How to say goodbye to old stuff without it breaking your heart.


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This week I decided to do something I very rarely do  – sort through my closet and drawers, actually fold my clean laundry, and – gasp – look through my shoe closet.

This should confirm two things for you – yes, I have a shoe closet, which is ultimately very unnecessary but keeps the mess at bay – and, of course, I own a bunch of crap I didn’t even know I had. Stuff with tags on it that other people would love and cherish, but that I, instead, leave abandoned on the closet floor without even so much as a loving fold.

Here’s my advice to just let some things go. In this case, primarily clothes.

Set a new goal for yourself.

This was the one thing driving me to bother going through any of my stuff in general. My goals were to 1) figure out what staples I’m missing in my closet and 2) see if I can make any money to buy myself these things.

Ask yourself – could someone else use this item as much as it should be used?

Whether its clothes, shoes, or an old computer, maybe there is someone in need – or someone willing to buy this from you – that could give it the attention it deserves.

After rifling through my closet for half a day, I found an old macbook pro that died on me. Yes, in my closet.

Guess what? People use computers for parts. People use lots of things for parts. People buy lots of used things for lots of weird reasons that you haven’t even thought of it. Give it to those people.

Ask yourself – have I worn this in the last year?

At least ¼ of my stuff I hadn’t touched in a year. I bet you can the say the same. The key here is to figure out why.

–          Is it because it has sentimental value?

–          Is it because it doesn’t fit anymore?

–          Is it because you don’t like it?

–          Is it because there are more holes than fabric?

There are a few conclusions I came to:

It has sentimental value.

If it has sentimental value, put it in a box and put it in storage. There were some things I was given from my family and significant other that I just hated to let go. I bought clear, plastic boxes from Target, folded them neatly and put them in the back of the closet.

With that being said, consider the sentimental value. What value does it bring to you? How likely are you to show it to someone else – i.e. your children, future children, future significant other, or spouse? If you put it in this box fully knowing that you will never look at it again, what’s the point of keeping it?


It doesn’t fit me.

I have to admit, there are a few things I kept that just don’t fit me anymore – however they were all brand new, with tags attached, and the cost of them was just too high to donate to charity. I also have this dream of one day fitting into them, of course, which I swear I will!! However, let’s be reasonable here. The sizes I kept were just a few inches off – just ½ size bigger, and they would still fit. Anything I couldn’t even get past my thighs or my shoulders I tossed aside.

There are two great options for those items – especially if they are new, like mine were: donate them to charity, or try to sell them. I urge you to do either, especially considering someone else could get better use of them. On the one hand, part of my goal was to earn some money to buy new clothes. Doesn’t that sound like a pretty sweet idea? Take the clothes you never wear, don’t fit you, and that you probably didn’t even know you had, sell them, and take those proceeds and buy yourself something nice that fits.

I used Ebay to sell some of my higher priced, new items that I chose not to donate. There are other ways, too, like holding a yard sale or putting them up on Craigslist, but my house is pretty secluded and they sold on Ebay before I even thought of putting them up on Craigslist.

Finally, my last suggestion for really important items would be to see if you can get it altered. Isn’t it worth the few dollars to have it fit you than to wait around for you to lose or gain twenty pounds?

I don’t like it that much.

Then sell it or donate it. Someone else will love it. Why waste space in your closet for something you refuse to wear? Even if it was given to you from someone close to you, they will most likely never ask you about it again. Plus, if they were going to buy you clothes, they should have known enough about you before picking something out that you need to represent yourself with. It’s not your fault it’s not the right fit. They will understand, and even more likely, they won’t remember buying it in the first place.

I love it so much but there’s a hole in it.

I can’t say this with enough emphasis. Fix it or trash it. There’s nothing attractive about dirty or ripped clothes and shoes. I found this to be the case with all of my shoes. I was holding on to them because I loved them, but they were so dirty and ugly I was too embarrassed to wear them. Declutter your life, do yourself a favor, and just let them go. If it is an especially important piece of clothing, see if you can get it fixed – or learn to do it yourself.


I donated three trash bags full of clothes, threw out 8 pairs of shoes, and sold five pieces of clothing on Ebay. I also listed an old laptop, untouched iPod (a new Apple product comes out every month, or so it seems- by the time I got around to loading my iPod up with stuff I already owned an iPhone that was capable of holding the same amount of music), and a digital SLR camera that kept erroring out on me until I abandoned it under the bed. I already have bids on all three of these items.

Guess what? Someone, somewhere really wants my broken crap. And now that I have some extra cash…. Well, nothing cures a broken heart quite as much as buying a new pair of stilettos.