Minimize Your Wardrobe – Challenge #3: If it you don’t wear it, don’t spare it

Minimize | A Project focused on cleaning out every corner where we collect clutter. For more on this series visit How I Sustain Blog (

This post miniseries on Cleaning out your Closet is part of my project #minimize: the the project where I get rid of all the things. It’s an awesome project. And it comes from a deep-rooted place in my soul – which is why you should check back on Thursdays to see all of the small yet awesome ways you can downsize clutter and live like a minimalist. If you want to know more about why I’m doing this project, read the first post.

Last week I continued Closet Clean Out/ Minimize miniseries with a simple, but challenging message: don’t keep what you don’t like. Today is the third part of that miniseries.

After you get rid of the clothes that don’t fit, and the things you wear but don’t like, it’s easier to spot another set of things you don’t need: the clothes you never wear.

I know exactly what this set of clothes is for me: things I’ve been given, things I bought more for the deal than the function, things that don’t quite fit with anything else that I wear, things I thought I would love, but don’t. And I keep these things, mostly, because they’re nice. And because I should want to wear them. Or – well – somebody should.

These are items I pass over every time I have the opportunity to wear them. I look at them and I say “eh – maybe not this time.” And instead of wearing that top or skirt, I find something better. Something that feels good on my body. Something that makes me feel very me. Something that I actually like.

And so those accumulated bad purchases and hand-me-downs stay in my closet – or dresser, or storage – for a long time. Through seasons. Sometimes years. And they remain perfectly intact because I NEVER WEAR THEM.

There are SO many times when I’ve looked at something and said – “ooh! I could wear this today” or “maybe today is the day!”  – as if I’ve been intentionally keeping that item in my closet just for this one specific occasion.

And, in those moments when I do attempt to wear it, I can’t find anything to wear with it. Maybe it’s a top that rides too high. Or too low. Or has a neckline that bothers me. Or the sleeves are too short. Or it’s a light fabric, but long sleeves and we never have the right weather for it. Or I don’t have the right color to layer it with. Or I don’t have the right skirt to go with it.

And that’s when I remember why it sat it my closet for so long.

And I put it back in my closet.

And it stays there for weeks and months and seasons.

And I wonder why I can’t get rid of it.

But maybe I got a compliment on it once. Maybe I mean to wear it, but I always choose other things. Maybe it’s the only item in its niche (this is the perfect top for weekday lunch with an old friend in the second week of June!). Maybe I hold it out of guilt for a wasteful purchase. And maybe – as penance – I keep it for a season. And, after that, I keep it longer because I never wore it. And, after that, I keep it because it’s still in perfect condition.

Minimize | A Project focused on cleaning out every corner where we collect clutter. For more on this series visit How I Sustain Blog (

Sometimes the solution is to buy something to wear with it. And sometimes, when you do that, that item can add a lot of mileage to your wardrobe.

But, with these things, in this closet, they just have to go.

This has been the hardest part of the challenge so far. It was easy for me to identify the things that didn’t fit and the things that I didn’t like because it was a fairly conscious experience. As in, every time I wore that certain dress, it hurt my arms, and every time I needed something to wear, I avoided that shirt I didn’t like.

But now I have to accept that it was a waste. And it’s never going to happen. And I need to just let it go.

And it was quite liberating. The more things I found, the easier it became. And I kept telling myself “someone else will want this more” and, in the moment, that seemed to work.

So this week, I challenge you to identify the items in your closet you never wear. And pass them on to someone else. And feel the joy and liberation of a smaller closet.

Minimize Wardrobe Challenge #3 - if you don't wear it don't spare it


Stay tuned for next week, when I share the fourth installment closet clean out challenge.

I would love to hear your results!