It’s easy to feel like you have too many clothes when your closet is overflowing and you can’t find anything to wear.
But how do you know if you actually have a problem? And what should you do about it?
Do your clothes take over your closet? Are they bulging out of the closet doors? Does it feel like you spend most of your time looking for something halfway decent?
If these describe you, then it might be time to take a step back and reassess your wardrobe needs.
Looking over all of your clothes, you might find that you have too many, or even that you don’t actually wear some items at all.
If you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed by your clothes, or if they take up more space than they should, it might be time for a wardrobe overhaul. Here are some tips on how to figure out if you have too many clothes and what to do about it!
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- A Minimalist List Of Things To Get Rid Of
- How to Create a Stylish Minimalist Wardrobe in 2023
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- Reasons why you might have too many clothes
- How to know if you have too many clothes
- What to do when you have too many clothes
- 1. Declutter your closet
- 2. Donate what you declutter
- 3. Be picky
- 4. Think before you buy
- 5. Invest in quality pieces
- 6. Try everything on
- 7. Live in the moment
- 8. Be aware of your body type
- 9. Return new items
- 10. Ask yourself these questions
- 11. Commit to the one-in-one-out rule
- 12. Wear everything!
- 13. Keep it tidy
- Final thoughts on what to do when you have too many clothes
A recent survey by ClosetMaid found that the average woman has 103 items of clothing. But, the survey, carried out on 1000 women, also found that:
- 33% of clothing was ‘too tight’
- 24% of clothing was ‘too loose’
- 21% of clothing was ‘unwearable’ and
- 12% of clothing was never worn
That left just 10% of a women’s clothes that were actually worn!
Reasons why you might have too many clothes
It’s on sale
Clothes are easier to get than ever, but they can also be harder to resist. If you see a cute dress on sale for half the price, it’s easy to buy it without considering whether or not you really need another dress in that color.
Sometimes we’re blinded by the price that we don’t actually think about the item we’re buying. We think we’re getting a good deal, just because the price has been knocked down. But a deal is only a deal if you need the item in the first place.
You don’t return clothes
Have you ever bought clothes online, not having tried them on? Without trying them on first, it can be hard to tell whether or not they fit properly.
Instead of returning the clothes that don’t work for you, you might just put them to the side, thinking you’ll send them back at some stage but then miss the return date. Or you stick them in your closet thinking that they may fit at some stage and then forgetting all about them.
You picture yourself wearing something in the future
Do you have clothes that you look at and think ‘when I have that job I’ll wear that’ or ‘when I lose weight I’ll wear that’? Chances are, you’ve had these clothes for a long time.
Maybe you have a future event in mind, but if it hasn’t happened yet, then there’s no reason to keep those clothes (if you’ve bought your wedding dress before you’ve met your other half, I’m talking to you!).
It’s okay to picture things in the future, but don’t let it influence your current choices.
You feel pressured
If you have a certain type of job, you might feel pressured into wearing something completely different every day. Or someone has passed down an item of clothing and you feel pressured to keep it.
Magazines, the fashion industry and even our friends put a lot of pressure on us to ‘keep up with the Jones’ or fit in with what’s trending at the moment. This can mean we continuously buy new clothes to keep in fashion.
You grew up with little
I had everything i needed growing up. But as the youngest of 5 children, my wardrobe consisted of hand me downs for most of my childhood, with the excitement of new clothes only arriving at Christmas.
If you grew up with very little, then you might be minded to go all out now that you’re older and can afford clothes. Feeling as though you missed out on things like clothes when you were a child can lead to overconsumption in the future.
You hold onto sentimental items
You’re definitely going to have too many clothes if you hold onto every item of clothing you’ve ever received as a gift. Sentimental items or clothes you have an emotional attachment to are often different from clothes you actually like and want to keep in your wardrobe.
If you feel guilty about getting rid of sentimental items, then you’re likely stuffing them into the back of your closet along with the rest of the clothes you don’t wear.
You feel you ‘deserve’ to go shopping
We often reward ourselves with retail therapy when we’ve accomplished something. Or sometimes if we’re feeling sad, we might go shopping to ‘make us feel better’.
This adds to the ever growing wardrobe full of clothes and tends to include clothes we don’t even want or need.
How to know if you have too many clothes
You’ve forgotten what clothes you have
It’s easy to accumulate a lot of clothes over the years, and even easier to forget about what we have in our closet. Have you ever bought something forgetting that you already have the very same item in your closet?
