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  • Writer's pictureKatie Frantz

What to do with ‘Maybe’ Closet Items

It’s rare to enter a clothing closet and not spot certain items that are rarely worn or used.

In fact, in a LexisNexis Study they estimated that only 20% of the things we own, we actually use.

Do you have items in your closet that create thoughts like…

“I just bought that dress, but never wear it.”

“I don’t wear those shoes much, but they were really expensive.”

“Someday I may wear that when I lose weight.”

“I only wear this at weddings.”

“This used to look really good on me.”

“But it’s my Letterman’s jacket from High School.”

“I used to love wearing this, but not so much anymore.”

“I remember wearing that at that amazing concert.”

“But I just bought that on sale.”

When we encounter an item that spawns these kinds of thoughts, we call them ‘Maybe’ items.

‘Maybe’ items in our closet typically include items that are:

  1. Expensive

  2. Just Bought

  3. Rarely Worn

  4. Used to Love

  5. Don’t Fit

  6. Sentimental

If the item represents one of these, your brain begins to question whether or not to keep the item…which leads to indecision.

The majority of people in the world have many ‘Maybe’ items in their clothing closets. Based on the statistics, about 80% of items in your closet could be characterized as a ‘Maybe’ item.

But why? Why do we have so many items we don’t know what to do with or struggle to let go of?

The answer may surprise you!

It comes down to your DNA. Yep, that’s right!

Our subconscious, or the part of our brain that is below the level of consciousness, is based on ‘learned behavior.’ This part of your brain is not actively aware, nor does it reason or question. All it really cares about is survival and staying alive. It wants to protect you from death by igniting your need to have water, food, shelter and warmth (such as clothing.)

So, what happens when you have to decide if you should keep or let go of an item? Your subconscious says, “STOP! Don’t let go of that shirt! It’s what keeps you warm, protected and alive!”

Without even realizing it, our subconscious mind is sending us underlying messages, making it difficult to decide, due to the inherent responses we’re conditioned in.

To top it off, we then have our conscious mind, or the part of our brain that is in a state of active awareness. This part of our brain reasons with questions and thoughts to decide how to process and proceed with the information we give it.

When faced with a ‘Maybe’ item, our conscious and subconscious mind can suddenly be clouded with many thoughts that can lead to feelings of overwhelm, guilt and even shame.

Our thoughts often go to, “If you get rid of that item, you are…”


“Not Responsible”



“Not Loving”

“Not Worthy”

In fact, one study even found that 10% of women felt depressed every time they open their closet doors. (OnePoll Survey of 1,000 American Women) And who can blame them when feelings of guilt and shame arise, as we try to decide what to do with all the things in our closet.

These feelings of guilt and shame about ‘Maybe’ items are what creates the indecision, which often leads to avoidance and inaction.

When this happens, we end up placing the item back on the shelf, rack or in the dusty corner of our closets, with the hope that we won’t have to think or decide about it again.

I bet this was not the answer you were expecting, huh?

But the truth is, that is the true core of the problem. It’s why so many closets are full to the brim of items we don’t love or need, because once we have to face making a decision to keep or let them go, our minds create thoughts that create feelings we don’t want to feel. I mean, who wants to feel guilt and shame just for tossing out an item we don’t wear anymore?

So, what do we do about it?

We go back to the core of the problem and revise our thinking, by creating new thoughts.

What created the different results for Jaime?

Her Thought.

Seems simple enough, but when trying to decide whether or not you should keep that pair of shoes you spent $250 on. Or that dress you wore at your sister’s wedding. Or that favorite leather jacket you wore when you attending your very first concert. They are items that have meaning, because you invested your hard-earned money into them, or they were a part of a significant life memory.

It’s not to say that once you think a new thought, suddenly you can toss that item without a care in the world…. that’s not what I’m saying at all.

Actually, it’s quite the opposite in its effect.

When we can create new thoughts of love, gratitude, giving to others, respecting ourselves and so on; It’s then that we can really allow ourselves to being open to those feelings that accompany letting go. We can then feel the freedom and peace that come from taking action to release that item from our closet and our life.

To help with this, Give this exercise a whirl!

See what that did? The moment we can stop and compare items we instantly love, enjoy wearing or don’t have to question whether we want to keep them or not, we can then be more open to those feelings we experience when thinking of the ‘Maybe’ items in our closets and homes. It becomes a lot more clear what should stay and what should go when we can compare it to an easy “yes” item that brings us joy or has a useful purpose.

Whenever moments of indecision arise, remember, YOU CAN ALWAYS CHANGE YOUR THINKING! When we do this, we gain all our power back and can take action and move forward confidently.


  1. Do I really love or need this item?

  2. Is it fulfilling it’s purpose or meaning?

  3. Is it serving me well?

  4. Is it worthy of a place in my closet?

  5. Do I feel happy when I see it?

  6. Do I enjoy wearing this? Feel good wearing this?

  7. Will I wear this in the next four weeks?

  8. If I could, would I buy this item again?


  1. This item would be perfect for…

  2. I bet someone out there would love this!

  3. Keeping this item won’t bring money back.

  4. Letting go feels good.

  5. My closet only has room for things that I love and need.

  6. Items may leave, but the memories stay.

  7. I show gratitude by appreciating items I keep and items I can let go of.

  8. The clothes I keep are the clothes I wear.

  9. I surround myself with items that bring me joy, not detract from it.

There is power in our thoughts.

The key is recognizing what is going on in your head as you approach items in your home and creating new thoughts to achieve the results you seek.

We still have to do the work, but we truly can create the dream closet we’ve always wanted.

With these tools, you’ll be ready to confidently conquer any item that comes your way.

Go get em’!


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