Feb 16

How to Declutter Your Wardrobe Without Guilt

by Nona Dimitrova

Although not always, it feels like almost every time I embark on the journey of decluttering (or spring cleaning, Marie Kondo-ing, whatever you’d like to call it), I stumble upon certain items of clothing which feel like they’re crying out for me to keep them.


I know we often emphasise how important it can be to attach some sort of personal connection to an item — be it how you found it, what stage of your life you were in when you got it, events you’ve worn it to, or who gave it to you — because those can help us cease viewing clothing as something disposable.

I’ve felt this way about so many items during times of cutting down. The dress I wore on my first date with my boyfriend. The dress I wore to my high school graduation. An old top of my mum’s which she gave me. Something I bought the first time I came to visit London. I hold on to these things.

But just as it can do good, it can also do harm. To an extent, I feel as though I have somehow given these items the ability to have feelings, and disposing of them would hurt said fictional feelings.

So how do we navigate this minefield of exes in the shape of skirts and tops which make us feel guilty for even considering letting them go?

The unfortunate answer is that for the duration of our clearout ritual, we should adopt a very stoic attitude. For a little bit, at least.

Think about things like:

  • The last time you wore the outfit
  • New & different ways you could style it
  • An upcoming event you could wear it to

If none of the above offer any inspiration, then perhaps we’ve reached the point where letting go is the right thing to do. And that’s where the guilt comes in — how is it that this item, which you couldn’t wait to wear once, now makes you feel nothing at all (sans the guilt)?

But that’s absolutely okay. Sometimes things, like clothes or people — if we’re going to continue the metaphor — have lived out their purpose, and we’re allowed to feel a little guilty about it. Reminisce on the good times’, the item has given you, and let it go. Donate it, resell it, or gift it to someone who might cherish the old memories you made and the new ones they’ll make. Whatever you feel is the best course of action. Allow yourself to feel a little bad, and then allow yourself to make new wardrobe memories.

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