11 Helpful Ways To Purge Clothes Making More Space For What You Love

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Purge Clothes To Make Space

When you walk into your closet or bedroom and it is an absolute mess, how do you find what you need?  Often, it can take a long time to find what we want to wear because we have way too much to begin with.  Taking the time to purge clothes once in a while will help you create more space in your closet and drawers for what you really want in there. It will also save you time, and possibly even save you money.

purge clothes pin woman purging clothes form closet

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Clothing Traps

We all fall into wanting to look a certain way.  There is a trend, so we buy into it.  We want to feel younger, so we purchase clothes that look young.  We think having a brand name will make us look better around other people only to find that we don’t wind up wearing the things that are not really our style.

I fall into all these traps from time to time.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  But what I notice is that in a year, I can accumulate a lot of extra clothes due to these habits.  And most of it needs to be purged because I don’t wear it and I need to free up space for the things I do wear.

Over the years, I have learned a lot about what clothes I end up purging each year, and the ones I keep for the long haul.

messy closet that needs clothing purged
Purge Clothes in overstuffed closets.

When To Purge Clothes

Most of us don’t have enough closet space or even enough drawers to store a full year of our clothing. So we rotate out of season clothes to different areas of our home.

When you move those seasonal clothes around to get ready for the season that is upcoming, that is the perfect time to purge clothes you no longer want or need. For me, that time comes in the fall and the spring.

Another way to know it is time to start getting rid of clothes is when you can’t fit any more in your drawers and you spend way too much time trying to find what you want in your closet.

purge clothes in overflowing drawers like this one
Overflowing drawers need to be purged of clothing.

Knowing What To Purge When You Start Decluttering Clothes

Here are a few guidelines for deciding what to keep and what to get rid of when it comes to clothing in your closet and drawers.

1//  You No Longer Want To Wear It

I think this one kind of speaks for itself.  If you no longer want to wear the article of clothing…then it is time to purge it.  I know you spent money on it, or someone else likes it on you, or your friend gave it to you…or whatever the reason…it doesn’t matter.  If you don’t want to wear it, then get rid of it.

purge clothes that do not fit

2//  It Doesn’t Fit

I once bought this pair of jeans solely because they were a name brand that I wanted.  They never did fit me.  I bought them a size too small and have literally never worn them out of the house because of that.  I eventually got rid of them since they didn’t fit.

3//  It Is Out Of Style

I know how hard it is to get rid of things that were once in style…that you loved wearing because it looked really good on you.  But I can tell you, that while things come back into style, it is always a little bit different.  

A perfect example is Boot Cut jeans that are back in syle.  But they are not the same as the ones that were “in” about 5 years ago.  Those were low rise and the new style is high rise.  My point is, get rid of the old styles and opt for either buying the new, or going for items that are your style, or a classic style.

blue sweater with hole in armpit purge clothes

4//  It Is Damaged

If you have had it this long and not had the item of clothing fixed, it is time to purge that item of clothing.  Because you are not wearing it.  So it is just taking up valuable space in your closet.

This also can apply to clothing that is stained, dyed, faded, or ripped (not on purpose).

5//  You Have Not Worn It In More Than A Year

I learned a trick for figuring out what you wear and what you don’t.  Hang all of the clothes for the season by turning the hanger backward on the closet rail.  As you wear the clothes through the season, hang them back up the right way.

By the end of the season you will be able to see exactly what you wore and what you didn’t.

ugly outfit on a lady with curlers and a robe

6//  You Don’t Like The Way You Look In It

Many times I buy something because someone else says it looks good on me or because I know it is “in fashion” for the season.  But there have been plenty of times that after buying those items and removing the tags, I realize that I really hate the way the article of clothing looks on me.  Therefore never wearing it.  So get rid of things that you don’t like how they look on you.

purge clothes that are too small

7//  You’re Going To Fit Into It Again Someday

I absolutely hate this one.  Don’t live in the future.  If it doesn’t fit you now, get rid of it and when you lose that weight you are trying to lose, then buy something fabulous for yourself.  The other thing may not be in style by then anyway.

8//  You Want To Hand It Down To Someone

Odds are, you don’t want to wear your mom’s clothes, so your kids are not going to want to wear yours.  So just let those clothes go.

purge clothes that were given as a gift

9//  It Was A Gift And You Feel Guilty

I cannot tell you how many gifts I get that I know I will never wear.  Instead of putting them in my closet, I send them straight to someone who will definitely use it by taking it to the donation center.

