How retail therapy clutters your closet, and what to do about it.

This is the time of year stores hold sidewalk sales. Who can resist a summer clearance sale? Everyone loves a bargain. But when is a bargain not a bargain? If you have clothes with price tags still attached – months later – you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Stop now, shop later.

Before you grab that ‘too good to pass up’ deal, consider the state of your closet. If it’s crammed with clothes, but you never seem to have anything to wear, perhaps decluttering your wardrobe will add more value to your life than going shopping. At least for now.

An organized closet gives you a sense of control.

Imagine how much smoother your life will run when you can open your closet and find what you need quickly and easily. What would it be like to know that every item in your wardrobe looks and feels great on you? Before you buy more clothing, let go of items that no longer serve you. Once you’ve edited your closet, you will be able to determine exactly what you need to ‘fill the holes’ in your wardrobe. Then, armed with that list, you can go shopping with confidence.

Make decisions easier:

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you make decisions about what to keep and what to toss:

  • Do I look and feel great in it?
  • Is it me?
  • Is it current and stylish?
  • Does it fit me well right now?

If you answer ‘no’ to any of these questions, it’s time to let the clothing go.

Don’t let common excuses keep you stuck.

Throughout the process of editing your closet, you’ll hear yourself making all kinds of excuses why you shouldn’t get rid of certain items. Since I can’t be there to hold your hand and encourage you to just let things go, I’ve compiled a list of the most popular excuses I’ve heard – and my response to them. I hope you’ll smile when you catch yourself using some of them, and that you’ll reconsider keeping clothes that no longer serve you.

Top 7 Excuses for holding on to clothing we don’t wear:

1.  It will come back in style someday.

Yes, it probably will. But the fabric and cut will be slightly different and everyone will be able to tell you have been holding on to it since 1978!

 2.  It will fit once I lose weight.

You may lose weight in different places and it may still not fit. It may go out of style by the time you lose the weight. Reward yourself after weight loss by buying new clothes instead of holding on to your old things.

3.  I paid a lot of money for it.

And it makes you feel guilty every time you look into your closet and see it hanging there, so let go of the reminder, and the shame.

 4.  I wore it on my first date, the day I got promoted, etc.

Don’t let sentimental items take up valuable space in your closet. That’s like allowing the past to take up space and crowd out the present. Take a picture and let it go or keep it and store it elsewhere.

 5. My husband/mother/friend bought it for me.

They’ll never know, and even if they find out, they’ll understand. They would not be happy knowing their gift has become a burden to you.

 6.  It needs repairs.

Put a deadline on it and let it go if you miss it.

 7.  I need it just in case.

This is probably the top excuse I hear, and it is based on fear. Be brave – unless you can find a specific reason to hold on to something,  find the courage to let it go.

So, are you ready to tackle your closet?

Clearing your closet clears your mind and sets you up for success.  It’s an act of self-care and well worth the investment.  Imagine how effortless and enjoyable it will be to get ready in the morning or for a special night out.  It will be a breeze because you can see and easily pull out everything you own. You’ll be more relaxed and be able to enjoy yourself. You will feel like a weight has been lifted and your energy level will rise. Now, doesn’t that feel better than the short-lived gratification you get when you shop for bargains?



Share this:

This post has 5 comments

  • Brilliant Hellen! I have done this more than a few times and not just clothes – hardcover books bought but not read (eventually donated them to my local library), and baskets for organizing that were stacked in a closet unused and with tags on! (which explains why I am here!)

    Of your top 7 excuses, #2 is my go-to reason for keeping clothing that I am not currently wearing. I recently made a clothing donation to Goodwill and know that someone else will enjoy the items more than my closet! I no longer want to have a clothing museum in my home. 🙂

    Keep writing the great blogs! Much appreciated!


  • Twila Peck says:

    Very timely for me as I am about ready to tackle my lovely large walk-in closet, preparing to move. I anticipate tossing a lot of things though it breaks my heart — I made some of the best, well-thought-out, classic clothing purchases of my life a few years ago — and then promptly gained 20 pounds practically overnight, it seemed! Even if I lose some weight (and that’s my next project) I am at a time of life when it’s probable that my body shape will not suit those clothes, so I am going to be brave and sensible about those “skinny” clothes.

    btw, it’s been YEARS since I’ve even seen a summer sidewalk sale, living in southern Arizona, so I enjoyed a what? oh-yeah, I remember, moment of amusement at myself!

  • Top 7 Excuses for Holding onto Clothes is good! LOL

    A Hand Up Can take your extra fabulous clothing and re-distribute it free of charge to those who are in need.

    (especially men’s clothing! & women’s clothing for Job interviews as well)

    A Hand Up Facebook Page:

  • Sylvie says:

    Great blog… last year did the “toss if not used in the last 2 years”… tomorrow I plan on tackling my closet with a copy your most recent excuse list! Thanks Hellen.

  • Carrie Alley says:

    I did this in January when I discovered that my excuse was “but these are too nice for “goodwill” but I don’t want the hassle of confinement shops, etc.”. A friend said that she loved walking into a thrift store and finding something beautiful AND affordable.

    I realized in that moment that I was way too attached to the outcome!! I let the clothes go (including my $2000 silk wedding dress/evening gown) to the first thrift store that came to pick them up and WHEW!!!!! what an incredible feeling!!! When I realized that I needed to move these items out of my life no matter what happened to them the flood gates opened up! Several bags of clothes, shoes, purses, cookbooks (did I really need the whole book when it only had one of my fall back recipes in it?), pots, pans, etc. Things from a couple of lifetimes ago when out the door. If any of it makes someone else happy, even better!

    And I just kept going…and going…and going…all the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific…making a dream come true…what’s in your closet isn’t as scary as you imagine, so why let it keep holding you back?