7 Things in Your Closet to Get Rid of Right Now

As we’re getting closer to spring, this is a good time for a closet edit. Think of it as spring cleaning your closet!

Maybe you just did one at the end of the year, but now that winter is winding down, I’m guessing you still have things hanging in your closet that you haven’t been reaching for. Or perhaps you are one of those women who hates to let go of things and you haven’t done a closet clean out in quite some time.

Either way, this is a good time to re-evaluate your closet and freshen it up for the new season, so I’ve rounded up a list of 7 things to get rid of from your closet right now.

Mind you, this is not a big closet purge. If you haven’t done one of those in a year or more, I have instructions on that here: How to Purge Your Closet & Love Your Wardrobe Again.

This is just a seasonal closet edit. There’s no need to take it all out and try it all on. Just set aside an hour one evening or a Saturday morning, and go through each item one by one. I like to touch each piece and think about the following criteria.

7 Things in Your Closet to Get Rid of Right Now

#1. Clothing items that don’t fit your body or your current lifestyle.

We all change as we age, and that’s not a bad thing. Our bodies are getting older, and our weight shifts even if the scale doesn’t move. And more often than not, let’s face it, the scale moves. It’s okay. Dress for the body you have now, not the body you had 10 years ago or the body you want to have.

And it’s not always our bodies. Lifestyles change too. Maybe you retired, or your office went virtual during Covid, or the business dress code changed. Your wardrobe should reflect your current lifestyle.

If you babysit your grandkids 5 days a week, and your closet has more dresses and suits than jeans and joggers, it’s time to reassess your closet. Your wardrobe should work for you, not the other way around.

If it doesn’t bring you joy, and you don’t get excited about the idea of putting it on and wearing it right now, either donate or sell it, or put it away in what I call a “maybe bin” that you can revisit later if you regret getting rid of it.

#2. Anything you haven’t worn in the past year. 

Okay, so give it two because Covid. Exceptions might be special event dresses or accessories, but I recommend trying them on to be sure they still fit. I’m always surprised by what doesn’t fit or work for my body after just a year or two. Why take up closet space with things that don’t fit or make you feel fabulous?

It’s a good idea to try on anything you haven’t worn in the past two years. Also remove anything that is worn out or stained. Freeing up that closet space will make getting dressed in the morning so much easier.

And don’t forget about jewelry and accessories. This exercise isn’t just about the clothes. We often overlook accessories when purging our closets, at least I do, but they also have a way of piling up and getting out of control. Scarves, belts, shoes, jewelry… it all counts here.

#3. Shoes that hurt and anything that is uncomfortable. 

There’s no sense in keeping painful shoes and undergarments in your closet. Yes, I’m singling out undergarments because they’re often the most uncomfortable things in my closet.

If the shapewear makes you want to cry when you think of stuffing yourself into it, or the shoes give you blisters, or the off-the-shoulder top requires a strapless bra (and you detest wearing a strapless bra)… just let it go.

Give yourself permission to rid your life of uncomfortable shoes and clothes. Life is too short, plus you probably aren’t wearing them anyway.

#4. Worn out bras and underwear.

Experts say you should replace your bras every 6 mos. I definitely stretch that to a year, but if your bra is looking worn and stretched out, it isn’t doing its job anymore, and it’s time to replace it. The same goes for old, grungy underwear and shapewear.

Toss them today, and treat yourself to something fresh and new. Plus, underwear has come a long way in recent years.

I still wear my Hanky Panky thongs under most things, but if you don’t care for those, Soma makes vanishing edge panties that don’t give you any VPL (visible panty lines.)

I’m also loving the Wacoal Body Base Shorty right now (and I found them fully stocked at Macy’s!) I like these under jumpsuits and dresses, and also with my white denim.

For bras, we are all different, but if you have a larger chest, I highly recommend the Freya Balconette Bra. It runs true to size, but make sure you’re looking at the U.S. sizes.

