9 Things You Need To Get Rid Of In Your Closet

stuff to get rid of

If there’s one spot in my house that gives me the most grief and/or anxiety, it’s my bedroom closet. It always seems like it’s teetering on the edge of becoming a complete disaster zone!

But I take some solace in the fact that I’m far from the only one who feels this way about their closet. Closet organization is a challenge for everyone, but I’m hoping that today’s post will help us all free up a bit more space there!

As a follow-up to posts I’ve written recently about clearing out your pantry and bathroom, today’ll we’ll be focusing on clearing out our closets! So if your closet could use an overhaul like mine, here are 9 things to consider getting rid of.

Related:  Overwhelmed By Clutter? This Is The Best Thing To Do First

9 Things You Should Get Rid Of In Your Closet

stuff to get rid of

1. The “Fix It” Section

Many of us have good intentions when it comes to our worn or damaged clothing. We swear we’re going to get that too-long dress hemmed, or take those shoes in to get resoled!

But more often than not, those items end up simply taking up space in our closets. So this week, I challenge you to gather up the items in your “fix-it” section and either take them in to get repaired or altered, or else let them go!

stuff to get rid of

2. Free Tote Bags

It’s hard to say no to a free tote bag, but how many does one person need, really? If you have a stash of tote bags taking up space in your closet, keep as many as you’ll actually use for grocery shopping and donate the rest.

stuff to get rid of

3. Shoes That Hurt

Even after suffering through a never-ending evening of agony in them, it can be hard to let go of shoes that hurt to wear. Whether you spent a lot of money on them, or you just love the way they look, neither of these things are worth the blood, sweat, and tears those shoes can cause!

Gather up all your shoes that hurt too much to wear and put them in a pile. Take a moment to mourn the loss of what could have been, then place them in your donation box.

stuff to get rid of

4. Dresses You Wore Once

Wedding and bridesmaid dresses can be particularly hard to let go of. Even if it has hung in the closet every day since the one time you wore it, it represents a meaningful event, making it harder to let go of than other unworn clothes in your closet.

And when it comes to your own wedding dress, parting with it can be ten times harder! (If you need a bit of inspiration, check out this post of creative things you can do with your wedding dress!)

But if you know in your gut you won’t wear those once-worn dresses again, consider donating or selling them so that someone else can!

stuff to get rid of

5. Clothing Clones

There’s nothing wrong with having a clearly defined personal style, but it can eventually result in a closet packed full of “clothing clones” (or multiple pieces of clothing that look more or less identical.) It’s one thing to have multiple pairs of the same color and style of underwear, but having multiple floral dresses with the same cut is quite another!

I’m personally guilty of this when it comes to my collection of colorful cardigans. I’m fond of pink, but how many cardigans in slightly different shades of pink do I really need?

So let’s both go through out closets and clear out those clones that are taking up space!

stuff to get rid of

6. Free T-Shirts

T-shirts are a common freebie given out on college campuses, corporate offices, and at banks, which is why so many of us have a huge stack of them! Those free t-shirts can be great for yard work or for lounging around the house, but you don’t need to keep every single one!

If your pile of free t-shirts is taking up too much space, keep the best ones and donate the rest.

stuff to get rid of

7. Old Costumes

Halloween costumes, even the particularly great ones, aren’t usually worn more than once. So if you have a few bulky costumes in the back of your closet on the off-chance you might want to wear them again, you’re much better off reclaiming that space by getting rid of them!

stuff to get rid of

8. “Other You” Clothes

We all have clothes that we hold onto for a different version of ourselves. The skinnier version, the heavier version, the one who’s a little edgier, or the one who can confidently pull off leopard print.

But if that different version of you doesn’t line up with the real you, as in the person you are right now, those clothes are just taking up space. Make peace with the real you, and let those other versions go.

stuff to get rid of

9. Bad Hangers

One of the easiest things you can do to make your closet feel more put together (or, dare I say, “grown up”) is to upgrade to wood or velvet hangers. This one simple swap will make your closet feel far more luxurious!

