5 Things to Consider When You’re Doing a Wardrobe Clear-out


The start of a season or the start of the year are often times that you may think about doing a bit of a wardrobe clear-out – cull or reorganization. Jill Chivers of 16 Style Types and I got chatting about this and decided to turn on the camera of our video-conference call and share it with you!

Wardrobing and Wardrobe Management

5 Tips to Help You Let Go

1.  Comfort of the Item

This is a key driver for many people, and what I’ve noticed (and it’s true for Jill too) is that the older you get, the more important this becomes to you.

Often you’ll become more aware of how uncomfortable some clothing and shoes are when they are being worn, and instead of putting them back into your wardrobe, this is a good time to allow them to go to someone else instead of keeping on making yourself feel discomfort again by wearing that item.

2. Emotional Attachment Issues

If you attach a story or some sort of significant meaning or has some sentimental value, it can be harder to let go as it’s easy to think that if you let the item go, those memories or feelings will be forgotten as well.  Remember, even if there is a story attached to the item, you can photograph it, or you may even have a photo of yourself in the item which you can look at to conjure up those memories again!

You don’t have to keep something as a “backup plan” or in case you might possibly want to wear it one day, even if you’ve not worn it in a long while!

I can tell you from experience that most people never wear their “back up plan” outfits, they wear something that they enjoy wearing more (for whatever reason).  Why?  Because the backup outfit or item doesn’t quite fit their style recipe, or personality or comfort level or figure flattery guidelines, in the way their First Choice items do!

So why keep something that is not making you feel your most stylish self?  

3. Figure and Colour Flattery

If a garment doesn’t meet with your own personal figure-flattery or colour-flattery guidelines, the ones that matter most to you, this is often a good reason to let an item go as you probably are aware when you wear it you don’t feel as good as you feel in other items that do meet your personal criteria.


4. Where Will it Go?

For some, knowing where their clothes are going can help you let go of items that are no longer fulfilling your style needs but are still in good condition (if they are not then that makes this decision so much easier).  If you have a particular charity that you like to donate to or a friend in need who appreciates your items, this can help you let go of pieces that you love or have loved, knowing that they will be appreciated again by someone else.


5. Is it Still in Fashion?

Your wardrobe certainly doesn’t have to be the latest trend, but if something was a real trend and that trend (or fad) has now disappeared  – this is a good indicator that it’s time to let a garment go.

Checking what the current fashion trends are (or just heading into a store and seeing if you can buy a replacement item that is basically the same cut, colour and shape is a good way to find out if it is still in fashion).

The more creative or classic the garment, the longer the lifespan it will have in your wardrobe!

And what is the average lifespan of clothing?  Find out here!


Do share your experiences and what your wardrobe culling criteria are here in the comments!

5 Things to Consider When You're Doing a Wardrobe Clear-out


More Tips to Help You Declutter Your Wardrobe

Listen…. Do You Hear That? What is Your Body Telling You About Your Wardrobe?

Questions to Ask Yourself to find the Right Way to Cull Your Closet

How Long Will Your Clothes Last Before They Wear Out?

8 Tips to Help You Declutter Your Wardrobe



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  • I’ve done professional organizing in the past, and I’m quick to remove things from my home and my wardrobe that don’t suit me.

    However (ha! there’s always a however) the two things that give me trouble in getting rid of clothes:

    1) when the item is worn but otherwise perfect, and I don’t have a good replacement at hand I tend to ‘just wear it one more time’ and not actively seek out a new item.
    2) when the item is appropriate for a life I’d like to have, but don’t. My husband dislikes dressing up, and we almost never go anywhere formal. It’s an attachment to something emotional that I’m not getting, but I want. When I finally let it go, I don’t miss it at all, because it was just taking up space.

    • I have both of these tendencies too. Having grown up in a far-from-wealthy house I sometimes struggle with letting go of anything that still has plenty of wear in it. I’ve found the concept of a ‘trial separation’ area in the wardrobe helps with this, mainly (I think) because every time I see the item I remind myself “Oh yes I’m thinking of donating that one” which helps acclimatise my brain to the loss.
      If your glam items are separates, you may be able to dress them down enough to make them suitable for work or dining out. I started doing that a few years ago rather than donate such pretty clothes.
      The other problem I have is that my taste in clothing seems to go in a cycle of several years, so I donate something I have gone off and then 2-3 years later I’m turning the room upside down trying to find it again!

  • Thank you ladies! I really enjoyed this conversation around wardrobe decluttering.

    For me, the first issue is always my emotional frame of mind. I really dislike waste, and often letting go of things makes me feel guilty, or stupid – like why did I make this poor choice and waste my money. There is also the issue of sentimentality that you mention. So if I am not “emotionally available”, or if I am stressed, it just is not going to happen – I won’t be able to make those decisions with rationality, or at all. Because of this, my clean outs are not scheduled, but when the mood strikes.

    The second point is around comfort. I agree that as we age comfort and our health becomes more important. I developed arthritis is my feet a couple years ago. At that point I finally went through all my shoes (and I have many!) and sorted them out. The criteria was that the shoe was one I liked and had to be good for my feet. In my 40’s, I still need my feet for a good while yet, and realized that poor fitting shoes would not contribute to my overall foot health and would limit the activities that I love to do.

    The last thing I will mention is that I have found a charity that will give my clothes to needy people for FREE. So many places resell clothes, which can be fine. However, I feel better about things not being wasted if someone who really needs it will get use from it. In that way it is not a waste, but a way to share my abundance with others – a much more positive give away experience.

  • And then there are those of us who are wearing high waisted non stretch denim that are from the early 1990s! I have a mini closet with bifold doors that I share with my husband. I only have 5 pair of pants, two jeans, one good, one hiking and one golf so my old jeans had to make it through many cuts. I was disappointed when I bought them because they came from the larger size store (a 14 at the time) but now at 65 I am thrilled to fit into my smaller sized jeans. What to keep, what to give away. I celebrate the ones I get right. Thank you for what you do.

  • Great tips! I hate clearing out my wardrobe as I find it so difficult to decide whether to keep clothes that don’t currently fit me, or to spend money buying new clothes. My weight fluctuates, so I ought to keep clothing of different sizes as I’m not someone who can afford to buy new clothes all the time. But too often they tend to seem somewhat dated, even though they’re not really particularly old. So this might be more of a psychological issue. Don’t know how other women with weight issues deal with clearing out their wardrobes?

  • Just wanted to tell Jill that her two descriptions of herself “being emotionally ready” and “going with it whenever it strikes” are two things that I have heard my teenage daughter say. I let her watch this video and she felt so much better that she is not the only one who is this way and It helped me to better understand her. Today, when I told her that it was time for lunch she said, “Not now, remember what that lady said, I have to clean my room when the energy strikes!” and I replied, “Okay honey, however you need to get it done”. Thank you for your honesty!

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