One gloomy day a couple weeks ago, to alleviate my mid-summer boredom, I decided to go through all my clothes and donate a few things I didn’t wear anymore.
But after some research, digging and a little bit of fashion soul-searching, I ended up donating nearly half my wardrobe — something I never expected I would be able to do.
Along the way, I learned that having a smaller wardrobe led to more freedom and less stressful mornings.
It was surprisingly easy, so you can do it too with just a couple hours to spare. In fact, I recommend you do it as soon as possible— I’ve already noticed a huge difference in my life.
If you’re still with me, open your closet or dresser right now and purge these things once and for all.
1. Anything with stains or unintentional rips
Be real with yourself. Were you actually going to fix these pieces?
That’s what I thought.
If it’s a piece you truly adore and believe can be mended, sew it up right now.
Otherwise, give it to a secondhand shop where someone can buy it, fix it and love it.
2. Your ex’s hoodie
Trust me: You do not need this piece of clothing taking up physical and emotional space in your closet.
Yes, I understand it’s comfy and cute because it’s a little too big for you. But I know for a fact that you own other hoodies that don’t remind you of your high school significant other.
Donate your ex’s jacket — you are on to bigger and better things.
3. Shoes that give you blisters
Life is way too short to wear uncomfortable shoes— especially during college where we have to walk everywhere.
Trade in your uncomfy heels or dress shoes for a pair that you won’t have to take off halfway through the night. Your feet will thank you.
4. Your convocation shirt
Wearing this shirt in public at any point after convocation is the No. 2 way to broadcast to the world that you are a freshman who doesn’t know what you’re doing.
The No. 1 way is wearing a lanyard with your student ID around your neck. Donate your convocation shirt. And your lanyard, while you’re at it.
In all honesty, this bullet point is actually about that entire drawer full of T-shirts you got for free at various school events. Yes, they’re nice to wear to bed or around your apartment, but do you really need 30+ T-shirts taking up space?
Keep the most comfortable shirts, or any with sentimental value. Say goodbye to the rest.
5. Clothes that no longer fit
This is the most important category, so pay close attention: The best thing you can do for your wardrobe and confidence in clothes is to make sure everything you own fits properly.
When I was in high school, I was a size zero. Now, my size six college self cannot get my favorite pants from high school over my thighs. I writhed on my bedroom floor for about 10 minutes trying to squeeze into them to no avail.
I kept these pants for over a year, promising myself I would lose the weight and get back down to a size zero so I could fit into my old clothes again. This never happened.
It’s natural for your body to change as you go through life, and your wardrobe should evolve with these changes.
Since I donated all my size zero pants, I now have room in my drawers for size six pants that I can feel confident and happy in.
Bottom line: You should not change your body to fit into your clothes because clothes are meant to fit your body.
After the purge
Hopefully by now you already have a substantial pile of things to donate and everything that remains is something you either absolutely love or wear frequently.
Get yourself some matching hangers to make your closet more coherent. Personally, I prefer wooden hangers because they make me feel like a Real Adult.
But this isn’t where it ends. You have to keep it up, of course. Next week, I’ll talk about the maintenance and sustainability phase of purging your wardrobe — avoiding fast fashion and impulse purchases and loving what you own for years to come.