Guest Blog: 8 Lessons Hidden In Your Unworn Wardrobe

by Amanda Moatz

We’ve all been there – pulling items from our closet that still have the tags or were only worn once – wondering, “What was I thinking?”

It’s actually a more important question than you might think.

The only thing worse than spending time and money on unworn items that take up precious mental and physical space is repeating those mistakes. We know this is a real problem because the average American throws away 81.5 pounds of clothes every year.

The good news is that we can turn our wardrobe missteps into insightful lessons if we pause in the edit process to consider how or why they found their way into our closets in the first place. 

As you’re pulling those never or once-worn items, before they’re tossed in the sell or donate pile, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I easily influenced?  Content creators and brands’ marketing teams get paid to promote products for a reason – they’re good at it!  However, if you recognize that you regularly buy – but never wear – items from a particular influencer or brand, it may signal that they’re not the best match for your wardrobe. 
  1. Am I indulging in too much retail therapy?  Are you late-night scrolling as you nurse a baby or regularly treating yourself as a quick fix for an emotionally challenging day? These situations may not lead us to the best choices and are often the orders we don’t even remember placing. Is there another way to pass the time or treat yourself that doesn’t lead you to a closet full of clothes with nothing to wear?
  1. Am I a bargain hunter?  Whether you are a regular retail or secondhand shopper, getting a good deal can feel like a steal. If the pieces you’re pulling out include lots of clearance stickers on the tags or you’re regularly bringing home a full thrift haul, it’s a good sign that price was the decision maker, not your wardrobe wants and needs.
  1. Am I buying for the life I used to live?  Was this unworn item purchased for the lifestyle, job or size you once were? Many of us have shopping patterns that don’t keep up with the changing seasons of our lives so we continue to purchase pieces that fit a totally different lifestyle than the one we’re currently living.
  1. Am I buying for the life I wish I was living?  Buying a wardrobe for a life you envision in the future doesn’t help you get there faster, it only takes up space and makes it more challenging for you to fully enjoy and show up for the season you’re in right now. If you spend your weekends on a sideline, you may not need as many date night options or if post-retirement travel is still 5 years away, your resort collection can wait.
  1. Am I buying trends or staying true to my style?  Your personal style is like an anchor that steadies your wardrobe in the midst of constant trend winds. If you’re not feeling grounded at all, create a Pinterest board of outfits you love and notice the patterns of color, fit, print, layering, details and overall vibe. Take note of these characteristics and compare to the pieces you’re pulling from your wardrobe – you’ll likely find they weren’t in line with your style.
  1. Am I buying for someone I admire?  One cool thing about personal style is that you can actually love someone else’s, even when it’s not a match for your own. The challenge is keeping the two separate in a world where clicking a link to buy has never been easier. Appreciate others’ style choices and share compliments freely while you hit Add To Cart more cautiously.
  1. Am I put off by high maintenance care?  Do you avoid wearing certain pieces because you know it will mean a trip to the dry cleaner’s or a steaming session after the washer and dryer do their thing? Be mindful of care labels before you purchase so you’re not stuck with high maintenance pieces that limit your wearable options. It’s okay to be realistic about the time, effort, and investment you want to put into your clothes after the purchase.

Adding this intention to your closet edit process is going to put you so far ahead as a savvy shopper and conscious consumer. You will make much more informed choices about what you bring into your closet. The result will be a wardrobe you truly love and actually wear. 

I hope this exercise helps you feel a greater sense of control over what’s coming into your closet. If you need a little more help with what to edit out of your closet, I have a closet thinning strategy called the 1 of 5 Rule that makes a sometimes emotional, subjective project easier and more objective. 

Get dressed & do good,

About Amanda Amanda is passionate about helping women embrace their personal style without exploiting people and the planet. As a recovering fast fashion addict, she offers style coaching, thrift tips, wardrobe buyouts and pre-owned fashion to help others get dressed and do good. Follow along on Instagram @projectyourbest and visit for all the details about her signature Poshmark selling course or booking Amanda for a wardrobe buyout.

To schedule an organizing session with my team, where we can put Amanda’s lessons into practice, fill out the contact form on my website. We’ll reach out to schedule a consultation and get you on your way to the closet – and wardrobe! – of your dreams.



Each of my career choices-wedding coordinator, event planner, and teacher — gave me the creative freedom to organize everyone and everything. I have always thrived on to-do lists, planners, and systems! Now, I lead a team of organizers to help me on my mission. Read more…

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