How To Declutter Your Closet When Clothes Are New, Expensive, Or Too Good

I’ve stayed in self-imposed isolation longer than most, largely because of an immunocompromised relative. Just between us, I also may have exploited the excuse to take an extended sabbatical / retreat from the world to nourish my introvert soul. Plus, I had a personal medical drama worthy of Grey’s Anatomy (which you can read about on my personal blog, but WARNING: mild gore alert).

During my recent re-entry I’ve been feeling the desire to pare down my closet. It’s always streamlined, but there’s nothing like a period of reflection to refine my minimalist values and focus me even more on the few things I cherish most. The activities I most value, the possessions giving me the most pleasure, the books I most want to read, the outfits I feel most myself in.

When I looked at my wardrobe there were pieces I could do without. The problem was, they were expensive, or unworn with tags intact. I struggled to part with these – they seemed ‘too good’ to give away.

Yet I did manage to declutter my closet of these items. How? I discovered three closet-declutter tricks.

1. Offer them to a person with a similar sense of style

My niece loves fashion. I have a few ageless, classic pieces she may enjoy.

Now, she may not choose to take them, but knowing I can offer them to her has made it easier to remove them from my closet and collect them for her. Whatever she rejects can go on to a charity store without angst, as I’ve already made my peace with letting them go.

2. ‘Demote’ them to home wear

I call my at-home style ‘sofa chic’ – relaxed and comfortable but with an elegant edge. 

I had a few more silk camisoles than I needed, as well as above-the-knee hemlines, which I never wear socially as I like to feel effortless and relaxed, not worrying about my hem riding up. So I assembled a few outfits (black silk top with black-and-white fitted skirt; navy silk top with navy linen flip skirt; cute spaghetti-strap dress) and demoted these pieces to my wear-at-home sofa chic closet.

Yes, they may be expensive or new, but I wasn’t wearing them out, so they were being wasted. Now they give me pleasure as I lounge at home or chat with the pizza deliverer.

3. Equate them to a cash donation to charity

I still had a few pieces I didn’t absolutely love, but that weren’t right for my niece or for home chic wear. I thought they’d probably fetch a few hundred dollars at a charity store. Well, I felt great about giving my local charity a few hundred dollars!

With that mindset – thinking of the money they received rather than the clothes and shoes I donated – I took the items out of my closet and happily handed them over at the store.

This mini closet declutter was challenging because the pieces were of excellent quality and hard to discard. But my three closet-declutter strategies made it easier. 

I buy very little, as I love the feeling of simplicity and minimalism. It’s partly that I’m easily overwhelmed – too many choices in my closet confuses me and feels ugh. But it’s more than that: I feel visceral pleasure, genuine joy, when I look at my streamlined, well-organized closet.

Which I can now do again.

Are expensive or brand-new pieces making it hard for you to declutter your closet? Will one of my closet-streamlining strategies work for you? Please scroll down and LEAVE A REPLY to let me know.

Sign up for New Posts



  • Silk Pattu Pavadai

    April 28, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    thank you for the articles

  • Anonymous

    April 11, 2023 at 6:43 pm

    Your blog is a treasure trove of information. I always look forward to reading your posts.

  • Anonymous

    March 30, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    Thank you for creating such an interesting blog with clear details.

  • Anonymous

    January 23, 2023 at 5:49 pm

    Decluttering your closet can be an intimidating task. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily create a more organized and functional […] Read MoreDecluttering your closet can be an intimidating task. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily create a more organized and functional closet space. Start by sorting through your clothes, purging what you no longer need, and reorganizing all of the remaining items. Next, consider investing in new storage solutions such as shelves and hangers to keep your closet clean and organized. Read Less

  • Lynne

    October 27, 2022 at 8:00 pm

    So pleased to receive this in my “in box” this morning!

    • Michele Connolly
      to Lynne

      October 28, 2022 at 8:35 am

      Hi Lynne. I'm so glad you liked it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prev post: Day 10: Upgrade My Health & Beauty

Related posts

The ‘Chic Life’ Philosophy

To live by conscious choice and not convention or habit. To have less, but better quality. To do more of what matters and less of everything else. To live with grace, elegance, style. To show love, kindness, compassion. To experience inner peace and joy…  Read More

A Chic Year of Style, Simplicity and Self-Care
Your Chic Life Starts Here
Popular Posts
C’est Moi, Michele

Salut, I'm Michele. For me, 'chic' is more than how you look - it's how you do everything. A chic life is personal style, an organized home, elegance, confidence, living well, self-care, minimalism, joyful work, and happy relationships. And it all starts with knowing who you are. Thank you for joining me! Read More