Got a closet that’s full to the brim, but still can’t find anything to wear?
It’s not just you. A survey of 1,000 American women found that the average woman only really likes 10% of her wardrobe. A staggering 40% claimed they didn’t like any of their clothes.
Enough is enough. It’s time to purge clothes and revitalise your look.
Purging clothes has heaps of benefits, all of which we’ll be diving into in this article.
What Does Purging Clothes Mean?
The word purge sounds a little intense. It’s really not all that bad. In fact, we think you’ll get a lot of joy from it.
The act of purging is to rid yourself of something unwanted. In this context specifically, your clothes. Purging clothes is the act of discarding clothes that no longer serve you.
This might be because you’ve changed sizes or styles. It may be that the clothes are no longer fashionable. Or it can be as simple as they do not bring you happiness.
There’s a lot of benefits that can come from purging clothes or other items in your life.
Why Should You Purge Your Clothes?
Purging your clothes is difficult. We’ve all been there where we’ve sworn to do it, only to throw out one holey jumper… and then fish it back out of the to-go pile later.
A lot of this is because we naturally place sentimental or emotional value on our clothes. We remember where we wore them and how they made us feel. Or we remember who gifted them to us and attach emotional value to that exchange.
But purging our clothes or indeed any cluttered area of our home has heaps of benefits for our emotional and physical well-being.
A good purge can help us feel less anxious or stressed. This reduced anxiety and stress can lead to better, more restful sleep. It can also help boost our productivity and creativity levels.
This is because when we complete tasks, even little tasks, our brain releases a hit of dopamine. We get a hit of dopamine for completing even the smallest of tasks. It’s one of the reasons so much advice is goal-oriented.
So completing a huge de-clutter should give you a massive dopamine hit and lower your stress levels.
You’ll also discover all the bits of clothing you forgot about. You can keep these (if you’ll actually wear them!) or sell them on to someone who’ll actually use them, and get a little extra cash for your rainy day fund at the same time.
How to Purge Your Closet in 2021
It’s all well and good talking about the benefits of purging clothes… but how do you go about it? Like anything, with a plan of action!
You don’t have to go full Marie Kondo on your wardrobe as a strategy for purging clothes. There’s a bunch of different approaches you can take.
We’ve got a list of purging clothes rules that we think work wonders. But they’re not absolute. Pick and choose the ones that suit you and your lifestyle.
1. If It Doesn’t Fit, It Goes
Whether it’s too big or too small, lose it.
We’ve all been guilty of holding onto those aspirational jeans from college and telling ourselves that one day we’ll get back into them. Maybe you will and maybe you won’t. But stop torturing yourself by holding onto them.
Purging these clothes will bring acceptance as to who you are now, in the present. It should feel pretty liberating to let go of the idea of who or what size you should or could be.
2. Farewell to Frays
Torn, ripped, frayed, or on the cusp of? Throw them out.
You’re never going to wear them out again. They’re of no use to anyone sitting in your closet. So it’s time to send them to the great big clothes rack in the sky.
In the interest of being green, though you can’t donate torn or damaged clothes to charity, you can still recycle most of them. There are loads of national and local textiles recyclers you can give these items to who will put them to good use.
3. Re-Gift Gifts
You don’t have to get rid of all the clothes you’ve been gifted by any means. But often, though the thought is sweet, we don’t end up wearing items we’ve been gifted.
It’s so hard to buy clothes for someone else’s tastes and styles. So much so that many people avoid buying clothes for others all together! So it’s completely normal for you to have some gifted items that you’ve never worn, but feel too guilty about to throw out.
Don’t hold onto things because of a negative feeling. Whether that’s guilt or feeling like you’re being ungrateful is irrelevant. It’s okay to have gifts you just don’t vibe with.
If you donate the item to another charity store, you can think of it as re-gifting it to someone who will actually love it and get use out of it.
