I always feel that fall is the ideal time to take stock of what’s in my closet. And by that, I mean my clothes closet. Maybe it’s a throwback to my school days when we’d get to go shopping for back-to-school clothes and refresh our wardrobe. There’d be new sweaters, pants and skirts. A brand new winter coat, mitts and a hat. Plus a new tunic and blouses for school – knee socks and tights and new shoes and winter boots.

Nothing much ever fit from the year before because we all grew like weeds. So if our last years clothes could be handed along, then my mum would source a swap shop or secondhand store to donate those items that couldn’t be worn anymore by us three kids.

Which brings me here; a time long out of school and yet I still have the urge to update and purge my wardrobe at this time of year. And I always end up rationalizing why I don’t get rid of certain items. Over and over and over again. Sentimentality grips me like a vice!

4 Excuses That Hinder My ‘Letting Go’ of Wardrobe Contents

In my case, there seem to be consistent excuses I make for myself when it comes to letting go of certain pieces in my clothing collection. This year I really want to try to get past these barriers to an emptier closet which would allow me to add new items in the freed up space.

Maybe you too have some of these mental blocks when it comes to sorting out your closet. If you don’t, then I envy you immensely!

1. Memories

I kept my wedding dress for about 30 years, hanging in a garment bag in my all too small closet. Then it spent time tucked away in a cedar chest left to me when my grandma passed away. My marriage, great as it was, only lasted for 10 years. Nostalgia? I think so.

Same goes for my high school “letter sweater” and tunic. Had them forever. First evening gown, first leather jacket. And on and on. Memories of other times and other places…

So evocative… So closet filling.

Clothes I bought on trips, like Coban blouses from Guatemala, Japanese kimonos, Scottish kilts and Fair Isle sweaters. An English trench coat from Harrods and fancy and uncomfortable Parisian boots. Sarongs from Bali, swimwear from the islands, hats from everywhere. Italian sportswear. Oh gee. How does anyone part with these treasures and more?

By being ruthless!

2. It’ll Come Back into Fashion

Yes, it may well do so. But how long are you going to wait? I have a pair of Landlubber blue jeans, wide leg bell bottoms from the 1970’s and I always loved them – they even have my own embroidery on the pockets, and they went to California and back, including a visit to Disneyland. See, there’s that nostalgic memory trap manifesting itself. And yah, they don’t fit and they won’t be back in style – ever. But for some attachment sentiment, I still can’t sell them or give them away.

3. It Cost an Arm and a Leg

Still not a good reason to hang onto clothes, shoes, accessories and handbags that you never use or wear anymore. You know what? I think that sometimes there’s a lot of residual guilt when it comes to the original price you paid which ends up being the reason for not getting rid of those expensive items. If it is a piece that’s designer, valuable or vintage, and it’s still in excellent condition, then recycle it through a second hand, consignment or charity shop. This way you’ll at least make back some of the money you shelled out when someone else purchases it. Or simply donate your pieces to organizations such as a women’s shelter.

4. It’ll Fit Me Again… Someday!

Every once in a while I try on some of my favourite things in the hopes that a miracle has occurred without my knowledge. I’ve been hanging onto a number of outfits for who knows how long, in the hopes that I’ll slip into them again like it was yesterday. That would be nice, but even if they did fit, they’d be soooo out of style. So why keep ‘em?

Now Then, Did My Purge Succeed?

Not really. I did let go of a few items of clothing, along with some shoes, a winter coat, and two jackets. And there’s still not much more space in my closet despite all the good intentions above. But anyway, I’m doing my best, slowly but surely… a little bit at a time.

… and to quote Nicole Anzia, a writer often featured in the Washington Post lifestyle section: “A wedding dress and one or two other items are OK to keep for sentimental reasons, but you can’t keep everything just because it reminds you of something.”

I’ve gotta agree.