7 Items You Should Never Get Rid of When Cleaning Out Your Closet

Cleaning out your wardrobe can be an emotional and arduous task. But once you get into the swing of things, it can be tempting to toss almost everything and start anew. While we’re certainly fans of the minimalist wardrobe and uniform dressing, there are some things you’ll regret getting rid of pretty quickly (outside of your high school cheerleading jacket, of course). In fact, there are seven items in particular we think are always worth holding on to—yes, even if you think you don’t have room for them.

So, what are the seven pieces that are so imperative you keep? First up, belts.

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clothing accessories to keep belts
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1. Belts

As long as they’re in good condition and still fit, there’s no real reason to get rid of a belt. On the storage front, they barely take up any space and can be rolled up and stowed inside a handbag or hung on hooks on the inside of your closet door. As for sartorial staying power? If you wait long enough, even those wide ‘80s belts with giant buckles will most certainly be back in style (some might even say they’ve already made a comeback). And of course, no one can deny the instantly flattering effect of cinching a shapeless dress.

clothing accessories to keep cat
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2. Designer Handbags

There’s a reason pricey totes and shoulder bags are often dubbed “investment pieces.” Fifteen years ago you may have thought it would be silly to hold onto your Louis Vuitton Monogram Pochette shoulder bag, but guess what? Every street style star, influencer and fashion editor was carrying that bag at fashion week in September 2019. John Galliano’s brilliant Dior saddle bag, which first debuted in 2000, made a resurgence in September 2018 as perhaps the most commonly spotted bag during fashion month. It’s a smart move to hold onto classic (or even not-so-classic) high-end styles, rather than buying them twice over.

clothing accessories to keep slips and camis1
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3. Slips And Camis

We’re not talking about the ‘90s-esque slip dresses that are currently en vogue (although they’re definitely worth holding onto while the trend is still hot) but the actual undergarments. If you’ve ever purchased a white dress online only to find it’s significantly more see-through than you’d hoped, then you know what we mean. Neutral slips can be worn with sheer frocks and simple camis can elegantly cover cleavage—and both are always a good idea to have on hand, so long as they’re devoid of stains or other signs of wear and tear.

clothing accessories to keep jewelry
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4. Jewelry

Similar to belts, jewelry is small enough that any pieces you’re not currently head-over-heels for can easily be stowed in a decorative box and kept on your bookshelf. Or stored in a shoebox and tucked under your bed. And while we wouldn’t fault you for giving away a pair of kitschy Baublebar statement earrings you bought for your office holiday party, any and all fine jewelry should be considered a keepsake. This is doubly true for minimalist or classic styles like silver hoops, plain gold rings and dainty chain necklaces. Even if you don’t wear them down the line, they’re a sentimental gift for future nieces, nephews, children and so on. And don’t even get us started on watches, which will forever remain timeless and forever worthy of a spot in your jewelry box.

clothing accessories to keep all purpose black dress
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5. At Least One All-purpose Black Dress

OK, yes, if you can no longer zip it up or would need to remove a rib in order to fit into it, the dress should be donated. However, everyone should invest in, and keep, at least one timeless LBD. The last thing you want to do be doing in the days leading up to a memorial service is worrying about what to wear. Nor do you want to stress over last-minute cocktail party invitations, short-notice job interviews or spontaneous meet-ups with that cutie on Hinge. Do your due diligence and check in with that all-purpose LBD every year or so to make sure it’s still in good condition or that you won’t need to go ahead and schedule that rib-removal surgery.

clothing accessories to keep eveningwear
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6. Eveningwear

We’ll concede it’s unlikely you’ll ever wear that burgundy bridesmaid dress again (those are better off donated to organizations that provide prom dresses for underprivileged young women). But investing in a goes-with-everything clutch, dangly crystal earrings and a few formal-but-not-too-formal dresses, and of course the shoes that complete the ensemble, means you’ll be all set and ready for every wedding or gala you’ll be invited to in the next few years.

clothing accessories to keep scarves
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7. Scarves

Whether they’re silk, cashmere or chunky knit wool, a good scarf really never goes out of style. (And sometimes you can even use them as a trusty hair accessory.) A nice wrap can even be worn over eveningwear, rather than slipping into a jacket that really doesn’t match your frock. Stow your scarves in a box under the bed or stuff them into your handbags when they’re out of season, Otherwise, don’t give away these handy accessories until they’re truly falling apart.



Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has worked in fashion for over 10 years. Want to know what shoes are in this season? She's got you. Need recommendations on...