4. Keep What You Love
You can rephrase this to the OG Kondo catchphrase of “does it spark joy?” but it all means the same thing.
Keep things that you look at and feel happy. Purge everything that doesn’t. Doing this means you’ll actually wear the items you love more often, as there’s less to pick from.
5. But Not If You Won’t Wear It
Keep what you love… that you actually wear. We mentioned above how we tend to form emotional attachments to clothes. They’re a way of holding onto precious memories from the past.
But you don’t need to hold onto things like your prom dress or even your wedding dress. You have photos and memories. All the item is doing is taking up space when you’ll never wear it again.
6. Single Use Is No Use
We’re all guilty of splurging on that perfect outfit for a special occasion. But have you worn it since?
If you’ve only worn it once, it’s taking up too much space. Save space for items you can wear on multiple occasions.
7. Remember Versatile and Practical
Boots that you can match with most outfits. A great pair of jeans that you can pair with a t-shirt for the day or a nice top for going out. We all have items of clothing that are absolute keepers.
Any clothing that you can mix and match to create lots of different outfits, you can keep. Similarly, items that have practical use like walking boots, swimsuits, and scarves are all keepers.
Versatile and practical clothes are usually the clothes you’ve found you live in any way!
For the ultimate in versatile wardrobe, you could even try creating a capsule wardrobe. It isn’t for everyone due to its minimalist nature, but it certainly works for creating a timeless selection.
8. Get Extreme
If you’re really struggling to cut down, here’s a simple exercise for the bold… keep one, toss one.
This works great if you’ve already followed all the other rules, but you still have a large pile of similar clothing. Just compare two items, and keep the one you like best. You might be surprised by how easy the choice is!
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How to Know When to Purge Your Clothes
If your closet is overflowing or you’re struggling to find an outfit every day, the time has come to purge your wardrobe. For most people, this isn’t more than once every few years. But for those resolute shoppers who love to keep up to date with the latest trends, this could be a more regular occurrence.
In general, as the old saying goes, there’s never a better time than the present.
We suggest just setting aside an entire day. You don’t have to rush through and make decisions you’ll regret. Think of it as an act of self-care and find the time to do this for yourself as part of a larger home management project.
Remember to keep other seasons in mind when you’re purging clothes and not just focus on the season at hand. The last thing you want is a closet with no jumpers because you purged in the midst of a heatwave.
Closet Purge Phone Apps
There really is an app for everything, including ones to help you declutter your closet. Some of our favorites include Stylitics, Stylicious, and Closet.
Stylitics for iPhone, Android (free) – is a free app that helps you coordinate your closet by style, color, or pattern. It also gives you weather and trend updates so you can always look your best, whatever the season.
Stylicious for iPhone, Android (free) is a great little app that will not only help you organise your closet but also give you tips from stylists. This app will let you snap photos of your clothes and organise them category and subcategory so that you never have more than what you need.
Closet for iPhone (free) – lets you organize your clothes into categories, tag favorites, and track what you wear. Then you can plan outfits without even getting out of bed. It’s a lifesaver for those indecisive mornings before work!
What to Do With Unwanted Clothes?
Fast fashion is killing the planet. You might feel like throwing things out is adding to the issue, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Investing in high-quality items, that you can wear multiple times, is a more sustainable way of living.
Throwing things out doesn’t have to mean putting them in the bin. Unworn clothes or clothes in good condition can be sold online on the likes of eBay or Depop. Or if you’re feeling altruistic, you can donate them to a local charity shop.
As we mentioned above, even damaged clothes that have seen better days can be donated to local textile recyclers.
Feel Great, Look Great
We really hope you found our tips useful for purging clothes. But more so, we hope that once you’ve done it, you get all the amazing benefits we discussed above.
Remember, though it feels great to purge your closet, keeping on top of it in the future will feel even better. Try and limit yourself to a ‘one in, one out’ policy for your wardrobe to keep it organized and clutter-free.
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