And contrary to popular belief, shapewear should not be uncomfortable. Brands that do a good job with functional but not painful shapewear are Wacoal, Spanx, and Commando.

Look for raw cut edges to avoid visible lines and creases through your clothes. Also, if you find them rolling down, try the next size up. I usually wear a medium in shapewear and a small in most other things.

#5. Anything with tags still on it.

If you have anything hanging in your closet with the tags on it, and you’re thinking you’ll wear it eventually, here’s a hint: You probably won’t.

If you don’t love something enough to rip the tags off and wear it right now, there’s a reason, and you probably don’t need it.

If you need something to go with it to make it work for your wardrobe, then by all means, put it on your shopping list and make that intentional purchase, but don’t leave it hanging there and assume it will suddenly start working for you one day.

We all make purchasing mistakes, and it’s painful to let go of something you spent good money on and never wore, but it’s better to pass it on and let someone else enjoy it than to leave it in your closet to mock you. Let. It. Go.

#6. Things you’re keeping for sentimental reasons.

I get it. I kept a few dresses that I wore to my wedding-related events in my closet for years. Never mind that I gained a clothing size during my first year of marriage and never fit into those dresses again. I couldn’t bear to let them go because they brought back such happy memories, but I finally did, and you know what? I haven’t missed them.

If you have anything hanging in your closet purely for sentimental reasons, take a picture, and pass it on. As I said above, it’s better to let someone else enjoy it now while it’s still in good condition than to let it rot in your closet until it isn’t worth anything to anybody.

#7. Anything that is out of style.

I realize this is a tough one for many ladies. I get questions all the time about certain items and if they are in style or not, so this may not be as easy as it sounds. Here’s a tip: If you aren’t sure, it’s probably out of style.

If it was a huge trend or fad for a short period of time, it is best to let it go. I’m thinking of those long tassel pendant necklaces, cold shoulder tops, shark tooth tunics… you get the idea.

Of course, there are those items that you think will come around again if you just wait long enough. But the fashion industry loves to tweak things just enough to make them feel fresh and new, even when they’re inspired by the fashion trends from a past decade.

There are a few very rare exceptions, like my Frye riding boots, but for the most part, I don’t keep anything in hopes that it will come back around again. When it leaves my closet, it leaves my house.

Every once in a great while, if it’s a quality piece in a classic style, I might put it away for a season and revisit it the next year. (I keep out of season clothes in plastic bins in the basement.) But more often than not, I end up getting rid of them the next year anyway.

So, Now What?

Once you have removed the items you no longer need, sort them into three piles: sell, donate, and trash. If you’re really ambitious, maybe you need a 4th pile for repairs, but be honest with yourself. If you aren’t going to bother getting them repaired, just donate and be free of the clutter.

Then bag them up and take them to your car. Seriously, do it right now. Otherwise, you have just moved the visual clutter from your closet to your bedroom floor. Unless it’s going in your “maybe bin” you should get it out of your house immediately.

If you don’t have time to drive it to the donation center right away, at least get it to your car so it’s one step in the right direction. Maybe you can sweet talk your husband or your teenager into taking them to their intended locations, or put it on your calendar and commit to doing it yourself within the week. You will feel so good when the task is finished.

Not sure where to go? There are lots of donation centers or women’s shelters that will take clothes and accessories. And if you have things to sell, I’m a huge fan of Style Encore and Clothes Mentor — two upscale consignment shops that will go through your clothes and give you money on the spot. Anything they can’t sell, they will offer to donate for you. Look them up and see if you have one in your area.

Otherwise, there are traditional consignment shops, and of course you could sell yourself on Poshmark or eBay, but that’s another task entirely. Whatever you decide to do with them, make sure to see it through within the week.

Then you can go back to your refreshed and rejuvenated closet and organize it for the new season. Make a list of anything you need to complete an outfit or to replace something you may have tossed, and you will be all set the next time you go shopping.

Need help? My Spring Wardrobe Essentials should get you started.

