate to iron and your ironing pile sits there totally neglected while you wear all your favorite clothing over and over again, why do you still have an ironing pile?

5. I’m not opposed to keeping your “skinny” clothes (and I know we all do it) but for goodness sakes you don’t need to keep all of it. Styles change, your tastes change, your body shape changes so chances are good that when you get back to that size you’re going to want new stuff anyway.

6. If you absolutely love a shirt but never wear it because you have nothing to wear it with, well guess what, a mate isn’t going to magically appear in the night. Follow the one year rule.

7. Sentimental clothes that you aren’t wearing shouldn’t reside in your closet. Either take a picture of it and preserve the memory or limit yourself to one tote of “clothes to show my kids so they can laugh their heads off at me someday”.

8. Don’t hang onto something that is “just alright” because you don’t have something better yet to replace it. Let it go now unless it means you go naked, that wouldn’t be right.

9. You don’t have to do it all at once. Like I did try it in stages and be motivated by your success. One day you could do shirts, the next day shorts, etc..

10. Try everything on. This one I can’t stress enough. Do not hold something up and say oh this is so beautiful I’m going to keep it. That’s too easy and what you might not remember is that, although it’s beautiful, the buttons gape at the front showing off your woman parts. Nope we don’t want that now do we. Get rid of it.

11. You only have the space that you do. Jamming your clothes into the closet and fighting with them every single day to find what you need won’t make your closet grow in the night. It will only make you grumpy…every single day. It’s not worth it.

If you’d like this in a free printable to help remind you of the rules click on the link below:

11 Tips for Parting with Your Clothes

Hope that helps in your quest to do some serious clothes purging soon. I cannot even begin to tell you how relieved I am to have tightened up my criteria and parted with plenty of perfectly good clothes better suited for someone else.

Related posts:

Changing Clothes for the Seasons

Filed under: Closets, Clutter Control, Purging


37 Responses to 11 Excellent Reasons to Get Rid of Your Clothes

  1. 1
    Leigh Anne Wilkes says

    I call myself a clothes collector but my rule is if I bring something new into the closet something old must leave. It works for me!

  2. 2
    Cheri says

    Love these tips! I posted on this very topic today, as well!

  3. 3
    Kaelin says

    Oh! I just did this and the feeling you get is so amazing. I’m in the process of moving, my girls have finally gotten to be the same size(read outgrown most of their wardrobe) and when I went in our closets to pack up “non-essentials”….

    I wound up with four large bags of clothing the first day. The second was two more, plus one entire bag of shoes. JUST shoes. The stuff that’s still there are things we wear all the time, and nothing else. It’s fabulous!

  4. 4
    [email protected] says

    I’m anxious to get rid of my fat clothes but I need to be able to afford to replace it! Of course some of it I’m not even wearing now because it is falling off me! yay! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. 5
    The Bearded Iris says

    Your tips are phenomenal! Love the idea of doing one type of clothing at a time (shirts one day, etc.)…must try that! You totally crack me up with your “seriously stop it” and “woman parts” and “that wouldn’t be right.” LOL! Thank God you have such a great sense of humor or I never could have hung in this long on my 52 weeks journey with you! xox

  6. 6
    Kymberly says

    Great tips! I read a tip years ago to turn ALL your hangers backwards. Then, as you wear the clothing, put the hanger back up the correct way. A year later simply pull out all the still backwards hangers.

    Kids clothing seems to be an issue for many. I limit myself to one very large tote per child. Into that goes all the sentimental baby and childhood clothing – from DD’s first little dress to her Hannah Montana tee shirt she’ll get a kick out of someday ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think it will be fun for them to go through someday and see favorite clothing, blanket/animal, little book. One tote is manageable. An entire attic full of outgrown baby clothes? Not so much.

    I do have a second trunk full of outgrown team tees. I think it would be fun to make a quilt out of those someday. By having a manageable “game plan” for sentimental clothing I don’t get all worked up about tossing out or passing on items we can no longer appreciate.

    • 6.1
      Cheryl says

      What a good tip! I’m going to try the hanger trick…..

