You’ve decided to declutter your wardrobe and you’re all keen to get rid of the old and make space in your life. Heck yes! Good on you… that is awesome. BUT… when you’re standing in front of your wardrobe, ready to take that first step, how do you decided what clothes to keep when decluttering, and which ones to get rid of?
This has to be one of the hardest questions when it comes to decluttering just about anything – what do you keep and what do you remove?
I’d love to be able to tell you that there’s a super simple, black and white answer, but it’s not quite that easy. The thing is, what you choose to keep when you’re decluttering is very personal. However, there are some things you can ask yourself to help you decide what to keep and what to let go.
Use these questions below to help you decide what clothes to keep when decluttering, remembering, only you can choose what is important to you and what you no longer need.
1 – How Often Do You Wear It?
This is the simplest and easiest question to ask yourself and will help you to declutter the most from your wardrobe. If you have something that you wear all the time, then of course you’re more likely to want to keep it. However, if you have an item you purchased a while ago and have only worn a handful of times, then you may need to look at the questions below help you decide if it’s something you need to keep or let go.
As a rule of thumb, I usually use this question as my very first pass at decluttering as it helps me to go through quickly and get great decluttering results fast. After I’ve done this, I then go back through and ask myself the remaining questions.
2 – Do You Need Multiples?
While you may wear all 10 pairs of your jeans, do you really need 10 different pairs?
Perhaps you’d like to keep one dark denim and one light? Or maybe you’re super keen and willing to cut it right down to just one pair.
How ruthless you are when decluttering your clothes is entirely up to you. Do you want to have a more minimalist wardrobe, or are you a little more relaxed and want a comfortable but culled wardrobe? It’s your choice.
3 – Do You Love It?
I know this seems like an obvious question, but when I went through my own clothes recently I realised I was keeping things because I had worn them often, or because I felt like I should keep it (often as it had cost more than I would normally spend). However, when I really thought about it, I didn’t love the items.
Imagine having a wardrobe filled with clothes you actually love? If you were to decide to keep only clothes that you love, then you’d be living that dream.
4 – Does It Have Multiple Uses?
Oh how I love an item of clothing that can be worn in so many ways! A jacket that can be worn to work and to date night? A dress that can double as a skirt? A work shirt that looks great on the weekend with denim shorts? Yes please!
The key to keeping a minimalist wardrobe, and to eliminating clothing overwhelm, is to have items that can be used in multiple ways, for multiple events.
While this isn’t possible for everything, it can certainly help if you try to make the majority of your clothes multiple use.
5 – Does It Make You Feel Amazing?
This ties in with point #3 of making sure you love an item – ask yourself, does it make you feel amazing?
Under this question you can declutter any clothes that don’t fit properly, that are tatty and worn (unless it’s your cookie pants and house shirt that make you feel amazing because they are comfy AF… I totally understand keeping them), or that just don’t make you feel like the amazing person you are.
If you have a wardrobe filled with clothes you love, that make you feel amazing, and that fit you, you’ll never have to worry about what to wear or spend hours trying things on, only to take them off again because they just don’t look right.
6 – Is It Seasonal?
While we spent time asking ourselves if we wear some items of clothes often, one of the caveats to this is that they may be seasonal, and therefore we don’t actually wear them very often.
Think of items like a heavy winter jacket. While you might not wear it often, when you need it, it’s important to have it in your wardrobe. This can be common for people, like myself, who live in a fairly warm location, but still do have occasional cool days when a warm winter jacket is required.
This can be the same for things like beach clothes, or items you wear on vacation. While you might now wear them often, it can be nice to have them.
You may want to spend a little time on your seasonal items and perhaps look closer when deciding which of these clothes to keep when decluttering. Don’t just use ‘seasonal’ as a catch all, be purposeful about what you do choose to keep.
7 – Is It For A Special Occasion?
Special occasions are kind of like seasonal clothes, you don’t wear them often, but they’re still good to have in your wardrobe. While you may not attend special functions often, keeping a few items of clothing for these events can help you save money in the long run (and stress) as you won’t have to buy new clothes each time.
Keeping a core item, and then being able to change accessories and styles of the item can be a great way to reduce the size of your wardrobe while still having items you need.
8 – Is It A Keepsake?
Some of the clothes you decide to keep may fall into the ‘keepsake’ category. These can be things like your wedding dress, or even t-shirts from a concert you went to.
I still have a pair of shorts from my early twenties because I absolutely love them and because they hold such good memories for me. Not to mention the t-shirts from concerts I went to that are special to me. Sure, they take up a little space, but it’s space I am willing to sacrafice in order to keep these items.
Again, this is going to be a very personal choice for you. You may have keepsakes you’re ready to let go of, and you may have some you want to keep, or perhaps you don’t need to keep any at all. It’s entirely up to you.
9 – Can You Trial Not Having It?
If you’e finding it difficult to let go of items, and not quite sure still what clothes you want to keep when decluttering your wardrobe, you can opt to trial not having these items for a while.
Grab some vacuum storage bags and pack some items into these that you are unsure about. Remove them from your wardrobe and set a timeframe for your trial. During this time, if you don’t think about the items, notice the aren’t there, or feel like you need them, then you know you can remove them completely.
This way you can declutter your wardrobe without the pressure of having to get it right the first time. It’s like decluttering for those who struggle to commit.
When it comes to deciding what clothes to keep when decluttering your wardrobe, and what clothes to let go, it can be a process of determining what is important to you, and it may take a few times to get it right. But following this guide and asking yourself these questions will help you to decide what clothes to keep, and help you along in your decluttering process.