If you’re anything like me, you have an over-stuffed closet full of things you haven’t worn in five years. I recently went on a closet rampage and cleaned out bags and bags of clothes to send to Goodwill, and If I’m being honest, I haven’t missed anything I gave away. If you’re also about to take on an intense closet intervention or want to embrace the capsule wardrobe trend, here are seven things you should definitely clean out of your closet this year.
1. The same shirt in 4 different colors
Yes, I also grew up in an era where if a shirt fit, you had to buy it in seven colors. But you do not need those kinds of options, and they can end up leaving you with an overstuffed closet full of things you never wear. If you have duplicate pieces, pull them all out, line them up, and choose the one you wear the most consistently. There are an infinite amount of outfit possibilities—let’s not limit ourselves to the same T-shirt five days a week.
2. Clothing that’s too small or too big
It’s easy to hold out for the day you’ll squeeze back into the expensive sweater we accidentally shrunk it in the dryer. But you’re cultivating a wardrobe to wear now, and unless you turn back time to being 13 or preventing the dryer fiasco, it’s time to let it go. The same goes for the dress you bought two sizes too big because you loved the print. I know it can be difficult to let go of pieces you may love or spent a lot of money on, but it’s important to be realistic and keep in mind the “quality, not quantity” type of wardrobe you want. Look at these pieces and ask yourself what makes them special and worth keeping. Could you get it tailored to correctly fit? Could you resell it online? If not, it’s time to donate it.
3. Worn-out bras that are barely hanging on
I’m not talking about your delicate lace bra that gets pulled out on special occasions; I’m talking about the stretched-out T-shirt bra you bought at target two years ago that’s barely in one piece. It’s hard to let go of the bra you’ve been living in for years, but a good rule of thumb is to go through your undergarments once a year to weed out the ones that need to go. Then, treat yourself to a couple of new bras and a proper fitting. You can also drastically lengthen the life of your bra by proper care.
A few tips:
Don’t fold your bras to save storage space as it can deform the cups over time.
Always wash in warm water and rinse in cool. Hot water can warp your bra.
NEVER put your bra in the dryer. Always hang dry.
Buy bras that fit snug on the very last hooks. Then while the band naturally stretches over time, you can slowly move to tighter hooks to keep the same fit.
4. The outfit you once really loved, but is now abandoned in the back of your closet
We all have outfits we used to adore that we haven’t touched in months. The dress and jacket I once wore three times a week and prized above all are now gathering dust from lack of affection. We all go through style changes, but when it’s clear you’re no longer interested, it’s time to let it go. Pieces can still be versatile and maybe you just need to style that leather vest in a new way, but if you’ve tried it in different outfits and still don’t find yourself utilizing it? Let it go.
5. All those freebie T-shirts, hats, and tote bags
Over time, we can easily build up a collection of random shirts, hats, and bags covered in festival logos and local advertisements. You and I both know you stick to the same five worn-in T-shirts. As you go through these pieces, really ask yourself why you haven’t worn it and would you really ever wear it. Yes, it seems nice to have an array of hat options and totes for the unexpected adventure, but by giving away what you don’t need, you’ll open up a lot more space in your closet to see what you have and will actually be worn.
6. Anything you haven’t worn in over six months
I understand this is a hard rule with changing seasons. Maybe you just haven’t gotten the chance to rock that sundress since you’ve been stuck in sweaters for months, but I’m talking about the beautiful silk blouse you bought for that date last year that you’ve still never worn. Face it, you’re probably not going to wear it. If you’re still struggling with what to keep, look at each piece and ask yourself these questions:
- Does it flatter my shape or complexion?
- Can I see it pairing well with the rest of my wardrobe?
- Do I still love it?
- Does it still fit?
- Do I feel comfortable in it?
- Would I buy it again if I saw it in stores now?
- Is it damaged?
- Why haven’t I worn it?
7. Anything that you’ve been telling yourself you would repair and haven’t
If you’ve had the piece longer than six weeks and haven’t gotten it hemmed, cleaned, etc., it’s safe to say you never will. Don’t hold on to an amazing dress that will just sit in your closet because it’s made for a woman who’s 6’0 and you’re 5’3″. If you love the piece, make an appointment and get the dress hemmed for your height. If you’re holding on to a pair of jeans that need to be patched, get them patched this week or send them to Goodwill. They are just taking up space in your already overcrowded closet.
Prepare for next year
To stay on top of your wardrobe, a great way to continue keeping up with getting rid of the things you should is to flip all of your coat hangers in your closet in the opposite direction at the beginning of the year. Every time you wear something, swap it to face the other way. Then at the end of next year, you’ll be able to clearly see the things you haven’t touched and can more easily justify getting rid of them without any debate.