Are you drowning in an abundance of too many clothes? I have been there! It can be frustrating when your closet overflows with an abundance of coats, sweaters, pants, leggings, socks, moomoos…. you get the idea.
I am providing a straightforward path for wading through the overwhelm to create a streamlined wardrobe.
First we’ll explore options for a minimalist wardrobe (hint: it’s not what you think!). From there, we’ll examine the many reasons why you have may have too many clothes. Finally, we’ll dive in the laundry pile (clean, please!) and quickly de clutter your wardrobe to make it more manageable.
From there, you can follow my guide to a minimalist wardrobe if you wish!
What Is a Minimalist (Capsule) Wardrobe?
A minimalist wardrobe focuses on removing clothing you don’t use and only keeping what you do. There are so many benefits to a minimalist wardrobe.
Your clothing buying choices impact the environment, your own peace of mind, and the lives of those who create your clothes. Please check out my post all about minimalist wardrobes for more insights!
The bottom line – your minimalist wardrobe should work FOR you. It is a streamlined version of what you really need to wear each month. It involves taking an intentional, thoughtful approach to your wardrobe.
Today we are going to focus on pairing down your wardrobe. Out with the consumerism, IN with intentional choices!
Why Do We Have So Many Clothes?
There are myriad reasons why we have too many clothes in today’s society:
- Modern clothing is very affordable
- Clothing is easy to buy and collect
- We have more storage for clothes than ever before
- We purchase clothes for emotional reasons and stress relief
How Shopping Has Changed Over The Last 100 Years
When we take a stroll through the good ol days (for example, reading Little House on the Prairie with your kids), we realized that having so many inexpensive (dare I say cheap) clothing options at our disposal is a relatively new concept.
For many centuries, clothing was either hand made or created by a tailor and purchased. It took time and quality resources to create and was valued.
Clothes were made of more durable fabrics and meant to last. Clothing repair was a homemaking skill, and when holes appeared in fabrics they were mended.
This is an elaborate topic unto itself, but in a nutshell, clothes are cheaply made today and more easily obtained. This means we can easily collect more t shirts and jeans without really meaning to.
Modern Storage of Clothes Has Changed
We live in a 100 year old home. Let me tell you, these closets were not built for excess clothes! In fact, I could really use some more storage space here. 100 years ago, the average woman did not have wardrobes with 100s of pieces of clothing.
If you do a deep dive through the history of clothing, you’ll find that gradually clothing has gone from being hand made to machine produced. With that, the amount of accessible, inexpensive clothing has gradually increased until our closets began to burst at the seams.
The average home today (like my parents, ahem) has huge walk in closets built for elaborate wardrobes and lots of clothing options. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and in fact as a mother of four I would really love some extra storage space!
It’s when we fill these storage spaces with unneeded, excess clothing that the overwhelm of having a huge wardrobe can really kick in.
Here is a key thought: Lots of clothing may not overwhelm everyone. Reducing your wardrobe looks different for everyone. Find what works for you!
Retail Therapy: The Emotional Reasons We Buy Clothes
Have you ever felt the desire to hit up Target just for the joy or stress relief of shopping? There’s a psychological component at play here. “Retail therapy” is real. This article clearly shows how dopamine, the feel good chemical, is released when we shop.
Shopping can be an enjoyable experience for sure, but it can get out of hand when you find yourself constantly shopping for items you simply don’t need. It is easy to get caught up in over buying.
Stress, overwhelm, sadness… these are all real emotions. We can get caught up in shopping to escape them. This could be a reason why your closet overfloweth.
So, we have a wider variety of clothes available today, they can be obtained cheaply, and we have a lot of room to store them. No wonder we may be overwhelmed by too many clothes!
Reasons To Reduce Your Clothing
Wondering if you have too many clothes? Here are a few clues:
- You spend too much time staring at your closet and trying on clothes
- You are dissatisfied with many of the clothes you have
- Clothing that doesn’t fit well or at all are still in your closet
- Laundry takes up a significant amount of time
- You are in a season of life where you do not have time to manage a large wardrobe (lots of littles around!)
