10 Signs You Have Too Many Clothes (and What to Do About It!)
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Is it possible to have too many clothes? If you get overwhelmed every time you open up your closet and are starting to wonder if you are a clothing hoarder, you’re not alone!
In fact, recent studies found that while the average person has about 103 items of clothing in their closet, most people have almost $300 worth of clothing they’ve never even worn, collecting dust in there!
Also, people who have trouble getting rid of clothes tend to be more anxious and have higher levels of depression (more on that later). So if you feel like your closet is out of control, it might be time to do something about it.
How much clothing is too much?
As far as the average person owning 103 items, I personally feel that number is way off – but maybe that’s because I’m a recovered hoarder turned minimalist and decluttering coach?
Most people I know own FAR more items than this in their closet! If you strongly agree or disagree, drop a comment below and let me know if you have more or less than this amount.
So how much clothing is too much?
There’s no magic number of clothing items that you should have in your closet, but a good rule of thumb is only to keep clothes that you love and actually wear.
If you haven’t worn something in the past season or for more than a year, chances are you’re not going to wear it again, and it’s time to get rid of it.
Here are ten surefire signs that you have too many clothes and it’s time to purge your closet. Even if you’re not trying to create a minimalist wardrobe, if you notice any of the clues below, it’s high time to get control of your closet!
🛑 Signs You Have Too Many Clothes
1. You can’t find stuff in your closet
If you’re constantly digging through your closet and can never find what you’re looking for, it’s a sign that you have too many clothes.
A well-edited closet should be easy to navigate, so that you can quickly find the clothes you need and effortlessly get dressed in the morning.
2. Getting dressed takes a long time
If you spend too much time getting dressed, that’s another good indicator that you have too many clothes.
Of course, not being able to find the clothes you want to wear makes getting ready take longer. Then, on top of that, if you get overwhelmed by too many choices, your brain might short-circuit, and you begin to feel like you have nothing to wear.
In reality, it’s the opposite – you have TOO MUCH clothing, which can lead to decision fatigue and slow you down in the morning.
3. You forget what you own and buy duplicates
Do you buy duplicates of items you already own because you forget what’s in your closet? If so, that means that your clothes are too crammed together or your shoes are piled so high that you can’t see what you have in your wardrobe.
Even if it’s not exactly the same item, maybe you buy something that looks similar enough to something you already own that it’s totally redundant and a waste of money.
Gut check time: do you really need ten little black dresses or five pairs of strappy summer sandals?
4. Many of your clothes don’t fit you
There are many reasons people keep clothes in sizes that don’t fit them.
They might have sentimental value, like the raggedy old sweatshirt from your middle school basketball team or the bridesmaid dress you wore to your sister’s wedding. Fear and hope can also encourage you to keep clothes in too small or too large sizes, either because you’re afraid that you’ll regain weight after losing it or because you hope to fit in size someday.
5. A lot of items still have the tags on them
This is a telltale sign that you’re holding on to clothes for the wrong reasons. You might be keeping them because you think they’ll come in handy “someday,” but the truth is, if you haven’t worn something in a year (or more), chances are good that you never will.
If you truly loved those clothes, they would have already been worn by now.
6. Your drawers or closet doors don’t close
If your drawers or closet doors won’t close, your clothes are taking up too much space.
It’s time to get real and acknowledge the reality that you only have so much space in your wardrobe, especially for clothes you don’t even wear!
7. There are piles of clothes all over
Piles of clothes on the floor, on your bed, or even on chairs signify that you have too many clothes. Not only is this aesthetically displeasing, but it’s also a safety hazard that can cause tripping, harbor dust, make your bedroom smell, or attract pests.
Piles of clothes happen when you have too many clothes and not enough space to put them away or time to launder, store, and maintain them properly. If you can’t seem to keep your clothes off the floor, it might be time to get rid of some of them.
8. You store clothes in multiple rooms
If you’re storing clothes in multiple rooms, it’s a sign that you have too many clothes. Let’s be honest; nobody needs to have more than one closet for their shoes. You aren’t a Kardashian, after all.
9. Looking at your closet is stressful
If the mere thought of looking at your closet makes you anxious, it might be because it’s too full.
Studies have shown that excess visual clutter can increase cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone. Increased cortisol levels can lead to everything from depression to insomnia to weight gain; read more statistics about that here.
10. You feel uncomfortable in your clothes
Do you feel awkward, self-continuous, or downright uncomfortable in your clothes?
Whether your clothes are too small or too large or because you’re trying to wear styles that don’t fit your personality or lifestyle, no one wants to feel uptight in their outfits.
If this sounds like you, you might have engaged in fantasy self spending, meaning your clothes are out of alignment with the real and authentic you.
