How to Purge Your Summer Wardrobe

The end of a season is the perfect time to purge.

It was the dead of winter when we adopted minimalism. I donated more sweaters than I ever knew I owned. However, it was difficult to purge my summer clothes because summer was but a dream, a wish, an unreachable promise land to this Michigan girl. I was in no place to make tank top decisions while my furnace was cranking out heat.

I accomplished quite a purge back in February. I dwindled my wardrobe down so much that every piece of clothing I own easily fit into my closet and my small dresser. I no longer have bins of clothing to rotate out each season.

I had already donated and tossed out most of the items that no longer fit right or that I hadn’t worn in years. Still, I had items that I didn’t wear this summer. Even holding on to a handful in hopes that this 36-year-old mother of 3 would one day morph back into her 21-year-old body.

Life is too short for dreams like that.

Now summer has come to an end. She was sweet and salty, tender and feisty. We dove into all she had to offer and soaked up every minute she was willing to give us. She somehow left us rested, yet exhausted. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I think that’s what makes summer in Michigan so special. She arrives like manna from heaven, rocks our world, and then she’s gone. We get to truly appreciate her and love her more each year. But I digress…

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I now stand in front of the summer clothes in my closet, and it’s time to take a close look at what I wore and what I did not.

What I need to keep and what you need to keep are going to be totally different. I don’t  currently work outside of the home. When I did, I wore surgical scrubs and I’ve never needed business attire.

However, I am confident that whether you stay home with your kids, work from a coffee shop, or live most of your life in business attire, we all accumulate unnecessary items for the exact same reasons. Fear of regret and the guilt of a purchase. The items we save are just different.

I thought I would share how I approach purging my clothing.

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Some of the clothes I recently purged. 4 pairs of shoes, 3 shorts, 2 capri pants, 2 dresses, 10 shirts.

In order to muster up the courage to toss or donate items, I ask myself a few simple questions.

What didn’t I wear?

I went through all of my summer clothing and identified which items I never got around to wearing.

Why didn’t I wear it?

This is the bigger question. What kept me from wearing it? I’m not gonna say that I ditched everything I didn’t wear this summer. It’s not always as simple as that.

We didn’t attend any weddings this summer, but we may next summer. I have a couple of dresses I keep on hand for such events. As long as they still fit and are in good shape I’m holding on to them.

I also spent this summer being wildly unbusy. Most of my days were spent at the lake, in a bathing suit and a cover up. I was a hermit and loved every minute of it. There are a handful of tops that I absolutely love, but I didn’t get around to wearing them because I didn’t get around to doing much. They will go nicely this fall with a cardigan and I’m almost certain that next summer I’ll get out more.

Once I identify what I didn’t wear and why, I ask a few deeper questions.

  • Does it fit well?
  • Do I feel good when I wear it?
  • Is it in good condition?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, I purge it. I don’t overthink it because second guessing leads to accumulation.

What do I wish I didn’t wear?

I then go through those last questions with the items I DID wear. Did I enjoy wearing those clothes? Are they still in good condition? I somehow always find a couple items with stains or an armpit hole I didn’t notice. Did they fit well? I’m able to identify a couple shirts that I wore just because they were there, but found myself tugging at the waste line or adjusting the neckline the entire day because they just didn’t fit well.

My days go better when I am comfortable and confident in my clothing. I would prefer to only wear a handful of tops in which I feel awesome rather than rotate through clothes just because I have them and feel I should.

Before summer is too distant a memory, find some time to take a look at what you did and didn’t wear during the season. Be ruthless! Let some things go. I promise that next summer you will be glad you did.

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