6 Things You Can Eliminate from Your Closet Right Now

published May 20, 2015
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(Image credit: Viv Yapp)

Why is cleaning out your closet so agonizing? I’ve never quite been able to figure this out. Maybe it’s because parting with old clothing, things that you remember wearing in the past, means making peace with and letting go of a past version of yourself. But making a little extra space in your closet doesn’t have to involve a lot of hand-wringing and soul-searching. In fact, maybe you should get rid of (and by that I mean donate, of course!) these six things right now.

Things you never wear anymore that you are keeping for sentimental reasons

Look, I get it. I might possibly be the world’s most sentimental person. And that sweatshirt you used to wear all the time in college, even though it has pit stains and holes now, is something you’d never dream of getting rid of. But if you’re not wearing something, it doesn’t belong in your closet.

When it comes to sentimental things, you really have two choices: One, take a picture of it, honor what it’s meant to you, and pass it on. This is good for big things, like prom dresses. You’ll still have the memories, and you’ll be grateful for the extra space in your closet. If you really want to keep something, you could also do option number two, which is to put it in a box with other memorabilia, or think of some creative way to display it. Hang it up? Make it into a quilt? Then your memories will be front and center, and your closet will be clear.

Things that will never, ever fit you

I’m not talking clothes that are a little tight, or things that you might be able to wear if you lost five pounds. I mean clothing that you’re hanging onto from years and years and years ago, that you would need a whole new body type to wear. Getting rid of old things is a part of making peace with who you are now. And if you do manage to make a huge change, buying new clothes is part of the fun.

Clothing that is beautiful and great but that you never wear because it’s too much trouble

Maybe you are not as lazy as me, so this doesn’t happen to you. But I definitely have a few things in my closet that are actually really pretty and look good on me, but that I never wear because they’re a pain in the ass. Like a shirt that has to be ironed, and has to be worn tucked in and only with a certain pair of paints, which never seems to be clean because they have to be dry cleaned. Whatever the reasons that you never wear this thing. the outcome is the same: you are wasting closet space on something that you don’t wear. So pass it along to someone who will. (And then maybe don’t buy high-maintenance clothes ever again. Be honest with yourself.)

(Image credit: Craig Kellmann)

Things that would be more expensive to repair than to replace

If fixing the heels on your shoes would cost just as much as buying another pair of new shoes that you would like just as much — throw them out.

Things you used to really love but no longer wear

Fashion is fickle. I am fickle, too. I wish I weren’t. But there it is. And until I become a much better and less shallow person, I will always have a few things in my closet that I used to love and wear all the time, but that for some reason I slowly decided were kind of frumpy, and that are now collecting dust. Every time I get dressed these things stare at me accusingly. “What is wrong with you, Nancy? You used to like us. We want to be useful.”

Ok, that is crazy. Clothes don’t have feelings. Or do they? If they do, it probably hurts their feelings to be buried in the bottom of a drawer, never to be worn again. So find them a new home. You’ll both be happier.

Basically anything you don’t wear

Sensing a pattern here? Anything that you don’t wear, for whatever reason, represents wasted closet space, and probably a lot of guilt over not wearing perfectly nice clothes. So pass those things along to someone who will appreciate them, and savor the new lightness of your wardrobe and your mind.

Re-edited from a post originally published 5.20.15 – TW