Are You Ready to Downsize Your Clothing?

Have you heard of the 80/20 rule?  This rule can apply to many different things but for this we are focusing on clothing.  Did you know that we generally wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time? I started using the “Hanger Method” before winter of last year and it has been a game changer for me. This has been all about tops and bottoms for me and definitely I am wearing a small amount of clothes that I love, most of the time.  

Hanger Method:  

– you have all of your hangers facing the same direction

– as you wear each of your clothing items turn the hanger the opposite way 

– if you don’t love the item or it doesn’t fit, its stained or worn out, put it right into the donation bag that is in your closet. 

if it needs to be ironed or gets wrinkled as soon as you breathe out it goes. I love clothes I can roll up in a ball if needed (like in a suitcase) that do not get wrinkled.  The simpler the better for me.

at the end of the season, you will notice all of the clothes that you didn’t wear and then you can make a decision about whether to keep them or not

Here is a pic of my current closet. These were the favourites over the winter. 

I know I could get more matching hangers.  I really love the dollar store velvet hangers.  They are great for making sure your clothes don’t fall on the floor or into your laundry basket.  Just don’t twist around the hook at the top as they will fall off eventually.  

Remember though once you have things in the donation bag or box:

Waiting too long to get that box out of the house it’s easy to second guess ourselves.

Some great tips for Decluttering your Clothes:

  1. Try on each piece of clothing.  How does it make you feel?  Does it make you feel like a queen?  In charge of your life? If not, get rid of it.
  2. Clothing that no longer fits.  Too big or too small.  Even if your body changes and it will, you may need something different or that fits better.  See #1
  3. Clothing that needs to be mended.  Are you going to get around to doing that alteration or has it been sitting in a pile for way too long?  I got rid of a pile of clothes that needed to be mended because I just didn’t feel like spending the time doing it.
  4. Clothing from this past season that you didn’t wear?  Why didn’t you wear it?  Try the “hanger method”. There might be a lot of clothing that you never wear.  Why are you keeping it?  If you don’t love it and you didn’t wear it, likely you won’t wear it next season either.
  5. Throw out anything that is looking old, with stains or broken zippers, etc. At the end of the season throw out old worn out boots or footwear.  You are going to need new ones for next year anyway. Easy peasy, right?
  6. Sentimental items.  It can be hard to let go of a piece of clothing, boots, shoes or a purse that you have really loved.  But, if the item is old, worn out, doesn’t fit, etc. maybe it has served its purpose….thank the item and let it go.  Take a picture if you are worried you will forget about the item.
  7. Going through your clothing will help you to see what you have, what you might need and also will give you so many more options for getting dressed in the morning. It can really make getting dressed a breeze.
  8. Have an “exit strategy” A bag or a box ready for donations in your closet or near your doorway and get them out of your house asap.  

Would you like to work with me? I am currently taking new Virtual Organizing Clients. You get to do the work yourself but with guidance from me. Sign up here for a free 20 minute exploratory call to see if we are a good fit https://spaceforyou.as.me/

About Kim

Kim Tremblay is a Clutter and Hoarding Specialist. She has worked with individuals helping them clear the physical and emotional clutter from their lives since 2008. Kim founded and co-facilitated a Clearing Clutter Support Group which has helped hundreds of individuals to make positive changes in their lives. Kim is currently working virtually with clients helping them to clear the emotional and/or physical clutter from their lives.
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7 Responses to Are You Ready to Downsize Your Clothing?

  1. I’ve realized that I put clean laundry on top of the rest of the things in my drawer, and tend to grab something to wear from the top (unless I want something specific, which hasn’t matter much the last couple of years), so those items get worn over and over. I’ve wondered if rolling T-shirts and other items so I could see them all when I open the drawer might help me to mix things up a bit. Do you know of a trick for keeping track of what you wear from drawers, equivalent to turning the hangers?

    • Kim says:

      Hi Janet,
      Thats a great question. If you wear a lot of t-shirts I love the idea of rolling them. My first thought is as you wear and wash them put them aside and try on the ones from the back you are not wearing and see how you feel about them. or Rotate the ones you are wearing by putting them to the back and see what happens. With towels I always put the clean ones to the back or under the pile. That way they are all getting used.

  2. Seana Turner says:

    I find that I don’t like trying on clothes. I think others have this save aversion. Another option is to have a perpetual “donation bin” on the floor of the closet and whenever I put something on that doesn’t work, I just drop it in the bin. I remember struggling to get my children to try on clothing as well, and this just worked better. Combine this with the hanger method you outline and it will quickly become apparent which clothes are the winners.

    • Kim says:

      Hi Seana, Yes, it is so convenient to have an ongoing donation bin in my closet. I love it and the hanger method has been really a great trick. I am planning to get more velvet hangers from the dollar store though. Those are great! Thank you for your comment.

  3. I was talking about this with my eye doctor. She was so frustrated at how many clothes she could not get rid of because she felt guilty that she did not wear them often enough. How many people have worn their clothing that often during this pandemic? I doubt a lot. We have to get out of the feeling of guilt and remember that clothing is a usable item. They wear out even when they are not worn. So, keeping them for too long will not allow others to take advantage of their purpose.

    • Kim says:

      Hi Sabrina,
      Clients have had a hard time with downsizing clothing during the pandemic because everything has changed so much. And then there is the thought of “some day” I will be once again wearing these things. My clothing has changed because I no longer go into an office and am working from home for the most part. Thank you for commenting

  4. Julie Bestry says:

    Great tips, and even just following a few would help someone make huge progress. And you are so right about those dollar store velvet hangers!

    I once had a client whose walk-in closet was overstuffed. I asked her to point out her favorite outfits, and she walked to the front corner, indicated about a dozen hangers in the front, sort of “squished” away from the rest. She said, “I only ever wear these.” I explained the 80/20 rule, suggested that we go through the rest and that, except for a few specialty items and surprise finds, she might be able to let go of the rest. “But then my closet would be almost empty!” she gasped. The idea of letting go of what was, basically, a nest of things she’d never, ever wear was a shock to her. (Some people really can’t abide an empty drawer or clear shelf.) But once freed of the mountains of unworn clothing, she felt so free. The 80/20 rule really works (even if sometimes, it’s more 93/7. 😉

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