Investing in nicer hangers can also serve as a volume checkpoint. When you run out of your nice wood or velvet hangers, treat it as a signal that it’s time to purge a few things from your closet.

stuff to get rid of

[bonus_tips]Can’t Let Go? Make A “Maybe Box!”

  • Having a hard time letting go of things you don’t wear? Make a “maybe box!”
  • Put the clothes in question into the box, seal it up, then mark it with a date two or three months from now.
  • When that date arrives, pull the items out and evaluate how much you actually missed them while they were packed away.
  • The “maybe box” system is a good trial run for getting rid of clothes. If you missed the item, keep it; if you didn’t really notice, you’ll feel better about getting rid of it.

What’s one thing you could stand to get rid of in your closet?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • Jillee, i have been watching your videos for years. u always come to my rescue. I am moving out of state. i live alone and do not have a lot of help. but, u saved the day by reminding me that i have multiples of too many articles. I called 2 friends to come over here and help me w/t extras. thanx for the ideas.

  • i dont get rid of clothes that dont fit , i did that once when I lost weight , and of course I gained it again ( not on purpose ) having to buy all new clothes. wont do that again , cant afford to anyway and the quality of clothes in my doesnt fit box is far better than the rags they sell now passing as womens clothing ( Australia )

  • My bridal gown was bought in the 1980s – it was tiered waterfall lace with puff sleeves. Many years later I made my daughter a strapless 16th birthday dress from it by hand including the boning and layers of pink netting underneath. When my granddaughter was born 2 years ago I made the gown into a complete floor length cradle drapes set and re-covered the entire basket by hand including little pink bows. The rest is now put aside to make her a special dress.

  • If you’re crafty, take those T-shirts you don’t wear, and if they have sentimental value, make a quilt with them, or have a quilt made. I’ve done a couple with my favorite t-shirts. Fun to pass off to children, or do them for children too.

  • Oh my goodness Ms Jillee, I must admit I got hit with a few stones in this article! LOL for one, the “fix it” items. Things I’ve needed to sew etc, etc. and the shoes that ( slightly hurt but look good ). I am proud to say I have given up my Hallow’een costumes though. We used to give parties and haven’t in a good ten years, so yeah I think I finally got rid of them a couple of years ago ha ha…..Love your column and emails.

  • I have a question that has me baffled, I can’t seem to find a way to clear up my drinking glasses. Some look foggy. Can you help me? Thank you

  • I would not recommend using velvet hangers. As they wear down, the bristles will cling to anything and are very hard to get rid of. I worked for non -profit women’s centre, donating clothing, and such hangers were donated.

  • I found a neat diy project for old t shirts. cut the design and staple it to a stretched canvas. now those keepers you don’t wear can be displayed on the wall as art and great conversation pieces! ;)

  • A suggestion for what to do with that unwanted/unused mens or womens clothing. I used to just donate everything to Goodwill, but then they got greedy and started raising their prices. Plus, despite them being a so called “charity” , they’re still in it to make money. Then I discovered that there are veterans free stores, where whatever is donated is then given free to vets and their immediate family members. The people working in the stores are unpaid volunteers as well, so some bigwig behind the curtain isn’t making a million bucks a year running the charity. And yes, they will give you a receipt for tax purposes. If you can’t find one listed in the phone book, just call the nearest VA facility and ask where the nearest one is.

      • I used to donate clothing to the Salvation Army Store, sadly in my area that store is now a store that sells pot, no, not the kind you use when you are cooking.

  • I have the “three sizes of Jen” clogging up my closets. My feet did grow a size which forced me to donate a ton of nice shoes and replace them more judiciously. But my big addiction is t-shirts. I have them from every concert. (I even had to categorize my concert t-shirts.) Sciencey shirts, hippy woo yoga shirts, drinking holiday t-shirts, random topic t-shirts. And that’s after a major purge. My closet is tidy but definitely not empty.

