What I Learned From Cutting My Closet In Half

{By Ellery Sadler}

I never really considered myself someone with a lot of clothes.

Of course, I do my fair share of shopping and I love browsing Anthro to see their latest styles and I definitely don’t have a problem spending money on clothes. I just never really considered the fact that I have a ton of clothes. And I mean a ton – like sweaters upon cute dresses upon jeans upon shorts upon fancy dresses upon sweaters. (Yeah, I have a lot of sweaters.)

After drowning in laundry and stuffing my shelves so full they basically always are on the verge of exploding, I decided that was enough. I backed two travel-size suitcases with clothes and shoes and decided that was all I was going to wear for a while. (Right now I’m in week number three, so we’ll see how long it lasts.)

I’ve learned a couple of things from paring down my wardrobe to about half of the clothes I actually own.

It Forces You to Be Creative

I consider myself I relatively creative person. I usually have paint on my hands or in my hair and I love writing novels, so that makes me creative, right? But when it comes to clothes, I generally just scan my closet and grab what feels right. When you can choose between 25 sweaters, it isn’t that hard to find one you like. But cut that down to 5 or 6 and now we’re talking. Having less clothes to choose from forces me to actually get creative with my outfits. Rather than wearing something different every day of the week, I now pair and combine and coordinate a couple different pieces in different ways.

how to cut back your clothes

Mix and Match The other day, I had to branch out of my nice preppy comfort-zone because I didn’t have a pair of navy blue tights to wear with my floral skirt. I only had navy blue with large polka dots. Enter the world of mixing patterns. It opens up so many new options!

Accessorize You also realize the vast importance of scarves, brightly colored belts, and jewelry. Have fun with it – you might be surprised how different you can make an outfit look by adding different accessories.

Try cutting back your closet and see how creative you can be.

It Makes Laundry Much Easier

I dread laundry. And I mean more than just shrug your shoulders, I-don’t-like-this-chore, kind of dread. I mean clothes piled high, tiptoeing past the washing machine kind of dread. (I’ve always dreamed of having a guy who loves to do laundry … is that too much to ask?)

But, when you have half the clothes, it also means you have half the laundry. I also trimmed down the size of my hamper and bought a small one from Michael’s (80% sale). It holds only a few pieces of clothing. Now, I have to do laundry a little more frequently, but I don’t dread it nearly as much. It takes about 3 minutes to fold a few clothes, whereas before the mountain of laundry would intimidate me for days.

No more tiptoeing. The washing machine and I are best friends.

It Makes You Think Less About What You Wear

If you have two pairs of jeans and ten tops to choose from, there are only so many options. Having less to pick from gives you the freedom to grab and go. No need to decide between a blouse, a sweater, a cardigan, and a flannel. You only have a sweater and a flannel. Pick one.

It doesn’t usually take me a long time to decide what to wear, but with less clothes it takes even less time. Which means I now have more time for other things.

It Enhances Your Personal Style

When you can only choose two suitcases worth of clothes to wear, it makes you a little choosier. Do I really like that bulky brilliant yellow sweater? Yes, but it’s not practical for multiple wears a week. Which pair of jeans is my favorite? Comfy skinny jeans? Flared jeans? Which dresses are the most flattering and the most versatile?
Paring down your wardrobe really makes you conscious of your personal style, and because you only have a set number of things to wear, it greatly enhances your fashion sense.


If you feel like you’re in a fashion funk or tired of feeling overwhelmed whenever you look at your closet, try cutting back and see how creative, fashionable, and free it makes you.