Decluttering clothes can be difficult, especially when there is sentimental value attached to a piece. These three tips will help to make decluttering clothing simpler and less emotionally draining.
Clothing is something that can really clutter up our homes if we don’t intentionally declutter our closets once in a while. The more clothing you have, the more laundry there is to do, the more folding and sorting and ironing and organising.
It can be especially difficult to declutter our clothing because we feel a sense of opportunity cost. That is, I’ve already spent money on this item, so getting rid of it is a waste of cash.
(Here are some other tips to simplify consumption.)
I hope that these three tips make decluttering clothes easier for you. I’ve pulled them from my experiences clearing out my clothing over the years. I also hope that they help you to feel less guilty about getting rid of clothing you don’t wear.. because there are hidden costs to keeping things we don’t use.
Watch the video
Before I get to the tips, the first thing to do is to pull out everything in your wardrobe so your closet is empty. If this is too overwhelming or you don’t have this much time, pull out everything in one drawer or on one shelf and start from there.
Notice which items you wear
In my closet (and my kids’ closets) my primary goal is to only keep things that we actually wear. And knowing what we actually wear, versus what we are just storing, requires us to know what we have.
Once you have your closet or drawer emptied, the first tip is to notice what pieces you gravitate towards on a regular basis. You want to keep these things and make a mental note of what these things are. That way when you’re in a store, you will be less tempted to buy something that you won’t end up wearing.
Oftentimes we can buy a top or trousers that we like but once we start wearing the item, there’s something wrong. We are uncomfortable or the fit doesn’t sit right or the colour doesn’t work for us. For example I like white t-shirts and blouses. But I have young kids, which means that I’ll be lucky to get one wear out of something white. And knowing this, I avoid actually wearing it and instead just store it.
To avoid having a closet of clothing you don’t wear, start to be more aware of what types of clothing you gravitate towards. Put the items you wear regularly into one pile.
Remove items you haven’t worn
Once you have removed the items that you regularly wear from all of your other clothing, the next tip is to notice which items you haven’t worn in the last season. For example, a sweater that you didn’t wear over the last winter, or a pair of shorts that you didn’t wear last summer.
The Minimal Mom on YouTube has a concept called the Time Will Tell Bin, where she stores items that she wants to get rid of in for a few months. The idea is to see if anyone misses them before getting rid of them.
Do this with the clothing you didn’t wear last season. Put sweaters, hats, coats, wool socks, trousers, and everything else that you or your family didn’t wear over the winter into a bin. Make a note of any commonalities between these things. Do you avoid wearing certain prints, colours, fabrics, styles, or cuts? See if you notice any patterns. Store the bin through the next year’s season. If you don’t miss the items, it’s safe to get rid of them.
I like this method because it’s low risk. You still have the items in case you do actually miss them.
What to do with the rest?
The next step to decluttering clothes is to figure out what to do with the rest.
After you’ve removed both the items that you wear and those you don’t wear, you’ll still likely to have a few lingering items. These might be sentimental pieces that you have a hard time departing with. Or they could be pieces from another time in your life – for example if you’re pregnant, these could be pre-pregnancy clothes.
If it’s an issue of clothing being from another season of life and you’re confident you’ll wear them again, there’s little harm in storing them.
But if it’s an issue of sentimental pieces, you need to be strict with yourself. I’m lucky in that my family and I like in a small Victorian-era apartment in the UK and there is no extra storage. I have no desire to take up what little space we have with sentimental clothing and I get rid of most things that no longer serve our lives.
But if you have more space, you might be tempted to store these items away for some imaginary later date when you’ll look back through them. In my experience, when we store things away we forget what we have. And so by storing away sentimental clothing away, we are taking up space for little to no benefit.
Consider limiting yourself to one bin for clothing and other sentimental things. Store away only what is most special. Put the other items in the Time Will Tell Bin and see if you miss them. You’ll be surprised how fast things fade from memory.
Moving forward with decluttering clothes
Once you’ve completed the first three steps, replace the clothing you’ve chosen to keep back into your closet. My final tip is to put guardrails in place to protect yourself from repeating the same mistakes. Make a note in your phone of the clothing you know you wear, and clothing you know you won’t wear. If you’re weighing up buying an item, check you list to see if it’s something you’re likely to get use out of.
I hope these tips are helpful for you. Because of the size of our place, I’m constantly decluttering and I promise you that the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Have you been decluttering clothes? Tell me how it’s going in the comments!
More Ways To Simplify Consumption
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How To Make A Pillow Cover Without A Zipper – Simple Tutorial
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