Shopping Ban: Decluttering (Clothing)

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

One of the first steps to appreciating what you have is by putting it all on the floor. All of it. Every last item. Because then when you're standing in front of a mountain of clothes, you can't listen to yourself say, "I have nothing to wear". Because it's not true. You have a mountain to wear—that's the problem.

I started my first shopping ban declutter session by doing just this. I took every piece of clothing, every accessory, every piece of underwear, every mismatched sock, and I dumped it on the floor. It all literally filled the room.

My sea of shame pre- and post-declutter


I started by going through each item and making three piles:

- A "hell yes" pile: the pile of clothes I didn't even consider getting rid of because I love them
- A "nope" pile: the pile of clothes that were an obvious no
- A "maybe" pile: the pile of clothes I couldn't make a decision on immediately or I was unsure about

Splitting items into these piles was a relatively quick process. I went with my gut so whatever the first feeling I got about an item of clothing, I went with it. It could be a "nope" and still have the tags on it. It didn't matter. If I didn't love it, it must go.

The next thing I did was go through my "hell yes" pile and sort it into spring/summer clothing, fall/winter clothing, fitness clothing, barn clothing, outerwear, and lounge clothing. From there, I broke things out by what they were (sweater, top, jeans, pants, etc), wrote it down on a sticky note and put the items I decided to keep away. Winter clothing went into the closet. Fall, spring, and summer clothing gets stored away (in vacuum sealed bags so I could actually fit all of it into one container).

The next pile I went through was my "nope" pile. I sorted this into "donate", "trash", and "sell" piles. The trash pile went into the garbage. The donate pile is waiting its turn for the washing machine before getting dropped off to my local thrift shop, and the sell pile I split further into a pile for in-season and off-season. There were a number of items that I'd consider fall/winter pieces, which means those items will need my attention before the summer dresses.

Lastly, I went through the "maybe" pile. I only had three options here: "keep", "keep for six months", or "toss/donate". "Keep" and "toss" are self-explanatory, but the "keep for six months" pile arose because there were items of clothing that I truly loved but they are a size or two too small. So I've given them 6 months to fit, which means that in six months (April 2020) I will try them on again and if they still don't fit then it will be time to say goodbye. This particular pile of clothing will be stored until April because I don't want to hang them or put them in drawers and make myself think they are a viable option while they are not. Only items that I love and can be worn this season get displayed.

All of this took about three hours. Not nearly as long I imagined it would when I first laid eyes upon the small country of clothing I had created on my living room floor.

Next stop, shoes and bags!

You can follow along with my shopping ban journey by clicking here to read more articles.