- The amount of clothes you have simply stresses you out
How To Reduce Your Wardrobe and Manage Your Clothes
We’ve identified the many reasons for apparel overwhelm. Here are 5 real ways to get out from the overwhelm of having too many clothes. After you’ve done these things, visit my post all about creating a minimalist capsule wardrobe to get the most out of your now manageable wardrobe!
1. Sort Through Your Clothes to Find What You Actually Wear
The first step in getting a grip on your wardrobe overflow is to sort through ALL of your clothes. Most people only use 20% of their wardrobe most of the time! (Crazy!).
Make two piles. In one pile you will toss all clothing that you have not worn in the last three months. In the other will be your pile of clothing that you DO wear. If the clothing is seasonal, apply the same approach. (Example, if it is December, think back to the summer months and only keep the shorts you actually wore).
Do not keep clothes that you are hoping to fit into one day unless you recently had a baby!
2. Make Sure to Go Through ALL Of Your Clothing
Underwear, swimsuits, coats, socks, and more! Go through all of your clothing. Do you really need 5 swim suits, or are they there just for fun? Really think about what you need and what you don’t use. Also, think about what you love!
Some people love opening a drawer and seeing 5 colorful swimsuits. Other people love visual space. What works for you?
Take some time to go through your shoes as well. I’ve kept really cute shoes for years just thinking that I may one day wear them. But in the end they ended up donated.
3. Discard, Sell, Or Give Away
Once you have a keeping stack and a get rid of stack, it’s time to go through the pile of clothes you do not want to keep.
You will further divide this section of clothing into: clothes you can toss, clothes to sell, and clothes to give away.
Immediately toss any clothes that have holes in unsavory places, are worn thin, are stained, and should not be seen in public! Your dignity called and wants you back! (Yes, I’ve been there!).
Donate any clothing that you do not wear but it is good condition.
- Sell your quality clothes online at Poshmark or ThreadUp
- Donate your clothes to worthy causes such as women’s shelters, the Red Hat, etc
- Throw away clothing that has bit the dust
4. Examine Your Remaining Wardrobe and Consider A Capsule Wardrobe
Now that you’ve sorted your clothes and determined what it is that you actually wear, it may be time to consider a capsule wardrobe.
A capsule wardrobe will give you a streamlined set of outfits to wear per season and allow you to further reduce time spent maintaining your wardrobe.
It will also allow you to invest in fewer pieces of clothing at a higher quality. (Rather than spending the same amount on a lot of cheap clothes).
To learn about creating a capsule wardrobe, click here!
5. Think About Your Clothing Buying Habits and Adjust!
It is now time to do something much harder than go through your wardrobe. It’s time to think about how you want to spend your time and money.
How much time do you want to spend managing too many clothes?
How much money do you want to spend shopping on unneeded items?
Take some time to journal the reasons why you love to shop. Maybe you are like my mom, who is both a seamstress and a fashionista. She loves fabric, sewing, patterns and cloth! In that case, you just may just want to put limits on what you buy and store.
Can you express your love for fashion in a different way (start a blog, become a wardrobe consultant, etc).
Maybe you are like me and in a season of life where you just need to keep life simple. Or, like my sister, who is currently managing a household of ten and their associated laundry. Um, simplicity for all!
If you are shopping to escape and want to stop, jot down a list of 5-10 activities that you can enjoy instead of shopping. This could be anything from exercising to reading, volunteering or starting up gardening!
Keep A Running Inventory of Clothes
From here, you can keep the wardrobe clutter down by keeping a written inventory of clothes. What do you need? What’s wearing thin?
Your list may look like this:
Summer Needs- 2 pairs shorts, Pair of Sandals, 1 new t shirt
Winter- Rain Jacket, Pair of Rubber Boots, 1 pair Jeans
The idea is to shop intentionally in order to keep the unintentional overwhelm from happening.
Where To Go From Here
I hope this article has been an encouragement. You’ve bravely waded through stacks of clothes and determined what you really want to keep.
You can do this process yearly while keeping an intentional inventory to keep the chaos down. You could also explore capsule minimalist capsule wardrobe ideas right here.
Don’t stress and God Bless!
More house management help right here: