7 Signs It's Time to Get Rid of Your Clothes

Woman looking at clothes

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Getting rid of clothes is easier said than done. You may know your closet needs a good purge, but you can think of reasons why you should keep each and every item in there.

If you're not sure when you should purge a piece of clothing, a pair of shoes, an old accessory, or even a handbag, this seven-step process will give you guidance on how to know what clothes to get rid of. It might be time to recycle, donate, or consign if your clothing falls into one of the following categories:

1. Clothing Has Stains or a Musty Smell

This seems obvious, but sometimes we have an emotional attachment to items that makes us overlook a musty old smell, holes from moths, and obvious stains. Sure, the sweater has mold on it, but grandma knitted it for you!

If you think an item might be salvageable, take action. Bring it to the dry cleaner and see if it can be saved. Otherwise, it's time to bid adieu to that moldy sweater.

2. You No Longer Love It

This is the best reason to get rid of clothes and shoes. Closets are typically small spaces in our homes so maximizing space is key. If you don’t love something, there’s really no reason to give up space to it in your closet. You might even have clothes you wear all the time but don't love––get rid of any clothes you don't feel your best in. You deserve pieces that boost your confidence when you wear them, rather than make you feel self-conscious.

3. It’s Overly Trendy (and the Trend Has Passed)

If you bought something trendy that you cannot incorporate into outfits going forward, it’s time to toss or donate. Once again, get rid of clothes that you don't wear. There is no value in storing something you will never wear again.

4. It Hasn't Fit in Over a Year

This one is emotional. Our bodies will react to new environments, changes in our routine, and shifts in diet, hormones, etc. Even if something fit perfectly at some point, there are a lot of outside factors working against it fitting forever. Keeping it in your closet can be a depressing reminder every time you see it. Your closet should only contain clothes that fit now.

5. You Haven't Worn It in Over a Year

This one is pretty obvious, but what if you're just not sure if you'll wear it again? What's the barometer for donating something that fits, you love, and you once wore often? Here's a good rule of thumb:

  • If you live in a one- or two-season climate and you haven't worn an item in six months, it's time to let it go.
  • If you live in a four-season climate and you haven't worn it in a year, time to donate.

Sometimes, even if it meets all of the other criteria for keeping a garment, you're just over it. Pay it forward by donating. Getting rid of clothes is much easier knowing they'll find a good home with someone else who will actually wear them.

6. It No Longer Fits Your Style

Let’s say you used to be a corporate type but have decided to pursue a career as a yoga instructor. At this point, you don’t need to have a closet full of oxford shirts and tailored slacks. Our styles change as we age, either because our preferences shift or because our circumstances do. There's no need to hold onto items that don't fit with where you are in life.

7. It Itches, Scratches, or Pinches

Don't suffer for fashion. If something is truly uncomfortable, you need to let it go. This includes scratchy clothes that irritate your skin, fabrics that don't breathe, and high heels that pinch your toes.

The bottom line is everything in your closet should:

  • Fit well
  • Be worn regularly
  • Be comfortable
  • Project the image you want to project

Any items that do not fall into one of these categories are ready to be let go