Have you ever looked in your closet and thought, “I have too many clothes!” … but then felt completely confused as to what to do about it?
Yes? Me too! As a reformed shopaholic, I know exactly how it feels to have more things than you know what to do with. At one stage, I had over a hundred pairs of shoes and a closet overflowing with items that I never wore (many with the tags still attached!).
These days things are pretty different. I’ve embraced a minimalist wardrobe, and I’ve learned that less really can be more. If you have too many clothes and don’t know what to do, here are some tips that will help you get started.
How Many Clothes Is Too Many?
As a minimalist, I know many people expect me to say, “you should only own 30 items of clothing” or something ridiculous like that. But this actually couldn’t be further from the truth.
Instead, I firmly believe that there’s no “one size fits all” answer to how much is too much. Some people need more clothes than others, which reflects lifestyle, environment, values, and priorities.
For example, as the mum of young, messy children, I need to change and wash my clothes often. Owning less right now would mean stressing about getting laundry done or running out of things to wear.
But let’s flashback a few years; I had no kids, and I lived in a small studio apartment. (Oh, how quickly things change, haha!) It would’ve been stressful if I had as many clothes then as I do now because there was physically nowhere to put it all.
Plus, I didn’t need as much because I could actually wear things more than once between washing. No sticky fingers or snotty noses to deal with!
All this to say—what’s right for you might be too much for your neighbour or not enough for your sister. We’re all different, and things change, so stop worrying about “How many clothes is too many?”
Instead, you might find this question more helpful: “Is the cost of keeping all my clothes greater than the value they add to my life?”
Pay attention to the impact of your wardrobe:
- Does your closet stress you out?
- Do you struggle to find what you’re looking for?
- Do you feel sad or guilty because you have things you’re not wearing?
These are just a few signs that you have more than you need, and it might be time to let go.
How To Decide What Clothes to Keep?
Right, so once you’ve decided that you have too many clothes, how do you decide which clothes to keep?
First, you can start by clearing out the obvious stuff like damaged or worn-out clothes. (In many places, you can recycle these instead of donating them to charities who will just end up throwing it all away.)
Once you’re done with that, it’s a question of identifying your personal style. And there are varying opinions on how to do this, but what has worked best for me is as follows.
Don’t worry about trying to put a name or a label on your style, and stop looking at magazines or Pinterest for inspiration. Instead, get curious about the clothes you already have.
What do you love wearing? What do you never wear? And what do these things have in common? Look for patterns in fit, fabric, hemlines, colours, patterns and more.
You’ll start to learn that there are certain things you always turn to and certain things you turn away from—and ultimately, this is a reflection of your style. It might not fit into a tidy box or be something you see described in fashion magazines, but it’s what you genuinely like to wear.
Embrace it, and use this information to decide what to keep and what to let go of.
For more closet decluttering tips, check out this blog post: How to Declutter Your Closet For Good: An Ultimate Guide.
“I Have Too Many Clothes But I Like Them All!”
This is a common problem I get asked about all the time. There are a lot of people who are struggling with too many clothes, but they’re not sure what to do about it because they like them all.
If you can relate, let’s start with an important question: are you actually wearing all of your clothes?
If not, then here’s a hard truth. You probably don’t like them all—at least not on you.
This is an important lesson that it took me a long time to learn. You can love a style, admire it on other women, and save it to your Pinterest boards, but this doesn’t mean that you like how it looks on you.
The proof is in the pudding. After all, you’re not wearing your clothes! Maybe you don’t like the fit; the colour doesn’t suit your complexion, you’re not comfortable with the hemline, or something else just isn’t right for YOU.
On some level, you might already know this, but sometimes it feels safer to say “I love all my clothes” than to accept our lifestyles have changed or to feel guilty about spending too much on something that never gets worn. It’s not easy, but facing these truths head-on is the first step to letting go.
Now let’s look at the other scenario. What if you genuinely love and wear all of your clothes?
The question to ask now is why you want to downsize. Are you running out of space? Do you feel overwhelmed by your closet? Be specific about your motivation for decluttering.
When you’re done, compare the joy of achieving these goals with the pain of letting go of a few special items. I know it’s not always an easy decision, but realise that sometimes you have to make a few sacrifices to achieve what matters most to you.
“I Keep Buying Too Many Clothes…”
Decluttering is a great starting point, but if your shopping is out of control, then you’ll continue to struggle with too many clothes.
If this is a problem you can relate to, then here are a few blog posts that you might find helpful:
- 4 Reasons Why You Can’t Stop Shopping + What To Do About It
- How to Stop Online Shopping (Tips From a Former Shopaholic)
- How to Stop Buying Clothes You Never Wear
- 7 Signs You Have A Shopping Problem + What To Do About It
Do you identify as having too many clothes? What are your biggest challenges with letting go?