Clean Out Summer’s Wardrobe

clean out old clothes

The last weeks of summer vacation were crazy-busy, but one thing I made time for (and I’m so glad I did), is to go through my wardrobe and remove my worn-out summer clothes.

It’s been a while since I’ve bought new clothes for summer, so most of mine are faded or no longer fit. I decided to clean them out now rather than to continue looking at them in my closet. I have a few remaining summer dresses and a few shirts and two shorts. Those will be enough as I transition into fall.

It will be summer weather a while longer here in Texas, so I’ll gradually start mixing in fall pieces. I’ll see what I need to add to my wardrobe, and by that time the fall clothes will all be on sale.

It’s so much easier to refresh a fall wardrobe by taking out what is old and worn out rather than starting with buying new. If I didn’t think I would be glad to see certain clothes next spring, they went in the donation bin or the rag pile.

I sorted through my daughter’s clothes too and took out the outgrown play clothes so that it would be easier for her to get dressed for school. One thing we try to do during the school year is choose her clothes for the next week on Sunday nights. It makes it so much easier for her to get ready on weekday mornings.

Getting my closet ready for fall, even though the weather isn’t quite here, makes me feel organized and ready.

Are you planning to clean out your closet too?

clear the clutter

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Miranda H says:

    With school starting today, I realized that my own closet and my kindergartener’s closet were cleared, and ready for the new year. Only fitting, useful, clothes remained after my summer clean out. However, then I peeked into my teenage daughter’s room as she tried on outfit after outfit last night…soooo many clothes, most of which I never see her wear. Advice for getting through this with a teenager(15)!? I know you have mentioned that you had way too many clothes as a teenager too…do I just leave it alone, or go in and demand she get rid of some stuff? I have encouraged her 5 times to get rid of some of the millions of t-shirts, and she begrudgingly gives me two shirts for the Goodwill bin. Any Advice??

    • I don’t have a teenager, so maybe you should disregard my advice :)
      But it seems to me if she can launder and manage her clothes, any amount is ok. Some people are just not minimalists and as long as they can organize their stuff and aren’t moaning about it or impinging on my space, I think it’s ok (I’m talking about my husband, I guess). It took me years to realize I didn’t want to deal with so many clothes.
      Margo, Thrift at Home´s last post…A Simple Solution for Jalapeno Lung

      • Miranda H says:

        Thanks, I think that is good advice. Thanks for the reminder that I can’t make her a little mini minimalist like me :) And for the record… I did NOT buy her all of those clothes, not even a 1/4 of them….she went to visit family over the past two summers and came home with FOUR GARBAGE BAGS full of hand-me-downs she “LOVES”…..

        • Oh, I would have LOVED getting 4 huge bags of clothes as a teenager! Now, after years of dealing with clothes, 4 bags just makes me shudder, even though they’re free and I love free :)
          Margo, Thrift at Home´s last post…A Simple Solution for Jalapeno Lung

        • It’s also possible that the passage of time will make her more of a minimalist… when I was a teen I had an unbelievable quantity of clothes (mostly hand-me-down or thrifted) and it didn’t seem like a burden at the time. Just part of being a teen! :)

  2. Funny! I just went through my closet and dresser yesterday! It must be something in the air :)
    Kristin´s last post…Voile ~ upcoming skirts

  3. Robin from Frugal Family Times says:

    We are doing the same thing here! The kids are taking some convincing to try on fall clothes in the height of summer heat. We’ve compromised by trying on a couple things each and then I am using them as a guide to hold up other clothes against. So far so good. Weeding out old clothes just seems to make everything easier about laundry and mornings!

  4. Yup, we are cleaning closets too. We don’t choose clothes a week ahead, just the night before. That way I can check the weather forecast and any events happening after school and my children only need to focus on one set of clothes at a time.
    Margo, Thrift at Home´s last post…A Simple Solution for Jalapeno Lung

    • Let your kids check the weather themselves. Of all the news that comes our way weather is the most clearly presented, even a kid can understand it.

      I used to have a daily argument with my boys about whether they could wear shorts. Left to their own devices they’d be waiting for the bus in snow with their shorts on.

      The solution that worked best for us was a rule: no shorts unless the temperature would be over 70 degrees. My son would get up, check the weather -on the TV, Internet or even bring the paper in- and get dressed. We never argued about it again.

  5. My church will hold a clothing drive for the poor in about two weeks, perfect timing as I just went through my entire wardrobe and have more to now give. My mindset for reviewing the closet and drawers – would I want to pack this for a trip, to be photographed wearing it, and if it’s the more casual when-cleaning-the-house clothes so then I only need one set. Plus, I’m deliberately looking at quality over quantity. I’ve learned “cheap” is not a bargain for clothing.