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43 Responses

  1. All excellent advice, but I beg to differ on getting rid of anything you haven’t worn in a year. The last few years have not been normal. I bought a suit pre-pandemic and haven’t worn it for the past two years due to the pandemic. My husband just surprised me with tickets to the ballet so I am so glad to still have it!

    1. That’s why I said two, lol! But yeah, the last two years have definitely been weird. That said, so may of us have had lifestyle changes and body changes in those two years, so anything that hasn’t been worn should definitely be tried on and re-evaluated. I’m so glad you’re going to get to wear that suit! 🙂

  2. Jo Lynne! You have motivated me. I’m Finn ally going to donate my evening dress I bought years ago for a Fancy Christmas Party. It s been hanging in my closet and so it s time for it to go !! I loved your post today and you are so correct about what you said about just get rid of it and take it out of your house. !! 🤣. Have a great day!!

  3. I had to laugh as I started reading this. I thought it was going to be specific items: that tan bucket bag, those boot cut/skinny jeans, and braced for what I had but still liked. Great things to keep in mind! When we let go of the past, we are more free to enjoy what we have (not just clothes though).

  4. Yes! Yes! Yes! I just spent the weekend clearing the basement and having a hauler take a load away. as I was tossing stuff, I was not surprised that I was getting rid of it, I was amazed that I still had it.

  5. This is a great post. I found a Clothes Mentor nearby, so I am planning on checking that out once I go through my closet. I am still figuring out what I want to keep due to my new lifestyle and climate. I think I will end up with a large “maybe” pile, but that’s okay. They will go into bin(s) and up on top in the closet. I can revisit them next year. (I am really living in workout clothes that wash easily since I am with our new grandson 4 days a week.) And I hope that this year we will start going out (instead of ordering in) and exploring our new area.

  6. If you have somewhat newer work wear in good condition, Talbots is collecting it this weekend only, March 10-14, to donate to Dress for Success. The program helps women with limited budgets to dress appropriately for success at work.

  7. Great post! I am about to drop off some donations today. I’m glad you mentioned women’s shelters. There is one near me and I usually donate there. Consider this: often the women (and children) there have left an abusive situation with the clothes on their backs. I love the idea of my donated clothes helping and bringing comfort to those women, who are going thru an awful time. And they don’t have to pay for these clothes–I love that. Google women’s shelters–there is sure to be one or 2 near you. Call them and ask if they take donations. Sometimes they will take household items as well.

  8. This post is inspiring! I definitely struggle with purging items from my wardrobe, but today I will tackle this task. Thanks

  9. I never heard of Clothes Mentor and find that we have several in the Chicago Suburbs. I am contacting the one closest to me to see if I need to make an appointment to drop off items. Thank you for mentioning it. I have a lot of clothes to purge and I like the ease of getting paid right away. We use Plato’s Closet for my daughters and it is a great way to get rid of things they no longer want/wear and make a little money. Thanks again!

    1. I use Clothes Mentor in my town and they don’t require appointments (but I realize different areas may handle it differently). They ask that the clothes be brought in, clean and folded, in a bag, and after a check-in process, the bags are typically left with them for a few hours so they can go through them. They text you once they are done. They will tell you in person how much they will give you in cash or store credit. I will admit, it’s always much less than what I hoped for, but I figure something is better than nothing!

  10. Love, love this post. I’m ready to go through my closet this week and this definitely helps me get motivated to purge with all those tips in mind.
    Question though…..I have a camo t shirt, sweatshirt, and jacket. Is camo still in?
    And I do have one of those shark bite tops!!! That one will definitely be heading to the donate bin. I’ve been taking items to my consignment shop seasonally but am still seeing I can move much more! Now, as Covid is waning, I can see me still reaching for my athleisure and I’m not sure that I’ll ever go back to my pre-Covid wardrobe. It’s just how my lifestyle has evolved. So thank you for that “refresher” to help me purge and reevaluate!
    Just a side note for those out there looking to donate. I’ve come across a few church organizations that I donate my clothing and household items to these days for their Free Clothing/Household Pantry. Sadly, the last time I went to drop off some household items at our local national charity store (I won’t name them, but they are well known) I happened to see inside their warehouse. I was shocked at all the clothing all over the place. Ripped bags of clothing strewn all over that were literally being walked on. I’m guessing all of it will be baled and sold. So there was really not much chance of my clothing ever making it to the clothing racks. Sad…….