  7. 7
    imie says

    That’s really good and I think I need to do just that. My only concern is this; sometimes, I find myself wishing I didn’t throw away the item i loved which happen to be “trendy” again. So that’s a fear… Remember the wide belts of the 80’s?

    Ever regretted throwing something that then became “trendy”?

  8. 8
    Christa says

    I do this on a regular basis too…I always purge clothes when I get new clothes too. I send my clothes over to my sister and from there she donates what she doesn’t want. I do this on a regular basis for the girls clothes too. I have many friends that swap hand me downs all the time so I always end up with way to much clothes. So right now I have 3 garbage bags full of girl clothes. one bag each of 3T, 4T and 5T+. All going to good homes. I have been blessed enough with hand me downs for my 2 and 5 year old that I dont feel guilty about giving my clothes away and not trying to resale them.

  9. 9
    Kymberly says

    I’ve heard a great tip. Hang EVERYTHING with the hangers facing the wrong way. As you wear, wash, rehang place hangers the correct way. At the end of a year get rid of anything with the hanger still facing backwards. It’s a sure sign you haven’t worn it.

    For people who struggle with this I find it helpful to bag up possible discards and put them in a clean/dry place for a predetermined amount of time. If you don’t miss anything, then you can get rid of it.

    Finally, for storage of sentimental kid clothing and items, I limit myself to one tote per child. I think getting one tote of prized baby clothing, their favorite tee, and a cherished stuffed animal or favorite book is meaningful. An entire attic full of cast-offs? Not so much.

    I also keep a separate stash of outgrown team tees. I would like to have a quilt or blanket made of those someday.

    • 9.1
      Jenna @ NeatFreakWannabe says

      @Kymberly, that is exactly what I do! You can’t really deny that you’ve worn the item when that hanger is backwards and staring you in the face. ๐Ÿ™‚

      However, I actually do this twice a year, when I swap out my seasonal clothes. At the beginning of the spring, all the spring/summer hangers get turned around. At the end of the summer when I start wearing fall clothes, I will ruthlessly toss out any spring/summer items still hanging backwards, and the fall/winter hangers get turned around.

      I try to keep an eye on things I wear year-round (jeans, dress pants, shoes) and get rid of those if they haven’t been worn in a year. I’m not as great with special occasion dresses. I think I might institute a 2-year rule for those.

      Another tip I’ve heard that some people do is that when they buy a new piece of clothing, they get rid of an older one. This would be especially helpful if you have a small closet, so that you don’t overrun your space. It would also help keep you from buying unnecessary things; if you’re not willing to give up an item to acquire the new piece, maybe you don’t need it!

  10. 10
    Angie says

    Hunter went on a cleaning spree last Friday in her room and cleaned out 3 bags of stuff. I couldn’t believe all the stuff she got rid of. Her room has a ‘zen’ like feel to it now! While I was in Nova Scotia I help my cousin and his wife clean out their master bedroom closest and I could not believe the clothes they were hanging on to! Things from high school were still hung up and they are almost 30! It was ridiculous really! I got them to get rid of 4 large bags of clothes. And they thought they didn’t have enough space when we started! Great tips! I am going to post this on facebkook! Have a great week! Angie xo

  11. 11
    Lauren says

    I love the last part of tip #11…”It will only make you grumpyโ€ฆevery single day. Itโ€™s not worth it.” So true! People ask why I want to spend the time to renovate my closet before some full size rooms in our new house…the answer is “I’m in there everyday and it makes me grumpy and irritated to have to fight with a system that doesn’t work for me.” Why fight it? Change it and make it work for you so you can get on with your life and spend your precious energy and time on things you love.