10//  It Was Handed Down To You

As mentioned above, you probably are not going to wear anything that is handed down to you.  So if you find that you are emotionally or sentimentally attached to that item and cannot get rid of it, then purge it from your closet and instead put it in a memory box and store it elsewhere.

store just in case clothes like the clothes this woman is painting in, in a different room or space

11//  They Are “Just In Case” Clothes

“Just in case” clothes are those clothes that you keep “just in case” you need it someday.  I have old paint clothes that I keep “just in case” I paint my house again.  I think these clothes are good to have within reason.  

If you are keeping it “just in case” someone else may want it…then read tip number 8.  But if you are keeping it because you really do use the clothes on occasion, then keep them…but not in your closet.  Store them in a labeled bin and put them in the storage area of your home until you need them again.

woman in green shirt throwing clothes out of closet

How To Purge Clothes From Your Closets and Drawers

There are a few ways you can purge clothes from your closet.  But the easiest way is to use my decluttering steps:

1//  Have a Purpose

Know what you are trying to achieve.  Do you just want to create more space in your closet so you can see what clothes you actually have?  Do you want to add shelves and a shoe organizer to help with closet organization?  Or do you want to completely redo your closet and add in custom shelving? 

2//  Go Slow

If you have all day and know you are going to finish the job, great…go for it.  But for most people, we just don’t have that kind of time.  Especially if you have kids.  So I recommend going section by section, setting a timer for the amount of time you want to work, and setting aside a little time each day.

3//  Sort Clothes

You will want to use a few categories to help you sort through what you want to do with your clothes.

  • Keep:  For the clothing you want to remain in your closet.
  • Move:  For items you want to put into storage or move to another space.
  • Donate:  For anything that is in good condition and you think may serve another person.
  • Trash:  Anything that is unrepairable and will not be able to serve another person.

4//  Finishing Up

Put all your keep items back in the closet, move the move items elsewhere, donate anything in the donate pile, and throw away all the trash.

cleaned out closet of shirts

Benefits of Purging Clothes

When you purge clothes from your closet you are going to achieve a few things.

  • First, you will achieve more space in your closet.  Creating more space in your closet can help you actually see what you have better.
  • Second, when you purge clothes and create more space in your closet, you will ultimately start saving time.  Since you no longer have to hunt for what you want to wear, you will be able to get dressed and ready faster.
  • And third, you will save money because you will begin to learn what you will and won’t wear.  So you will stop wasting money one the thing you know you won’t wear.
take pictures of sentimental clothes and put them into a photo album like this one

When Purging Clothes Is Emotional

I know I make it all sound so simple.  But the fact is, many times it is hard to purge our clothes due to emotional connections. 

Clothing affects our mental wellbeing in many ways [source].  

A great fitting suit can make us feel empowered.  A gorgeous dress can make us feel beautiful.  And that milk stained shirt you wore while breastfeeding your infant can bring back precious memories. 

But what happens when you are no longer working and don’t need that suit anymore?  Will you still feel empowered?

What if you gain weight and can’t fit in that gorgeous dress?  What will make you feel beautiful?

If you get rid of that milk stained shirt will your precious memories fade?

All these emotional attachments can make it hard to purge clothes.  So there are a few things that may help you.

  • Know that you can find another dress that makes you feel beautiful, but overall, it is you that makes you beautiful, not the dress.
  • Empowerment can be found in a suit or in starting something that means something to you.  Like volunteering to work with at-risk youth, volunteering at an animal shelter, or starting a job or career you think may make a difference in the world.
  • Memories live in you, not clothing.  Take a picture of an item that holds a memory for you then put it in a memory album.  Or, if you just cannot get rid of a piece of clothing, create a memory bin where you keep all the things that have special meaning to you.  Then label it and place it in storage instead of keeping those items in your closet.
Stylish outfits for stay at home moms

Purge Clothes To Learn Your Own Style

In the end, I hope purging clothes on a regular basis is a way for you to learn how to create a better closet for yourself.  By purging each year, you will start to see exactly what you are tossing each time.  And my guess is, you will start to see a pattern.  From there, you can start to hone your own style and know exactly what you will or won’t wear.

Happy Purging!

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