How to Declutter Your Wardrobe: 3 Easy Questions to Ask Yourself

Thrifting is a pastime focused on the accumulation of things – and if you’re anything like me, you like to partake in this pastime often, which means your accumulation of things inevitably creates clutter in your home.

Clutter is healthy in the average household, but clutter in a thrifter’s household has potential to get out of control. As a chronic thrifter myself,  I sometimes feel like I own not one, but three wardrobes!

That’s why each spring, I spend a few hours sorting through my closet to decide what to keep and what to donate back to my local Salvation Army. This annual ritual is like a breath of fresh air to my apartment, opening much-needed space while also inspiring me to reflect on why no material possession could ever replace the love of my family, friends and God.

Letting go isn’t always easy, so to help inspire your decluttering I’m sharing the 3 most important questions I ask myself when deciding whether to toss or keep a piece of clothing. Read the article “How to Declutter” on my site for more spring cleaning inspiration. 

Sammy Davis Vintage, The Salvation Army, Thrifting, Family Stores, Organizing, Donating, Donations, Spring Cleaning

Question #1: “Does this fit me right now?”

We’re all guilty of hoarding a favorite dress, a pair of jeans, a bathing suit and other pieces we save in hopes our future plans to diet will manifest the body to fit them. While it’s wise to have a few of those pieces on hand, it’s not healthy to maintain a closet full of garments you wore two dress sizes ago.

Loosen up the pressure to lose that weight – while gaining valuable real estate in your closet – by sorting through those pieces and donating 90 percent of them back to the thrift store. Keep 10 percent (or 1 piece for every 10) and remember that if you ever need a new wardrobe, it’s only an affordable thrift trip to Salvation Army away!

Sammy Davis Vintage, The Salvation Army, Thrifting, Family Stores, Organizing, Donating, Donations, Spring Cleaning

Question #2: “Does this need mending?”

Is that missing button, tear, ripped seam or loose hem something you’re ever going to get around to fixing? If the answer is no, chances are you’re prioritizing other things in your life over tending to those garments in need of some TLC.

And that’s totally OK! We can’t all be super thrifters, moms, bosses, cooks, seamstresses … you get the picture!

If you still want to salvage a special piece, consider visiting your local tailor and paying for a quick fix. Or, ask friends if their daughters sew and would want to earn some extra cash mending your garments. You’ll feel good knowing you’ve invested back into the economy without the pressure of having to do the job yourself. 

Sammy Davis Vintage, The Salvation Army, Thrifting, Family Stores, Organizing, Donating, Donations, Spring Cleaning

Question #3: “Have I worn this in the past six months?”

After answering questions one and two, take a hard look at the pieces of your remaining wardrobe and visualize the last time you wore each garment. If you can’t remember, toss the garment into one pile.  If you can visualize how you wore the piece and it was worn in the past six months, toss it in another. If you can see the outfit but you wore it over a year ago, toss it in a third pile.

The first pile are the garments you should definitely donate. If you can’t even remember when you wore it last, the chances are slim you’ll ever wear it again.

The second and third piles are for clothing you may wear again. Combine these two piles and reviewing each piece a second time, ask yourself, “If I had to wear this piece tomorrow, how would I wear it?” If you can’t answer the question, then add the piece to the pile for donations. Ideally you’ll lose 50 percent of piles two and three that when combined with pile one, is a sizeable amount of clothing you feel comfortable donating.

So this weekend, ask yourself these three questions to declutter your wardrobe to a more manageable size and re-discover what garments help you to look and feel your best. It’s a state of mindful dressing that your closet (and the thrift store) will thank you for!

Sammy Davis believes every woman should make vintage a part of her wardrobe, which is why she founded Sammy Davis Vintage and authored the first book about online vintage shopping, the 100 Best Vintage Shops Online. She resides in New York City with two (Manhattan-size) closets of secondhand treasures. 

5 Comments on “How to Declutter Your Wardrobe: 3 Easy Questions to Ask Yourself

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  2. I’ve shopped Salvation Army Thriftstores for over 20 yrs. I would give my boys $1 a piece and they would LOVE to sift thru the toys and always found something they wanted!!! My youngest always would come home with a tie and sports jacket….he loved dressing up as a businessman. My oldest loves action figures and games.I love the books and household items (of course the clothes!). It was an exciting treasure hunt for us every Saturday. Some of my fondest memories with my children are spending those Saturday’s together going to the thrift store and then getting a hamburger meal on the way home!!

    My oldest is in college now and he still shops at the Thrift store! I only recently realized what great service they do for people in need. I’m proud to be a Salvation Army Thrift Store shopper and donater! I’ve always given at Christmas to the red kettle drives but after this year I’m going to be giving a lot more, God willing. Thank you for what you stand for and what you are doing! You are touching lives more than you know, you are building family memories and teaching responsible spending,

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