Nurturing Beauty Style Secrets Blog

10 Reasons You Have Too Many Clothes

Women never come to me and say I want lots of clothes. Nope…never. In fact, more often than not they tell me that they want to simplify. My interpretation of this is that they want fewer clothes that they wear more often. And while some women might want and actually enjoy accumulating clothes, mostly the pleasure comes from wearing them.

Does this ring true for you, too? Does your sense of yearning come from feeling unfulfilled in your wardrobe (often over a period of years before it gets to the breaking point). You’ve settled into a “good enough” look and then one day notice that you wear the same things over and over because they are easy, and many things hang unworn in your closet.

Multiply this by a million (I suspect it’s at least that many) and that’s a lot of clothes not being worn, and, more importantly, a lot of women feeling out of sorts.

So, why do you have too many clothes? There are lots of reasons and I’ll discuss a lot of them here:

1. You Love To Shop: Let’s get this one out of the way because chances are good that if you’re reading this it is not one of your reasons: you love to shop and enjoy creating beautiful outfits and the biggest problem you encounter is that you don’t have enough days in the week to wear them all as often as you’d like. Okay, so there…we said it. There are some women out there like that for sure but unless they run out of closet space they are usually pretty happy with what they have. If this is you, it can still be helpful to pare things down periodically to the outfits that are your most favorite. Why not do this quarterly? Donate garments, consign, have a clothing swap with your friends, or at least pack lesser-worn items away to see if you really miss them.

2. You Might Need It Someday: This is a biggie. You’ve rarely (or never) worn it. You’re not even sure you like it or that it fits, but, hey, what if you need it someday to complete an outfit. No! No! No! If you can’t make an outfit with it right now (and especially if you don’t love it), get it out of your closet (pack it away if you can’t bear to get rid of it completely). And, if you’re not sure if it can work in your wardrobe get help to find out first. You won’t believe the relief you’ll feel knowing one way or the other. Remember, there is no room in your closet for things you don’t love.

3. Giveaways and Hand-Me-Downs: This is one of those really tricky areas. People feel good about passing things along but they need to work for you…I mean really work for you! Comfort and free clothes are not the most important criteria to consider – it’s a reasonable (and fun) starting place but, before you decide to keep it and wear it, you must ask yourself these questions for starters: Is it a good color? Does it fit or can it be (and will you) tailored? Can you make a complete outfit out of it? If it can’t pass those tests, it goes away!

4. You Spent Good Money On It: All the more reason to understand why it does or doesn’t work so you can either wear it or let it go. Once you know how to complete the outfit you can get your money’s worth out of it. Or, if you finally understand why it doesn’t work, you can let it go and chalk it up to a learning experience (and be wary of making that mistake again).

5. Your Weight Fluctuates: Join the crowd! Raise your hand if you own clothes in more than one size. I can assure that 95% of all women (especially those of us over 40) just raised their hands. It’s okay. Relax and take a breath…phew. What’s not okay, however is keeping all the sizes in the same closet. No! Only the clothes that fit you now belong in the closet you use on a daily basis. Everything else needs to be in another closet or packed away until they do fit.

6. Clinging to the Past: Do you have clothes in your closet from 1992…1987 or even before? Clothes from another job where you had to dress more conservatively? Clothes from a past lifestyle when you used to sail all the time or attend a lot of formal functions? Assessing whether your wardrobe addresses your current lifestyle needs is very important. Hanging onto things you used to wear will keep you stuck in a rut and won’t help you feel authentically you anymore. (And, a special word about the energy of clothes. If some of your past outfits were from a painful or unpleasant time in your past, all the more reason to remove them immediately. You don’t need to keep that energy alive in your closet – it will only deplete you.)

7. It’s Classic: This follows right on the heels of “clinging to the past.” Yes, some styles have a timeless quality about them but many fewer than you would think. Chanel jackets are one thing but even little black dresses and something as basic as jeans go through style changes as the years pass. Yes, you want to take good care of your clothes so you can wear them as long as possible, but the main purpose of your clothes is to be worn. If you really love them and enjoy wearing them…then wear them so much that they wear out. Yes! That means you’ve gotten your money’s worth and have enjoyed the garment before it goes out of style (which 99% of the time will happen).

8. Peer Pressure: This is a tricky one. There’s a fine line between helpful advice from BFF, mother, sister and friendly sales woman and being railroaded into buying something you don’t love. Who needs to add one more thing to their wardrobe that doesn’t feel wonderful? Yes, you want to step out and try new things AND at the same time honor who you are (not the people who are trying to help you). The more you can feel self-confident knowing what you love and what you don’t love the easier it will be to say no to unwanted pressure to buy.

