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Declutter Your Closet: Why is it So Hard to Let Go of Clothes?

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How to Declutter Your Closet

Decluttering is a vital part of maintaining a simple and organized home. Shouldn’t your time be used for things you want to do, instead of maintaining a home full of unneeded items?
 Even for those of us who are experts at cutting clutter, clothing and closets can still be a difficult area to clear out.  Use the basic steps below and the decluttering criteria to learn how to declutter your closet.

Why is it So Hard to Let Go of Clothes?

Clothing is personal and it’s easy to attach memories to items. Special occasion clothes, souvenir clothes… these items may not look great or even fit you, yet they represent a memory you want to hold on to.
Maybe you hated the dress you wore in your sister’s wedding and would never wear it again, but there it is in the back of your closet. Maybe you bought a t-shirt that says “Grand Canyon” during vacation that is 3 sizes too large, but you kept it because it’s a souvenir. Maybe you have a sweater that your Aunt Isabelle knitted for you that has two different length sleeves, but you kept it because she made it and gave it to you.
Maybe you’re one of us who keeps clothes that are too small. How many too small clothes are in your closet right now? Not just a little snug, but several sizes too small – we’re talking 5 years ago too small.
Even if we know deep inside that the clothes don’t fit now and probably never will again, it’s too hard to throw them out because we’re saving the memory attached to them. The memory of what it felt like to be thinner. The memory of what it felt like to look great in those clothes. The power from seeing where we once were and knowing we can do it again. In other words, knowing that if we work out hardcore and eat nothing but celery for two months we can be that size again!

Those memories may be in our minds, and they may be attached to those clothes, but if that attachment isn’t serving us then it’s time to move on. Be in control of your life! Start with your closet!Disney RichardBH

You have the photos from your sister’s wedding; giving up the dress won’t make you  forget the special day.

You have photos from your Disney vacation; you don’t need the souvenir t-shirts.

You have the sentiment that someone thought about you and gave you a gift from the heart, but even they wouldn’t want you to keep something just because you feel obligated.

Too small clothes? It’s time to face the facts: you’re not that size anymore. If you become that small size in the future, celebrate by buying new clothes that are in style (not retro from your old skinny days!).

Whatever your reason, it’s time to let go of it. If you must have the clothing memory, take photos of the items before you purge them.  Print out the decluttering criteria for clothes (don’t forget to print clothes decluttering part 2 also) and go to the closet to get started.

1. Repeat the mantra: “The only clothes that belong in my closet are clothes I wear that make me look and feel great.”
2. Take a deep breath, and put the bad clothes in a bag to donate.
3. Put the bag in your car without a second thought.
4. Feel the burden lift as you let go of attachments and items that don’t enrich your life.
5. Feel good to be in control and choose to be clutter free!

Remember:  Be in control of your life, your decisions, your closet, and your clothes!

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Danelle Ice is an entrepreneur in Los Angeles and mom of 3. She is the creator of and Danelle is also known as internet personality SimDanelle, the first virtual person. Danelle is a beauty guru on YouTube, vlogger, blogger, and new media darling. She is a current brand ambassador for for Keurig and previous AMD Tech Mom, Kraft Foods Delicious Byte brand ambassador, and Purex Insider.


  1. Sheila
    May 27, 2008 @ 12:43:00

    Hi Danielle!

    I actually like decluttering my closet. I find it a fun thing to do, because I love being organized. This year my kids and I actually went over to my mother’s and decluttered her closet. I don’t know why people would want to live with too much stuff. It gets too confusing.

    Anyway, I tagged you! Hope you don’t mind tags, but I got tagged and then had to pass the love around. Go Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today! for more details!


  2. Carrie @
    May 27, 2008 @ 18:26:00

    Decluttering my closet/kids is something I do twice a year.

    But, I had to laugh. I was a bridesmaid in 12 weddings, and all of those dresses are taking up almost one WHOLE closet.

    My husband wants me to get rid of them, but I spent so much money on each of them…I find it hard.

    But, where will I ever wear them again! Seriously!

    Time to get rid of them!


  3. imadramamama
    May 27, 2008 @ 20:01:00

    This is a great post! Thanks for sharing it.


  4. Richelle
    May 28, 2008 @ 01:43:00

    Great post! I need to do that!


  5. The Lazy Organizer
    May 28, 2008 @ 01:48:00

    So, so true! I don’t have a lot of clothes but I’m excited to finally get rid of my maternity clothes, the fat clothes, the skinny clothes and the in between clothes. I’m excited to be done having babies so I can go back to one size again and stay there!!!


  6. Danelle Ice
    Jun 01, 2008 @ 22:00:00

    Thanks for the comments ladies!

    @Sheila: Good for you! It’s always easier for me to help someone else than to do my own!

    @Carrie: I laughed hard at your comment (I’ve been there myself!). There’s always eBay, to try to recover some of the cost :)

    @Lazy: I’m with you – complete wardrobe for me through all seasons of maternity until I’m done having babies!
    Danelle, Home Ever After


    Jun 07, 2008 @ 07:34:00

    I think I’m going to take a picture of the shirt I wore on my first date with my husband and then give it away. I haven’t worn it in years, but it’s been hanging in my closet all this time…


  8. mommastantrum
    Jun 08, 2008 @ 23:11:00

    Thanks for this. I really needed this right now, with a closet full of clothes that I NEVER wear. I cleared out 2 drawers today and sent the bags with Hubby because the drop off (TAX DEDUCTABLE) is right next door to his work. Now I can’t go diving for them, and we have another deduction for our taxes!


