4 Common Wardrobe Decluttering Mistakes You Should Always Avoid


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Avoid making potentially expensive and time consuming wardrobe decluttering mistakes by following the tips in this guide. They will empower you to make confident decisions about what to keep and what to let go of, so you can achieve a wardrobe that sparks joy and makes getting dressed a breeze.

4 Mistakes To Avoid When You Declutter Your Wardrobe

Have you ever struggled to get your clothes sorted into those all important variety of piles relating to KEEP or GIVING AWAY?

Actually making a decision over what to keep has to be the hardest part of decluttering clothes, and is often where people get stuck and give up.

I wanted to share with you the 4 main wardrobe decluttering mistakes that I found I was constantly running into on my latest sort through of my own clothes, so that you can avoid a similar trap and get the sorting done much more easily.

After all, when you declutter your wardrobe, if you can identify what stumbling blocks you may have right up front then you are much more in control of the whole process, and this alone can be enough to get you making better decisions.

I hope it helps!

First, a bit of backstory…

A couple of weeks ago I spent a few hours going through my wardrobe – something that I have been wanting to do for a while now, as it was nagging me.  

I wanted to go through it properly, and therefore needed a block of time, and so I planned it in when I knew the rest of the family was busy. Perfect!

As with any organising that I do – I wanted to follow a plan – and so my wardrobe organising skills came in handy!

I had a plan of where I wanted my clothes to go, and I took everything out and put it on the bed – but then came the sorting step – and that is always the most difficult to do, and where most of us struggle to varying degrees.

I find that my clothes are difficult to sort – for a variety of reasons: –

  • I hate clothes shopping – so I want what I buy to last and to work hard for me – getting rid of any of them may mean I have to replace them….
  • I don’t like spending money on clothes – so sorting through means I may see that I have wasted money on clothes I rarely wear
  • Some of my clothes are kept as they have memories attached, or because I have pretty much always had them!
  • I have clothes of various sizes after having my daughter – maybe I will need these again?

…and these are my stumbling blocks.

You may have a list that’s quite similar – or things that are totally different for your circumstances – but it’s important to recognise what they are before you start trying to sort.

When I started looking through my clothes, I started to get those all too familiar feelings of overwhelm, of being unsure, and other negative emotions.

But of course, I was aware this would happen.

I’m unsure whether you can ever get to the point where you can completely switch off emotion when decluttering and sorting your things. But, recognising that you WILL, and having ways to cope with this, can make it OK.

The key I always remember is that it’s normal to feel like that.

After all, I’m sorting through my personal items. These are things that mean something to me (or did at some point).

These personal items have their list of stumbling blocks attached, and those become centre in my head when I look at them.

I wanted to focus more on the happy emotions of sorting my clothes – as this makes it a much easier task then, and as such, I wanted to turn the focus around to the positive rather than the negative.

To do this, I looked at the potential mistakes I would make while sorting my clothes, and turned them round into a positive.

Wardrobe decluttering mistakes

#1 – Not having the end in mind

It’s all too easy to get bogged down by each and every item of clothing that you own – and that can take so much time (depending on how big your wardrobe is).

If you focus on the negatives of getting rid of things, then you are missing the very positive experience that you are trying to achieve – i.e. ending up with a wardrobe of clothes that you love, that you will wear, that’s easy to find what you need, and that makes you smile.

Whenever I started to get too focused on the little things, I took a step back and refocused on the bigger picture.

Related: Why Understanding Your Style Can Help Minimise Your Wardrobe

#2 – Overlooking clothes that have always been there

I do have a tendency to only look at obvious clutter when sorting my clothes – and this means that all too often items simply get taken out and put back in without a second glance.

They have always been there, so I must use them loads, right?

Most of the time this is completely wrong.

I’ve just become blind to them, and that means not only blind when sorting through them, but blind when it comes to picking my clothes to wear each day.

The clothes are becoming a mainstay in my wardrobe, but for very little reason apart from how long I have owned them for.

As I recognised this, I turned it into a positive by reframing my thinking.

I made myself really look at each item of clothing in the pile, seeing it properly and making my conscious focus on it.

In practise this takes seconds to do, but makes a huge difference in what I was able to sort through.

Some of the clothes that I had previously put straight back into the wardrobe were actually shown to be clothes I really never wear, and so I happily now put them into the other piles “CHARITY” or “TO SELL” etc….