The good news is it’s not hard for you to get back on track! Let’s dive into how to get rid of clothes and realign your wardrobe to better match your style and lifestyle.
👋 How to get rid of clothes when you have too many
If you’ve realized that you have too many clothes, the obvious next step is to declutter them.
But if you’re a clothing hoarder, you know that there’s so much more to decluttering your wardrobe than deciding what clothes to get rid of; after all, the best way to declutter clothes is often not to accumulate too many clothes in the first place!
That’s easier said than done for people who want to minimize their closet and still be fashionable and love their clothes – but it’s far from impossible!
Here are a few tips for getting rid of clothes so that you can adore your closet again.
1. Audit your wardrobe
A good first step to decluttering your wardrobe is to take inventory of what you already have. This means going through every single piece of clothing and assessing it, both individually and compared to your other pieces.
You might find it helpful to group items by category, such as by stacking all your jeans and pants in one area or counting how many shirts you own.
Especially if you’ve been keeping your clothes in multiple locations, you might be shocked once you see how much you actually have!
2. Explore your personal style
Understanding your personal style is key to knowing what clothes to keep and what to get rid of. This may not be easy to define, but it’s worth thinking about the types of clothing that make you feel most confident and comfortable.
Start by pulling out your favorites and take the time to ask yourself, “What do I love about this? What makes me want to wear it again and again?” Take note of the shapes, colors, fabrics, and what else your favs have in common.
When you know what you love and want to keep, it makes letting go of the excess much, much more straightforward.
3. Purge your closet
Now that you know what you love and have a better idea of your style, it’s time to purge! Start by going through your clothes and getting rid of anything that doesn’t fit, is too old or worn out, or isn’t your style anymore.
Here are the top 20 expert tips on doing a massive closet cleanout if you’re ready for this big step!
4. Sell or donate old clothes
Once you’ve gone through your clothes and gotten rid of what you don’t want, it’s time to do something with them!
You can choose to sell your clothes online to make extra money or at a consignment shop. You can also donate them to a local charity or thrift store.
5. Join a Buy Nothing group
Beyond selling or donating your clothes, another great option is to join a Buy Nothing group.
Buy Nothing groups are community-based Facebook groups where members post items they no longer need, and people can claim them for free.
This is a great way to offload a lot of clothes at a time, such as a lot of ten summer Zara dresses or a bundle of toddler clothes in size 4T.
6. Choose smarter storage options
After you’ve purged your clothes, the next step is to organize what’s left. (Trust me; it’s a lot easier to do that when the lion’s share of your wardrobe is gone!)
Here are tips to improve storage:
- Fold clothes vertically to save space and keep drawers tidy.
- Hang clothes in rainbow order or from light to dark.
- Use boxes to compartmentalize clothes in drawers.
- Switch to velvet hangers like these to save space and prevent slippage.
7. Set boundaries
Again, it’s essential to recognize your limits and set proper boundaries for how much clothing you can own.
That might mean committing to owning five pairs of jeans or not buying any more clothes once all the hangers in your closet are filled up. Then, if you want to buy new clothes, you could implement the one in, one out rule and commit to getting rid of an item before you buy more.
There’s only so much space in your home and time in your day. Fill it up wisely with stuff you love, need, and use!
READ MORE: 20 Decluttering Rules the Experts Say Are “Life-Changing”
8. Go on a no-buy or low-buy
If you think you might have too many clothes or tend to impulse buy, a great way to combat that is to try a no-buy or low-buy challenge. This means for a set period of time, you commit to not buying any (or very few) new clothes.
A low-buy might mean setting a budget for yourself for how much money you can spend on clothes each month, while a no-buy means you attempt to stop spending money altogether.
Popular low-buy and no-buy timeframes include seven-day, one-month, and one-year challenges; read more about how to do a no-spend challenge here.
9. Find alternatives to retail therapy
If you find that you often turn to shopping as a way to cope with stress or other negative emotions, it might be time to find some alternative coping mechanisms.
Make sure you’re swapping healthier options instead of adding more negative ones, like smoking! Some great alternatives to retail therapy include:
- chatting with a friend.
- going for a walk or hike.
- reading a book.
- and more.
10. Shop with more intention
Shopping with intention means being more mindful about how and why you spend your money on clothing and other items. It’s about putting your money where your mind is and aligning your beliefs and purpose with your shopping habits.
Take the time to think about what you need and why you need it before making any purchases, and you’ll save more than just money.
READ MORE: 7 Words to Make Intentional Shopping a Habit for Life
🛍 Final thoughts about having too many clothes
While it’s great to have a lot of clothes and mix and match different items, too many clothes can start to weigh you down physically and emotionally.
