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!
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?
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!
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!
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.
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: 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!
Additional Topics and Resources to Explore
Declutter Like a Boss With The PopUpPurge™ Book Release!
Motivation to Declutter: 5 FREE Tools to Get Going & Keep Going (Even When You’re Not Always Feeling It!)
7 Timeless Tips for Decluttering Your Clothes & Discovering Your Next Style
Ageless Styling Tips from the Book Club Movie
5 Ways to Harness Your Midlife Transition and Avert a Midlife Crisis!
Oprah’s How to Look Good At Any Age episode
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!