Tips to Declutter Your Wardrobe Wisely

Tips to Declutter Your Wardrobe Wisely

Decluttering your wardrobe is a surprisingly difficult thing to do. It’s not easy getting rid of clothes with sentimental value or which you love because they’re 10 years old and are the most comfortable items in your cupboard. There are ways of dealing with the difficulties so you can still get a nice, neat wardrobe that isn’t bursting at the seams.

Let’s take a look at some stumbling blocks and tips to overcome them.


Guilt is a big one because it covers a few challenges.

  1. Guilt that it’s a waste of money to get rid of a new or almost new item. Maybe you bought it because it looked nice on the hanger, or you liked the colour, or you had a special occasion in mind, or it was trendy.

You got home and the colour made you looked washed out, or it was uncomfortable. You attended the special occasion and you looked amazing, but there isn’t another suitable event on the horizon. Now what?

If it doesn’t suit you (the cut isn’t right or it pinches when you sit down) then you aren’t likely to wear it. The money is spent and no amount of time in your wardrobe is going to change that. If you put it in the charity pile, you’re giving someone else the chance to feel amazing and that’s worth the expense.

If you’ve worn it once or twice and it’s perfect, you can put it in the store-it pile. The store-it pile goes in to a store-it box, which can go into a self-storage unit.

  • 2. Guilt because it was a gift and you don’t want to hurt their feelings. Truthfully, if you’ve never worn it or worn it once and not again, they’re not going to know if you’ve donated it to charity.

If the thought of that adds to your guilt instead of alleviating it, then consider a smidgeon of honesty. Tell them you love the item but you’ve lost/gained weight and it doesn’t fit anymore. You want to donate it to charity to give someone else the opportunity to enjoy it as much as you did.

  • 3. Guilt because it has sentimental value and you can’t bear to part with it. It might be something of an heirloom, your grandmother’s wedding dress, for example. Or it might have special meaning for you, your wedding dress, for example. You don’t need to throw it out, but hanging in the back of your cupboard could be doing it more harm than good.

A self-storage unit is ideal, especially because you can choose a facility that has climate-controlled units that keep the environment perfect to protect various fabrics, including the silk and lace on your grandmother’s wedding dress.

Peer pressure

It’s not something that only affects teenagers. There is subtle (sometimes not so subtle) pressure to be fashionable. You like to stay on top of seasonal trends, but some trends just don’t suit your body type or your lifestyle. Instead of jumping on every style-bandwagon that comes your way, make sure you have some versatile items that reflect your taste and your personality without making you look like a fashion victim.

It’s also drummed into us that we need certain ‘staple’ items in our wardrobes that are elegant and stand the test of time; the Little Black Dress, for example. You might not like black, and that’s ok. There are plenty of classic formal dresses in a host of colours. If you like to stand out, bright red or yellow will make the right kind of statement.

If it’s not you, donate it to charity so someone else can find an item of clothing that is them.


It’s a safe bet that your wardrobe contains clothes in at least two or three sizes; thin clothes, fat clothes, and current clothes. In the interests of saving space, you should only have clothes that fit your currant weight in your cupboard.

If you know that you tend to yo-yo, pack up the clothes that don’t fit you right now and store them. Try to pack only the clothes that know you’ll wear again. This is still about reducing clutter, after all.


One in every colour – that’s what we tend to do when we find an item we really like. And, to a reasonable degree, that’s ok. It’s when you buy half-a-dozen of the same colour that you feed your clutter bug.

We buy duplicates for a few reasons:

  1. You always have one ready to wear
  2. You have enough that they will last you into your dotage
  3. You are hard on your clothes; for example, you have four dogs who you play with, train, and walk and you get jumped on, scratched, drooled on, and stuck on thorn bushes while hiking

If it’s an item of clothing that you really love and that is not going to date badly, you can store your duplicates. You declutter your wardrobe but you still hang onto what suits you best.

Super quick tips

This is a great one from Simple Lionheart Life: Imagine how you would feel if you ran into someone who needs to see you at your best, a client for example, or a business associate, or someone you’re hoping to date. If the idea makes you want to die inside, you should probably banish the item from your cupboard.

Another from Simple Lionheart Life: If you keep trying it on because you want to wear it, but you end up stripping it off because it makes your tummy look round or it’s too tight around the shoulders or you feel like you’re trying to be someone you’re not, chuck it.

Put seasonal items in storage. You can also add ‘holiday’ clothes, including ski or snow suits, sarongs and straw hats, and hiking boots, etc.

Give yourself a limit; for example, 10 summer t-shirts and 10 winter t-shirts, six jerseys, three formal dresses, three pairs of smart pants, etc. You’ll find that a limit makes you incredibly discerning.

What if storing and donating aren’t options?

There are certain items that you simply shouldn’t donate. 

The number one items on this list is underwear. Unless it’s still in the packaging, which you have never opened, you really oughtn’t donate your undies. It’s icky. Ask yourself, would you like to wear someone’s worn underpants? Even after repeated washing, the answer is probably no.

What are your options?

Compost: Yes, you can compost cotton, silk, wool, and linen. You’ll have to remove elastic, zips, buttons, studs, and anything else that isn’t made from natural material, but after that you’re good to go.

Arts and crafts: Old clothes, particularly ones that have sentimental value, which are completely unwearable can be used in a variety of arts and crafts projects. You can make handbags or sports bags or shopping bags, you can make clothes for your kids’ dolls, you can turn them into stuffed animals, you can modify them so that they become wearable again.

Ask Google and you’ll find thousands of ideas to stir your creative juices.

Donate … to an animal shelter: Threadbare blankets and towels can be used to make warm and comfy beds. T-shirts and jerseys can be used post-surgery to keep animals from licking (removing) stitches and to keep wounds dry and clean. Some puppies are so tiny that socks are the only things that can be used as jerseys.