    Setting out tomorrow’s clothing the night before saves anxiety in the morning rush. For teenagers, ask them to keep a log of what they wear, and they then will not feel they are in the “trap” of wearing the same thing “twice” – as in too often. Then it’s far easier to see what you do not wear, and ask yourself why not when you look at the list of what you have actually worn compared to the items that are left behind. (Seeing it written down makes all the difference!)

  6. I did the Project 333 for three months, but now I’m on a 2-month rotation (since the weather changes so much in Ohio!) with 50 pieces of clothing. It’s the perfect amount without being too much (overwhelm!), but small enough that I still only want to keep items I LOVE. It really keeps the clutter to a minimum.

    I need to switch out my summer wardrobe soon and make room for pants and long sleeves. :) I usually toss a ton in between seasons.
    Ashley // Our Little Apartment´s last post…Recipe: Deconstructed Pesto Tofu with Grape Tomatoes.

  7. yes, i have started clearing out what will not make the cut for next summer. have a list of things to purchase to fill in those gaps. summer clearance is going on. will purchase items available now & place those items into rotation and enjoy the next summer with few if any gaps or purhcases.

  8. When I’ve bought some summer clothes this year (first real summer in 4 years since living in Seattle), I bought silky blouses that could transition to fall with a cardigan, a pair of shorts, and a couple of maxi dresses so there’s not really much to phase out this year. I’ve gotten pretty pared down to things I really do love, but I’m going to try to tackly my husband’s clothes next. He still has boxes of unopened clothes that he labeled “too small” when we were packing to move last August! Time for those to go!
    Kait Palmer´s last post…Cake Smash…or Sampling

  9. It always seems easier to me to edit my closet at the end of a season, as you describe, while what I wore and did not wear (and wore out!) is fresh in my mind.

    My quick method for helping me say goodbye to the items I just don’t use:
    At the beginning of the season, turn all the hangers “backwards” on the closet rod. As you wear each item and return it to its hanger, turn the hanger to face in the normal direction. At the end of the season, you can instantly see what didn’t get at least one wearing.

    This is helpful two ways, actually: It helps weed out clothing that just doesn’t work for you, and it also helps remind you to wear items that you do love but might tend to forget about.
    Lori @ In My Kitchen, In My Life´s last post…Evolution of a Go-To Recipe: Main Dish Salad with Grilled Chicken, Fruit, and Poppy Seed Dressing

  10. This summer I have bought a lot of tees and blouses as I didn’t bring many through last years purge, but tried to get ones that will go under a cardi or sweater. I have also spent some time dyeing some of my darker blue and black clothes to refresh them. I’ve saved several pairs of trousers and skirts and a few tees by doing this.
    I’m waiting till my eldest goes back to school next week before I do the wardrobe sort-outs. He wears uniform, which we refreshed early in summer on special offers so they are all ready to go and I’ll have slightly more p&q with him out of the house.
    I’m excited for the season change and already building up virtual shopping lists of things I like, but I won’t buy a thing until I go through my existing clothes, I really don’t want any ‘random’ elements this year I really want everything I buy to work for it’s place.

  11. we have not started school or even thought about anything but shorts, tanks and bathing suits yet!
    Its still in the upper 80s/90s and don’t even want to think about warm clothes :)
    But. . . I AM sorting/tossing/repurposing summer clothes daily.
    Love the hanger idea, Lori, and appreciate everyones thoughts.

  12. I’ve been debating this question the past week, thinking I should probably get rid of some old summer stuff but resisting actually doing it. Thanks so much for the timely reminder! I give in, you’re right, and I’ll be thanking you in the spring, I’m sure :)
    Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy´s last post…Seeking the Balance I Don’t Believe In

  13. We’re about to paint our wardrobe and dresser so the plan is to go through our clothes as we do that.
    Steph´s last post…Self Talk

  14. I spent the weekend going through everything in my closet that was NOT clothes, since that’s where we stash a majority of our storage. I still have a few things left to do in there but I can actually walk into it now. Even though it’s behind a door, I can breathe a little easier knowing that I have some space. Our weather switchover for clothes won’t be for another month or so. We homeschool so it’s not a big deal to just keep wearing the summer clothes for as long as it’s hot.

  15. I was just thinking this weekend when I spent two days doing laundry to wash everything in the hamper (even the hand-wash stuff which lingers!) that my closet didn’t look as empty as it should have considering how many dirty clothes I had!

  16. Sandra Gonzales says:

    My daughter decluttered her closet and dresser this week. I’m so happy that she’s learned that from watching me.

  17. Yep! On my to-do list… especially since we’re moving soon! A few months ago I did that turn-around-the-hangers trick, so now I have at least a dozen items to get rid of without even having to think about it.
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s last post…So, Who Wants to See Pie Charts About Themselves?

