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Letting Go Of Old Clothes – Why They Are Holding You Back



If you have been holding onto your skinny jeans that no longer fit and have a tough time letting go of your old clothes – you may be hindering yourself from finding body confidence. So, why do we do it? 

Holding on to old clothes

It’s not uncommon to hang on to our clothes from the past. In fact, a survey in the UK found that the average woman has 12 clothing items worth just under $500 sitting in her closet unused because they are either too small or too big!

We often feel attached to our clothes because they bring up emotions and feelings of nostalgia. I loved my Levi 501 button-up jeans from my twenties and I held onto them for years. But honestly, my shape in the last 2 decades has changed, and that’s ok – it’s natural.  Now, as much as I love those jeans the reality is that they’re uncomfortable and unflattering. I no longer look good in them, but more importantly – I no longer FEEL good in them. 

So why do we hold on to clothes that don’t fit?

Holding onto that sexy little black dress or skinny jeans can be a reminder of the life you used to have – perhaps before kids, or at a slimmer weight, or a time in your earlier life when you were carefree and partied until 3am. Holding onto these clothes is a symbolic reminder of that time of your life. And look, I’m not saying you need to get rid of old clothes that don’t fit if they really mean a lot to you – but what I am saying is if holding onto them doesn’t make you feel good, if every time you look at them you feel as though you need change some part of your body in order to be happy – it’s probably better to find another positive memory of that time (like photos or videos) and finally throw them away. 

Skinny jeans are not a good motivator

Another reason we hold on to our skinny jeans is that we cling to this notion that if we just get back to that ideal weight we were, then everything will be ok or we finally be ‘happy’ – and the jeans serve as a motivational reminder.

A Talbots National Fit Study asked 2200 women from 35-65 years about their clothing shopping habits, and they found that 40% purchased clothes that were too small in the hopes that they would one day be able to wear them. 

Unfortunately, your ‘skinny’ jeans are not a good motivator to get healthy and lose weight.  Instead, what often happens is they serve as a form of shame and guilt; a constant reminder that you are not that ‘perfect’ weight now. And the truth is – as long as you are convincing yourself that happiness is when you achieve the ‘perfect’ weight or at the ‘next’ step – it will never be where you are right now. 

The reality is your skinny jeans, or any other item of clothing is not a strong enough motivator to get you off the couch and into your trainers or stop eating cookies.



Holding onto ‘fat’ clothes isn’t helpful either

On the other side of the coin, if you’ve lost a lot of weight and are holding onto your fat clothes, this may not be serving you either.  Many people who have shed excess pounds feel scared to get rid of their bigger clothes, in case the weight comes back on.  Losing a lot of weight can have a big impact on your identity and it may take a mindset shift to acknowledge and recognize your new self. Holding onto ‘fat’ clothes can feel a bit like a security blanket but it will hold you back in fear.

Whether ‘skinny’ jeans or ‘fat’ clothes – holding on to these items and what they represent can keep you stuck in your life.

When is it time to say goodbye?

You want your closet to be a place of joy – meaning everything in it should make you feel happy, comfortable, and confident.  Anything that doesn’t fit, makes you uncomfortable or self-conscious doesn’t belong there. Your current body shape is what you’re working with – so be kind and considerate to it!

If you have clothes that don’t fit or haven’t worn in over a year, it’s time to set them free.  I love doing an annual closet clear out and donating to charity or a consignment store. If the item holds sentimental value – box it up and store it out of sight.




Here are 3 more reasons to get rid of your skinny jeans


They make you feel like a failure even when you’re making healthy choices

Relying on the number on the scale is not a good indicator of good health.  If you’re exercising more and building healthy muscle – your weight and shape may change but you’re still healthier than you were sitting on the couch or partying until 3 am.


It may drive you into detoxes or extreme dieting.

Starving yourself to fit into your ‘skinny’ jeans is not only unsafe but just not sustainable.  The results of these methods are not realistic, don’t last, and can send your confidence into a downward spiral.


Constantly living in your past body can prevent you from being happy here and now.

Embrace who you are today. Make healthy but realistic choices. Take every day one step at a time and accept and love yourself as you are today.  Joy and happiness are not found in fabrics. They are found in our ability to respect ourselves and be in positive relationships.


A final note on letting go of old clothes…

Don’t allow the size label on your clothes to determine your self-worth.  It’s just a number and it varies from brand to brand. Make healthy choices for your body today and wear clothes that you feel happy and confident in! 



Speaking of healthy choices, here’s a blog about how to eat for pleasure and still be healthy.


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