Simple Wardrobe Experiment (Why Decluttering Clothes is Hard)

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Decluttering clothes can be really hard. If you’re on that struggle-bus too, I’ve got some tips for you. 

Here’s my simple wardrobe experiment. You can try it yourself and see how it feels. 

It’s a simple system, I promise, and it’s going to get you results with your clothes and make you feel so much better about your wardrobe. 

Before we start though, I want to mention some of the things that people have said when I asked them, on my Instagram of now over 170k people, why they feel like decluttering their clothes is so hard. 

Simple Wardrobe Experiment (Why Decluttering Clothes is Hard)

I want to address the things my community answered because chances are you might be feeling the same way. 

And I think that what I am about to share can help you reframe your mindset and reach a place where you can finally let go of items you no longer need.

And yes, it can be easy to say, ‘Oh, just get rid of it! It’s not hard to declutter.’ 

But the hard part about decluttering is not the physical act of taking an item and getting rid of it. It’s the mental part. It’s the mindset that we have behind all of the things we have and why we keep them.

Btw, I also shared here how I started by decluttering 80% of my clothes.

Feel free to watch the video or keep reading below:

Why is it so hard to declutter clothes?

1. The waste of money

The number one thing that people have said they struggle with when it comes to letting go of clothes is the waste of money: ‘It costs so much, it makes me sad to get rid of it now’. 

And this is something that took me a long time to come to grips with as well.

The truth is, that money was gone the moment we purchased an item.

Just keeping that item in our wardrobe now is not going to get our money back. 

And most of the time, for a lot of us, it actually still costs us our mental health and stress levels. So there’s no point in keeping an item if we’re not using it.

2. The guilt

This is the second thing that people report makes decluttering difficult. 

And it makes sense. 

Oftentimes, the item you are trying to let go of can be an item that is brand new because you bought it but never wore it. And you might feel really guilty about that. 

Here’s what I have found: decluttering is a real wake-up call that’s very uncomfortable but very necessary at the same time.


Because it will change your future shopping habits. 

This is what happened to me. 

I was keeping all of these items because I felt like I needed to have many options or because of the money I had spent. I didn’t want to let go, thinking, ‘What if I want to buy it again?’

Letting go of our clothes is such an emotional act, and often there’s a lot of guilt attached to it. 

What helped me was seeing how much stuff I had accumulated. 

The mountain of clothes that I was getting rid of (selling or donating) literally changed my shopping habits. 

I no longer go into shops the same way I used to and just buy ‘on a whim’ or do ‘emotional buying’. 

I know now what my wardrobe used to look like and I don’t want to get back to that place. I know how much waste I have created in terms of money, and I don’t want to do that again. 

This is why I feel like doing this decluttering process is going to help you with your shopping in the future. 

When you keep the items that you love and use but let go of anything else, you become more mindful and intentional about the things that you buy. And this is actually going to save you a lot of money in the future.

So even though it might feel like you’re wasting money right now, in reality, you are not. You already wasted that money long before, when you made the purchase. 

What you can do now is make a change for the future.

3. The options

The third thing people said makes decluttering clothes a challenge is: ‘I like to have a lot of options, I like all of my clothes, but I can see that I have too many and I don’t really wear them all.’ 

That was me too. 

I had many clothes that I found cute, I liked what they looked like, but I wasn’t wearing them. 

And for some items, I didn’t have events or places to go to where I would wear them. Others just didn’t fit quite right or didn’t make me feel that good. 

So I was keeping them even though I wasn’t wearing them. 

What was the point, right?

And you might think, ‘What’s the big deal? It’s just going to stay in my wardrobe, it’s not going to bother me.’ 

The thing is, in time, we tend to accumulate a lot of items that ‘don’t bother’ us. And then switching from a summer wardrobe to a winter one, having to move houses, or clearing out the wardrobe, all of these become a big struggle. 

These will take so much effort and so much time that it’s simply not worth keeping clothes you don’t need and use. 

And here’s another thing: many of us go to our wardrobes to choose our outfits. We open the wardrobe, we have many items in, and yet it’s a struggle to get dressed. 

So we often have closets full of clothes and feel like we have nothing to wear. 

And we feel like we need many options to be happy and content with how we’re dressed. 

The reality is that having fewer options makes the process so much easier. And having options that you love to wear and that make you feel good is going to change how you feel about getting dressed in the morning.

4. ‘Just in case’

Another thing that many people have said makes decluttering a difficult process is that they want to keep things, or they feel like they have to keep things, just in case they want to wear them again or they might need them in the future. 

Research showed that 80% of the things we keep ‘just in case’ never actually end up being used (ie Pareto’s Principle). 

Of course, the percentage differs from person to person, and it also depends on the amount of stuff owned. 

But I do feel like the statistics are true, or at least they were for me.

I had so many items in my wardrobe that I was never using. For example, a white pair of jeans. 

They felt like such a staple, how could I get rid of them? 

But I wasn’t using them ever! 

They didn’t fit my lifestyle and I didn’t feel very comfortable in them. I ended up getting rid of them eventually. 

What I realized was that if I wanted to wear white jeans sometime in the future, even if I kept that pair, it’s very unlikely they would have fitted me or I would have still liked them. 

Our style changes with time and our preferences change as well, so even if you keep one particular item, you might end up not wearing it after all. 

And if I do want a white pair of jeans again, I’m probably going to go and buy another one, and I will probably look in pre-loved places like Vinted

Since I’ve become more intentional when it comes to clothes shopping, I started using this platform more. It’s a great place to find pretty much anything for a low price. 

This means that I no longer feel the pressure of needing to keep an item. I can always repurchase pretty much any item on Vinted for a real bargain. 

5. Fluctuating weight or accepting the current body

Many people were also in a similar situation as me, being postpartum, and they were talking about having fluctuating weight. 

Many said that they are struggling to get rid of items that don’t fit right now. They know they will want to wear those again when they’re fitter. 

Plus, they feel sad about letting go of the body they had in the past.

One tip or piece of advice I have in this case is to actually keep the items that don’t fit you right now, but to store them away from your daily wardrobe. 

If you are postpartum or you simply know you want to change in the near future, I think it’s okay to keep those items that might soon fit you again.

I too have kept a few such items. 

I think I have three or four pairs of jeans that I kept, though I am not sure for how long I’ll do this, to be honest. 

I don’t fit into them quite yet. I’m nearly at my pre-pregnancy weight, but my body has changed and they just don’t fit right anymore. 

I’ll probably keep them a bit longer and see if I fit into them eventually. 

If not, I might let them go. In the meantime, I’m keeping them stored away.

Here’s the thing: keeping all of those items that don’t fit in your everyday wardrobe, opening the door or drawers, and seeing them every day can actually have a very negative effect on your mental health. 

Sometimes you might not realize it, but you see them and subconsciously you have these thoughts, like ‘ugh, I haven’t lost that weight yet’, ‘I’m such a failure because I said I would lose it by now and I haven’t lost that weight’ or ‘I’m very weak because I said I would work out but I didn’t’.

All of these thoughts can have a real negative effect on you. 

This is why I highly recommend that if you do want to keep some items that don’t fit you right now, keep them stored away (under your bed, in a basket, in a storage bin). 

Don’t let them stay in your everyday wardrobe where you can see them daily and feel bad about yourself. 

6. The slow process of selling the item of clothing

People have reported that what makes decluttering difficult is the prospect of trying to sell clothes and getting some money back, a process they feel can be very slow. 

And that’s very true. 

Yes, you can try to sell your items and depending on where you bought them from, they might have a good resale value, but they might not. 

This can take a lot of time, and I think it’s important to be realistic as to how much time you have to dedicate to this.

As we’ve said before, the money is gone, but yes, you can try to get a little bit back. I too have tried to sell a few of my items. I have a blogpost where I share my tips on selling your clutter and how I made over £1,400 selling my clutter in the past. 

But I do think it’s important to be realistic as to how much time you can allocate to this. 

In some cases, it might be better just to let go of those items to protect your mental health rather than keep them longer to try and get back a few pounds.

7. Sustainability and environment-friendly disposal

This is another aspect raised by people in my community, as they’ve said they worry about being sustainable and protecting our planet.

The truth is, keeping clothes in your wardrobe without wearing them just because you bought them does nothing necessarily for the planet. 

And you can find ways of disposing of your clothes in an environmentally-friendly way.

You can try and sell them instead of throwing them away. 

This way, your clothes are going to end up with somebody that’s going to use them. 