Don’t be afraid to purge your closet regularly, and take the time to shop with intention so that you only buy what you need (and will actually wear).
Are you happy with the number of clothes that you own? Do you have any tips or experiences you’d like to share? Drop them in the comments section below!
I have way less than 103 items of clothing in my closet. I do not enjoy shopping and I wear my clothes until I can’t wear them anymore. I wear everything that hangs in my closet; everything else has been donated. If I want a new sweater, I will knit it; new socks, I knit those too. Some think I need to go shopping and buy new clothes, but I just let the comment roll.
Thanks for sharing, Christina! How long have you been on your decluttering journey? That would be a good point for reference – how long did it take you to get to where you are now to inspire anyone else who reads your comment? 🙂 So cool you knit your own socks!
Marissa—I started decluttering in 2018. Clothes were never a problem for me to get rid of; if it didn’t fit (too big or too small), I donated it; if I didn’t like how I felt wearing it, I donated it.
I think that 103 items seems a bit low, since I probably own that many items AFTER my closet declutter. I guess that average comes between people with entire rooms dedicated, and extreme minimalists who only own a few? I’ve been decluttering my closet over the past 2 years and selling on Poshmark. It’s been a slow process, as some items I have to think about for a while before deciding, but I have been able to get rid of so much! And then I use the money I earn to buy a few higher quality items to replace my old worn out ones.
That’s what I’m thinking as well, Nicole! I was thinking of surveying my email list as well, but I’m sure I have people at both ends who are either beginners or advanced in decluttering, so it might not be representative either. 😂 Quality over quantity all day!
Hi. Good advice!
I would add a couple side notes that came to mind for me personally:
‘Be Gentle With Yourself.’
Too many clothes in your possession didn’t happen overnight, in a week, in a month, in a year. It’s going to take you some time to figure out why you have too many clothes so, set a small goal (baby steps), be gentle with yourself, and do the best you can.
‘Mind Your Life Transitions.’
The same transition can swing from high lifestyle impact to low lifestyle impact depending on the event. That’s just how life happens, so, go with the flow if you can. Are you re-entering the job market? Maybe you want to update your wardrobe. Did you lose/gain a lot of weight? Maybe you want to update your wardrobe. Are you going through a divorce? Maybe you want to update your wardrobe. Have you moved to a smaller/larger residence? Maybe the new size will impact the volume of your wardrobe.
‘Are Your Clothing Values Personal (inner) or Public (outer) Oriented.’
This can be a hard concept to wrap your head around, especially dealing with the fashion industry that inundates us here in Western Society. We aren’t alone in our predicament, but we are vulnerable to its influence. Pause and consider why/when you buy your clothes. Then own it, however you define it. It’s your life. No one can tell you how to live it.
‘Are You Happy Owning Your Clothes.’
This is my threshold value. I just want to happy, in all areas of my life.
Thank you for letting me comment my two cents worth.
It’s all good!
All very well-said and excellent points! Those “transitional” points in life are not to be underestimated. There are always ebbs and flows, and we must remember to be gentle with ourselves in these periods. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with me.
Thanks for this post, Marissa. I have just done another ‘purge’ of my wardrobe and it is amazing how things can still be hanging around when I thought I’d already minimalised! I have noticed that I have started to blend my work and home clothing into one over recent months and this had led to me often feeling shabby all the time as my clothes are wearing out. I am also approaching a big birthday soon, and I think so much of my self-confidence has been tied up in trying to wear the same clothes which don’t really suit me or my lifestyle any more. After trying everything on and researching my body type, I let go of a few items and purchased a few smarter outfits for work. I have also separated my work and home clothing into two separate sections of my wardrobe, to make getting dressed in the mornings easier. Thanks for all your great ideas – you are my favourite Minimalist ; )
Thanks so much, Kate! It sounds like you have a good handle on what you need and are very practical with your choices, which is always the best way to be, IMHO. 🙂 Cheers and enjoy your authentic wardrobe.
I am so glad that I found this blog and your youtube channel. I have about 70 articles of clothing. I have a lot of student debt and want to get out of that hole. I haven’t worked in at least 5 years due to an illness and having difficulty finding work but I have to go back into the workforce. I have clothes sitting in my closet for the last 5 years and I am trying to decide if I should keep them or toss them since they have not been worn in about 5 years. They still fit. Nowadays I pretty much just wear leggings and loose fit dresses. They are appropriate for home and small errands but not for work or other formal occasions. I think the only reason I am holding onto them is just in case I find that job. I was reading that sometimes clothes just sitting there not being worn also start to become threadbare and worn out if not worn. I do not have any sentimentality towards my clothes.