  12. 12
    donna says

    Thank you for this! It made me laugh, but I also needed to hear some of this. People would be AMAZED if they saw how many clothes I have gotten rid of in the 4 years since we got married. Seriously, if I still had ALL of it, the pile would quite possibly fill our bedroom. I was just telling my husband (who was laughing at the chaotic state of my drawers just last week), I cleaned out my dresser and nightstand yesterday, and I now have space in every single drawer, and I didn’t even get rid of much….organization helps! Anyway, I have cleaned out and cleaned out in the last few years, and it’s time again. We only have one small closet that we share and we each have a dresser (mine has unbelievably shallow drawers) which has forced me to re-evaluate my wardrobe several times over. Now I’m going to go re-evaluate it again b/c you’re right! We only wear certain things we love over and over again. I can think of several things hanging in my closet right now that I’ve NEVER worn. Away they are going. No more hanging onto things just for Flashback Day or Tacky Day at school….especially since I just quit teaching. My I <3 Jake Ryan shirt will have to go!

  13. 13
    Carey says

    I recently did this too! I have a walk in closet and two dressers full of clothes, and only wear a small percentage that are my favorites. First, I went through everything and bagged up what I know I won’t (or… ahem… can’t) wear. Then I rearranged my closet. (I too have a closet of my own). I moved all the clothes to the left side of the closet and left the right side empty. As I wear clothes and wash them, I’ll hang them on the right. As I buy new clothes, I’ll hang them on the right. After one year, anything left on the left side is outta here!

  14. 14
    Cheryl says

    I do the same switch every season……out of season clothes go in storage under my bed. This year I will use your one year rule…..I have things that I just switch back and forth every year….so simple, I just need to be more ruthless!

  15. 15
    Sinea says

    Those “sentimental clothes” are a hard one for me. I had the perfect gown to wear at my son’s wedding in 2006 and it doesn’t fit—nor do I have anywhere to wear it. But I still haven’t been able to part with it.

  16. 16
    Kate @ Teaching What Is Good says

    Our problem is not in KEEPING clothes, it is in how many people GIVE us clothes! With 8 children we are always blessed with other’s generosity as they clean out their closets. BUT it means more we have to go through. I DRASTICALLY limit my children’s clothes simply because we have no closets and 3 children share 1 dresser.

    We allow (per season) for each child:
    -5 bottoms
    -5 tops
    -1 Sunday outfit
    -1 pair of shoes
    -1 pkg of socks
    -1 pkg of underwear
    -1 pjs
    -1 coat (and winter stuff like hats, gloves, scarves, boots, leggings)

    I have NO ROOM for sentimental clothes…and besides, after 8 children, nothing is in good enough shape to keep! ;-D

  17. 17
    raven says

    I totally agree with this, but there are several garments within the last 10 years that I have wished multiple times that I had held onto (gotten rid of in a fit of “clean it out! CLEAN ALL THE THINGS!”). I don’t limit myself to a year anymore; I keep certain occasions in mind. Yes, I have a black dress for funerals. It’s a “Chanel” – not by label, but by classic style and appropriateness. Even if I didn’t wear it for three years, I would never get rid of it.

    There are a few other things as well, costume type things, that I have placed in bins so they are not in the way or taking up too much space, but so that should the occasion arise, I do not have to scramble to find something appropriate (as someone of size, it can take up to 20 days to receive things ordered online from some of my favorite companies). Formals fall into this category – take up WAY too much space in the very small dress hanging area I have, but take up little space packed away with tissue paper on the top shelf. Again, I invested in classic styles that *shouldn’t* look out of place given any decade and at $300+ invested, I like knowing it’s there if I need it, even if we only go to the opera or symphony every few years.

    However, I did get rid of my wedding dress (GASP!) It was not a style either of my daughters would want or would age well, nor do they seem likely to inherit my weight issues (thank the gods).

    So anyway to sum up, I bin things that I may eventually need and don’t want to try to find replacements for (some styles that cycle, as well – I’m in my 30’s, things from my teens and 20’s have gone in and out of fashion to present times) but I keep my folding areas and hanging areas as clear as possible and try to keep only what I love for “daily wear”.

  18. 18
    [email protected] says

    Oh, if only more people would listen to this!! I’m totally un-sentimental about my clothing now. I regularly go through it and throw it out! I’m going to post this on my FB page ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, Laura!

    Becky B.
    Organizing Made Fun

  19. 19
    Marcia Francois, Organising Queen says

    I love it! Send some of that my way please.

