When to Get Rid of Clothes: 10 Rules You Need to Know — Shopping on Champagne | Nancy Queen | Fashion Blog (2023)

Is your closet stuffed full of clothes but you still feel like you have nothing to wear?

Do you have old clothes stored in the attic, the basement, or the garage?

If you’ve said “yes” to any of these questions, chances are, it’s time to get rid of your old clothes.

This task does not need to be overwhelming.

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Are wondering where to start? I’ve compiled 10 rules about when to get rid of clothes that will help you part with clothes you no longer need.

These guidelines will help you clean out your closet and ruthlessly declutter your clothes.

If you have a hard time parting with your belongings, bring in a friend to assist you. They can help keep you focused and make this a fun and effortless activity.

Don’t have a friend that can help with this task? That’s ok! Print out the PDF I created and know that I am next to you encouraging you to donate the garment if it doesn’t improve your current wardrobe. You won’t miss the clothes that you don’t wear!

Tips for Sorting Clothes

  • Be sure to go through ALL of your clothes.

  • Make a decision on every single piece: keep or donate.

  • The first few garments will be hard, but it gets easier as you go along.

  • Try and go through all of your clothes in one day.

Ok, you’re prepped and ready to go through your clothes. Here are the 10 rules you need to ask when consider when deciding whether to keep or donate a garment.

In fact, I’ve made a free PDF printable you can download (at the end of the post) and keep nearby when sorting.

#1. Have I worn this garment in the past year?

If the answer is no, donate.

There is no reason to keep clothes that haven’t been worn in a year or more.

#2. Does this garment fit me today?

If the answer is no, donate.

Letting go of clothes that are too small or too large may be difficult, but they aren’t doing you any good to hold onto them. They are just cluttering your wardrobe. Besides, how much happier will you feel every morning when you open your clothes to view only clothes that fit! Only keep clothes that fit you today.

#3. Does this garment fit My lifestyle?

If the answer is no, donate.

We go through many changes in life: high school, college, career, raising a family, working from home, and retirement. With all of those life changes, your wardrobe will also change.

For example, you may have been a student, and now you have a career. There are some clothes you probably still wear on the weekends, but I bet there are many clothes you no longer wear.

#4. Is the garment in good condition?

If the answer is no, donate.

Remove all clothes that are ripped, torn, or stained. That also includes garments with broken zippers, missing buttons, and missing stitches. Only put clothes back into your closet that are in good condition.

#5. Can this garment be worn with anything else in my closet?

If the answer is no, donate.

This rule doesn’t really apply to dresses or jumpsuits because they are worn alone. Instead, consider all of the separates in your closet such as tees, shirts, sweaters, vests, blazers, skirts, shorts, pants, and leggings.

Perhaps you went shopping with a friend and bought something that is more her style than yours. Or, your favorite store was having a sale, and you ended up purchasing clothes that don’t suit you because they were a great price.

If you feel like you have a lot of clothes that don’t coordinate with anything in your wardrobe, you may need to develop your own style. Check out this article I wrote: How to Find Your Own Style.

#6. Do I Feel Good in this Garment?

If the answer is no, donate.

Life is too short to wear clothes you don’t feel good wearing.

The goal of your wardrobe is to have an assortment of clothes that you love to wear. We all have those pieces we’ve purchased that fit weird in the hips, have a wonky collar, sleeves that are too short, or too tight in the waist.

If you put this garment on and don’t feel fabulous when you wear it, it’s time to say, Au Revoir!

#7. Am I Only keeping this garment for sentimental reasons?

If the answer is yes, donate.

When you open your closet, do you see memories? For example:

  • The sweater worn on the first date with significant other

  • The shirt you wore during a meeting that got you a promotion

  • T-shirts with custom prints from college parties

  • The outfit you wore to your favorite band’s concert

You will always have those memories in your head and heart. Staring at them every morning when you are trying to figure out what to wear TODAY, only adds clutter and confusion.

If you have a tough time parting with these garments, I suggest several options below.

  • Repurpose your old clothes by making a pillow or quilt/blanket out of these favorite pieces.

  • Create a Memory Journal. Put on these clothes on and take pictures using an instant camera or your cell phone use a portable sticker printer to print them. Then, write about the memory you have wearing the garment and place the photo next to it in your journal. You’ll end up with a journal you love filled with lots of happy memories!

  • As author Marie Kondo says, thank the clothes for being part of your life and for being part of the memorable event, then pass it along to someone else to enjoy.

Do one of these things listed above. You’ll create more room in your closet and, in the long run, you won’t miss the garment. You can do this!

#8. Does this garment still have the tags on it?

If the answer is yes, donate.

I’m not talking about the clothes you purchased in the past week. I mean clothes that have been hanging in your closet for months or even years with that tags still attached. Do you think there will somehow be divine intervention and you’ll want to wear it?

For whatever reason (no judgment here), you don’t wear this garment…time to say Sayōnara!

#9. Is this garment in style?

If the answer is no, donate.

Are you keeping clothes because you think it will come back in style someday? Maybe your kids will want to wear it.

If that is the case, you are creating a time capsule, not a current wardrobe that helps you get dressed TODAY.

Style trends SOMETIMES come back in 15-20 years later. Do you really want to have a closet full of clothes you (or your children) won’t be wearing for another 20 years?

You owe it to yourself to fill your closet with clothes that you feel good in and wear today. Donate those outdated clothes and have a closet full of clothes you love.

#10. Is this Garment a Bridesmaid’s or Prom dress?

If the answer is yes, donate.

Here’s the funniest joke I’ve ever heard. When shopping for bridesmaid dresses, someone always says, “Oh, and you can wear it again if you shorten it.”

You. Will. Never. Wear. A. Bridesmaid’s Dress. Again.

The same goes for prom dresses.

I’m not sure if it’s the color, the fabric, or the cut…but these dresses are one-time wear, and they don’t need to be taking up valuable real estate in your closet.

There you have it. The 10 rules for getting rid of clothes.

Now you’re ready for the next step, organizing your closet. Check out this article I wrote, Do I Have Too Many Clothes? It covers all the detail of how to clean your closet and then organize it for a wardrobe full of clothes you love to wear.

Take the Closet Challenge!

Download the Free PDF Printable below and organize your closet with my 10 Rules for Getting Rid of Clothes.

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