I know it sounds simple….just wear clothes that make you happy. However, we tend to hang on to items for many reasons, even after we know we should discard them. Understanding why it is hard to let go of clothes you no longer wear is the first step. Once we need understand what is making us want to keep clothes we do not even wear, then it will be easier to move past these mental blocks and purge our closets.
The item is new / barely worn and you feel guilty about wasting money on it ~ Sometimes you buy something you think you will love and wear, but it just does not work for you. Maybe it shrank or lost its shape in the wash. Or it does not match with anything else in your closet. Maybe you bought something trendy, but never feel comfortable in it. Whatever the reason…let it go!
It is something you are “supposed” to have in your wardrobe ~ Sometimes we allow ourselves to be restricted to someone else’s rules. Maybe you have heard there are certain classic wardrobe staples everyone should own, like a little black dress. But when you try on your classic black dress, you realize it actually does not fit quite right. Do not keep something that does not look and feel great just because it is a classic staple you should have. If you do not love the way it looks and feels, you will not wear it anyways. YOUR wardrobe should reflect YOUR style!
You tried a new trend, but it does not work for your body or lifestyle ~ Maybe you bought something trendy to update your wardrobe, but the item is not working for your body or lifestyle, so you never or rarely wear it. Or the trend quickly passed and it is already out of style. Try to figure out what your signature style is, meaning the types of clothes you look and feel best in.
Your weight has changed and you have clothes in multiple sizes ~ I think you should only keep clothes in your closet that fit you right now. Having clothes in sizes that do not currently fit, adds to the visual clutter in your closet and makes deciding what to wear more difficult. Plus, if your weight change is not something you are happy about, seeing clothes that no longer fit can cause negative feelings. Pack up items that do not fit and get them out of the closet.
You are keeping an item for a certain type of event or occasion ~ Sometimes you have an item you rarely wear but are keeping “just in case” a certain occasion arises. Instead of keeping something you rarely have occasion to wear, try to think of alternatives you own that you could wear for that occasion, but also wear other times. Versatile pieces are essential to a minimal wardrobe.
You do not have anything to match or wear with an item ~ Sometimes you buy something you like, but for some reason, it does not work with the rest of your wardrobe. You try to convince yourself that the item will work…as soon as you find the right pants / sweater /scarf /accessories / whatever. Stick with pieces that easily work with the rest of your wardrobe.
Something was a gift and you feel guilty getting rid of it ~ Remind yourself that whoever gave you the gift gave it to you to make you happy. They would not want it to be making you feel bad or guilty now. The gift was given, you appreciated it and thanked the giver. What you do with the item now is up to you. If it no longer makes you look and feel great, it is time to let it go.
It is something that holds sentimental value and is hard to let go ~ Be intentional and selective with what you keep for sentimental reasons. Maybe set a limit for how many sentimental items you will keep. Only keep the things that are really important to you.
It is something you would wear in your past or future lifestyle ~ The clothes in your closet should reflect your lifestyle NOW. If your lifestyle is different from what it was 5 or 10 years ago, let go of the clothes from your past lifestyle. The same goes for the future. Do not fill your closet with things in anticipation of a future lifestyle you want to live. Unless there are concrete plans for what you will need and when you will need it, make your wardrobe a reflection of your current lifestyle, not one that may or may not occur at some time in the future.
If you are having a hard time letting go of clothes you no longer wear or love, I hope this list helps you make some progress purging your wardrobe. Often once you have identified the reason why you are struggling get rid of something, letting it go becomes easier.