  11. This is a great list! I was guilty of having a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear 2 years ago. Lots of clothes in my closet with tags still on or hadn’t been worn. Ugh. #7 was my key to getting my s%^t together, but for me, it was tweaking it to ask myself “Does this fit my personal style?” I created a Pinterest board with a bunch of outfits I would actually wear. I learned that I love monochrome or neutral outfits with structured jackets and denim, crewneck sweaters, and button-down shirts (solid or striped). No wonder the floral button-downs got no love, bye-bye. I had a gray sweater vest years ago that I never wore so I gave it away. Vests are back but I thought that trend is not for me. Well, what did I find in my pins??? An outfit with a sweater vest but in a very light neutral over a white shirt (super low contrast), so I added back a sweater vest into the wardrobe in an outfit that totally fits my personal style and I’ve already worn several times. I spent a lot of time pinning fall/winter outfits so I am looking forward to seeing what I gravitate to in spring/summer.

    1. Wow! This is a terrific idea! I’ve done something similar with home decor on Pinterest but for some reason it never occurred to me to do it with clothing and outfits. Thanks!

  12. I’m definitely guilty of wanting to hold onto things because I think they’ll come back in style. What you say is so true though, often there’s something slightly different about the new style… and also, the old thing ends up just feeling old by the time it comes around again

  13. Great post and so timely! Like you read my mind! I just took all the winter stuff I’m done wearing for this season and put it in a pile then went through and packed away only what I still wear and like! If I haven’t reached for it that last two years in my closet then I’m not going too! I ask myself ” Would I buy this today if I was out shopping?” If the answer is no then I’m not in love with it anymore nor does it make me happy! I used to have a hard time parting with clothes because I thought they still had a lot of life left in them but not my life lol! Now when I buy something new I come home and try the item on with things I own already to make sure it fits my closet unless I’ve bought something as an outfit! It feels great getting rid of all the clothes I no longer wear or even like. I have my clothing bins to go through next!!

  14. I really enjoyed this post and I’m motivated to get after my closet this Saturday evening. My daughters closet too!

  15. I’ve been purging everything in my house like crazy as I’m moving out of state. And since I’ve been doing that with my clothes, every time I open the closet, I see something else I don’t really need or want anymore. And since moving is such hard work, I’ve decided now is the time to get rid of everything I don’t love. So I’ve been donat8ng, selling and trashing a lot of things.

    Of course, I have to ask myself, why have I collected so much over the years. That’s a counseling issue, I guess, lol

    Thanks for keeping us/me on track!

  16. I still need to do this. I started to move Winter out and some Spring in…..just the warmer Spring things. We have cool, rainy Springs around NW Oregon. You are so right about buy for your life style. I am not going as much….part was covid but part retired and life has changed, but I like the clothes for “going” but wear more the stay home clothes. LOL Right now my closet is not exciting me on either end. I have work to do.

    1. Kathy, I too live in NW Oregon. Keeping those puffers and waterproof boots in rotation at least until June!

  17. Excellent post, JoLynne. Your take charge attitude has motivated all of us to tackle our closets. I’m going to start mine this afternoon. I’ve gained weight and know many pieces no longer fit. Having them hang there to motivate me to lose weight only depresses me. So, thank you.🙏🏼

    1. Good luck with your clean-out, and yes, make your main closet be only the things that work well for you NOW. But if there are things you truly love in the things that don’t currently fit, and you have a different space you can store some of them, you may want to hang onto the best of those items. I managed to lose 15 lbs last year, and was so thrilled to pull out things I loved and had kept from my basement storage back into the main closet. Many of them worked better for me than new items in stores (I have a very short rise so high waisted doesn’t work for me…) Having old favorites still available, but not “taunting you” every day, can be the best of both worlds (:

      1. Yes, I put all the pieces that don’t fit and I truly love/are hard to find in another closet. Now everything left fits me and I wear often. My closet looks a little sparse but that’s quite ok. Spring is coming and I’m buying what fits my current body.

