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7 Timeless Tips for Decluttering your Clothes & Discovering your Next Style

When you shift into a new life chapter, it’s generally a good time for decluttering your clothes! How you spend your time determines what you will reach for in your closet. So if you have too much stuff from a prior chapter, like I used to, no wonder it feels like you don’t have anything to wear!

With my 7 timeless tips, you can evaluate what’s in your wardrobe and refresh accordingly. This isn’t necessarily about how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes. Uncluttering takes time! And I always save room for a few items for sentimental reasons or infrequent occasions. 

But having the bulk of your wardrobe aligned with where you’re at now makes sense. And who doesn’t want to appreciate and use everything in their closet? I know I do! So let’s get to my tips!

decluttering your clothes
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Today's post is all about decluttering your clothes so you can curate a timeless midlife style!

declutter your clothes
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Tip #1: Don't buy anything until you're done decluttering your clothes

 

If this sounds like an extreme decluttering approach, it’s not. What truly makes sense is to wait until you’re completely done with decluttering your wardrobe. But I didn’t want to scare you off!

Yet doesn’t it make sense to clear out what doesn’t work before you add more in? Whether you have room for more right now or not, out with the old and only then, in with the new! One step at a time is my philosophy. 

Now maybe this feels uncomfortable because you’re anxious about not having the current season’s styles or missing out on sales. But if the trend is short lived, why worry? And rest assured: there will always be another sale. Retailers are pretty good that way!

reflect on your life style
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Tip #2: Reflect on how you spend your time

 

When your employment status has changed in some way, perhaps you no longer need all that business attire. Even if you continue to work from home, is it now all about the Zoom appearance, i.e., attractive blouses? 

Perhaps the formal occasions are far and few between now. Conversely, you may plan to travel extensively in style so resort wear is in your future. Or heading to the country and living the simple life is your new goal … so hello, jeans and t-shirts!

However you intend to spend your time, decluttering your clothes should take this into consideration.  Perhaps you simply admire a certain style, but the reality is that you really don’t have the opportunities to wear those things any more. That’s a critical revelation! Sort and release accordingly.

rules for decluttering clothes
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Tip #3: Choose your color palette while decluttering your clothes

 

Everyone has their “go to” hues! Certain colors just make us feel happy, powerful, or confident. Even if you like all the colors, having a theme with just two or maybe three base colors will be the ticket to mixing, matching, and maximizing your wardrobe. You can always bring in the rest of the rainbow with your accessories!

how to declutter your clothes closet
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Tip #4:  Perform "speed rounds" as you're decluttering your clothes

 

The process of decluttering your clothes does not have to be an all-day or all-weekend affair. That’s a sure-fire way to get decision fatigue … and then get stuck. 

Instead, spend as little as 20-30 minutes at a time. Start with pulling out the no-brainers: what you never wear, what isn’t a favorite, or what is worn out. Don’t overthink it! Go with your first instinct. Just grab and stash it in a bag.

In fact, label your bags as “donate” or “sell” if you plan to do both. That way, the donate bag only gets touched once. Then there’s no second guessing your decisions! 

turn the hangers
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Tip #5: Turn the hangers for what you actually wear

 

This is a tried and true trick to gain a visual on what actually makes it out of your closet! Viewing our clothes closet every day feels like the contents are part of our lives. But the hangers tell a different story when some are facing one way and others facing another! 

Now a different season may very well be the reason that you don’t reach for a sweater if it’s the middle of summer. But you’ll still be able to see what you really favor with this approach. And ultimately, you may decide to organize your closet seasonally. Then you’ll truly be able to see what your options are at a glance, based on the prevailing weather.

box the on-the-fence stuff
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Tip #6: Box the on-the-fence stuff while decluttering your clothes

 

Feeling conflicted with releasing certain things? The longer you think about it, the harder it become to make a decluttering decision. My advice? Box it up!

Now if you’re regularly wearing it, that’s a different story. Intuitively, you may know that it’s not quite the right cut or color for you. But hang on to it for now. It will likely depart in a future round of decluttering. Or when you start to in-fill with the best clothing for your current chapter.