9. Searching For the Perfect Pieces: I once did a wardrobe consultation with a woman who had easily 40 white blouses in her closet. Of those 40 blouses, she generally wore 1 or 2. That’s it! So why did she have so many? Because someone had mistakenly told her that every woman should have a white blouse in her wardrobe and, even if that were true, she discovered that finding the perfect white blouse was trickier than she thought. She kept buying them hoping she’d find one that she loved. She didn’t. The solution? Stop buying white blouses! Find out if a white blouse really speaks to who you are and if so, hold out for one that makes your heart sing (and that you can actually make a complete outfit out of). Otherwise, try something else.

10. You Can’t Get Rid of Anything: This one is arguably the trickiest. It really depends on why you can’t get rid of things. It could be a combination of the reasons above or it could be more deep seeded in which case getting some outside guidance will be so important. Holding on to things that no longer serve you because of past experiences or because they give you peace will eventually backfire. Finding peace within your soul will help you move things along with grace and ease.

Wow! Do you see yourself in one (or more) of those? If so, the most important thing is to take one baby step at a time. That’s it. Just one!

Overwhelm is one of the big reasons women never do anything about an out of control wardrobe. The closet door closes and it’s out of sight out of mind until the next time you get dressed. And, then it smacks you in the face again. Living with that kind of frustration day in and day out does not make for a happy experience.

Getting dressed is meant to be a joyful (or at the very least easy and satisfying) experience. So, what’s the one step you will take in the next 24 hours to move you out of overwhelm and closer to joy? ________________ Please share in the comments area below. Making this commitment will tell the universe you are ready to do some clearing, and we’ll all help support you!

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  • Sheila

    Great article Ginger, and oh so true.

  • Sheila

    Great article Ginger, and oh so true.

  • Hollis

    This is one of the BEST articles I have read on fashion, clothing and clutter, Rings so true!u00a0 There are a couple of garments I simply can’t discard. The embroidered jacket my mother impulsively bought me on one of our lunch jaunts because she thought I looked cute in it (I wore it to my 40th college reunion dinner and, a few weeks, later, to deliver her eulogy.) The silk jacket I hastily threw over a charmeuse shell and denim mini skirt because my husband insisted it was fine for him to wear jeans to a wedding (OUR wedding. I wanted us to look like we at least belonged to the same species.) These memory items live on in my storage closet. But I am taking Ginger’s advice to heart w.r.t everything else. Ah, clothes – they are inanimate objects; they don’t have feelings! Or so I tell myself. Bottomless closet and the local Salvation Army drop box have been the beneficiaries of Ginger’s wisdom! Reality check, big time!

    • http://TotalImageConsultants.com Ginger Burr

      Thanks so much, Hollis.u00a0 Clothes certainly can hold memories — and you have some biggies.u00a0 And, you’re right, the clothes themselves do not have feelings and our memories are always with us.u00a0 Good for you for taking it all to heart and clearing out your wardrobe of the things that are no longer serving you.u00a0 Sending lots of encouragement and inspiration!u00a0 Thanks for sharing this.

  • Hollis

    This is one of the BEST articles I have read on fashion, clothing and clutter, Rings so true!  There are a couple of garments I simply can’t discard. The embroidered jacket my mother impulsively bought me on one of our lunch jaunts because she thought I looked cute in it (I wore it to my 40th college reunion dinner and, a few weeks, later, to deliver her eulogy.) The silk jacket I hastily threw over a charmeuse shell and denim mini skirt because my husband insisted it was fine for him to wear jeans to a wedding (OUR wedding. I wanted us to look like we at least belonged to the same species.) These memory items live on in my storage closet. But I am taking Ginger’s advice to heart w.r.t everything else. Ah, clothes – they are inanimate objects; they don’t have feelings! Or so I tell myself. Bottomless closet and the local Salvation Army drop box have been the beneficiaries of Ginger’s wisdom! Reality check, big time!

    • http://TotalImageConsultants.com Ginger Burr

      Thanks so much, Hollis.  Clothes certainly can hold memories — and you have some biggies.  And, you’re right, the clothes themselves do not have feelings and our memories are always with us.  Good for you for taking it all to heart and clearing out your wardrobe of the things that are no longer serving you.  Sending lots of encouragement and inspiration!  Thanks for sharing this.

  • Robinmccree

    Wonderful! u00a0You definitely read my mail!

  • Robinmccree

    Wonderful!  You definitely read my mail!

  • Lmckinney1

    Wow, I saw your link on Facebook and am so glad I did …I am definitely going to pare down my closet …wonderful tips. Thanks, Lori n

    • http://TotalImageConsultants.com Ginger Burr

      Thanks, Lori!u00a0 If you sign up for my newsletter (http://www.totalimageconsultants.com/subscribe.shtml) you’ll also get my free e-course that will help you clean out your closet.u00a0 It’s nice to have support and guidance.u00a0 Thanks for your kind words.u00a0 Have fun with it!

  • Lmckinney1

    Wow, I saw your link on Facebook and am so glad I did …I am definitely going to pare down my closet …wonderful tips. Thanks, Lori

    • http://TotalImageConsultants.com Ginger Burr

      Thanks, Lori!  If you sign up for my newsletter (http://www.totalimageconsultants.com/subscribe.shtml) you’ll also get my free e-course that will help you clean out your closet.  It’s nice to have support and guidance.  Thanks for your kind words.  Have fun with it!

