I have too many clothes

Use the 80/20 Rule for Your Clothes

Go Through Every Item in Your Closet

This includes shoes, hats, belts, scarves, coats, bathrobes, pajamas, socks, and underwear. You will be surprised how much those items accumulate in your closet.

Remove every item from your closet when doing this. It may be helpful to have a friend or family member around to help especially if you have a hard time parting with things.

A little moral support (or even a shove) can really help when you are trying to go through your belongings.

With Every Item, Ask Yourself These Questions

If it’s been longer than a year, toss it. Chances are, you can give me a reason why you never where it. It needs to be altered, it’s uncomfortable, it’s dry clean only, it’s ripped or stained, you hate the color, etc…

I can almost guarantee you won’t have an epiphany and start wearing it.

Toss it.

Question 2: Am I keeping this item for sentimental reasons even though I don’t wear it?

Memories don’t need to be attached to an item to have that wonderful memory. That special moment will always be in your head and heart even if you part with the garment you were wearing.

Imagine how much space you would clear up if you got rid of items you don’t wear that you are keeping for sentimental reasons. I’m looking at you prom dresses, college sweatshirts, wedding gowns, date night sweater, and grandma’s scarves you never wear. Put these items you don’t wear in the Toss pile.

Question 3: Is this item in good condition?

We all have a favorite grungy tee-shirt great for painting, gardening, sleeping-in, or just relaxing around the house. But is your closet full of more than one of these items?

If an item is stained, ripped, moth eaten, stretched out, or faded, it’s time to put it in the toss pile.

Question 4: Does this item fit me today?

Do you have a fat wardrobe and a skinny wardrobe? My husband is notorious for this. We found his closet had a variety of sizes depending on whether his weight was up or down.

In fact, some of his “other size” clothes had been moved to the garage more than ten years ago and were all out-of-style. Even if he lost the weight today, he wouldn’t wear those clothes, he’d go buy new ones that fit his current lifestyle.

In addition to the clothes being the correct size, remove clothes that need to be tailored or hemmed. Don’t put them back in your closet until they have been altered to fit.

Toss any items that don’t fit you today.

Question 5: Does the item fit my current lifestyle?

Take a moment to think about your everyday life and the clothes you gravitate to on a daily basis. Your lifestyle today may not be what it was a month or a year ago. You may have changed jobs, become a stay-at-home mom, started college, started a career, or even retired.

Most likely, your wardrobe will change as well. Get rid of the clothes that don’t fit your current day-to-day life.

It’s okay to keep a few pieces such as a favorite little black dress, or dressier clothes for evenings out and special events. Just make sure you limit it to pieces you really love to wear.

Question 6: Does this item work with other items in my closet?

One of the reasons people don’t wear something even if they like it is because it doesn’t go with anything else in their closet. It may be an item you received as a gift or bought out shopping with a friend and it’s more her style than yours. But, if you’ve tried to put it on more than once and it just doesn’t work with your wardrobe….you know what I’m going to say….toss it.

Question 7: Do I feel good wearing this item?

This is the last question and the most important. How do you feel when you wear this garment? If you don’t feel good in it, most likely you won’t wear it very often, so put it in the toss pile.

After going through these 7 questions, your closet should be left with a lot of pieces you really love to wear!

Step 2 – Organize Your Closet

Now it’s time to put everything back in your closet.

Since everything is out of the closet, it’s time to organize your wardrobe so you can “shop” it every day.

Nothing feels better than opening a well organized closet and selecting an item just as you did when you originally purchased it.

First – Organize by Classification

It’s important to group like things together. Not only does it make them easier to find, but you’ll also be able to see where you might have gaps in your wardrobe (more on that later).

Group Items in the Following Classifications:

  • Blouses

  • T-Shirts

  • Jackets/Vests

  • Sweaters

  • Leggings

  • Pants

  • Skirts

  • Shorts

  • Underwear

  • Shoes

  • Jewelry

  • Belts

  • Scarves

  • Handbags

Second – Organize by Color

Believe it or not, this is my favorite step in the organization process. When you organize by color, it makes your entire closet feel like something special. It’s like you have your own boutique right in your home.

