This is part of my Swift Decluttering For Clothes.

One reader asked:

I feel guilty getting rid of clothes I spent so much money on. How do I deal with the guilt?

You feel guilty when your actions deviate from your values and long-term goals. Like when you blow your entire paycheck on this amazing freshwater fishtank that you’re sure will cheer you up after a bad breakup.

Guilt is a beneficial tool when it propels you to make better decisions going forward. It’s a catalyst for change. But it can also be a millstone around your neck when it paralyzes you and prevents you from moving on.

Too often, guilt is an obstacle to getting rid of unwanted clothes. It impedes progress and kills momentum.

The simple solution is to get rid of guilt when it doesn’t serve you, when it makes your life worse. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but here are two antidotes that work for me:

1. Acknowledge the sunk cost — You spent good money on these clothes, but you can’t get it back. It’s gone forever. Clinging to unwanted clothes won’t improve your life. Instead, they’re daily reminders of not-so-great decisions. So why hang on to them?

It’s like paying for a parking meter for an hour, and then your appointment only takes 10 minutes. Do you hunker down in the parking space for the entire hour to get your money’s worth? No. Do you sit and watch as other drivers settle for less desirable spots? Of course not.

Let go of unwanted clothes. Release them to people who’ll feel delighted to have them.

2. Change your environmentImmerse yourself in decluttering photos/podcasts/videos/books. Listen to stories of how people decluttered and how it changed their life. Visualize how much your life will improve once you declutter.

Prime your mind, and your guilt will fade to the background. It may never leave entirely but don’t let that stop you from decluttering and creating the home you want to live in.


More Decluttering Questions:

I need a plan

Dealing with guilt

Which clothes to keep

Selling clothes

Decluttering Principles & Practices