Simplify: The 1 Year Clothing Rule

one year clothing rule About the one year clothing rule.

My closet space isn’t huge but my array of clothes is and so to accommodate them all I rotate. As I see Winter disappearing and Spring blooming, I go through my clothes and fold them into big totes that are housed in the basement. The clothes that were previously in the totes now get stored in the closet.

Unfortunately in Chicago often it turns 70 and I want to grab my flip flops, but within an hour it can change.  Yuppers, they say if you don’t like the weather here wait an hour and it’s so true. But it makes it hard to completely get rid of all the clothes so I wait until I’m really sure then I do the switch.

Before I store the clothes though I give them a good look. Those that I love but have “magically shrunk in the wash” I reason with. Am I going to lose that extra baby weight? Is it really worth it to house these for another season?

I call it the One Year Clothing Rule: Those clothes that haven’t been worn this past season need to hit the thrift store.

Like you there are treasured articles in my closet and things that hold special meaning. I’ve got lots of pairs of shoes but none quite like the ones pictured above. I’ve had them since I was 17, I can still remember where I bought them in England and for years they’ve been my fave boots: brown suede and super comfortable. They’ve been heeled, scuffed and been through lots of Chicago winters. But, times have changed and so has my style. I put them on last winter and knew it was time to ditch them.

Sometimes I look at my closet and feel like there’s nothing to wear. Ever get that feeling? Sure ya do! It’s probably because there’s too much junk in there that you can’t see the wood for the trees. There’s nothing like getting rid of a few pieces of debris so that you can see your favorite outfits. At the end of winter when I cleaned out I saw all the pieces of clothes that were lurking that I love. That’s the fun thing with switching in and out. You may have had that sweater a few years but when you pull it out again next winter it ‘almost’ feels new.

Today’s Homework: How about you? What’s lingering in the back of your closet that hasn’t been wore for months or maybe even years? It’s time to ditch it and bring it to the thrift store.


  1. […] be afraid to pitch stuff. Use the 1 year rule: If you didn’t use it last year the chances are you won’t this […]

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