  • http://technicalities.mu.nu/ Teresa

    I would add only one other… if you’re lazy like me ;-)u00a0 I know there are a few of us out there who really have to make a firm commitment of a day and time (maybe only a little time – like 15-20 minutes) and just move a few things out.u00a0 Then make another 20 minute time slot in a day or two and keep going til the job is done.u00a0 Otherwise we’ll walk in daily and say… “I should do something about this.” Then we walk out and go about our day and totally forget about it.u00a0 LOL.u00a0 I am notorious for doing these kinds of things.

    • http://TotalImageConsultants.com Ginger Burr

      A whole bunch of women just said…that’s what I do, too, Teresa!u00a0 Once that closet door is closed it’s so easy to put it out of your mind.u00a0 So, yes, a few minutes each day is all that is needed.u00a0 Actually, my free e-course (that comes with a newsletter subscription on my website) is all that you need to help guide you in cleaning out your closet a little at a time.u00a0 It can be useful to get those little reminders :-)u00a0 Thanks, Teresa!

  • http://technicalities.mu.nu/ Teresa

    I would add only one other… if you’re lazy like me ;-)  I know there are a few of us out there who really have to make a firm commitment of a day and time (maybe only a little time – like 15-20 minutes) and just move a few things out.  Then make another 20 minute time slot in a day or two and keep going til the job is done.  Otherwise we’ll walk in daily and say… “I should do something about this.” Then we walk out and go about our day and totally forget about it.  LOL.  I am notorious for doing these kinds of things.

    • http://TotalImageConsultants.com Ginger Burr

      A whole bunch of women just said…that’s what I do, too, Teresa!  Once that closet door is closed it’s so easy to put it out of your mind.  So, yes, a few minutes each day is all that is needed.  Actually, my free e-course (that comes with a newsletter subscription on my website) is all that you need to help guide you in cleaning out your closet a little at a time.  It can be useful to get those little reminders :-)  Thanks, Teresa!

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  • Daowens55

    Geez, great blog….I’m seriously #1-5.  Didn’t even realize how out of control I am until I tried to put all my clothes in my new walk in & there’s only room for like 20% (maybe 10%) of my clothes & shoes. So I’m sorting & indexing what going to goodwill & take a big fat tax credit when I file next year.  I got all the info from the IRS website &sounds pretty simple to follow the guidelines & be able to claim with no more bother than dealing with all these clothes & shoes I have acquired.  Let’s hope I can keep myself in check from this point forward.

    • http://TotalImageConsultants.com Ginger Burr

       Moving or re-organizing is a great way to find out how many clothes you have and what you actually wear!  Good for you for going through it and donating what you no longer need.  So glad the article was helpful!  Keep up the good work.

  • Hollis

    Here’s a riff that might put things in perspective. I was a long-time collector of solid-color cotton tee shirts, in part to use as liners for itchy wool sweaters on my sensitive skin and to reduce dry cleaning costs. One day, I finally counted them up – 118! All neatly sorted by color on a rack in (one of my) closets. Too, too many! I made a pledge to discard or donate at least one a day until I got the total under 75, where it remains to this day!

    • http://TotalImageConsultants.com Ginger Burr

       Wow, Hollis! That’s a lot of tee shirts!  I’m glad you got the number down :-)  And, for most people once they have their colors done that helps, too, because they can get rid of the ones that aren’t in the palette.  Thanks for sharing!

  • Karen

    I think another issue is that for those of us who live in cold climates, the “reasonable amount of clothes” has to essentially double or triple to have a “reasonable amount” for each of the seasons. So while 7 outfits might be enough for a working woman at any given time, it would have to be 7 warm outfits for badly heated offices in the winter, 7 cool outfits for offices with bad AC in the summer, probably a few more transitional weather outfits, and that’s just for businesswear.

    • http://TotalImageConsultants.com Ginger Burr

      That is so true, Karen. I always tell me clients that when we are shopping for summer we have to be equally prepared for a cool, rainy summer as we do for a brutally hot one. By the time we know which one we’ll have the season for shopping is over. So, yes, you’re right. When you live in a cold climate the number of outfits needed to be sure you’re truly prepared does increase.

  • cool

    This is excellent! So many women can relate to this and probably never see this blog…piling up their closets until it looks like mine does right now. I’m putting stuff in the attic for the first time in my life!

    • http://TotalImageConsultants.com Ginger Burr

      Wow, good for you! You won’t believe how much more open and freeing that will feel. Happy Spring!

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I have been using your mantra of ‘more and more I feel…’ and it is so empowering. Saying I am beautiful wasn’t working for me but the more and more I feel beautiful, powerful, etc. is absolutely working AND happening! Woohoo. Kim Raymond