Organize from light to dark in this order:

1. You can’t close your drawers anymore.

2. In fact, you neatly fold things into your washing basket for extra storage space.

3. You’ve stopped any pretence there is a system, you just throw stuff in as it comes.

4. The joy of finding a dress/pair of shoes at the back of your closet that you bought two years ago but never wore… swiftly followed by guilt at NOT having worn said item.


5. You are constantly adding ‘hangers’ to your shopping list.

6. You have to store clothes per season otherwise there’s no way it would all fit in one closet.

7. You are thankful every day for the invention of vacuum bags. Seriously, do you know how much stuff can fit in them?

8. You’re on first name basis with your postman, that’s how often he delivers clothing orders to you.


9. You’ve been given an ultimatum by your other half: You’re only allowed to bring a new item of clothing if you chuck an old one out. Does he not understand those two white t-shirts are very different?

10. Picking an outfit for a wedding is way too stressful, there are too many options. And don’t get us started on packing for a holiday.

11. You feel sorry for the clothes that you don’t wear. Surely it’s that dress’ turn soon?

12. When you find the perfect item, you buy it in several colour-ways. Hey, it’s VERY tough finding the right pair of jeans.

13. You, very slowly but surely, start encroaching on your other half’s side of the cupboard – he’s bound not to notice, right?


14. Occasionally (usually January time), you’ll brazenly decide to do an audit and march around with a giant bin bag, pulling things off hangers at random and taking the whole lot to the charity shop.

15. Then you’ll feel amazing, before realising you accidentally gave away your favourite top, and then wonder how bad it is to go back and ask for it? Oh dear…

(Image: c.Walt Disney/Everett/REX)

Style Tip: 10 Reasons You Have Too Many Clothes

Number three will change your life.

If your closet is feeling full but you still feel like you have nothing too wear, you just might have too many clothes in the first place to even begin to work with. There are many reasons why, but here are 10 of our favorites.

1. You Love To Shop. Let’s get this one out of the way because chances are good that if you’re reading this it is not one of your reasons: you love to shop and enjoy creating beautiful outfits and the biggest problem you encounter is that you don’t have enough days in the week to wear them all as often as you’d like. Okay, so there…we said it. There are some women out there like that for sure but unless they run out of closet space they are usually pretty happy with what they have. If this is you, it can still be helpful to pare things down periodically to the outfits that are your most favorite. Why not do this quarterly? Donate garments, consign, have a clothing swap with your friends, or at least pack lesser-worn items away to see if you really miss them.

2. You Might Need It Someday. This is a biggie. You’ve rarely (or never) worn it. You’re not even sure you like it or that it fits, but, hey, what if you need it someday to complete an outfit. No! No! No! If you can’t make an outfit with it right now (and especially if you don’t love it), get it out of your closet (pack it away if you can’t bear to get rid of it completely). And, if you’re not sure if it can work in your wardrobe get help to find out first. You won’t believe the relief you’ll feel knowing one way or the other. Remember, there is no room in your closet for things you don’t love.

3. Giveaways and Hand-Me-Downs. This is one of those really tricky areas. People feel good about passing things along but they need to work for you…I mean really work for you! Comfort and free clothes are not the most important criteria to consider – it’s a reasonable (and fun) starting place but, before you decide to keep it and wear it, you must ask yourself these questions for starters: Is it a good color? Does it fit or can it be (and will you) tailored? Can you make a complete outfit out of it? If it can’t pass those tests, it goes away!

4. You Spent Good Money On It. All the more reason to understand why it does or doesn’t work so you can either wear it or let it go. Once you know how to complete the outfit you can get your money’s worth out of it. Or, if you finally understand why it doesn’t work, you can let it go and chalk it up to a learning experience (and be wary of making that mistake again).

5. Your Weight Fluctuates. Join the crowd! Raise your hand if you own clothes in more than one size. I can assure that 95% of all women (especially those of us over 40) just raised their hands. It’s okay. Relax and take a breath…phew. What’s not okay, however is keeping all the sizes in the same closet. No! Only the clothes that fit you now belong in the closet you use on a daily basis. Everything else needs to be in another closet or packed away until they do fit.