Or you can take them to a charity shop where they can be bought by other people. You can also choose to donate some of your clothes to somebody who needs them. 

Decluttering your clothes is going to make a big shift in your mindset as to how you’re purchasing things in the future. 

And I think the sustainability part of the process happens at the time of purchase.

In my case, I started using Vinted more and getting pre-loved items instead of going to the shops and buying new items. And I think that’s actually one of the best ways for our planet to shop. 

I’m not saying I’m perfect at being sustainable, but I do feel like my mindset has definitely shifted since I started decluttering and my shopping habits are more environment-friendly now. 

8. The fear of being left with nothing

Someone else said they worry about ending up with nothing and having to buy a whole wardrobe all over again.

The good news is that decluttering your clothes in your wardrobe doesn’t mean getting rid of all of your items. 

And it doesn’t mean getting rid of anything that you love and you actually wear. 

So you’re not going to end up with nothing.

What will happen is that you are going to end up with all the things that you actually wear, and I think that’s an amazing and liberating feeling. 

The Simple Wardrobe Experiment (How to Declutter Fast)

Now let’s talk about the simple wardrobe experiment that you can also try at home to see how it feels.

Simple Wardrobe Experiment (Why Decluttering Clothes is Hard)

In my wardrobe, I keep things in three categories:

  • Clothes that make me feel good
  • Items that fit me right now
  • Season-appropriate clothes

Any other item that doesn’t fit in any of these three categories has to go out of my wardrobe. I will either declutter it (donate or sell it) or store it away, depending on what it is.

Seasonal items go into storage in a few baskets that I keep on top of my wardrobe. 

Other items, like clothes that don’t fit me right now, plus fancy shoes or a party dress, go under the bed in the drawers we have there. These are not items that I need in my everyday wardrobe as I don’t wear them daily. 

And I made sure I didn’t have too many items like this. I have one pair of nude heeled shoes and one pair of black-heeled shoes, for example.

Wear it or give it away

When I started the experiment, I had many cute items but I wasn’t wearing them. And I’ve been doing the ‘wear it or give it away’ method. 

For each item that was cute and I hadn’t worn in a while, I challenged myself to wear it in the week of the experiment. 

When I put it on, if I felt like, ‘No, I actually don’t want to wear it, it doesn’t make me feel good for some reason, even though it’s kind of cute’, that was my sign that I can let go of it.

If you’ve got items like that too, try this: put it on and wear it for the day. 

If there’s something that makes you feel like you actually don’t want to wear it, it doesn’t feel good on you, then you are free to let go of it. 

There’s no point in keeping it. 

Your sign to let go

In general, when we look at an item and it’s not a clear ‘yes, I love this,’ chances are it’s a ‘maybe,’ or ‘I don’t know if I should keep this’. 

That’s usually a sign that you can let it go. 

I know this can be hard, and doing this for too many items can feel like a lot. But it can happen that many items don’t scream ‘yes’ at you, and it can turn out that there are many items that you don’t actually love. 

The ‘decide later’ box

For this part of the experiment, I highly recommend you take a storage bin or box and make that a ‘decide later’ box. 

In it you will put away any of the ‘maybe’ items that you’re not sure of, you’re uncertain if you should let go of them or not. 

Put them in there and store them away for now. 

This frees you up from the pressure of decluttering and making decisions right now. You don’t have to get rid of anything you’re not ready to let go of right now. 

Just put them in the ‘decide later’ box and see in a few months how you feel about them.

If you haven’t missed them, if you can’t even remember what’s in there (which has happened to me), then you are free to let go. 

You don’t have to keep any of them anymore. 

The simple feel-good wardrobe you’ll have

Through this experiment of storing away anything that doesn’t fit you, doesn’t really feel good or that’s like a ‘maybe’ but you’re not sure yet, you’re going to have in your wardrobe only the things that you love, that fit you, and that make you feel good. 

This means that when you open your wardrobe in the morning, it’s going to feel like a breath of fresh air. 

It’s going to feel liberating. 

Anything is going to be an option for you to wear that day, and that’s an amazing feeling. 

So go ahead and give this experiment a go. 

You might just find that you don’t miss any of those items that you put in your ‘decide later’ box. And you might also fall in love again with your wardrobe.

I hope this was helpful. Do let me know, in the comments below, how you’re getting on with decluttering your clothes, I love hearing from you!

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