I’ve done Decluttering Talks with thousands of people since 2010 and, in my experience, decluttering clothes is one of our biggest challenges in our homes and lives. I can really understand why this is the case – it’s so easy to underestimate what’s involved in learning to declutter your clothing in a way that brings real, lasting results.
Although some of us are very good to get stuck in when it comes to decluttering clothes, it’s a fair statement that I’ve never worked with a single client or even student who, looking back, has felt that they had previously been decluttering at a depth that had truly transformed their wardrobes or lives. I feel quite sad about this, and this feedback over the years has been a massive motivator in writing my book and sharing my Declutter Therapy approach. There’s so much I could talk about on every aspect of this subject, but let me give you just a few great incentives for critically evaluating your clothes.
7 great reasons for decluttering clothes
- Too many clothes. Contrary to believing that it’s because we don’t have enough clothing and despite everyday frustrations around limited storage space, having a jam-packed walk-in wardrobe only adds to the overwhelm (and guilt) if we don’t know what clothes we like and what suits us.
- Poor organisation. Clothing scattered over different rooms, same-type items stored separately, clothes from different seasons mixed together, items not grouped logically or positioned in a visible and accessible manner all prevents us from seeing what we really have in our wardrobes.
- Clothes that don’t reflect our lifestyle or climate. We’re always tempted by what I’d call “aspirational purchases” like pretty shoes, going-out clothing or summer dresses, and further to accounting for our weather, the breakdown of our wardrobes needs to reflect the percentage of time we spend on different lifestyle activities like work, social and leisure.
- Clothes that don’t reflect our age. I’ve been there with this one after sampling so many trends (Rocker, Goth, Sporty, Hippie, to name a few!) in my teens and early twenties and needing to start dressing more appropriately.
- Clothes that don’t reflect our physicality. Not understanding how to dress for our unique body shapes and body variables (torso length, leg length, neck circumference, etc.) and our colouring makes it very difficult to feel fully comfortable and confident with our style choices.
- Clothes that don’t reflect our signature style. Our personal style is continually changing and if we don’t explore this and let it evolve naturally we find ourselves being over-influenced by friends or family when clothes shopping, buying clothes we like on celebrities or others around us, wearing clothes that don’t represent our unique tastes, focusing more on fashion than our individual style and dressing for others and not ourselves.
- Experiencing negative emotions around our clothing. The vast majority of us, at least at some point in our lives, feel flat, uninspired, disappointed, guilty, overwhelmed, embarrassed, sad or other unhelpful emotions in relation to our clothing. Trust me, we don’t have to feel like this and we can get relief.
Decluttering clothes for success
When you are equipped with the right knowledge, tools and mindset, can you overcome anything where decluttering your clothes is concerned. What I believe is most important here though is putting all this in place before we start decluttering – I’ve seen again and again how not investing the time and energy in this amazing and empowering process of self-discovery results in a continual cycle of confusion, guilt, frustration and disappointment when we set about our decluttering.
I know how it feels to be faced with an uncooperative and unfriendly wardrobe, and I’ve overcome so many issues with decluttering clothes myself. Wardrobe decluttering is my thing, especially the oh-so-common-but-very-misunderstood emotional aspect of the process so I can absolutely help you – I would really love to!
Check out The Declutter Academy, my exciting and cutting-edge professional organizer certification.