6. Clinging to the Past. Do you have clothes in your closet from 1992…1987 or even before? Clothes from another job where you had to dress more conservatively? Clothes from a past lifestyle when you used to sail all the time or attend a lot of formal functions? Assessing whether your wardrobe addresses your current lifestyle needs is very important. Hanging onto things you used to wear will keep you stuck in a rut and won’t help you feel authentically you anymore. (And, a special word about the energy of clothes. If some of your past outfits were from a painful or unpleasant time in your past, all the more reason to remove them immediately. You don’t need to keep that energy alive in your closet – it will only deplete you.)

7. It’s Classic. This follows right on the heels of “clinging to the past.” Yes, some styles have a timeless quality about them but many fewer than you would think. Chanel jackets are one thing but even little black dresses and something as basic as jeans go through style changes as the years pass. Yes, you want to take good care of your clothes so you can wear them as long as possible, but the main purpose of your clothes is to be worn. If you really love them and enjoy wearing them…then wear them so much that they wear out. Yes! That means you’ve gotten your money’s worth and have enjoyed the garment before it goes out of style (which 99% of the time will happen).

8. Peer Pressure. This is a tricky one. There’s a fine line between helpful advice from BFF, mother, sister and friendly sales woman and being railroaded into buying something you don’t love. Who needs to add one more thing to their wardrobe that doesn’t feel wonderful? Yes, you want to step out and try new things AND at the same time honor who you are (not the people who are trying to help you). The more you can feel self-confident knowing what you love and what you don’t love the easier it will be to say no to unwanted pressure to buy.

9. Searching For the Perfect Pieces. I once did a wardrobe consultation with a woman who had easily 40 white blouses in her closet. Of those 40 blouses, she generally wore 1 or 2. That’s it! So why did she have so many? Because someone had mistakenly told her that every woman should have a white blouse in her wardrobe and, even if that were true, she discovered that finding the perfect white blouse was trickier than she thought. She kept buying them hoping she’d find one that she loved. She didn’t. The solution? Stop buying white blouses! Find out if a white blouse really speaks to who you are and if so, hold out for one that makes your heart sing (and that you can actually make a complete outfit out of). Otherwise, try something else.

10. You Can’t Get Rid of Anything. This one is arguably the trickiest. It really depends on why you can’t get rid of things. It could be a combination of the reasons above or it could be more deep seeded in which case getting some outside guidance will be so important. Holding on to things that no longer serve you because of past experiences or because they give you peace will eventually backfire. Finding peace within your soul will help you move things along with grace and ease.

Too Many Clothes? These 9 Reasons Show Why Your Closets Are Packed

Photo credit: m01229 on Visualhunt.com

The psychology behind why we own too many clothes explains a lot about why our homes are filled with far more clothing than we ever use.

Data from a OnePoll survey of American women showed that their closets contained an average of 103 items. Other surveys reveal that the majority of the items in closets are rarely (or never) worn, however.

Most of us own too many clothes

10 Yetis, a UK digital public relations company, surveyed 2,137 U.S. women and determined they had an average of $550 worth of unworn clothing sitting in their closets.

A National Association of Professional Organizers study estimates 80% of your clothing is only worn 20% of the time.

Unless you’re in the minority who adopt the minimalist approach and keep a small wardrobe, chances are you’re one of the many people who have a few items (or a lot more) of clothing tucked away at the back of your closets with price tags still attached.

Along with the money that’s wasted buying clothes that are never worn, having too many clothes makes it much harder to stay organized. So why do we own too many clothes?

Here are nine reasons that will provide some clarity.

1. Cheap sale prices

One of the biggest reasons our homes have too many clothes is that it’s too hard for most of us to pass up a bargain. Even for strong-willed consumers, a too-good-to be true sale price on a piece of clothing that appeals to you can be awfully tempting.

We don’t even have to be completely won over by how that clothing looks, either. Great prices are always alluring, even for something you’re only casually interested in.

