23 Things To Remove From Your Closet In 2023

Happy Friday, friends! 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 23 things to remove from your closet in 2023.

This is actually a post I wrote last year, and I thought it was timely to republish since so many of us will be purging and clearing out our closets over the holidays.

23 things to remove from your closet

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.

23 Things To Remove From Your Closet In 2023

#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… not that I would know anything about that!) 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 Those outdated items you’re holding onto in case they come back in style Some Day… There’s that Some Day again.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 jeggings 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. 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 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, and 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… 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, 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, retired, or Covid killed your social life… 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 favorites, 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.

This makes me think of the Kork-Ease clogs from yesterday’s post. I liked them, they fit well, and they worked with my wardrobe; but every time I went to wear them, I decided to wear a different pair of clogs. It was tempting to hold onto them out of guilt (see #20), or just in case (see #21) but I didn’t want them cluttering my closet and bringing me down, so off to the donate pile they went.

#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 apply to everyone, but if you live in an area with distinct seasons, I highly recommend storing the items you don’t need during the off-season. Or at least, move them to the back of your closet.

#19. Anything you’re keeping for sentimental reasons. It might be a dress you wore for a special occasion, or something that brings back precious memories. If it’s really that special, box it up and store it, or better yet, take a picture and donate it. Either way, these things do not belong in your closet.

#20. Anything you’re keeping out of guilt or obligation. Maybe it was a gift that doesn’t fit or suit your style, or your mom just sent you a box of clothes from your teenage years that she’s been saving it for you. If it isn’t serving you today, it will just clutter your closet. Donate it and allow someone else to enjoy it.

#21. Anything 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.

#22. 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.

#23. 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 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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33 Responses

  1. Merry Christmas! Hope you avoid the worst of today’s weather! I’m supposed to leave work around lunch, but I’m wondering if that may be the worst time to drive home.

  2. Merry Christmas to you and your family! I hope that everyone stays safe and warm. I really liked your list of 22 for 2022! I have dealt with several of the points you mentioned. My big thing right now is that I still don’t feel 100%, so it’s even more challenging finding items in my closet that I want to wear. I need to focus on wearing my signature colors near my face!

  3. I will refer to this post a lot! Thanks for another entertaining and educational year. I hope your weather doesn’t get too crazy. Cheers! Katie

  4. Great post!!!! The expansion points will help me pare my closet. The mind games one plays standing in the closet pondering…..

    I also liked the 3 words concept. I need to figure that out first (will listen to the podcast)
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

  5. Merry Christmas! Hope you have a wonderful time with your family and friends…..kick up your feet and enjoy the break! 🎄😊 Oh and stay healthy! My family Christmas was just canceled due to Covid (I got sick on Monday and two other extended family members are also sick.) At least I have two weeks of vacation ahead to rest and recharge. Our So CA weather this weekend is supposed to be close to 80 glorious degrees. 💛 I’m planning on some intense cleaning out of cupboards and organizing!

  6. This is fantastic! I’m sure I will be referring to it again and again. And thanks for the tip about Everyday Style. I can’t wait to check out her page too. Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!

  7. GREAT advice (and inspo for posts in Jan) I need to work on this!!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!🎄

  8. Girl, this list is brutal, LOL! I edit my closet and am guilty of a few of these. #2 in particular…I’m bad at going to the tailor.

    Merry Christmas!

  9. Love your 22 in 2022! I brutally pared back my closet in the fall but I still have dressy close hanging in the back of the closet. I need to attack them and keep only the pieces that fit and I love. But, first Christmas.
    Merry Christmas JoLynne!

  10. Great questions to ask when cleaning out the closet! I’m definitely going to revisit this list as I’m at this exact point with my closet right now! A work in Progress!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  11. Thank you for the tips! It really made me think about what is in my closet and I’m hoping to pare down to only the things I need and love (OK, really “like” 🙂 Merry Christmas. Enjoy your break and time with your family. Thank you for all you do and for helping us out with your style tips for us ladies over 50!
    Sharon 🙂

  12. I did a first round of closet purge, but now I need to get serious. I retired from my kindergarten position last May and I honestly know I’m not going to wear half of what I used to. Ugh, I m not good at this!

  13. Out of around(?) 25 pairs of leggings: about half of them are “schleppy”, basic-black types I just can’t bring myself to throw away (no matter how pilled they may seem) until it looks like moths will have eaten holes through them (lol!). The other ten-or-so pairs are my designer-quality workout-only (pattern style) ones.

    However…I reeeaaalllyyy HAVE to get rid of pre-pandemic size jeans (I, unfortunately!, have to work on losing weight to get back into — yet: now would buy updated styles anyway, once I can) AANNDD (I’m almost embarrassed to admit this) old Fall/Winter jackets I’ve had from even BEFORE 2015(!).

    You and your family enjoy a Joyous Holiday Season!

  14. HAHA, I had to respond!! I also have a ton of thinner, fashion leggings that I now use UNDER my jeans/pants for another layer of warmth these days. BRRRRR! They work perfectly for another thin layer! And I also have many coats/jackets that are over 10 years old, no shame!! If you are only wearing winter coats a few months out of the year, they don’t wear out!! I accessorize with festive scarves and hats to make them look different! Stay warm and well, my husband and I are just getting over Covid. ugh!!

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