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A Guide To Decluttering Your Closet

I always get excited for spring because I love floral prints, pastel colors, and of course seeing flowers blooming everywhere. Since my winter wardrobe is comprised mostly of neutrals (I love a bit of gray), it makes a nice change to have a variety of colors in my closet for once.

How To Declutter Your Closet

But before I add new clothes to my closet, I always make an effort to declutter and identify which pieces of clothing are still working for me. Whether you have a capsule wardrobe or not, I encourage you to take a thorough look at your closet and get rid of the things that you simply don’t wear. It makes life so much easier when you have fewer options, I promise.

Where To Start?

A Guide To Decluttering Your Closet

Create A Mess. Take out everything from your closet, literally everything. Your jeans, coats, tees, scarves, shoes, the whole lot. Put them on your bed. Undies probably don’t need to be included, but it never hurts to get rid of those ones with holes in them.

Sort into piles. I like to separate my clothes into 3 categories: Spring & Summer, Fall & Winter, and All Seasons. You can avoid clutter by keeping seasonally appropriate clothes in your closet and everything else in storage. If you wear all of your clothes year-round, skip this step.

Figure Out Which Clothes You Love. This is the quick and easy step. Which items do you find yourself wearing frequently? If you’re in a hurry, what do you reach for because you know it will look good? Put those back in the closet. This should be quick and easy. Don’t second guess yourself, no going back and adding things that you wish you wore all the time.

Time To Detox
A Guide To Decluttering Your Closet

 Let’s make some space and get rid of that clutter. Be critical. Be brutal. Don’t accept anything but the best. Have two bags at the ready: a bag for donations and a bag for stuff to throw out or use as dust rags. If you split your clothes into seasonally-appropriate piles, work through them one by one.

Clothes You’ve Never Worn. If they still have tags on them, try and return them. If it’s too late, donate them or give to a friend.

Clothes You Don’t Wear. If you haven’t worn it for a year, you’re most likely not going to wear it again. Trust me.

Clothes You Have Multiples Of. I had two grey cardigans in my closet pre-detox. Why did I need two? I never wore either of them, to be honest.

Clothes That Annoy You. I’ve had clothes in the past that I absolutely loved because of the color or style, but they would just annoy me when I wore them. If it bunches, creases, rides up, or shows your bra, it’s time to go.

Clothes That Don’t Suit You. Sometimes we want the latest trends, even if they don’t look good on us. I’ve learned to stay away from trends and keep within my own style. Most of the time you can figure out what doesn’t suit your body right away.

Clothes For Special Occasions. I would always buy a new dress before a formal event, especially when I was in a sorority in college. The trouble was, I would never wear it again because it wouldn’t feel special anymore. Next time you need a fancy dress, try sticking to a little black dress, using something like Rent the Runway, or even just borrowing from a friend!

Clothes That Were Expensive/Sentimental Items. Every time you look at it and don’t wear it, you are going to feel that it’s nagging at you. Try to sell expensive items (eBay, Poshmark), and take pictures of sentimental items…then donate them.

Clothes With Tears.  Is it worth fixing? If so, fix it already. If not, get rid of it or turn it into a dust rag.

Clothes That Aren’t You. Does it fit with the rest of your closet? Are there at least 3 other things you can wear it with? If the answer is no, get rid of it.

Clothes You Just Can’t Seem To Let Go Of. If there is anything that you just can’t seem to part with, put it in a bag out of sight, set an alarm for a month later, and see if you missed it. If you completely forgot about the item, get rid of it.

Organization & Storage

A Guide To Decluttering Your Closet

Organize. Put all of the clothes you’re keeping back in your closet. There are so many ways you can organize, but do what works for you. Some people like organizing by color, but I prefer grouping like-items together ex. tees, sweaters, cardigans, coats.

Store. I use foldable organizers from Ikea to store everything that isn’t seasonally appropriate. They easily fit under the bed or on a closet shelf.

Donate. Donate that bag of clothes as soon as you can, otherwise you might find yourself tempted to put some items back into your closet!

Want to learn more about creating a capsule wardrobe? Check out these posts!

About the Author
Picture of Catherine Beard
Hi, I'm Catherine! As the creator of The Blissful Mind, I love exploring ways to make life more fulfilling, especially when it comes to our daily routines, habits, and well-being.

10 Responses

  1. Very comprehensive and helpful tips! I try to do a big clean-out about twice a year and thanks to a few house moves in recent years have managed to keep my wardrobe quite minimal and it’s a pretty great feeling :) I think the worst thing for me used to be throwing away clothes with memories even though I never wore them anymore so I really like your tips of putting them away and setting an alarm.

  2. Hi Catherine,

    Some great tips on decluttering your closet! I love your point about creating a mess. For me, if I dump all my clothing out onto the floor, I’m more motivated to clean everything and put things in their place. On the other hand, if someone just declutters by pulling out items one by one, it’s a lot less motivating – if there’s a mess, you can just close the closet door.

    I also like your point about getting rid of clothes that annoy you. Life is too short to wear clothing that’s just a little bit too tight or has irritating fabric. Clothing should bring you joy! Investing in comfortable, quality pieces is worth the money.

    I like doing the closet rack test to see if I should keep an item. Over 30 days, I place all clothing on the left side of the closet rack. If I wear it, it gets pushed to the right side. Any clothing that hasn’t been worn after 30 days should likely be donated unless it’s for a special occasion.

    Which items do you struggle with giving away the most and why? Personally, I struggle with getting rid of multiples of one type of item. I feel like since I bought the item, I should keep it – giving it away feels like I’m losing money, but this isn’t true. Donating clothing frees up your wardrobe and allows someone else who needs clothing to purchase your used item at a lower price.

    – Jani, Frugal Fun Finance

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