All other on-the-fence items should be boxed or bagged. You’re hesitating with these rarely worn items for different reasons. Often it’s because that lifestyle is no longer your main event. Or it could be due to how much you paid for it. Whatever the reason, this will be a box of stuff to let go! There are post links to help with donating and selling at the end of this post so hang tight

determine what suits your shape
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Tip #7: Determine what suits your shape

 

It’s a fact: our body shape changes over time, no matter how dedicated we are to clean eating and physical activity! And so it follows that certain styles usually look better on a 20 year old body, a 30 year old body, and so on.

You see where this is going! I myself feel 10-15 years younger than I actually am. However, I’m mindful to curate a wardrobe that is more sophisticated than what I wore when I was 20.

Taking an honest yet loving look at your body will help guide what styles will accentuate your best features and de-emphasize your challenging areas. Sometimes, just going up a size will do the trick. Don’t be hung up on sizes!  All that matters is that the garment fits comfortably and attractively.

A few standard rules of thumb include:

  • Wear a darker color on what you want to minimize
  • Use brighter colors to draw the eye to what you want to feature
  • Balance out hips with broad shoulder lines
  • Choose an empire style top or dress to hint at a smaller waistline

Above all, make peace with your body shape! It’s gotten you this far in life, hasn’t it? Unless you’re fully committed with a plan for dropping some pounds, how long do you want to have clothing that’s too small hanging in your closet? Fill it with what fits, flatters and feels good now!

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap: Today was all about the best tips for decluttering your clothes as you enter a new phase of your life

 

  • Our focus and activities tend to change with each decade!
  • Ready to head into your new chapter looking fab and feeling good?
  • Start with these 7 tips to arrive in style!

Your turn:

  • What kind of clothing do you need to weed out of your closet?
  • What holds you back from letting certain items go?

Let’s chat … and thanks for stopping by!

Decluttering Clothes to Create Clarity in Your Closet

Curating a wardrobe that reflects your current taste and lifestyle requires decluttering clothes which no longer warrant a place in your closet. When you’re over 50, there’s likely been a change with how you spend your time. Which means what you’re wearing has also pivoted, too.

So if you find yourself pawing through blouses, slacks and shoes to assemble your day’s outfit, this series is for you! Imagine the serenity of readily seeing only what you need, use, and love in your closet!

I’m timing this series with the annual Spring ritual of swapping out Winter clothing for warmer weather (or the opposite, if you live below the equator). Unless you are blessed with a roomy walk-in closet, many store their off-season clothing in another closet or room. So pause before packing away things you didn’t wear yet again. It’s is the perfect time to curate a wardrobe that fits, flatters, and feels good now!

First things first, before decluttering your clothes!

 

Begin with why, create a plan, and then get going

Grab a notebook or create a Word doc which captures what you personally want to achieve. Maybe your top goal is to downsize your wardrobe. Or perhaps it’s to add in clothing that truly aligns with your daily routine. You may have a few things on your list.

Whatever it is, this will be your personal reminder to refer back to, when your motivation slows down or hesitation sets in.

-Decide when you will devote a block of time to focus on your closet. If you can do a daily session, great! Is it 30 minutes a day? Will it be an hour, 4 times a week? Or will you be a weekend warrior, armed with strong coffee?

Just land on what fits in your schedule and suits your energy level …  and commit to it. 

And now, on to my 5 rules for decluttering clothes that need to go!

This post kicks off a series about decluttering clothes to discover your new midlife style!

how to declutter clothes
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Rule #1: Release Costly Items Never (if ever) worn

How often do we cling to things that we regret buying? Oh, they may be perfectly beautiful yet they don’t fit quite right, they aren’t truly your style after all or they were an impulse buy. You know exactly which items these are in your closet! But then your second thought is remembering how much you spent … and so they stay. 

Go ahead and set them aside for now. If you’re up for recouping some of those dollars, label the box, “Sell”. But if you don’t have the time or inclination, label the box, “Donate”. I will share the best current options for both in an upcoming blog post!

Be willing to let these items go. The money has been spent so it’s not actually costing you anything to release this stuff. But they are costing you in terms of occupying valuable space in your closet.

Focus instead on the fact that you’re finding a better home where they will get the use and love they deserve. And now you’ve made room for what truly reflects you. What do you think about that? 

how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes
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Rule #2: Release "it" colors or styles that aren't you

Are you smiling now? Good! I’m simply making the point that while we want to look current, sometimes the so-called “must have” looks are simply not our friends.

Who dreams up these “rules” anyway? What if we created our own rules? Think about it this way: there’s a reason we reach for certain styles or colors time after time. Certainly, it’s possible we get ourselves into a rut. Maybe we’re playing it safe. Or we might truly benefit from a little styling advice! Don’t worry: I’ve got blog posts coming up addressing all of this!

Meanwhile, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Go ahead and weed out what you don’t like or wear. Why hang on to idle clothing? You can sort into the two categories mentioned earlier: “Sell” and “Donate”.

There, doesn’t that feel good to release what doesn’t truly flatter or make your heart flutter? I thought so!

how to downsize your wardrobe

Rule #3: Reduce your stockpile of special occasion items

Here we are delving into identifying what reflects the cadence of our current lifestyle. It’s not uncommon that our roles change after 50. And so it follows that our clothing choices should, too.

While the definition of a special occasion will vary from one person to the next, think about the situations calling for an outfit other than your everyday wear. How often does that happen? Ensure that the quantity of said items jives with the frequency of such situations.

Also, pay attention to the color, fabric and design of your special occasion clothing. If black is not your best hue, then perhaps your “little black dress” needs to be blue! Or red. You know what your personal power color is.

And if the material feels confining, stiff, or itchy and it’s always a relief to take it off, that should go, too! The goal is for you to define what creates confidence and comfort every time you put it on. Those are the timeless items  to keep. Release the rest. 

Additionally, corporate (business) attire may not fit under the  “special occasion” label, but don’t overlook releasing this or any other type of clothing if you don’t mingle in a certain arena any more. Most of us don’t have sufficient warehouse room for all the “some day”, “you never know”, or “just in case” clothing!

how do you declutter too many clothes
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Rule #4: Release multiple sizes from the fluctuating scale

This is a touchy subject but bear with me, please. Who hasn’t experienced a change in their shape and weight, as the years go by? Despite our best efforts, there will be a natural shift despite exercise and dietary adjustments.

We can still look fabulous! But clinging to sizes that are unrealistic or require deprivation than we are unwilling to endure? Let those go! Life is too short to berate yourself on the basis of size.

However, only you can decide what to keep, based on your personal goals and determination. Is it de-motivating to see sizes too small in your closet? My suggestion is to remove those items and store them in a box labeled with the size and the current date.

If they still don’t fit by a future date, i.e., the next season, re-evaluate your situation. And if it no longer matters to you, don’t even open the box … just let it go! Make room for what truly fits now.

5 rules for decluttering clothes
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Rule #5: Reduce the sentimental volume

 

The 70’s called to get your groove back on! Whatever makes your heart swell, keep it. How wonderful to have your heart smile when you open your closet door and see a reminder of a happy memory.

The key is to limit these items to a discreet number. If you have too many items for viewing only, this will pose a practical problem. How will you have closet capacity for what you actually wear?

Whatever the size of your closet, an artistically arranged set up with a few sentimental items will allow for a pop of joy every time you open the door.

Can you have a dedicated shelf for these things? Would a wall display or a free standing rack in your bedroom be the way to go? Sort for what is most meaningful.

Does each thing have equal value? Likely not, so quickly release anything you feel iffy or “meh” about. Don’t ruminate too long … or decluttering your clothes will grind to a halt!

The Wrap with Mary V
image by content pixie from pexels

The Wrap: This post was about decluttering clothes in order to curate a midlife style that fits, flatters and feels good!

When we’re entering a new season … weather-wise or decade-wise … it’s an ideal time to re-evaluate our wardrobe. 

It’s extremely tricky to recommend styling ideas since we all have such individual taste! And my bottom line is always going to be, “If you love it, then wear it!” Seriously. Don’t be concerned with what anyone else thinks.

Oh, we will be judged. It’s what we do (c’mon, admit it!) and so does everyone else. But do you anyway! 

Your turn!

So I’m curious:

  • Does your clothing reflect your personal lifestyle and taste? Or does it mirror what the “fashion police” decrees?
  • Is your closet chockfull of items from a former role or era? Will you realistically reach for these things again?
  • What truly holds you back from letting certain things go? How do you do it anyway?

Share your thoughts below … and thanks for stopping by!  

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