Our judgement can get clouded by the thrill of taking advantage of an incredible bargain. And the more prestigious the brand name is on the sale item, the more appealing that deal looks, even if you don’t really need the item.

2. We wait too long to return items

Even after trying on shoes or clothing at the store, sometimes you get the item home and your opinion about it changes. That could be because:

  • it doesn’t fit quite as well as you thought it did
  • it’s not as comfortable as you’d like when wearing it for longer periods
  • the store lighting or mirrors made it look more slimming
  • you have a change of heart about the style or colour
  • the clothing doesn’t go with anything else you own

If you’ve waited too long to come to the realization about any of the above, it may be too late to return the item. Clearance items also commonly have an “all sales final” policy that can eliminate any chance of getting a refund or store credit.

3. We picture our future selves

Another major reason we own too many clothes is that we too often hold onto or buy clothing in anticipation of who we hope to be.

This idealistic vision of our future self sometimes becomes fully-realized. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t.

A very common example is the “I know I’ll fit into it one day” mentality. Clothing that hasn’t fit for years clogs up your storage space because you hold onto the hope that you’ll manage to drop enough weight to fit back into them.

A study by Ellen McKinney and Elizabeth Bye found that 85% of the women they surveyed admitted they had clothing in their closets that didn’t fit.

We also sometimes buy clothing for a lifestyle that we want, but never attain. For example, a fancy dinner dress is purchased for social events you want to attend and never do, for whatever reason.

Or maybe you’ve bought a new outfit for working out, but just lack the motivation to do so, or never have the time.

4. The clothing is now out of style

The clothing you bought quite awhile ago that was in style then may not be fashionable when you finally find it at the back of your closet three years later.

Not every type of clothing has the timeless fashionability of the white t-shirt.

At that point, a return is out of the question and that aforementioned embarrassment about your wasteful spending causes you to hang onto the item you’ll never wear longer than you should.

Suggestion: that pair of skinny jeans you bought a year ago and haven’t worn? Get your money’s worth out them now, because you never know.

Not every type of clothing has the timeless appeal of a plain white tee. (Photo credit: chuttersnap on Unsplash)

5. You’re in the wrong frame of mind when buying

It’s a common thing for people to go shopping as a way to cheer themselves up when they’re feeling down.

It’s such a common thing that the phrase “retail therapy” was coined as a shorthand name for it. Needless to say, retail therapy might provide some short-term comfort, but it also contributes to owning too many clothes.

The ease of online shopping only makes it easier to buy clothing when you’re in the wrong frame of mind. And that includes being too tipsy.

Yes, drunk online shopping also leads to bad shopping decisions made late at night when your inhibitions are a little too relaxed from drinking.

6. Shame

We hold on to too many clothes we’ll never wear because we’re too ashamed to admit we made a mistake when we bought something that was barely worn or never worn.

Unworn items bought long ago with price tags still attached are the hardest items to let go of. Tossing or donating clothing that hasn’t delivered a worthwhile return on investment for you is embarrassing and also just feels so wasteful.

You’d think that you’d want to get rid of something that was a reminder of a bad buying decision (sometimes a very expensive one)!

7. Your storage space wasn’t taken into consideration

Buying clothes without having an adequate amount of storage space for them just causes more closet clutter. A disorganized closet makes it harder to find your clothing and can lead to wasteful duplicate purchases.

According to a OnePoll survey, 61% of the women polled who had a hard time finding anything in their closet just ended up buying new clothes. Naturally, this only contributes to the vicious cycle that makes your closets even more disorganized.

Having a smartly designed closet that includes a high quality closet organizer makes it much easier to manage your wardrobe. Not overfilling your closet with too many clothes is still your responsibility.

A good closet organizer and some helpful closet accessories can definitely make life easier, though, and help you maximize your closet storage space.

An organized closet helps you easily visualize what‘s stored within the space, allowing you to get more use out of your entire wardrobe.

8. Sentimentality and obligation

That favourite pair of jeans you’ve had for years can’t last forever. Every piece of clothing has a shelf life and at some point it’s just time to let it go if you can’t wear it any longer.

You might also feel the obligation to hang on to something you never wear because it was a gift. That ugly, uncomfortable sweater your aunt gave you in 1998 that was worn exactly once?

