woman letting go of clothes she no longer wears

We’ve all been there. No matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to let go of that pair of shoes or that cute dress we bought years ago.

Maybe it brings back old memories, or perhaps you think, “Oh, they’re too cute to give away.”

Whatever the “thing” is that keeps you hanging onto clothes you don’t wear, you’re certainly not alone.

It’s estimated that the average person wears 20% of their clothes 80% of the time. That means 80% of our wardrobe occupies space in your closets and drawers that we rarely or never wear.

Why do we hang onto clothes we don’t wear? And what can we do about it?


Money Guilt

You paid money for it, and money holds value. Therefore, the idea of parting with it makes us feel guilty. Especially if the item is in good condition or it’s barely worn.

Try This: If the idea of money lost keeps you from letting go, think about the money you’ll have to spend on buying extra storage room, storage containers OR worse, a bigger home so that you have the space for items you don’t use or wear.

Another way to remove this block is by donating your clothing. Giving is far more gratifying than receiving and may relieve the guilt of wasted money.


Someday I’ll fit into it again.

You may find yourself hanging onto clothes you USED to fit into because you’ve gained weight. Purchase clothes that fit you now. Fashion experts would argue that clothes make us look thinner when they fit how they should.

Remind yourself to stay in the present not the past. You are a different person now, celebrate the person in the mirror today.


Fashion Trends

You may have bought clothes that were trending at the time but have since gone out of style. The idea that everything comes back in style may cause you to hang onto those pieces.

Try This: Either own your personal style (in style or not) or donate those pieces for the person that will own that style. (trending now or not)



Are you hanging onto clothes that someone important gifted you? Think holiday gifts like mitts, gloves and scarves.

How do you let those gifts go? Receive them with love, and then let them go with love. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with life because you’re living in clutter, understand that the people you love would rather see you part with gifts than live in pain.


Sentimental Value

Perhaps someone close to you has passed away, and you received some of their clothing. Understandably you want to hang onto these pieces because they bring back memories and allow you to feel connected to them.

Try This: Keep one item of clothing and put it in a special memory box. Then, pull out the box when you need to reminisce or be close to them. Other options are to make a quilt or pillow out of their clothes or take pictures of them.


Rainy Day or Wishful Thinking

Ever buy a cute pair of rain boots that seemed like a good idea but sat in your closet every rainy day? Or that cool belt you found but never had the jeans with belt loops big enough!

It’s time, to be honest with yourself. If you haven’t made an effort to make an item work with your current wardrobe or you’ve never worn those rain boots- it’s time to let them go.


Clothes Needing Alterations

So you found something you loved but didn’t have in your size. You made a deal with yourself that you’d get it altered if you bought it. Yet alas, here it is, still hanging in your closet, never worn!

Better now than never! Get it altered!

But if you don’t have the answers to these questions;

  • Where would I get this altered
  • How much would it cost
  • When will I take it in?

Then send it on its way.

The more difficult it is for us to complete a task, the less likely it will happen.


More Tips For Letting Go Of Clothing You Don’t Wear

  • Be intentional about making space in your closet and drawers. Decide that this season you will not be packing away items AGAIN that you didn’t wear.
  • Ask yourself questions like: “why am I hanging onto this”, Have I worn this in the last year? Do I have something similar? Does it have holes or is it worn?
  • Try organizing your closet with your hangers all pointed one way. When you wear something, hang it with the hanger pointing the opposite way. At the end of the season, go through those clothes you didn’t wear and donate, recycle or throw them away.
  • Try on everything you want to keep- if it doesn’t make you feel good or you can’t imagine what you’d wear it with or where you’d wear it- time to let go.
  • If you’re hanging onto shoes, spend a few hours in them- if they hurt your feet, let them go.
  • The most important tip: Every piece of clothing you own has to be a winner!



MORE from Second Set of Hands…


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