Downsizing Our Closet – Do We Need All These Clothes?

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We kept a large shopping bag in our walk-in closet in the last 2 homes. When we purchased some new clothes and the closet started to get crowded, we would go through what was hanging up and pull out a few items we no longer wanted and put them in the bag. Usually, about twice a year, we went through everything hanging up and on the shelves and in our dresser drawers. That usually filled the bag and it went off to the thrift store.

Notice I said “that we no longer wanted.” Not that we no longer wore. Because we both had clothes we wanted, but no longer wore. Those sentimental and favorite items. A t-shirt from college days. One from a rock concert. Another from a walk. Several from fundraisers and a few souvenir shirts. A favorite sweater that no longer fits just right. Multiple uniforms. My candy striper jumper. Don’t judge me! I also had dresses I liked, but rarely wore anymore.

These are items we kept because the memories attached to them held a special place in our hearts. Or, as in the case of some dresses, dress shirts and slacks, we kept them just in case there would be an occasion that we would need to wear something like that somewhere. And we had the space for them. We also had a large closet in the basement guest room where we kept those seldom worn coats that did not fit in the hall closet. The bigger the closet, the more clothes you never wear.

When we were getting ready to move, we cleaned through the closet and pulled out shirts, skirts, slacks, blouses and sweaters. We brought about 50 items of clothing to a donation site. We thought we had thinned it out enough and the rest of our clothes moved with us.

As we did with the bedroom furniture, we underestimated the amount of clothes we had versus the amount of space we had in our closets. We went from a fairly large walk-in closet to a standard bedroom closet. Even though this closet has 3 areas to hang clothes, they were not enough. We put the overflow in the closet in the guest bedroom. We hung coats and clothes that would not fit in the bedroom closets on the clothes pole in the basement laundry area. It is still full of coats and dress clothes in garment bags.

I tried to put as much as I could on the pole I had for my tops. The pole rebelled and collapsed!


After Andy reinforced it, I moved some of the clothes into the spare bedroom closet. A few more of those I didn’t plan to wear anytime soon. I really didn’t want to do that since it was not easy to get to the closet. That room was packed and it would be months before we got it usable.

It was time, once again, for us to go through our clothes. Trying to stick with “if you don’t wear it, get rid of it”, we went through the bedroom closets and pulled out another 50 items. This time we pulled out more of those sentimental items. Military uniforms, jackets that would probably never be worn, more dresses and dress slacks. T-shirts that we never wore any longer and some that had never been worn.

We will be moving some of our clothes into our RV soon, in preparation for the travel season. The closets in the house will still have plenty of clothes in them. Andy has done a better job of thinning out his clothes than I have. I still need to get rid of items I have not worn in over a year.

This website, Home Storage Solutions 101, has some good advice for decluttering your closet and lists questions to ask yourself. We knew we should ask these questions, but just didn’t follow the advice before we moved. Or fully since we have.

As part of downsizing our life, we are going through the process of clearing out clothes again. Some of our sentimental t-shirts will be used as paint or work shirts. Others that no longer fit will either be donated or used as rags, depending on the condition.


I am taking pictures of some shirts that I never wear and have kept for the memories. They will then be donated or trashed. And if you are wondering, the candy striper jumper was donated to our granddaughters’ costume trunk.




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