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

organized closet

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

Getting rid of clothes is sometimes easier said than done. You may know your closet needs a good purge, but you can think of reasons to keep each and every item in there. If you're not sure when you should recycle, donate, or sell a piece of clothing, a pair of shoes, an accessory, or even a handbag, there are several factors that can alert you it's time.

Here are seven signs to consider when getting rid of clothes.

1. It Has Stains, Holes, or a Smell

This might seem like an obvious sign. But sometimes we have an emotional attachment to items that makes us overlook a musty smell, holes, or obvious stains. If you think an item might be salvageable, take action. Consider taking it for professional cleaning or mending. If even the pros say it's a lost cause, it's time to bid adieu to that item.

2. You No Longer Love It

Closets are typically small areas in our homes, so maximizing space is key. If you don’t love a piece of clothing, there’s really no reason to give up space to it in your closet. So get rid of any clothes you don't feel your best in. If they're in good shape to be donated, let someone else enjoy them much more than you do. You deserve pieces that boost your confidence when you wear them, rather than make you feel self-conscious.

3. It’s From an Outdated Trend

Sometimes you still can incorporate trendy pieces into outfits even if the trend has passed. But other times you might just feel silly wearing something that's totally out of fashion. If you don't think you'll ever wear an overly trendy piece again, it's time to toss or donate it. Yes, certain trends do come back in style. But if you can't imagine wearing a piece for several years, there's no value in storing it.

4. It Hasn't Fit in a Year

People's sizes change. And sometimes the size of the clothing itself changes as it stretches with wear and tear. However, even if something fit you perfectly at one point, it might not fit forever. So if you've hung on to ill-fitting clothing for more than a year, it's time to get rid of it. If it's a piece you really want to keep, look into having it altered. The point is to keep only clothes in your closet that fit.

5. You Haven't Worn It in a Year

Maybe there's nothing wrong with a piece of clothing, but you're still not wearing it. Set an expiration date for the items in your closet. If you live in a four-season climate and you haven't worn a piece of clothing in a year, it's probably time to donate it. And if you live in a one- or two-season climate, then you likely should let go of something you haven't worn in the past six months. Let the item find a home with someone who will wear it, and free up your closet space for things you do wear.

6. It No Longer Fits Your Style

Say you used to be a corporate type but have decided to pursue a career as a yoga instructor. At this point, you probably 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 on to items that don't mesh with where you are in life.

7. It's Uncomfortable

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 shoes that pinch your toes. The bottom line is everything in your closet should fit well, be worn regularly, and suit your lifestyle. Get rid of items that don't fall into one of these categories.