How I Cut My Wardrobe in Half


In HALF? Drastic, huh? I sincerely believe that most of us could easily and happily live with half of what we currently own – across all categories, not just clothes. But, we’ll focus on clothes here. Let’s dig into what approach I took, and why anyone would want to do this in the first place.

I did NOT set out to cut my wardrobe in half! It’s just where I naturally landed because that’s what worked for me. My end game wasn’t to check a box or pat myself on the back for arbitrarily choosing a goal and achieving it. It was the long game of deliberately building, cultivating, and maintaining a wardrobe that was a good fit for me. One that focused on quality over quantity, pieces I like to wear, that meet my needs and fit my lifestyle.

flatlay wardrobe

WHY I reduced my wardrobe

It’s helpful to find YOUR why….It may be that you’re exploding out of your space. It may be because you don’t fit in many of your clothes and just need to release the “weight” of the clothes that no longer work for you. Finding your why helps to keep you motivated. This was mine:

1.I had a lot I didn’t wear

Having lots of pieces I didn’t wear, or didn’t wear very often, felt like a waste of space to me. I was disciplined about regular clothing purges, but I like to be intentional with what I own, and I’d rather have fewer pieces that are worn more often.

2. It was hard to pull outfits together

I would try to manage this by selecting my clothes the night before, but I had lots of disparate separates. I wasn’t intentional with noticing a wardrobe gap and filling it, but would instead purchase what caught my eye. I knew I could do better.

HOW to reduce a wardrobe

1. Edit gradually

Wardrobe editing does not need to happen overnight! The process took me well over a year, and, in reality, there’s no real end point. It’s a continual watchfulness to keep an eye on what I have, what’s coming in, and what I’m ready to part with.

I often do a pass through my closet, editing down all that I think I can. Then, I go back another day and easily find more. There are layers to the editing process, and a gradual approach allows you to get to those deeper layers, as you realize the previous edits have not left you lacking, but motivated.

shirts on hangers

2. Start with low hanging fruit

Find what’s broken, stained, looks worn, or doesn’t fit, and get them out!

3. Intentionally ADD pieces

I didn’t just purge, but added choice pieces as well. I still do. This may sound counterintuitive, but the point wasn’t to just have fewer things, it was also to have workhorse pieces that mix and match well, and will stand the test of time – both from a quality and a style perspective. Sometimes, this involves thoughtful additions.

It also gives those of us who enjoy clothes room for trying trends here and there, and bringing some pieces in. And, you know yourself best. If you think this would be a slippery slope for you, don’t go here! But, for me, it has worked fine – as long as I release items if something new comes in.


4. Remove temptation

What are those hot buttons for you? Fashion influencers, who, in fact…”influence” you? To buy the thing you don’t need or even really want? Well, unfollow them! Or, limit your exposure.

If it’s trips to the mall, limit that, too. You can still have a treat now and again. But, think about your goals. If your goal includes a smaller wardrobe, or freeing up money for other things, think twice before you fall into an old habit that may not support the achievement of your goal.

5. Consider seasons

If you’re purging in the summer, and you’ve been wearing exclusively shorts and tanks for the last couple of months, don’t get rid of all your pants! Again, go gradually, and let yourself get into the next season to see what you wear. On the flip side, transitioning out of summer season would be a great time to look back and edit out your summer items that you didn’t wear all season. If you didn’t wear it this summer, you probably won’t next summer.

It will become a habit to periodically check in with your closet, and continually revisit what gets worn and what doesn’t.

6. Give yourself a timeline

Anything that has not been worn in a year or more can be a contender for going bye-bye. You’ve been through all the seasons, and unless there’s a really compelling reason to keep something (for sentimental reasons or a special event coming up that warrants keeping that cocktail dress), ask yourself why you would keep it, and what else you could do with that space or the money you could get from selling the item.

7. Set small goals

If I originally set out to cut my wardrobe in half, it wouldn’t have happened. But, setting and achieving small goals on a daily basis is easier to swallow. I often target the number 5. Find 5 things today that you no longer need. Achieving small goals works. It matters. Just like starting the day by making the bed. It gives you a small sense of accomplishment and productivity for the day that builds.

8. Begin with the end in mind

As you embark on this journey, it’s helpful and motivating to keep your end goal in mind – whether it’s financial motivation, peace of mind, or freeing up space. Keep going, a piece at a time, day after day. Getting rid of 20 pieces is great. 5 pieces is great. Any number is great.

If you’re motivated by rewards, think of how you’ll treat yourself WHEN (not if) you achieve your goal. The treat doesn’t need to cost money, but it could. I recommend being deliberate about what you do with anything you make from selling items. You could start a trip fund, a holiday fund, or whatever helps to keep you moving forward. It’s all about progress!