      • I did this with my nephews T-shirts. He goes to a lot of concerts so when he would deplete, I had my sister put them aside and made him a quilt for Christmas. He was so pleased he hung it rather than use it!

  • The dresser drawers are where things can REALLY hide! I’m sentimental about tank tops, jeans and t-shirts. Each drawer is stacked to the top and the drawers are hard to close. Maybe I need a bigger dresser…Seriously, I do try. But since I do so much work outside I rationalize keeping every t-shirt until it’s practically a rag. Speaking of which, I don’t need to accumulate more rags! How many old dishtowels and t-shirts does one need in the rag bag? Which is also overflowing…sigh.
    Thank you for the push. I need to be reminded how to let go of those sentimental items.
    But what??!?? My high heels?? Madam, you’ve gone too far!!

  • Cut t-shirts and other cotton clothing into rags of varying sizes if you prefer not to donate them. I think Jillee mentioned in another post to throw some of the used rags away after 1 use such a grimy ones. She has a recipe to make reusable cleaning wipes. I keep a few pairs of my husbands worn socks to put on the legs of ladders to keep carpets clean if I have to bring them in the house.

  • I cant explain it but I hold on to hats even though Ill wear one maybe twice per year. Baseball caps, stocking caps, summer woven hats even cowboy hats! Time to get real let most of them go. Oh and scarves. Ive got way too many. Thanks for the tug Jillee, you’re so right!

  • Nice list…one item that does seem to reproduce in my closet is solid-colored tees, especially short-sleeved. I have multiples in each of multiple colors (just about every color but black or pink), but I justify this by wearing the older ones only around the house and the newer ones for errands and such. Plus I need something to wear under my multiple cardigans (ahem)! As for free t-shirts, I don’t generally wear standard, crew-neck tees but for my husband they’re a staple; so if I’m offered a free t-shirt at an event I ask for a Large and give it to him.

    One additional idea for a wedding dress is to have it preserved. After our wedding my new mother-in-law had my dress professionally cleaned and preserved in a box, and it’s resided under one of their guest beds ever since. I don’t have specific plans for it but it’s at least out of our closet and ready to be loaned or given to some special young lady who might be in need of a wedding dress.

    • Those crew neck shirts are easy to refashion into v necks. You don’t even need a sewing machine. Check it out on pinterest or just google it. If you have a sewing machine, they are also easy to tailor!

  • This is great. The costume type items- my mom has for years kept 1-2 boxes in our garage or storage area for this type of stuff. She started doing it when my siblings and I were young and it was expensive to come up with outfits for a bunch of kids. We’ve used them for things like dress-up days at the school or parties. Occasionally my nieces and nephews have fun playing dress up. Occasionally one of us or mom will find certain things and designate them to this area. We do occasionally get calls from friends needing to borrow stuff. My brothers and friends used to borrow my Dads funky suits from the 70s when the school had certain days.

    • I should have mentioned this earlier .My brothers and sister were involved in Cross Country and Track for many years. She had some old shirts she didn’t want to part with. She with my moms help actually made a quilt with some of the good ones.

  • Great reminders! If you’re hesitant to throw something out or not sure where to donate, ask your local high school if their theatre department could use any of the clothing for their shows. I’m a high school theatre teacher and those donations are the lifeblood of my costuming needs!

    • I donated my wedding dress to our local University theater department. I knew there was a possibility that it would be altered, but I didn’t mind, as it was going to be used again in a new way. That made me happy. Drama clubs and community theater groups are always happy to get “costume” material! We also have some vintage clothing stores and they take clothing, hats, shoes, etc. Even things from the seventies and eighties is now considered “vintage”. :-)

      • Donated wedding dress to company that makes them into Angel Gowns for newborns that didn’t make it from Heaven-Boys & Girls outfits, pillows & keepsakes for Family members♡
        Such a cherished & honored use~

  • Hi Jillee!

    Thank you for making this a practical article on what to clear out. So many times we focus on trends we should purge, but this makes so much more sense to me! I think I’m most guilty of the cloning and sentimental pieces.

    Thanks for the great information, as usual!


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