  9. Saver Queen » Blog Archive » Tips for living well in your small apartment
    Oct 20, 2008 @ 12:04:46

    [...] 3. Get rid of stuff you don’t need.  This can be hard, but hanging on to products or clothes you no longer use will only weigh you down.  A good article on De-cluttering your closet can be found here. [...]


  10. Katelyn
    Oct 24, 2008 @ 16:01:56

    Great article. I laughed when I read “Not just a little snug, but several sizes too small – we’re talking 5 years ago too small.” A few years ago I gained some weight, but hung onto these awesome jeans that I knew I would fit into again someday. Well, someday happened and when I went back to my closet to try on those beloved jeans I learned that they were high-waisted and *gasp* a little TAPERED (remember this was a few years ago, before skinny jeans came back, so it was really horrifying). I vowed that moment never to keep things in the hopes of fitting into them again. What a disappointment!!


  11. Anonymous
    Mar 11, 2009 @ 09:35:55

    I was so glad to stumble upon this article. My mother passed away 6 years ago this April, and I’m having a really tough time giving in to it. When I look at the clothes they make me remeber her, but like your article stated, I’ve got pictures galore of my mother! The other hint I will now try to abide to is only having in my closet what feels good and fits. So true. It’s so depressing anyway to try old jeans on, it’s almost like I need to close the chapter on my “skinny jean” days. What a great writer you are, I look forward to reading more inspirational articles.


  12. Jo-Ann
    Apr 09, 2009 @ 21:03:02

    My daughter has been pressuring me to throw/give away all my “80s clothes” which occupy half of her closet in her room. I know I probably should, but I still find it hard. I’m doing it little by little. It does not help that she goes “ewe!, what’s this?” and “ugh, this is ugly!” when it holds a lot of memories for me, good ones at that. Thank you for the article and I’m getting to that point where I will just give them all away.


    • adflij
      Jun 11, 2012 @ 21:29:11

      You could make a quilt out of the old clothes.

      That would take up less space than the clothes, and be useful.


  13. Home Ever After
    Apr 09, 2009 @ 21:22:19

    @Jo-Ann: Good for you for being strong! Make a special “80s clothes scrapbook” in which you take pics of all the outfits in your daughter’s closet. Put each photo on a scrapbook page, and write up a story it reminds you of. You’ll have all your good memories intact in a scrapbook your daughter might actually think is pretty cool when all is said and done (and she gets to know a little about her mom’s younger days!). Great work- you can do it!

    Danelle, Home Ever After


  14. Darryen
    Sep 25, 2009 @ 22:49:31

    I have a lot of t-shirts that I collected while traveling which clutter and I never wear. Instead of throwing them out I have decided to cut out the logos and make a blanket out of them. That way I can still have those family memories of traveling and the old shirts can be used again. Cutting them up and sewing the pieces together also saves space.


  15. EJ
    Mar 05, 2011 @ 02:54:21

    When my aunt passed away towards the end of last year, my mum made me take quite a lot of her clothes. She also took some bits for herself and then left it at my place. Some of the items are rather old, but did cost a fortune at the time as they are high-end designer suits, shirts, jackets, etc. Problem is that they are so over the top, I can never see myself wearing them. She was an incredibly stylish woman and she died young. What do I do with this stuff, which is in my loft? I cannot tell my mum if I get rid of it. It just feels that they should be moved from loft to loft. I like living clutter free and this stuff is bearing down on me.


  16. Roxy
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 15:11:21

    Hello, im fourteen years old and i know this is kinda pathetic but i love shopping and i have trouble getting rid of my clothes. I was a little bit heavier when i was younger and three years ago i lost 20 pounds. Im now a size five and smaller than i’ve ever been. i still fit into things from third grade. Im in eight grade! my doctor said i was done growing so i kept the clothes. im accually still trying to tone my body and lose just a wee bit more. but then i would still fit into my clothes. every year i seem to get a size or two smaller hopefully i’ll stop at size 2 or 3 haha. But i always kept the clothes because i love them and i still fit and there still in style. Accually i could care less whether i dress i style. im my own person so i dont care but what i do care about is getting rid of some of my clothes. this article helped me a lot. i fell confedent that i can now get rid of some things i dont need. :)


  17. Home Ever After
    Mar 11, 2009 @ 10:23:17

    @SCook: I am so sorry to hear the news about your mother. I can only imagine how tough it is for you to take on that project, especially with all the special memories that are involved. Why not try picking a few favorite articles of her clothing, and having them put into shadowboxes from your favorite craft store? That way you can hang them on the wall, maybe even with a photo or 2 included, where they’ll be displayed as the special items they are.

    Thank you for the compliment – I love to be able to help. Good luck on your project, and may you have all the strength you need!

    Danelle, Home Ever After


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