I’m getting ready to take a break from the blog and start focusing on the holidays, but first I want to share my list of 22 things to remove from your closet in 2022. I started with a list of 5, and it quickly became 10, and then I decided to be clever and come up with 22 for 2022!
This is sort of a follow-up to yesterday’s post, How to Purge Your Closet & Love Your Wardrobe Again. It basically expands on Step 2, although you can think about some of these questions as you go through step 4, as well.
I feel like so many women our age are trying to downsize their wardrobes and get to a place where they have a highly edited closet of only items they love to wear, but they struggle with how to get there. I get so many questions about what clothing items to get rid of, and how I know what to get rid of, so that was the impetus for this post.
These are mostly things you should completely remove from your house, but some might just need a new location within your home to help make getting dressed easier and more enjoyable.
22 Things To Remove From Your Closet In 2022
#1. Anything you’re hanging onto because they might fit Some Day… You may or may not fit into these clothes again, but they aren’t serving you right now, so donate them or store them elsewhere in your house, but get them out of your closet.
#2. All the stuff you’ve been planning to have repaired or tailored… Either take it to the tailor, or take it to the donate pile, but don’t leave it hanging in your closet (or thrown over that chair in the corner of your bedroom) for another minute.
#3. Anything worn or faded. You can’t look polished in clothing that is pilled, faded, scuffed, or has those tiny holes in the front. Leather goods can be polished, sweaters can be de-pilled, but if it’s old and worn out, it needs to go. (Don’t forget shoes, handbags, bras, and underwear!)
#4. Those outdated items you’re holding onto in case they come back in style Some Day… There’s that Some Day again. Here’s the thing. The fashion industry loves to tweak things just enough to make them feel fresh and new, even when they’re inspired by fashion trends from the past. Plus, garment quality these days isn’t what it used to be, so most things just aren’t worth saving once they’ve run their course.
The exceptions to this would be high value designer classics like a Chanel handbag or Burberry coat or iconic pieces like those Doc Martens you’ve had since high school. But those waterfall cardigans from LOFT, the Amazon infinity scarves, the low rise skinny jeans from Old Navy… things like that really should go.
#5. Anything that isn’t your style… Can you define your style in 3 words? If not, carve out some time to listen to this podcast. Having three words to define your style is immensely helpful when trying to determine what to keep and what to part with, as well as with putting outfits together.
My 3 words are polished, modern, and understated. Now when I’m in doubt about an outfit or an item of clothing, I ask myself if those three words can be used to describe them. If not, that’s usually why I was questioning it.
#6. Anything that doesn’t flatter your unique body. Maybe you bought it because it was on trend or you saw it on an influencer, but when you try to style it, it never looks quite right. It probably doesn’t work for your body type, or it might not be a good color for you, which leads me to #7…
#7. Anything that makes you look washed out and drab. Some things may fit well and work for your style, but the color doesn’t do anything for you. You’ll never feel good in it, so just get rid of it, but spend some time figuring out your best colors so you can make wiser purchases going forward.
#8. Anything that makes you feel bad about your body shape or size. This is sort of a combination of #1 and #6, but sometimes things fit and work for your body type, but they cause you to focus on an aspect of your body that you don’t like. If it makes you feel insecure or uncomfortable, it needs to go.
#9. Anything that makes you feel frumpy. Again, this may sound redundant, but it’s slightly different way of looking at things. Nuance matters, especially when trying to decide what clothes to keep or donate. You may not even be able to describe why something makes you feel frumpy; but if it does, it needs to go.
#10. Anything you can’t figure out how to style in a way that makes you happy. If you love the item, but you’ve tried to wear it and it never quite works with the other items in your wardrobe, it’s probably never going to.
#11. Anything that’s uncomfortable or painful. This includes shoes that hurt your feet, bras with underwires that poke and prod, skirts that constantly ride up, those pants that give you a wedgie, and that itchy cashmere sweater that some influencer swore every woman must have in her closet that you purchased even though you know you are allergic to wool…
What would you add to that list?
#12. Freebies and clean-the-house clothing. If you’re someone who collects free t-shirts at every conference you go to, and your “clean the house clothing” drawer is overflowing with oversized sweatshirts from your husband’s fraternity days, it’s time to pare down. Keep one or two for those messy painting projects that might crop up, and get rid of the rest.
#13. Anything that doesn’t serve your current lifestyle. Maybe you have changed careers, or Covid killed your social life (raises hand!) If your closet is full of clothing that you have nowhere to wear, get rid of anything that you can’t integrate into your current wardrobe.
#14. Multiples of a particular item. This can be 3 or 4 colors of the same exact sweater, or maybe you have 5 white v-neck t-shirts. Pick 1 (or 2, at the most) and get rid of the rest.
This reminds me of the ATM t-shirt I bought in 4 colors when it went on sale… I love my white one, so I figured I’d love to have 3 more. Nope! Never wore them… they made it through several of my mini closet purges before I finally resigned myself to parting with them, and I haven’t missed them even once.
#15. Anything you aren’t wearing because you’re missing what you need to make an outfit… I’m thinking of pants that don’t work with any of your shoes, or tops that don’t have the right pair of pants to go with them… If it isn’t integrating easily into your wardrobe, it needs to go.
#16. Anything you’ve had the opportunity to wear several times, but you always chose something else instead.
For example, I like to have several styles of black jeans to choose from. While variety in a wardrobe is a good thing, I sometimes find myself bypassing a certain pair in favor of one of the others time and time again. Once I realize I am always going to pick something else over that pair, I get rid of them.
Yes, it’s painful to get rid of something fairly new that I paid good money for, but they don’t serve me hanging in my closet unworn. I’d rather pass them on to someone else who might actually wear and enjoy them before they’re out of style. (This reasoning applies to many items in this list!)
#17. Anything with tags still on. If you haven’t worn it yet, you probably won’t. Return it if you can, or cut your losses and sell or donate while someone else can still enjoy it.
#18. Seasonal items you aren’t wearing right now. I realize this doesn’t work for everyone, but if you live in an area with distinct seasons, I highly recommend storing seasonal items during the off-season. Or at least, move them to the back of your closet.
#19. Anything you’re keeping for sentimental reasons or guilt. Maybe it was a gift, and you feel guilty getting rid of it, or you can’t bear to part with that dress you wore to your rehearsal dinner 10 years ago. If it’s really that special, box it up and store it, but most of these things should go.
#20. Anything else you’re keeping “just in case”… I make a few notable exceptions to this one, like a black dress and a neutral pair of pumps for funerals and other somber events. (I try the dress on every so often, to be sure it still fits.) But if you’re one of those people with a closet full of “just in case” pieces, it’s time to reassess why you are holding onto those things.
#21. Anything that isn’t clothing, shoes, or accessories. If your closet is a place you stash random things to get them out of sight, consider reorganizing your home so those items have another spot to hide.
#22. Crappy hangers… Besides the fact that they don’t look pretty, wire hangers aren’t good for your clothes. A lot of women like the velvet hangers because they allow you to fit more into your closet, but if you prefer a closet with a spacious look and feel, wooden hangers look so much nicer! I love my white ones.
Okay, that about does it for me. I’m signing off here and getting ready to make a grocery list and do some holiday baking. I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing, safe, and fun holiday with all of your favorite people!
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