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Closet Wars: Tips for De-cluttering Your Wardrobe

Do you ever gripe about having nothing to wear—but the size of your overflowing closet begs to differ? Maybe the problem isn’t that you don’t have enough, just that you’re shopping for the wrong things. We’re all guilty of impulse buys (especially after a fresh paycheck), but they can really start to pile up after a while. And if your wardrobe is crowded with things you barely ever pull off the hanger (and you’re still basically wearing the same things every week), it might be time to reevaluate.

I call it stockpile syndrome: the tendency to buy items en masse and then just let them sit in your closet, never to be worn. There are many reasons why we do this (it’s cute, it fits well, it sparkles, etc.), but they all stem back to bad closet habits that need to be corrected. Impulse buying becomes a serious problem when you’re forking over cash for things you’re never going to wear—or worse, duplicates (triplicates? quadruplicates?) of pieces you already have at home. That’s both impractical and expensive.

Nothing to wear? Right.

A closet takes a lot of work to perfect, but the best first step is a clean slate. Every once in a while, your wardrobe benefits from a good purge. You can give away things that don’t fit, are outdated, or are just not your style, and this way, you’ll make room for the clothes you really want to wear.

Here’s a step-by-step look at de-cluttering your wardrobe. See if it works for you!

Get rid of it.

Go for it!

Let’s rip the Band-Aid off now and say it: your stuff has to go. The best way to go about this is to dismantle your closet completely, taking each item out, trying it on if necessary, and then deciding whether you want to keep it. Give away items that are ill-fitting, damaged, or completely dated. If it hasn’t been worn in a year, you’re probably not going to change your mind later. If you really can’t bear to part with something, toss it into a separate box. Revisit these “maybe” items again next time you do a closet purge.

Deep breaths, Rebecca. It’s for the best. 

There are a bunch of places you can donate your clothes. Thrift stores (Value Village, Goodwill, etc.) exchange your items for cash or store credit. If your stuff is too nice for any old depot, higher-end thrift/vintage shops are a good place to go: check out like Kind Exchange, Double Take, or vintage stores in Kensington Market. There are also charities like Children’s Wish or the Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy that can conveniently swing by your home if you have anything to donate.

Shop smart…er.


Instead of buying everything in sight (even if it’s super cute and super on-sale), keep your shopping sessions focused. What do you need in your wardrobe—are you looking for a specific type of shoe, or is there a pattern you’ve had your eye on for a while? Invest in staples that will go with everything (this way they’ll last longer), and make sure to balance your statement pieces with closet basics. You don’t want your wardrobe to be completely bland, but you also don’t want to look like you walked off the set of a Gaga video.

Stay calm.

That being said, sometimes you just feel the need to check out the mall and grab whatever tickles your fancy (I feel you.) But try to be smart about your impulse buys as well. Make sure the item fits well, and ask yourself where you’ll wear it to and what you’ll wear it with—you can even visualize outfits that it would work with. This will ensure the piece fits in with your existing wardrobe, even if you bought it on a whim.

Make it a habit.

It’s that time of year again… 

Let’s face it, regardless of how savvy we are as shoppers, we’re definitely going to accumulate stuff over time. Setting aside some time every once in a while for a closet purge is a great idea. Personally, I like to do this every couple of months (but then again, I also like to shop a lot). See what works for you.

Cleaning out your closet doesn’t have to be an ordeal, either. Set your favourite music, TV series, or YouTube vlog to play in the background. You can also invite your friends over, and encourage them to bring their own clothes to sort. Have a little clothing swap! You know what they say about one woman’s trash…

Ahh… Much better.

Having good style doesn’t necessarily mean having a ton of clothes. Try out some of those tips, and you’ll be well on your way to your dream wardrobe. Good luck with your closet ventures!

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 First-year social science student planning to major in Criminology or Ethics, Society, and Law.
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