101 ways to declutter clothes.

Over the year of buying no clothes I have also been haphazardly decluttering my clothes.

Clothes that no longer fit, clothes that are beyond repair (or not worth repairing), clothes that are stained, clothes that are worn and saggy, clothes that no longer suit me, clothes that were once fashionable but are clearly dated. All have exited my house.

Some have wended their way to charity shops, some to friends, some to my ragbag, some to the bin.

My approach has been haphazard, occasionally taking out one or two items, going back to the same shelves repeatedly and reviewing clothes that I had previously thought could remain.

I have read so many different approaches to decluttering. (Ironically I have a host of books on decluttering cluttering my bookshelves.) So here’s a few:

  • The Turn the Coat Hanger method. Turn all the coat hangers around and when you wear the item, turn the coat hanger around. After a season you will see what you don’t wear. Toss those.
  • The toss everything not worn for a year method.
  • The Take Everything Out and Ask 3 Questions method. Do I love it? Do I wear it? Will I wear it? No, then toss.
  • Or try these 4 questions: 1) When Is The Last Time I Wore This? If it’s more than a year ago maybe it’s time to say goodbye. 2) What Has More Value, the Object or the Space? If the answer is the latter you know what to do. 3) Is it your Style? 4) Is It a Treasure?
  • Then there’s the Use One Criteria method: Does it fit me right now? If the answer is “no,” toss.
  • What about The 80/20 Rule: “They” say we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. So ditch most of your clothes. Replace the items you wear as they wear out.
  • Finally there’s the Capsule Approach. You choose a small number of garments and then wear just them for a specified period of time. When the time is up, you toss all the clothes you didn’t wear and didn’t miss.
  • Following any of these approaches just doesn’t work for me. But I do ask the three questions: love, wear, will wear?

    I don’t want to toss things I haven’t worn for a year, or a season. I like keeping things that I might not wear for a while. I can shop my wardrobe, recreate outfits using old pieces, or leave something for a while if I am bored with it and find, years later, that I like it again. Nor do I like only having a few items or styles to wear. Love variety and choice.

    As for taking everything out or asking one question, no, not for me. I found I would keep an item, but later decide it could go. Even later I would go back to the same shelf and decide that something that had passed two or more purgings should go. Taking one thing a day fitted in with my busy life.

    The other thing with taking your time and doing one thing a day, it allows stuff to lose its hold on you. By revisiting a shelf, again and again, I found my attitude changed. I was more likely to let something go that I thought just had to stay before. Even tossing stained and ripped clothes can be difficult. (Might come in useful for gardening or painting – if I ever had time to get around to these things! Lol) But it becomes easier to do when you are only parting with one or two pieces, and you can see how many others remain.

    Now while one thing a day is slow, and at first there appears to be no difference to the space, within a few months you suddenly notice space appear. And there is no pressure or stress. No messy, half-started, unfinished piles awaiting sorting. No need to decide on everything at once.

    But remember: it’s hard to declutter if you keep bringing stuff in.

    What works for you?


    9 thoughts on “101 ways to declutter clothes.

    1. As I mentioned previously, I use the limited hanger situation to keep things to a maximum level. I also just weed things as I think ‘I always pass that over, I never wear that, that doesn’t flatter me’. In my old house, I had a fabric bag (from Coles or similar) live on the floor of my wardrobe for such castoffs, and when it was full I’d get rid of things. More recently, I’ve tried Ebay, one sale from four, and even relisting two saw no bites 😦 So I’ll have to donate those too, soon enough. I do like the hangers idea, but there are some things that are seldom worn for periods, but you need them for the occasion, such as weddings.

      • I don’t do the eBay thing. Can’t be bothered with all the faffing around. One in four sales? Just not worth it for me. I agree with you on needing things that you don’t wear for the rare special occasion.

    2. I suppose what works best for me is trying it on and asking, “Does it fit? Is it flattering?” If the answers are no, then I feel OK about moving it out. Maybe it’s just as well I didn’t have a huge selection all in one size, because that would have been more difficult! Just yesterday I was loathe to get rid of a sweater with a permanent stain on it – I just liked the sweater so much! But it was irreparable.

      • Oh, I know! The things loved and cherished that are stained can be hard to get rid of. I often think they’re not too bad, until my husband notices. And as he mostly doesn’t notice stains or holes, I know if he sees the damage (even then he says “It’s not too bad, you can get away with it”), then the item cannot be worn.

    3. I use the revisiting approach just as you mentioned. I go through my closet when the seasons change and I move things in and out. Oftentimes, when I’m hanging something up, I realize I don’t really like it that much or avoided wearing it before and so I get rid of it. I also try to get rid of one item when I buy something new. Sometimes I can’t find anything I’m willing to part with, but usually I do.

      • Good on you. I haven’t been a seasonal reviewer of my clothes. Must start.

        I have gone to throw out things I don’t like and thought I’d give them one more go. Amazingly they are often the items people at work make admiring comments about. Go figure?

    4. I definitely do the last point: stop bringing things in! For many years as a SAHM I bought very limited ‘new’ clothing, but still had to throw things out once they were too worn. By attrition, I now have a very pared-down wardrobe.

      • Most of my clothes are work clothes as I work full time. I would like more casual gear as it is for casual occasions that I have little to wear beyond a pair of jeans. If I was to never work again, I would donate most of my wardrobe immediately as I sign of liberation!

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