    My 36 things list last year had “only wear things I love and that look good on me” on it. I give myself an 8 out of 10 for this – before I was kind of OCD about wearing each thing (because I didn’t want the others to feel bad? :))

    I have been decluttering but this year I want to get rid of it all – there are still enough items to fill up one of those bags of yours ๐Ÿ™‚ and I could easily fill another bag with handbags alone…

    • 20.1
      Laura says

      Hi Marcia, I always take my clothes to the thrift store. It’s fast and easy which is great because once I’m done I want those garbage bags out of my house STAT ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. 21
    LeAne says

    Hello, I am not so lucky to have a closet to myself and I really don’t have a seasonal wardrobe either. However, I do go thru it from time to time and get tid of stuff that I haven’t worn or don’t wear that often. I basically have church clothes and casual clothes. I do have an addiction to purses and have gotten rid of all but my Vera Bradley ones. It feels good to have a clean closet!!

  21. 23
    Becky L. says

    Great ideas as usual, Laura. I have kept up with my clothes. Just yesterday I was thinking about my wedding dress that is in a box–sealed. Am tired of the box and not sure if dress will ever be worn. Sentimental becuz I bought it in England and got married there as well. Am thinking of donating it or maybe buying a nice clothing bag to put it in that is top quality. Or sell at my garage sale? Then there’s the wool coat my hubby bought me for my wedding gift I’ve not worn in a few years. Decisions!

  22. 24
    MemeGRL says

    Please run this every season until I learn to live it! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for posting this again (and for the encouragement that even professional organizers need to refresh every once in a while!).

  23. 25
    Karrisa says

    I love this post! I’ve been needing to clean out my closet for some time now & this was just the post I needed to motivate me to do it right! Unfortunately, I’m reading this at 2:30am and I don’t think my other half would be very happy with me if I started right now!! Hopefully I can hang onto that motivation until the morning!

  24. 26
    Suzanne says

    When I read that you had gotten rid of 108 items, I was amazed! I have had “Clean out dresser drawers and closet” on my “52weeks to-do” list, so I thought I’d give it a shot this weekend. I knew there were a few things in each category that I probably could get rid of. I’ve done this sort before and didn’t think there was much left to weed out. I ended up sorting out approximately 90 items!! How does that happen? Rule # 8 above was a really big one for me and my daughter helped me keep on track with it. What an amazing feeling. I actually have two empty drawers right now, which will actually help me get some of the things off the top of my dresser now. I’m so excited. Most of the clothing is going to Goodwill, but the very nice tops, pants, skirts, jackets, and dress shoes will be donated to our local Dress for Success. I even added some costume jewelry that didn’t make the cut. Thanks so much for your inspiration, Laura!

    By the way, my daughter has already started putting things on next year’s 52-weeks list!

    • 26.1
      Laura says

      Oh my that is just so awesome to hear, I’m so proud of you. Way to go!!

  25. 27
    heather says

    you made me want to clean out our closet this weekend… so i set aside the time and told my husband he had to be there to decide which of his clothes to keep. It felt wonderful to take those clothes off the hanger and put them in the yard sale pile. we got rid of almost 1/4 of our closet (most of which were shirts that no longer fit my hubby or he forgot he had). so 2 huge garbage bags of clothes out of our closet and into the shed for the yard sale. so much better… I smile when i look at our closet now!

  26. 28
    lea ann says

    Congratulations on getting all of that out of your house!

    I love that you said this:” just because you have the space for something doesnโ€™t mean you have to fill it.” because I need to learn that! But also because it’s a phrase I’ve used in other areas of my life….

    *Just because the phone rings doesn’t mean you have to answer it. (usually)
    *Just because someone asks you to do something (volunteer at church or bake something) doesn’t mean you have to do it.
    *Just because someone near you at the gym runs 10 miles and grins like it’s nothing doesn’t mean you have to do the same routine.

    And so it goes.

    But hmmm…I hadn’t applied that to spaces at home. I just fill them and then wonder why things look untidy or cramped?!

  27. 29
    JBo says

    I know I mustn’t read your posts late at night (as I’m doing now…) because a decluttering urge will possess me! ????


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