How Emptying My Closet Helped My Mental Health

After cleaning out my closet, I am donating three trash bags full of clothing.

I am a shopaholic and an emotional hoarder. When combined, it leads to a messy closet overstuffed with clothing from freshman year of college to shirts that are covered in nostalgia. It got to the point that I couldn’t close the closet door. Because of that, I decided to empty out my closet as a way to start my spring cleaning. Unsurprisingly, it helped my mental health since then. 

“But Kim, how does finally cleaning your closet help your mental health?” 

One example is thinking I am emotionally attached to my clothes. But I am not. I had clothes that I was scared to get rid off because someone gave it to me, or made me scared that I would regret my decision. I also had clothes that I used as a “someday, maybe.” 

None of this was mentally healthy. 

I came to realize that just because someone gives me an article of clothing doesn’t mean that I have to keep it forever. My style has changed since I was in college, and I shouldn’t have to keep something that no longer suits me or my fashion needs. 

Taking risks is also something I have to start doing, and that includes getting rid of clothes that make me question whether or not I should keep. For some pieces of clothing, I tried to create new looks to help me confidently decide whether I should get rid of unnecessary clothes. 

And for the ‘someday, maybe’ clothes, I got rid of most of them. Because my closet is usually always disorganized, I would accidentally put on jeans that were a size or two too small. It would honestly ruin my day because it would make me feel fat and lead to a spiral of negativity. Don’t get me wrong, I kept a few small pieces, but those pieces meant something to me. Now I don’t have to worry about trying on a t-shirt that doesn’t fit through my head and make myself feel bad that day. 

How I Did It

Spring cleaning isn’t easy. To help clean out my closet, I had to partake in a difficult process to help me decide what clothes should stay and what clothes should be either thrown out, recycled or donated.

Put It Away

You don’t have to get rid of everything that doesn’t fit you or doesn’t fit your current style. You can keep pieces of clothing that mean something to you. For all the clothes I wanted to hold on to, but know I won’t wear again, I got a Ziploc storage bag to keep my clothes safe and help keep my closet cleaner.  

Marie Kondo

Does it spark joy? I found myself asking these questions throughout the process. Did I really want to keep a t-shirt from some band that isn’t even relevant anymore? No. Got rid of it. We need to hold on to pieces of clothing that make us feel happy. 

Feeling Confident

Adding on to clothes that make us happy, another question to ask if the clothing makes you feel confident? Just because a pair of jeans fit doesn’t mean its flattering to you. I had many pairs of jeans that fit me but weren’t flattering. The jeans made me look bigger, and I just didn’t feel confident. Clothes that stay need to make you feel and look good.

Good Condition

I love to wear my favorite pieces of clothing until it dies of natural causes. Yet, I am guilty of keeping clothing past its prime even if I don’t wear it. THROW THE DAMN SHIRT AWAY or find another way to use the shirt. People have told me that they recycle their old t-shirts by making dog toys or making blankets.

Organize Your Closet and Drawers

I re-organized my closet by hanging clothes by type, season, and leaving my ‘someday, maybe’s’ in the back where I know I won’t accidentally grab it. I also used a drawer organizer to keep my shorts, skirts, bathing suits, and undergarments organized and easy to store. And because I got rid of a bunch of clothes, I was able to arrange my drawers by type of t-shirts: gym, regular and sleeping. 

Marie Kondo said that “from the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life.” And honestly, emptying my closet helped my mental health. No longer will I be accidentally trying on a pair of jeans that will not go past my thighs or spend a long time trying to find something that fits and looks good. Time to find something else in my life that needs to partake in spring cleaning.

Disclaimer: I do not make any profits or benefit from any purchases you make from this blog post.


  1. lisa
    March 13, 2020 / 4:07 pm

    Thank you for writing this! As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, I have let my closet get ahead of me and I hope this gives me the strength to move forward.

    • Kim | Memories & Words
      March 18, 2020 / 11:29 pm

      Hi Lisa! I hope you find the strength you need. Cleaning my closet has done wonders for my mental health. Please let me know if it helps!