You wear the same things all the time
If you’re wearing the same things all the time, then it could be that you have too many options to choose from and are overwhelmed when you look in your wardrobe.
Many people who have too much clothing end up using only a few items and keeping them outside of their wardrobes, sitting on a nearby chair, for ease of access and to avoid that overwhelming feeling when they look in their wardrobe.
You have clothes with the tags still on
Clothes with the tags still on should be a warning sign. Why haven’t you worn this yet? What’s stopping you from wearing it? If you keep skipping over this item each time you look for something to wear, then you’re not likely to choose it the next time.
You don’t know what your style is
Often, when you have too many clothes, it’s because you don’t really know what your personal style is. In trying to find your style, you keep buying more and more clothes.
You store your clothes in different places
If you have many wardrobes, drawers and boxes of clothes throughout your home, then you’re likely to hoard more clothes than you actually wear.
It’s human nature to put things away in a place where we won’t see them, but this can lead us to forget about them and accumulate even more.
You have different size clothes
Have you ever bought clothes that didn’t fit because you thought they might in the future? So many people keep this habit, thinking that one day they will be X size. If your clothes are too big or small for you, then chances are you may never actually wear them.
You feel overwhelmed by your wardrobe
If your wardrobe is so full that you can’t see what you have or if clothes fall off the hangers each time you open a door or drawer, then chances are you have too many clothes.
All these extra clothes are taking up valuable space and, not only will it be harder to find something, but clothes can get damaged and stretched more quickly when they’re crammed into a small space for a long period of time.
You never wear the same thing to an event
Wearing something different to every event you have is a sure sign that you have too many clothes to choose from. Often if this is the case, you end up only wearing clothes once and leaving them in the back of the wardrobe, never to be seen again!
What to do when you have too many clothes
1. Declutter your closet
Decluttering clothes is the first step to clearing out your closet when you find you have too many clothes. Clearing out your closet means you’ll get rid of clothes that are beyond repair, clothes that don’t fit or go with what you already own, worn-out clothes and clothes that you no longer use.
And it’s not just your clothes you need to think about when clearing out your closet. The decluttering process should include items like belts, hats, scarves, bags and other accessories.
Keeping only the clothes that are in good condition, fit well and that you love make your closet more organised. Having a clutter-free wardrobe means that you can easily find what you are looking for when getting ready in the morning and you’re more than likely to wear everything you own. Everything has a home and nothing gets left behind!
2. Donate what you declutter
You’ve decluttered your wardrobe and that’s great! But what now? Do you end up bags and bags full of clothes stashed in the spare room?
As soon as you’ve decluttered, send the bags of clothes straight to a thrift store. If you don’t, you may start picking things out of the bags over time and end up with too many clothes again. Also, the bags add clutter in their own form.
If you don’t necessarily need the money, don’t sell the items. Why do I say donate instead of sell? I have found that selling clothes takes a lot of time and effort and more often than not, you don’t make much money. Your time is worth more than the money you’d make.
3. Be picky
When buying clothes in the future, be picky about what you choose. Don’t choose something just because it’s on sale or because it might look good on the mannequin.
You deserve to be picky with what you buy because the clothes you wear say a lot about who you are as a person. And how we feel when we wear our clothes is the biggest factor in how we carry ourselves.
4. Think before you buy
Often, we see something and buy it immediately, with regret setting in the following day. Before you buy anything, ask yourself – do I love it? Can I wear it tomorrow or the day after that? Will it still be in style next year? If you can’t answer yes to any of these questions, don’t buy the item.
Take 24 hours to sleep on it and really make the best decision about whether or not you should buy this item of clothing. It may be that it’s the right decision, but at least you will have thought about it and there will be no regrets down the line.
5. Invest in quality pieces
When buying clothes in the future, choose items made from good material and invest in timeless pieces. While you may end up with fewer clothes, these items will last much longer than cheap clothes which rip easily or lose their shape quickly with regular wear.
Clothes that are made from high-quality materials tend to fit better because they mold to your body shape. And they’re worth the price tag because they will last longer than other cheaper clothes.
6. Try everything on
Before you can reduce the amount of things in your wardrobe, pull everything out and try them on. It may be years since you’ve tried these clothes on so you might have outgrown them, or they might not be your style anymore.
Model yourself in front of the mirror and be ruthless about clothes that are too big or small. Formal wear that you might have worn in high school? This has no place in your wardrobe! Work clothes that no longer fit you? These too.
Only keep the items you feel good and comfortable in!
7. Live in the moment
If we are constantly thinking that we will wear something ‘when I lose weight’, ‘when I get that job’, ‘when I have more money’, ‘when I move to this city’, etc., or even when we are thinking about the future in general, it takes away from our ability to live in the moment and focus on what clothes we already have and wear.
8. Be aware of your body type
Don’t dress for your clothes, dress for your body type. You’ll find it so much easier to dress if you know your body type and what clothes suit your shape.
Once you figure out what your ideal wardrobe looks like for your shape, everything becomes much more straightforward. You will no longer be overwhelmed by the task of picking an outfit because you already have it down!
You’ll also be able to get rid of what doesn’t suit your body type much easier.
9. Return new items
A huge reason we end up with too many clothes is that we buy things without trying them on first and then realise that they don’t suit or fit. When you don’t return these items, you end up with more clothes in the back of your wardrobe that you never wear. And a credit card bill.
As soon as you buy something new, try it on to make sure it fits and decide what event/occasion you can wear it to. If it doesn’t fit, isn’t comfortable or you can’t see yourself wearing it in the next year, make sure to return it asap.
Most items have an expiry of 14-30 days for returning clothes, so don’t let it get too late to return!
10. Ask yourself these questions
- Do I love it? Is there any point in keeping clothes you don’t love? You never wear them, so why do you still have them?
- Do I look good in it? If the answer is no, then there’s no point hanging on to clothes that don’t suit you. If they’re not your style, you probably won’t wear them again anyway!
- Have I worn it in the last year? If you haven’t worn an item within the past 12 months, chances are you won’t wear it again either! Think about how often you reached for this piece throughout the year. If not even once, then you should really consider getting rid of it.
- How comfortable am I in it? Is it uncomfortable, tight or restrictive? If so, then it’s got to go. If it’s uncomfortable when you’re standing up looking in the mirror, imagine how uncomfortable it’s going to be when you’re sitting down!
- How does it fit on me? If it doesn’t suit your body shape, then it’s unlikely that you’ll ever wear it. You should always look for clothes that have a good fit, and suits your body type.
- Is it something I would never wear again? Does this article of clothing bring back bad memories or is it just not for you anymore? If that’s the case, then you should definitely get rid of it.
- Is it still in fashion? If you have a pair of bellbottom jeans that you love to wear, even if they’re not in fashion, that’s great! But if you’re hanging onto clothes hoping that they will eventually come back into fashion so you’ll get to wear them again, it’s probably time to let them go.
- Does it work with what I already have? You definitely don’t want to buy something new only to carry on wearing the same old clothes that you’ve worn for years. You should always think about what you already have in your wardrobe when buying anything, so throw out anything that doesn’t work with what you already own
11. Commit to the one-in-one-out rule
There’ll be instances in the future where you may need to shop for clothes again. It’s not like you’re never going to shop again!
But instead of buying new clothes and letting them all pile up again, commit to the one-in-one-out rule. This means that once a new item comes in, you get rid of something old – whether it be by donating to charity, passing on to a friend or selling.
12. Wear everything!
Everything in your closet should be worn! If its not being worn, then what is the point in keeping it?
If you’re unsure whether you want to keep something and whether you’ll wear it in the next year, do the hanger test to find out.
Turn every hanger in your closet all facing the same way and when you wear that item, turn that item around. After 6 months or a year, check which items haven’t been turned around. These are now ready to go.
13. Keep it tidy
It’s almost impossible to know what you have if you have piles of clothes strewn about the floor and stuffed into your wardrobe.
With your new minimalist wardrobe, after decluttering and only keeping what you love and fits well, you should now have enough storage space to keep your clothes tidy and easily accessible.
Do you best to keep it this way. If you find throughout the week that you don’t have time to put clothes away and they end up on ‘that chair’ in your room (you know the one!), put aside an hour each weekend to sort out your laundry and put away any pieces of clothing left out.
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Final thoughts on what to do when you have too many clothes
Once you recognise the signs that you have too many clothes in your wardrobe, it’s time to take action and get rid of the excess.
What you choose to keep in your wardrobe should be based on quality, fit, versatility and how often you actually wear something.
If you follow these steps, it will make it much easier for you to find clothes within your wardrobe and will help you save so much time and money.
Follow these tips to reduce the number of clothes, establish a system that works for you, and wear what you already own.