#3 – Not trying things on

This also helps with #2!

If you try everything on before you make a decision then it’s much easier to say whether you like the item, whether it fits you, and whether you will wear it.

It’s easy to try and cut corners and save time by taking this step out – but actually you aren’t saving time in the long run because I can pretty much guarantee that you can declutter more of your clothes as a result of trying them on, and therefore don’t need to spend time in the future storing and looking after things you actually don’t wear.

TIP – Use a full length mirror and have good lighting (natural light is always best as it’s the most accurate in terms of colours and how you look)

#4 – Being over emotional

Clothes are a very personal item for most people. They are a reflection of your style and personality, and you have spent time and effort finding each piece that you own.

It therefore stands to reason that when you know in your gut that something needs to go – it is still really difficult to let it actually leave your home.

These emotions can be for a variety of reasons: –

You bought it and have never worn it

If you have really never worn it, then chances are you won’t even if you do keep it. That means it is doing you no good whether it’s in your wardrobe or not.

Actually – it’s doing you less good by staying, as you will be constantly reminded of the bad choice you made buying it in the first place.

Making the decision to sell it on, pass it over to a friend who may wear it, or give to charity, will make getting rid of it much easier as you are giving it a new lease of life (and allowing your own clothes to really reflect you properly).

You bought it and wore it once for a special occasion

That occasion has been and gone. The item has done a great job for you when needed, and now it’s probably time to let it go.

TIP – If it holds a fantastic memory for you, then take a photo of it and keep that with any photos of that occasion – this will take up much less space and keep your memories alive. You could even do this with your wedding dress if space is tight…

You bought it but it doesn’t fit anymore (or never actually did)

OK – we have all been there. The item of clothing has drawn you in in the shop – you fell in love with the fabric/colour/style – and just HAD to have it. Problem is – it actually didn’t fit you properly.

You promised yourself that you would lose a couple of pounds so it would be perfect – but it still doesn’t look right and so you have never worn it.

Or – you have had the item for a few years – and in that time have lost or gained weight – had a child and changed shape etc…

Both reasons means that there is something in your wardrobe, that although you love the look of – is about as useful as hanging a string of onions there in terms of whether you will wear it.

The answer here is to try it on again – and keep your end result in mind of having a wardrobe full of clothes you wear and love.

If there is anything left at the end of your decluttering that is still in your wardrobe that you couldn’t wear tomorrow – then does it really belong there at all?

You bought it, wore it to death, and now it’s past its best

If you can’t fix the issue with the item, then it’s the same as the previous point, in that you will never wear it and it’s as useless in your wardrobe as you can get.

I had a couple of tops that I really loved, but when I tried them I noticed that one had a hole in it, and the other had some of the decoration missing from the front. As a result I knew that I would not want to wear them again as they looked old and wouldn’t make me feel good in them.

It was easy to get rid of these as I was focussed on the goal of loving and wearing all the clothes that were left. However, because I knew I loved them and wore them so much, I added them to a TO BUY list so I could replace them when I saw a suitable item when shopping.

4 Mistakes To Avoid When You Declutter Your Wardrobe

So – there you have it – 4 wardrobe decluttering mistakes that are all too easy to make when sorting out your clothes: –

Not having the end in mind / Overlooking clothes that have always been there / Trying things on / Being over emotional

All too easy to get overwhelmed by, but also easy to turn around into positive feelings that will help you get through your sorting all the more easily.

Always focus on the end goal – what you want to achieve – and making the decisions will come.

Of course, the more you do it, the quicker you will find the decisions come to you – so keep going, and try to have some fun with it as well!

The result for me is a wardrobe that is not stuffed full so that I can’t see what I have – I have less items but actually wear more of them now, and I can find what I need easily.

The other weird thing that came out of the whole experience was that I actually found things I had forgotten I had, and I was able to make new outfits from what I already owned – shopping in my own wardrobe was fun!

Read Next: 7 Brilliant Reasons That Will Give You Motivation To Declutter Your Clothes Now!


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This article was written by Chrissy

Hi - I'm Chrissy... Having run my own business for 12 years as a Professional Organiser and Interior Designer, I know what works (and what doesn't!) when it comes to setting up a home that works both functionally and aesthetically. Now you can mostly find me in a coffee shop or at home, working full time on (which I setup back in 2011) sharing all my tips and ideas. My mission is to help you create a home that you love to live in every day...


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