Ok, so how do I know if I should get rid of something?
1. It doesn’t fit.
This can be a tricky one for me. Sometimes I’m in love with a shirt or something, but it just isn’t fitting right. Maybe it’s too small or too big. Maybe it hugs the wrong curves, not the right ones. Can I make it fit? Remember, I must be honest with myself. If I know it’s not fitting the right way, it’s okay to shed it. I can purchase another one or a look-alike at a later time. You can always try to lose or gain weight to fit in to a piece of clothing, but for the sake of this article, I want to focus on altering our wardrobe, not altering our physical selves.
2. It’s damaged and no, I can’t fix it.
The operative word here is “I.” In figuring out whether to keep or purge, I like to take sole responsibility of my own clothing. Sure, I can see if someone I know can sew that button back on, can patch that hole, or fix the snag; but when a full year’s cycle has gone and I haven’t taken it to anyone to fix yet, it might be time for it to go. Obviously it wasn’t important enough to me to fix asap.
3. It’s been a year already!
Yeah, this one is pretty self-explanatory. If it’s been sitting in my closet for a whole year and I haven’t wore it, chances are, it’s time to say goodbye. Let’s be honest. It’s sitting there collecting cobwebs, lonely and untouched. No piece of clothing should have to go through that! Last year, I skimmed over the same polka dot skirt that my sister and I picked up at a local thrift shop, that yes, was cute, but never was worn. And in the meantime, I kept buying new skirts! Yep, it’s gotta go.
4. It’s ruined beyond repair.
There’s one thing if the item can be repaired, but I can’t hold on to things that are unrepairable, only because I love it so much; unless it comes with great memories- but even then, is it worth it? I purchased an awesome black and white striped, knit sweater from Express last year, and unfortunately it got mixed up in the wash. So when I took it out, it was stained with patches of an ugly light blue color! Yes, I was upset and I mourned a little bit. I tried to get the dye out, and even folded it up and put it back in the drawer- as if when I took it out again, it would be good as new. But it’s ruined beyond repair, so it’s gotta go.
5. It’s outdated.
Let’s be honest. Yes, some styles do come full circle, but that sparkly, fringed, leather jacket from the 70’s just has to go. I try hard not to keep outdated clothing, because it’s harder to style with pieces that are currently on trend. So what ends up happening? It sits in the closet for yet another year, giving me another reason to toss it.
6. It’s not conveying the right message.
Everything we wear conveys a message whether we like it or not. The question is: is it conveying the message you want it to? Maybe it’s just that because it’s too big or small, it doesn’t convey the right message. For me, there are certain clothes that regardless of the fact that I’m 27, it makes me look 16 when I put it on. No, I don’t want to look like I’m a decade younger, so it’s gotta go.
7. I’m not in love with it.
If I’m on the fence about a piece, I’ll tend to think about someone else that I know may benefit from wearing it, like my mother, sister or friend. Not only them, but there are many clothing donation centers of which those shoppers could benefit from the clothes I don’t need anymore. If you feel you have great style, there’s no harm in sharing it with others!
9. There’s no space.
Point blank folks. I know some of us live in mansions with 2,000 square foot closets; and if you’re one of those people that’s awesome! But there’s a limit for all of us. I only have but so much closet space and I refuse to let my clothes spill out into the bedroom, the bathroom, the hallway, down the stairs and into the garage. It just gets to be a bit unruly. Also, some pieces are just too large to fit with the rest or maybe it’s that I have too many of the same item. No, I don’t need 10, mint green, button down, summer shirts. There’s not enough space for it all. Those thick, Winter sweaters are another great example of space hoggers. I find that once I have purged most of my similar items, it gives me room to buy more of the clothes I really need.
10. Because I can.
How do I know if I should get rid of something? I know, because I can. If you’re trying to overcome that hectic closet, train yourself to become unattached. Yes, you have the power to let go of anything in your closet. Don’t feel like you have to hold on to something if it’s causing you to be disorganized or stressed. The great thing about fashion is that there’s always something new you can buy and fall in love with all over again. Try not to have a deep attachment to a singular piece of clothing as opposed to an attachment to an entire outfit. Think of all the outfits that you wore and loved over the past year, and hold on to those pieces from it. It’s better to fall in love with a whole outfit or a completed look rather than just one piece. In turn, it helps keep your closet balanced (for example, not having so many more tops than bottoms).
So now you have a pile of clothes pulled from your closet. Naturally, there are going to be items you want to keep, some you’re not sure of, and some you definitely want to get rid of. A helpful way I keep myself on track throughout the year is to put my clothes into 4 categories. I first have the pile that I know I want to keep. I’ll just hang those right back into my closet. Then there are items I’m not sure about. I’ll put those into the “6 month” pile. If I don’t wear it within the next 6 months, it goes into either the donate pile or the recycle pile. Here’s where I have to be honest with myself again. Yes, I have 6 months to wear it, but it needs to be worn naturally. Meaning, I don’t force it. If that shirt or pair of pants so happens to work with the outfit I’m going for that day, then I’ve made the 6 month deadline. But I’m not going to throw it on for the sake of not throwing it away. If it’s just not working, I’ll know within the time frame. Remember, try as best as possible to stay unattached (you’ll always buy more clothes). This is also helpful for damaged clothes that can be repaired. If you, or someone you know can fix it, give yourself a 6 month time frame to have it repaired.
Then there’s the donate pile- items that undoubtedly will go to another person, a clothing center or thrift shop. Make sure they aren’t damaged items, as most second hand stores won’t accept clothes that are ruined beyond repair. You might as well put it in the final pile, recycle.
Below, I’ve created a flow chart based on these tips that is helpful to hang in your closet to remind you to keep it all in perspective. For some items, I’ll go throught this twice a year if needed. You know your wardrobe and you know yourself. No hoarding allowed. Soon it will become a habit to stay organized and you’ll begin to see and appreciate what a balanced and practical closet you have. You can download our “To Keep or Not to Keep” flow chart HERE.
I really hope you all found this helpful. If you did, let us know below and share this post with your friends!