Get rid of it and lighten your closets and drawers of the burden of too many clothes.

9. Fashion peer pressure

Buying things you think you should have just because of fashion peer pressure can lead to owning too many clothes. Maybe all your friends are buying the thing that’s all the latest rage, so you do, too.

The problem is, that in-style piece of clothing just isn’t really you and subsequently never gets worn.

There are certain “fashion staples” you’re always hearing or reading that you should have in your wardrobe. Examples include black pumps, classic white tees, wrap dresses, and ankle boots. But maybe none of these items fit your style or fashion taste.

Try and stick to buying clothing and footwear that reflects who you are.

Liberate yourself from owning too many clothes

Being more choosy with the clothes you buy and making an effort to declutter what you already have will simplify your daily routine.

A decluttered wardrobe makes it easier to find things to wear, which saves you time and from getting frustrated.

Having a smart closet storage and organization system also helps make your closets more functional.

If you’ve decided you’re tired of owning too many clothes and could also use better closet organizers in your home, schedule a free in-home design consultation with Organized Interiors.

See also:

  • The Top 7 Ways Disorganized Closets Negatively Affect Your Life
  • 17 Effective Closet Accessory Storage Solutions Every Closet Needs
  • Why A Cluttered Home Causes You Stress & What You Can Do About It

Define Your Fashion Style with a Quick Quiz

By Jill Martin, Pierre A. Lehu

In order to start building your closet properly with fashions that fit your personal style, take this easy quiz. (Sorry to take you back to the 8th grade, but it’s a necessary first step to creating a tailor-made wardrobe!)

Pretend you’re a personal stylist who’s been hired to give you advice. Try to look at yourself as an outsider would when answering the following questions. Nobody knows you better than you do, but if you’ve never done a self-examination like this, what you find out may surprise you. Have fun with this, be honest with yourself, and let your true personality answer every question.

Taking a style quiz

What’s your style? Circle the answers that best describe you.

Evaluating your style quiz answers

Now that you’ve taken our style quiz, find out who you are and how to define your look. If your answers fall mostly in the A’s, B’s, C’s, or so on, you fall pretty neatly into one of six groups, outlined in the following sections.

Mostly A’s: Group 1 — The Bohemian

You are a true bohemian. You love wearing loose-flowing, romantic tops, skirts, and dresses. You tend toward looking casual, yet pretty. Most of your clothes can go from day to night. You look like you just walked off the beach, no matter what time it is, because you have a relaxed, easy vibe about you.

Your color palette includes white, off-white, white, and more white, earth tones, brown, and some beachy colors like turquoise and coral.

The true bohemian.

Mostly B’s: Group 2 — The Prep

You love to wear your polo shirts. You pair them with crisp pants or shorts, depending on the weather and the activity. You are likely to be seen in shorts at the country club during the day and pants at the evening barbeque. The cable knit sweater is the cornerstone of your wardrobe.

Your color palette is navy blue, kelly green, and pink — all paired with crisp white, if not one another. Your wardrobe is also filled with bold prints, such as plaid, madras, and argyle, for when you’re in the mood to be noticed. The prep look is totally “old school” yet multigenerational and current as well.

The prep.

Mostly C’s: Group 3 — The Surfer Chic

If you answered “C” to all or almost all the questions, you are the quintessential surfer chic. Your No. 1 priority is how big the waves are. You don’t care what’s going on in the real world. Your world is the beach. Your outfit of choice is a bikini and rash guard, with sheepskin boots (of course).

Your color palette is red, yellow, and blue — all paired with sand or off-white. The bright colors are reminiscent of all the beautiful foliage in Hawaii. Plus, they let other surfers know you’re coming when you catch the big wave!

The surfer chic.

Mostly D’s: Group 4 — The Fashionista

If you answered “D” to all or almost all the questions, welcome to group 4. You’re the ultimate fashionista! You love the big city. You adore your uniform of all black with stiletto boots, stiletto pumps, or stiletto sandals. You love to dress up, be in all the latest trends, and wear all designer names. You know which pieces to spend your money on and how to make the whole look appear expensive. You never miss an issue of Vogue, Elle, or Harper’s Bazaar.