      2. I do this too and have been glad I did! I have unfortunately gained weight but am actively working to lose it and hope my previous clothes will soon fit. You’re right, the key is to get it out of the closet! Not only to keep it from “taunting you” (that cracked me up!), but also to give an accurate idea of what you have that actually fits. I’ve often avoided buying new jeans, tops, etc til I do this. One I take out the ones that don’t fit, I can easily see the gaps in what I need. But they’re handy in my guest closet when I need them.

        1. Yes, I do that with my dresser. I have some smaller pants in there, hoping I’ll get back into them. But they aren’t cluttering my closet, which is where I get dressed every day.

  18. This post is timely for Spring since that’s when most of us “rework” our closets! I did find a Style Encore in my area and plan to give them a try with some of my “nicer” pieces. Also, I loved the idea to donate to Talbots through the 14th with workwear to help women get back into the workforce. Talbots has 25% off everything through the 14th. Be sure to go through Jo-Lynne’s links if you order on-line. I find that I cannot give clothes away if I grow out of a size. That happened over the past 3 years or so, but I’m back to my “ideal size” now, so glad I just didn’t toss everything. I’m really enjoying wearing my favorite clothes from 3 or more years ago.

  19. Great post! I’m purging a ton since I retired last year. I’ve been supplying the consignment stores with every season! I have another appointment next week. I guess the old Kendra Scott necklaces might need to get in the pile. I will say that I had a couple shark bite shirts that I just loved so I just cut off the bottom straight across. I didn’t even hem them; they just kind of rolled up and I think they’re cute.
    I did the underwear review recently and got rid of 32 pair and bought 9 new ones. That sparked some joy.
    Another thing that I have done recently that I clearly needed to do for years was a make up purge. I don’t wear near as much make up anymore now that I don’t work and I don’t travel as much. Some of it was really old! I didn’t count but I waited in the bag I threw in the trash was 6 pounds of make up, some I don’t even remember buying!

      1. The tunic style that is longer on the sides where it comes to a point and the curves upward in the front. Like you had a long tunic with a straight hem and a shark bit it from the bottom. 😆🦈

    1. HI Jill, I retired 3 weeks ago. I have a winter boucle jacket in my favorite colors: teal, turquoise and green. It brings me such joy to see those colors in my closet! I purchased it from award $ (work). I don’t know if I’ll wear it again, but think it would look awesome with dark wash jeans or black jeans come Fall. Question for you: did you purge ALL work wear, even black slack/black skirt, sleeveless shells? I’m thinking to keep the slacks an skirt to wear on other dressy occasions, but toned down from corporate wear look.

  20. I had to come back and recomment to you and thank you for this post. I decided to go through my closet AGAIN and I ended up tossing 2 more garbage bags full. Going to take to a local place to donate. I have to admit, it was hard to part with some items, as they were still in good shape, but I have added them back into my Spring closet for the last 2 yrs. and haven’t worn them and tired of them and they don’t make me happy, so time to go. It feels so good to purge. It then motivated me to clean out my kitchen utensil drawer. LOL 🙂

  21. I love this SO much!!! I really needed this kick in the pants (see what I did there?! Lol) to get this done!! I really need/want my husband to overhaul my closet and it will be easier to convince him to do it, if I’ve already purged. Thank you!

  22. What is your go to for quickly getting wrinkles out of clothes…a steamer? I have pile I don’t want to get rid of but am avoiding because need to iron!

  23. Ok so I already commented but while reading the other comments I have to ask what is a shark bite shirt?

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