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The Psychology Behind Your Closet Cleanout: Why Do We Hold On to Things We Don’t Need

I’ve been staring at these ugly dark charcoal grey oxford shoes that I bought  when I was at least 14 years old from Forever 21 for about 10 minutes now.

I barely wore them then and I damn sure don’t wear them now, so I’m just wondering to myself, Why the hell are these still in my closet?” 

As women, we all have these moments when you have to have a “come-to-Jesus” meeting with yourself to understand why we hold on to things we don’t need?

why we hold on to things we don’t need?

When it comes to maintaining your wardrobe or taking it to the next level, the edit is always the hardest part. 

You come across a few things you used to wear all the time (or barely at all) and you loved but now it doesn’t fit or it’s just not your style anymore. Maybe it’s the memories, maybe it’s the style, maybe it’s the thought of throwing your money away–whatever it is, you can agree that we all make some sort of connection with our clothes. 

we all make some sort of connection with our clothes. 

It’s Psychology of Fashion 101. According to Dr. Jennifer Baumgartnet Psy D. (The Psychology of Dress), all dress choices are internally motivated and can be analyzed to reveal the inner self.

So yes, we do possess a connection with the clothes, shoes and accessories we buy and wear but the departure process should not be as brutal and tedious as we typically make it out to be. 

Here are a few rules to keep in mind — or Closet Commandments —to help you avoid the path of being a hoarder and only keep the things in your closet that make you look and feel good.

If you haven’t worn it in at least a year, get rid of it. 

        If you haven’t worn an item in a year that means  you’ve allowed one or two seasons to pass you by and clearly you’ve had no need or desire to wear that particular piece of clothing. If it’s not a  good seasonal or transitional piece and it’s collecting dust and taking up space in your closet, *in my Keyshia Cole* voice, let it go! 

If it doesn’t fit your body, as is, get rid of it. 

The only exception I would make to this is if the item can be altered or tailored then I suggest you make a small investment to make the item work for you and your body. However if there are clothes and shoes in your closet that are too small and you can no longer fit, don’t torture your self-confidence by keeping it in an accessible place like your closet. You won’t even wear it! You’ll just keep looking at it like “damn, I wish I could fit this again.” Spare yourself the self sabotage. If you are currently working towards your personal weight loss goals, and the item you are considering tossing is a closet favorite of yours,  then store it away, out of sight and out of mind, until you feel you are ready to break it out again. 

If it’s not your style and doesn’t make you comfortable, get rid of it. 

    I cannot  begin to tell you how many times I’ve held on to a particular piece of clothing, pair of shoes or worn accessories even if it made me uncomfortable. I would love the way they made me look but dread how it made feel when I stepped out the door. Anything too short, too tight, had loose straps,annoying heavy earrings that would get caught in my hair. it almost made me scream— at some point I told myself I don’t have to live my life like this. 

Contrary to what all of my aunties and my mama told me growing up, beauty and style does not have to equate pain and sacrifice. 

Are you ready and willing to get rid of the things in your closet you no longer wear? Try a virtual closet detox and learn 1-on-1 how to clean, organize, and maintain your own closet as I walk you through the TSE process to creating a closet you love with the clothes you love in it. 

Tori Bouldin

Tori B. is the founder of The Stylette and Head Stylist of The Stylette Experience Co. Born and raised in Baltimore, MD the mom of 2 juggles building an empire and raising her 8-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter. She attended Stevenson University for Fashion Design and LIM for Fashion Merchandising and Marketing. Tori has been a style writer for WOE Magazine and has worked for companies like Kohls, H&M and Nordstrom. She believes that when you look good, you feel good, and ultimately perform better in every area of your life.

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