Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Do you feel guilty when you get home from an afternoon of clothes shopping? Do you have an overstuffed closet that is crammed way too full? Do you feel like you never have anything to wear yet there are literally hundreds of items in your dresser drawers? If so, you may be what I call a “clothes hoarder”
Clothes hoarding can be one of the most shameful types of disorganization there is. We feel guilty about how much we spend on them. We feel sad when things no longer fit. And we hold on to items we want to wear someday… when we lose the weight. There are many more emotions tied up in your closet than you may think. But simply clearing it all out isn’t enough. We need to address the reasons behind why we buy and keep so much.
I help a lot of clients with their closets. It’s a popular area in the home people need assistance with. Inevitably we will find a couple items with the tags still on. We will also find a sweater or pair of pants that are worn and shabby but there isn’t anything else to replace it with. And we will most certainly discover the skinny jeans – the ones we hope to fit into one day. So if you have a problem with too many clothes know that you are not alone. Far from it. But now is the time to start approaching this area of your life in a whole new way.
Here are five practical ways to stop the clothes hoarding cycle:
Know Your Color Palette & Style
Can you believe we all have our unique color palette when it comes to clothes? There are certain colors we are all drawn to. When we discover what those are, we can stop aimlessly wandering the sales floors and begin choosing colors and styles we are sure to love. For me, I am drawn to black, white and blue. I like stripes, preppy clothes, and fitted items. And I like to keep it a little hip (at least as hip as a 30-something can be). When I go shopping I look for great prints in my favorite colors. Basics in black and white.
To discover your own color palette and style, start by browsing your own closet. What do have the most of? What are you favorite pieces and why? What do you feel fantastic in? You can even look at your home and see what paint colors and style designs you picked. They are big hints into what you like.
Go for Quality over Quantity
Did you ever here the term “The cheap comes out expensive”? I wholeheartedly believe that you get what you pay for. For those pieces you will wear time and time again, go for the best or at least better than the cheapest. I would rather have two pairs of jeans I love than five pairs I don’t feel comfortable in. I started this with my shoes. No more cheap, cheap. I now invest in shoes that hold up to all the different weather we get in Wisconsin. Ones that support my feet but also look great.
Next time you go shopping for a staple piece, choose one that is of better quality. Splurge a little and you will find yourself enjoying that item for years to come.
Don’t Fall for Clearance Deals
Even I am a sucker for a great deal. It can be tempting to buy a shirt for $5 or a pair of pants for $7. But are they exactly what you want? Do they fit your color and style profile? If not, put it back on the rack. Buying something you don’t love but is cheap isn’t saving you money.. it is actually costing you money. There is always another deal around the corner.
When shopping clearance racks, ask yourself this one question before purchasing: “If this item was full price would I buy it?”. If the answer is “no” put it back.
Consider Upkeep & Care
I have begun to pay more attention to the care instructions of items before I purchase them. I don’t like to iron so I steer clear of anything that will wrinkle easily. I also find certain types of materials “cling” to my mommy lumps. Those I keep at least ten feet away from me at all times. I also don’t go to the dry cleaner…. ever. So “dry clean only” is not for me.
Take time to consider the upkeep and care of an item before purchasing. Know your own habits and what you will and will not do when it comes to clothes care.
Keep a List of What You Need
We all have those staples we couldn’t live without. A great pair of dressy jeans, underneath shirts in white and black, a great neutral sweater for chilly summer nights. When we go shopping we seem to forget what we should be buying and instead go for trendy items that only last a season. We should be investing our budget dollars into our needs before our wants.
Keep a list of staples you need to replace. Bring it with you next time you go shopping or keep it in your purse in case you run across a good sale.
Want to Take It Even Further?
If you want to take your closet declutter even further consider a clothing challenge. I limit myself to around 40 items in my closet… total. This includes shoes, jewelry, and clothes. It does not include swimsuits, workout clothes, underwear, & pajamas. I do switch out for each season.
Try limiting the number of items in your closet to a certain amount. Maybe start at 100 and see how it goes for a month. Or go extreme like me and try a smaller amount. I think you will find that you wear the same few pieces time and time again.
Clothes hoarding is not fun for anyone. It’s stressful, expensive and time-consuming. It wears on our hearts and wears on our minds just as much as it wears on our space. Take small steps today to begin reclaiming your closet!