Saving the planet... one garment at a time!

... and one upcycle at a time... Welcome to my blog: A place to have an "over the fence conversation" about sewing, altered couture, upcycling, and all kinds of crafts using found objects, beads, ephemera and other vintage finds!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Knowing When to Let Go: 7 Reasons to Remove an Item From Your Wardrobe!

Right now you're probably saying to yourself, "What's wrong with this woman?  In one post she says we throw out too much, and in the next she wants me to get rid of things!  I wish she'd make up her mind!"  OK, I may seem to be a little inconsistent here, but I promise you that there's a theme here, and I'm still not advocating throwing things away.  A future post will cover the actual mechanics of getting rid of unwanted textiles, but for now, let's concentrate on WHEN to let go.

If you're like me, even though you have not booked your appearance on "Hoarders", you probably save clothes far too long.  Perhaps your reasons are environmental, or sentimental or maybe it's just plain inertia. Whatever is making you hold on, here are 7 compelling reasons to part company with those fabric albatrosses.

The first, and most obvious reason is that the item is seriously worn out.  We all have some of these - pilled beyond recognition, frayed cuffs, threadbare or faded body.  When you love a piece, or when it is oh so comfortable, sometimes its hard to see that the end is nigh.  I find that the best time to check is when you trade out your seasonal clothing for the next upcoming season.  As you put clothes away, inspect each piece for glaring wear...

...and tear.  The second reason to divest yourself of an item of clothing is irreparable damage.  Many things can be fixed - a damaged zipper or a fallen hem - but some cannot: a gaping hole in a hard to patch area, a stain that won't budge, or the odor you just can't eradicate.

Third are those wardrobe components that are just hopelessly out of date - their time is gone and not coming back - we're talking leisure suits! Now we all know that today's off trend items MAY turn into tomorrow's heirlooms or kitschy vintage wonder.  If your dress or blouse in is pristine condition with classic lines I'll give you a bye here - you may carefully store it away.  However, if we are talking about the average passe piece with lots of wear, don't save it for the day the trend comes back.

Number 4 haunts almost all women at some time or another - clothes that just don't fit!  If it fit ten years ago, please see number 3.  Even if it fit last year, and you plan to lose or gain weight, remember - it might not happen the way you plan.  And, don't forget that as we age, our bodies just change.  What fit like a glove before may never fit like that again - either alter it or let it go!

Fifth on the list are clothes that may fit (technically) but are just not comfortable.  Here consider the overly itchy sweater, the blouse that gapes and reveals too much or the pants you constantly pull and readjust. Your clothes should be effortless to wear.  Only the compliments you receive should remind you of their presence!

The sixth stop on our list may have some members in common with some of the other lists - these are the clothes that you just don't wear.  Some of these may even still have tags on them from the day you purchased them.  The old rule of thumb still holds true - if you have not worn it in a year (all four seasons have come and gone) you probably won't and you can safely let it go.

Last but not least, it's time to get rid of clothes that don't portray the image you want to be sending out into the world.  If an item is just not you - the REAL you - it probably does not belong in your wardrobe.  I hear so many women say, "I don't really have a 'style'."  I hear you, but if this is you, start working on that!  Build from those pieces you have that make you feel fabulous!

I hope this inspires you to take a critical look at your closet. Let me know what you are letting go of, and why!  Next in this series: 5 Ways to Divest Yourself of Unwanted Clothing Without Using a Landfill.

also shared at My Repurposed Life!


  1. Your list is spot on, Dee. The one I have the most trouble with is clothes that are in great shape, fit fine, not unfashionable but that I just don't wear. Instead of blaming the clothes, I blame myself and am convinced I will eventually find a place/occassion to wear them.

    On the other hand, I have a few items in my closet that I love dearly. They are worn, possibly out of fashion but amazingly comfortable and comforting. Those will stay, at least for now.

    1. I know what you mean... I am trying so hard to have a leaner approach to my closet. I embrace the rules... but I admit to cheating ;-) !