  18. Yup :) I just did mine last week & I’m so glad I did. I’ve been refining my wardrobe all year (as I feel I’m ready to let go of certain items) & I think I’ve now got to a position where I’ve got a wardrobe of clothes I love with only a couple of gaps to purchase new items. I love a newly made white top :) Im a total sucker for brilliant white.

    Pleased to hear more about your seasonal journey with clothes :) xx
    Fiona @ Everyday Spiritual Wisdom´s last post…Stupidly Hectic? Lesson 2

  19. Yes, we do this every year – and with eight children’s wardrobes to manage, it is a big task! I’m currently making myself some new skirts, and scouring the thrift stores for things we need. I love this time of the year!
    Mooberry Farmwife´s last post…Baked Oatmeal Goes Bananas

  20. yes! i am 4 months postpartum, and i am just beginning to fit my normal size. i have so many different sizes in my closet i am ready for a purging! i have been trying to go through and decide which in-between sizes i really want to hold onto, which to get rid of, and which too small sizes will i like by the time i fully fit them. thanks for motivating me to take a bit of time to finish it up (the box of clothes i have already taken out is sitting in front of my closet right now).
    charis´s last post…when it feels like no one sees you…

  21. Purging clothes is one of the easiest ways to remind myself to really love what I buy. If I look at it three months later and am already sick of it, then I shouldn’t have gotten it. And I definitely remember that the next time I’m in a store.

    I try to listen to my, “Will I still like this in three months?” voice instead of my “But it looks so pretty on the hanger!” voice.
    Jennie´s last post…Navigating Change and Hard Life Decisions

  22. You always have perfectly timed posts and I very much appreciate that!

    My one tip for closet organization, in addition to the wonderful tips shared by you and in the comments above is this:
    Keep a small plastic bag looped on a hanger in the closet. Everytime you happen to come across clothing that doesn’t fit, doesn’t work, or you try something on that you don’t like, put it in the plastic bag. Then when it’s time to run some errands or make a donation, you already have a plastic bag with a few items in it. It doesn’t replace the seasonal or larger cleanouts, but it really helps me on the random days to get rid of one or two items. Eventually, that adds up (or subtracts)!
    Kary´s last post…A Recipe for a Sweet Summer Night: Cornbread Panzanella Salad

  23. I have to laugh…We just did this last week with my girls before they started school (the incentive was if they went through every piece of clothing, we would go to the local amusement park…which we were going to do anyway ;-) ) and I’m in the process of doing my closet and am going to prod hubby into doing his as well. I have to say in my own wardrobe, I am getting rid of clothes that are worn out rather than don’t “work” so I’m happy that I’m buying things and wearing them!

    We live outside Boston so there is a definite “season” to clothes here! It’s fun to see old favorites come down out of the attic twice a year! Like shopping in your own house!
    SueTR´s last post…Happy August!

  24. Funny, I just pulled a shirt today that I was suddenly ready to send off to the pile. More is coming! I can feel it.

  25. Very timely – I am going through my closet this week! I have started setting aside clothes as they don’t fit/have stains/I don’t like them anymore – it definitely helps the process rather than trying everything on when I’m in the midst of purging. Right now I have about 6 items that I’ve set aside because I realized I don’t like how they fit me or I just plain don’t like them. I usually try to sell/consign most of my castaways then donate the rest. It’s a bonus when I can get a little something back from my old clothes, but the real pay off is getting rid of stuff I don’t need/want/like anymore.
    Kristin´s last post…Friday’s Letters

  26. 3 months postpartum with baby # 2. So frustrating because nothing fits right …making me want to give it all away and start over. So hard to know what to keep onto to and what will simply never fit again. Last time I didn’t lose all my baby weight until I stopped nursing at 18 months. That’s a long time away. What’s a girl to do?

  27. I have been purging clothes all month. I planned my final purge for tomorrow so I can bring in fall with a simple and functional wardrobe. So much easier choosing clothes for the day when I have less to choose from.

  28. I have declared a sock moratorium!! I am 100% sure that I am good in the sock dept until 2014 possibly 2015.

    I am not sure how I ended up with like 30+ pairs socks (I think I bought new socks without realizing I had a bunch socked away :-).

    The biggest challenge I have is keeping my wardrobe minimalist in a city where the weather ranges from +40C (stinking hot) to -40C (I have frost on my eyelashes). I suppose if my feet get cold, I can double up on the socks!!!!!
    Slackerjo´s last post…The Scrubbies Project Turns 1!!!!

  29. I actually did the same thing for me and my son. I feel better organised now. And it gsve me a reminder of what my son needs.
    naomi´s last post…Start of my next baby blanket…