Your color palette is black and more black, paired with the color of the moment, which is, of course, “the new black.”

The fashionista.

Mostly E’s: Group 5 — The Classic

You’re in group 5 if the letter E came up the most, which makes you a total classic. You have an easy way about dressing and are always put together and chic. You stick very close to the basics. You can buy your clothes at Gap or on Madison Avenue, or a combination — after all, a classic is a classic. Your wardrobe consists of white button-down shirts, jeans and slacks, the perfect black blazer, the perfect little black dress, and a fabulous trench coat or two. You also have a drawer full of beautiful scarves and a closet full of gorgeous purses.

Your color palette is denim, white, and black, with splashes of color here and there in the form of an accessory such as a scarf or purse. Clothing is basically neutral in color. The ultimate example of a classic is, of course, Jackie O.

The timeless classic.

Mostly F’s: Group 6 — The Suburbanite

If you answered mostly F’s, you fit comfortably into group 6, the realm of the suburbanite. You have a casual lifestyle outside the big city. You spend most of your time taking care of everyone else, but you manage to squeeze in an exercise class, a trip to the gym, or a run outside when you can. A cute, well-fitting sweat suit is your go-to outfit first thing in the morning, and it generally carries you through all the day’s activities. If an evening activity is on the agenda, a quick change to slacks or jeans and a sweater or nice T-shirt does the trick.

Your color palette consists of darker colors like navy, gray, and black. These colors are flattering and slimming and don’t show stains or wear and tear from all your daily activity.

The suburbanite.

Help! I didn’t have “mostly” anything

If your answers didn’t indicate a definite tendency toward one look or another, it means that you don’t currently dress in any particular style but throw on something generic to fit the activity. If that’s the case, this is an area you can work on. The easiest way to do so is to answer the questions according to how you picture yourself and see your life, rather than what it currently may be.

You don’t want to have too many styles going on at the same time. Of course, as your social settings change or your mood shifts, you want to be able to adapt your style to fit your needs at the time. But while there’s no doubt that you’ll have to massage your style regularly to get it to fit your schedule, you also don’t want to abandon it on a regular basis. Rather than attempting to develop different styles for different occasions, work on finding ways to use your personal style as a common thread in any outfit you put together.


Are you closets bursting at the seams, drawers stuffed full and clothes hanging out on chairs, floors, in laundry baskets and other surfaces?

Imagine being able to open your closet with ease and getting dressed in the morning in peace! It can be done with a little work and some general guidance.

Imagine walking into your laundry room and seeing the floor!

So let’s get started:

Step #1 Establish a base camp – this is where you are going to gather ALL your clothes.

Step #2 Gather ALL YOUR CLOTHES – go find all your clothes and bring them into base camp. Start Step #3 at this time too!

Step #3 Do your laundry – Start your laundry and as it is done bring the clothing into base camp. (this can be happening while you are doing the other steps so you don’t lose momentum)

Step #4 Sort It Out – Put your clothing into categories that make sense to you. Like with Like based on how you use them, when you use them and what function they serve in your life. This is a key step to getting organized, do not skip this step!!!!

Step #5 PURGE – Time to let go of all those things that you do not wear, need or love NOW. This is a tough step but make the decision based on what is serving you in your life now…does that clothing make you feel fabulous NOW, is it comfortable NOW, does it get used NOW. Let go of the past and live in the NOW!

Step #6 Get HELP if you are struggling – sometimes you just have to have someone else to be there to help you move through the process and help you make the decisions. Ask a compassionate friend, family member of hire a professional organizer to get you through the process with grace and ease. Contact me if you want my help, we can do this in person or virtually!

The myth most people fall back on is ‘I don’t have enough closet space’. From my over a decade of experience this is normally not true…most people use 20% of what they own, if you only kept what you needed and used you most likely have enough room….AND its is so much easier to maintain.

Benefits of decluttering your clothing and closets include – simplify your life, save time and reduce anxiety. It is worth the little bit of effort!

To get my help contact me here: