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!
Today's post is all about decluttering your clothes so you can curate a timeless midlife style!
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.
I hope I haven’t scared you off already!
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!
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.
In fact, head here to create a simple yet powerful decluttering plan so your closet clearing goes smoothly: How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed | A Mindful Method for the Win!
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!
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!
Also, if you’re stumped about the added steps for donation, there’s a link below for easy ways to give and recycle. I’ve got you covered!
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 are 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.
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 occasionally wearing it, that’s a different story. Intuitively, you may know that it’s not quite the right cut or color for you. Yet it may be the current style so you wear it anyway, for something different. In this case, 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: only items that fit, flatter and feels good!
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’s a link all about selling at the end of this post so hang tight!
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 10-20 years younger than I actually am (depending on the day, ha). 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 celebrates your shape now!
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! (here’s help: (5 Ways to Harness Your Midlife Transition and Avert a Midlife Crisis!)
- Make space for what fits, flatters and feels good now!
- Remove the rest! (using this: Clutter Definition: What Exactly Is It So We Can Confidently Declutter With Clarity?)
Related Topics & Resources to Explore
- What kind of clothing do you need to weed out of your closet?
- What holds you back from letting certain items go?