Getting rid of wardrobe clutter can be hard to do. Here are 9 questions to ask yourself when you declutter clothes to get rid of the ones that should not stay in your closet or drawers, and also to help you keep the ones that should stay.
We have now begun the part of the Declutter 365 missions where we are getting rid of clothing clutter. Over the course of the next couple of weeks I'm going to give you lots of individual daily missions where we focus on this task one type of item at a time.
(Make sure to check the Organize Closet Challenge for full instructions of what to do once you've decluttered your closet, so that you can organize what's left).
But often when we pull these clothing items together we feel a bit lost or overwhelmed, or indecisive, searching for criteria to decide what to keep versus what to get rid of.
The following questions are designed to be used with any type of item of clothing you're decluttering so that you can stop the indecision, focus on what's really important, and winnow down your wardrobe to what you'll actually love, use, and enjoy, while getting rid of the rest.
The first question to ask yourself is, "does this item fit?" Go ahead, try it on if needed and really evaluate it. If it doesn't fit it should not be considered part of your current wardrobe, and it may be clutter.
If the piece is just one or two sizes smaller or larger than your current size I know some people want to keep some of these things, as opposed to completely getting them out of their home. (Trust me, I completely understand.) BUT these items should not be considered part of your current wardrobe. Your current wardrobe needs to consist of items you currently can wear.
Instead items that are just a bit too large or too small may be something that you store for use later, in case you later gain or lose weight, or need maternity clothes again, or whatever reason you might choose to keep additional sizes.
Please remember that if you choose to store currently unused items they still need to be evaluated before storage, since you don't want to keep clutter of another size either. So still ask all the questions below before choosing to store such things.
Clothing styles change with the times, and although some styles do come back around they don't come back around quickly enough to make it worth your while to save out of style clothing. If you date yourself when you wear something it's time to say goodbye to it.
Similarly, items are clutter if they are still "in style" but they're not "your style." You've got to feel comfortable in the clothing you wear (see question number 4 below for more on this subject) so don't keep something if the item doesn't fit who you are anymore, or if it never did.
While you've got this clothing item on ask yourself, "do I look good in this?" Unfortunately some clothes look good on one person but not on another, because of shape, color, or whatever reason. Just because the clothing is nice if it does not look nice on you it shouldn't stay in your closet.
If you're having trouble with this try to get a trusted friend to help you. You want someone who can tell you the truth, but in such a way that you can still feel good about yourself at the end. (You know the type of person I'm talking about!)
The next question to ask is, "how do I feel when I wear this?" You want to keep items that make you feel confident, pretty, or sometimes relaxed and comfortable, depending on the purpose of the clothing item. You never want to keep something that makes you feel uncomfortable, either physically or because of the way it makes you feel emotionally.
We've all had something that scratched or itched, or it fit but you always ended up having to tug at it when it rode up, or the sleeve was weird, or whatever. Life is too short for dealing with items like this, so get rid of them so you can get rid of the headaches and bothers these types of items cause.
The fifth question to ask yourself is, "have I worn this piece of clothing in the last year?" If you haven't then you seriously need to consider getting rid of it, because it is wasting space in your closet or drawers.
(Hint: It can be difficult to know how often you wear certain items. At least in the closet, you've got an easy way to track this though, by using this simple trick for identifying closet wardrobe clutter. Do it today, and in a few months you'll know exactly what you wore and didn't!)
The next question to ask is, "would I buy this clothing item again today?" And a follow up question is, "what if I had to pay full price, would I still buy it again?" These questions can help you determine the value of an item, to you. This is especially helpful question to ask when deciding whether to keep "deals" you might have found for clothing that just seemed too good to be true, and then you never seemed to actually wear much, if it all.
Another important question to ask when deciding what clothing clutter to get rid of is to look at each piece of clothing and determine if it is stained or damaged. Some of these things can be fixed, but be realistic in determining if you'll actually take the time to do it. For example, if an item hasn't had a button for a year because you can't find one that matches it might be time to let it go.
Similarly, with time even our favorite and beloved pieces of clothing get worn out. Look especially at socks, underwear, t-shirts, and jeans and if they're thread bare, have lots of holes, or are worn through it's time for new ones!
This next question, "how many of this type of item do I have?" is helpful to ask when you've got a large amount of a certain type of item, such as t-shirts. All of them might fit and be really cool, but if you've got 40 of them you really don't need that many. In those situations keep the best of the best, and part with the rest. Your drawers and closet rods will thank you, and you'll actually be able to find your favorites instead of weeding through the "just OK" ones you don't really want to wear quite as much.
If you are undecided about an item based on this criteria you can test yourself to see how often you really wear it, if it is on a hanger. Turn all your hangers backward until an item is worn, and then you can turn the hanger the correct way. You'll soon see exactly which of the 12 skirts, for example, you actually wear consistely and which ones you never ever choose. Actions speak louder than words, so get rid of what in, say three months, you never took off the hanger and wore.
This last question is really a catch all. If you've got lots and lots of clothes at a certain point you may feel like you're drowning in them. Consider whether getting a particular clothing piece out of your closet, dresser drawers and homes will help you feel relief, and whether you can imagine someone else enjoying it more than you can. If you can imagine these things about an item it is a good sign that that article of clothing shouldn't stay in your possession, but instead should leave your home to bless someone else.
If you ask yourself these 9 questions when you declutter clothes during these Declutter 365 missions you'll be able to more easily identify which ones should stay and which should go.
I will tell you though, you may need to ask these questions several times before you fully declutter your clothing. Do a first pass, see how much you have left, perhaps give yourself a month, and then do it again. Each time you're going to get clearer and clearer about what type of clothing items you really want and need, versus what is excess. Eventually you'll get through all of the clothing until you feel satisfied with the amount you've got left, and then your job is to maintain this amount without again accumulating excess in the future.
I hope this has inspired you to get rid of your excess clothing clutter and to winnow your wardrobe down to a more reasonable amount.
When you begin to declutter the feeling you get is contagious, so if you're loving the results you're getting I would encourage you to keep going.
I've got a whole series of 15 minute decluttering missions (eventually 365 of them!) that you can do.
Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the order you can also grab the 15 minute daily decluttering mission calendars and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!
This article is written to help you when you're decluttering and organizing your closet. You can find out more about how to organize your closet here.
In addition, if you want more guidance on decluttering clothes for children, including questions to ask, make sure to also check out my article about how to declutter kids clothes here.
I would love to hear from you, sharing your thoughts, questions, or ideas about this topic, so leave me a comment below. I try to always respond back!