letting go of clothes

we’re getting ready for a garage sale tomorrow and i have found that letting go of clothes has not been an easy process for me.  actually, it’s been the most difficult aspect of becoming minimalist thus far during our journey.  i spend a good amount of time deciding if i should keep something or not and during the process i think i’m doing a good job of letting go.  but then, i look back in my closet and wonder why i still have so many things in there that i don’t plan on wearing.

i don’t know if any of you have difficulty getting rid of old clothes or not, but i found an interesting conversation happening at a blog called the very small closet.  jennifer’s got a three-part post on learning to let go of clothes which i have found helpful.  she’s done a good job of helping me identify some of my emotions including:

Either way, her thoughts have helped me remember to live in the present!

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. Nicole says

    I agree… Clothes are very hard to get rid of. I did a great job of purging a lot of older clothes not too long ago at a clothing swap (and only took home 2 things for painting-wear), but ended up stocking up again the next sale at Banana Republic! The replacements are still fewer and nicer, but a lot is not necessary (how many wasp-waisted garden dresses does a girl need?). I need to purge again, if only to prepare for a trip to NYC, and the beautiful racks of Barney’s

    I think at a certain point… I just need a closet that is professionally organized. And the sizer of my entire bedroom. Then it will look minimalist because there is more space ;)

  2. Cheryl says

    I Keep My CLothes , set for work, set for everyday. winter, summer. They can be expensive to rebuy. I hang on to them due to the fact money is tight now and worried about not being able to buy them. I get rid of the ones with holes or stains.

    • says

      For sure! I mean, what if you decide to dress up as a punk rocker for halloween and you’ve thrown out your ripped yellow tights?

      This is the trouble I have…the “oh but I could use this for x…” And of course I hardly ever do.

      I tried to be ruthless with my last round of decluttering and got rid of a lamp that we weren’t using…then I had to buy a new one because it turns out I needed it after all. I hate when that happens.

    • di says

      There are plenty of alternatives. Select a few favorite items and recombine them to make several outfits. Keep a handy list of your outfits and refer to it when you need to get dressed quickly and be on your way.

  3. Travis says

    The clothes I’m most having trouble letting go are my old Paramedic uniforms and my deceased Uncles T-Shirts that I grabbed.

    The Uniforms remind me that I once “Rocked” and to get rid of them would be another nail in the coffin of my dream. Actually that reminds me. One job that I attended as an Ambo there we assisted a Paraplegic. In his room there were numerous Police Uniforms and paraphernalia with photo’s of him in action. We didn’t ask but I dare say he to had trouble letting go of dreams. Saying that we have different reasons for not being able to chase them :-(

    As for my Uncles T-shirts (that I grabbed). I may just start wearing them until they wear out.

    The rest of my clothes were easy to get rid of. Well, the clothes that I never wore were easy. The clothes I do wear I kept :-)

    • says

      Do you know anyone who sews? Perhaps you could have your old t-shirts and uniforms made into a blanket or wall hanging of some sort. My mother quilts and I’m going to give her my favorite of my son’s onesies to make into a quilt for him (well, for me, really).

    • di says

      I still have my Dad’s 2 favorite shirts in my closet as well as his scarf in my bureau drawer. That’s plenty…

  4. Naomi says

    I have two children, a boy and a girl. I stated thinking why is it that “nowadays” clothes are so gender specific. (Toys too, a la “girls lego?” ) I have decided to try for black versions of outdoor clothes, etc so I can hand them down to my daughter, I can always add a pink scarf to “pretty” it up….

  5. Stella says

    I cannot let go of my clothes because I think I will eventually wear them. I have drawers filled with things I want to keep – I think it is like a treasure hunt.

  6. Shelley Boggus says

    My husband lost it last night. He said if I don’t get rid of the tons of clothes in my closets and quit stocking panty and refrig, he is getting a divorce. I have one closet for work clothes, one for everyday, and one for dress. My husband has one closet for everything. He wants the items in our house to be kept to a minimum. He is a pilot and very control focused. Any thoughts? Thanks Shel

    • Rachel Pemberton says

      Hi, I have a pilot boyfriend…we live together…
      I have the spare bedroom bed on risers with stuff underneath, a storage unit….full of stuff and three closets…..I am waiting for him to blow!!!
      Every other week, I bring 15 items to the consignment store….and I bring my manicurist a couple items of clothing I’ve outgrown….I also found a homeless person who lives under the bridge, I give her things too…..
      Sometimes if I think my things are going to someplace that will do good…I can part with them….like a true money donation!
      Ok….I’ve convinced my own self….I’m bagging up stuff for the senior center and the Hospice Center, and the Goodwill…..baby steps!

  7. Shannon Combs says

    I just found your sight and have started reading the archives. Funny, it took a medical condition to get me to pair down my closet. I developed Plantar Fascittis 5yrs ago. Because of that I had to get rid of most of my shoes. The shoes I now have to buy are very expensive. I can’t buy shoes at Walmart, Target or Payless anymore. I’ve gone from the girl with 30 pairs of shoes to the girl with 6 pairs. Having to cut back on shoes also made many of outfits not work anymore. It didn’t realize how many times I would by an outfit and then buy shoes to go with it. Now (because my shoes run between $85-150/pair), I don’t buy an item of clothing that won’t go with the shoes I already own. At first this really upset me, I loved shoes, but now I find it freeing.
    My wardrobe has slowly dwindled over the last 5 years because of the criteria I used to have a lot of uncomfortable, but cute, shoes and I would have to decide everyday if I could wear them based on how much I thought I’d be on my feet. Now, all of my shoes are comfortable. One less decision to make.

    Because of the shoe issue, I started questioning how much other stuff I needed. So I guess I stumbled into the minimamilst thing. I’m gradually working on my house, but it’s hard. I love antiques and I have a lot of family heirlooms that I’m having a hard time parting with even though they are no longer practical for my life.

    I guess it’s like anything else. One step at a time.

  8. says

    Thanks for signposting to such a great blog. I have finally been able to say farewell to my little black dress that I apparently had HUGE associations to. I wrote a blog post in it’s honour! I think if you hadn’t put me on to Jennifer Skinner it would have taken me much longer and that is saying something. It’s been 5 years since I wore it.

    As always your transparency and help is much appreciated.

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