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Why You Should Ditch the Clothes That Don’t Fit

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Over the course of my career, I’ve helped hundreds of women edit and organize their closets. Thousands if you count my online programs. One of the most common questions that comes up during this process is what to do with the clothes that don’t fit.


While it’s not uncommon for a woman’s weight to fluctuate (sometimes dramatically during pregnancy, post-partum, and menopause), I have always been a believer in ditching the clothes that don’t fit. Here’s why:

They’re Making You Feel Sub-Par

Repeat after me: There is no upside to surrounding yourself with items that do not fit or flatter your actual body. Stuffing yourself like a sausage into garments that don’t fit doesn’t exactly boost the self-esteem, and also perpetuates the very false notion that your body needs to be changed or altered in some way to be acceptable. I have yet to meet a woman who feels good when faced with clothes that are tight, restrictive, or uncomfortable.

They’re Uncomfortable

It goes without saying, but clothes that pinch and pucker, simply don’t feel good. Recently I realized I owned a few pairs of stylish jeans that literally hurt when I buttoned them and sat down. No good! I made a decision: Instead of indulging in mental anguish or attempting to lose weight or wrestle myself into these jeans, I would simply replace them with a few pairs in a size up that fit like a glove. Instantly, I felt better.

They’re Taking Up Mental Energy

I am not a fan of “maybe-someday” thinking, because living in any kind of limbo is mentally exhausting. Your closet should contain clothes that fit and flatter your current body so you can get dressed with ease and focus your brain energy on more important things. No more searching through the piles every morning for the jeans that fit, or the dress that can comfortably zip up. You were made for more important pursuits!

They’re Taking Up Valuable Real Estate in Your Closet

Even if you have a massive walk-in closet with ample storage space, I still suggest filling it only with the garments that fit you now. If you have transitional clothes for pregnancy or post-partum, or even high-quality clothes that don’t fit, but you can’t bear to part with, try packing them up in a single garment bag, or box, and stowing them out of your closet – a basement, garage, attic, or storage closet will do the trick. Do your best to limit volume and quantity since, in my experience, people rarely revisit these items.

Here is what I know for sure: No matter what size or shape you are, wearing clothes that fit and flatter always feels better than waiting for some elusive someday to invest in yourself. All bodies are worthy of being treated with love and tenderness. Be a good friend to yourself, and make sure you fill your closet with items that truly make you feel your best from the inside out, and the outside in.

Photography Credit: Vivian Johnson

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12 comments on “Why You Should Ditch the Clothes That Don’t Fit

  1. I love this post! I think I need permission to get rid of the things that don’t fit, and this post helped to do that. Thank you! You really pointed out so many good reasons to let go.
    I’m wondering what you’d say to the person who feels guilt/anxiety getting rid of clothes that don’t fit because she is afraid someday she’ll have to re-buy clothes in that size if/when she loses weight? I guess I feel advance guilt for having to spend money. (It’s crazy how much negative emotion we can attach to our wardrobes!)

  2. I have the opposite problem. I lost weight and have maintained the loss for 8 months so far but am still hanging on to bigger sizes – just in case…? I’ve been donating tops and sweaters but it’s hard to let go of my jeans! They’re in a box in the storage closet. I think on the one-year anniversary at this size I might be ready to let them go. Thanks for all your great advice!

  3. Guilty! Great post! Let go and make room for your best self. I usually donate my clothes to
    A woman I know that can benefit…

  4. Shira. This is one thing I must disagree with you. I say hang on to your clothing and make every effort to get in to them while storing them in a plastic tote. This saves money in the long run!!!

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