How to Declutter Your Closet

Because... Less Stuff = Less Stress.

I have been on a slow, yet steady journey to minimalism over the past few years. It got kicked into high gear when my husband and I decided to live in a (little over) 500 sq ft house with our son and 2 dogs. Crazy, right? This journey has truly been a process, but I have ultimately learned how to focus on what I really need and want.

Last month, I shared my best tips on How to Declutter Makeup in 5 Easy Steps. Today, I want to focus on how to declutter and organize your wardrobe. A lot of the same principles apply to both areas, but your closet is where you start your day. According to this article, the more you declutter, the more productive you are.

I'm sure you've already asked yourself, "Why should I declutter my clothes?" Otherwise, you wouldn't be looking up posts like this one. The honest, most simplistic answer is: You already wear the same articles of clothing over and over anyway.


In life, when you have too many options, it's easy to get overwhelmed, right? Think about how that applies to your closet. How many times have you said (or thought), "I have nothing to wear" while standing in a sea full of clothes? That's a sign of being overwhelmed with your options. When you have less you are able to mix and match to create endless possibilities. Not to mention you save time and money because you actually feel good about your wardrobe.

 I'm sure you've heard about "the uniform of the successful" by now. If not, a lot of successful people (think Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg, Arianna Huffington) don't think about what they will wear in the morning because they have simplified their wardrobe. Thus, freeing up their brain power to make bigger decisions later in the day.


Before I give you my favorite bits of wisdom, try this experiment.

Keep track of the clothes you've worn over the past month by putting them in the front of your closet. This test will show you that you actually like those garments because you keep reaching for them. Anything you haven't touched in the last month needs to be re-evaluated with the utmost scrutiny.

With that in mind, think about how much energy, money and time you waste by maintaining a collection of clothing you don't love or use. A smaller wardrobe means you gain by keeping the clothes that make you look and feel great.

Before you begin, collect all of the organizational supplies you might need, as well as trash bags, baskets, boxes, or whatever you want to get this stuff out of your house with.


It's a pain, but EVERYTHING has to come out. Think about it, you already skip over these items day after day. So, what do you think you're going to do if all of your clothes are in the same position as they are when you're getting dressed in the morning?

Once you have everything out of the closet, it's time to do some majorly-ruthless, soul-searching clothing evaluations.


Do the laundry, then try all of your clothing on. This will help you keep what you need, replace what's been worn out, and remove what doesn't fit or flatter your body type fairly quickly. Here are a few questions to ask yourself while you're going through the process:

  • Does it fit comfortably? It's hard to let go of the clothes that used to make us feel good, but if they don't fit anymore, they're still not making you feel good. Comfort is the number one goal of clothing, especially shoes. If you can't wear it comfortably, it's an unnecessary struggle, Sis. You need to re-evaluate. 
  • Was it a gift? The intention of the gift has already been received, you don't have to feel guilty about letting it go if it's not flattering or your style.
  • Is it just okay? We all have those pieces (or 20) that we don't get excited about. We see them, they fit fine, but we never wear it. Chances are if it's been in your closet for over 12 months, you won't.
  • Will I need this someday? (I don't mean to be redundant but) If it's been in your closet for over 12 months, you probably won't. As we grow and mature, so do our preferences. That includes clothing. Also consider, by the time you get around to wearing it, fashion may have moved on without you.
  • Would I buy it today? If you don't love it enough to buy it off the racks right now, you probably won't wear it.
  • How many combinations can I make? As a personal rule, I need to be able to wear an item at least 3 different ways. If you can't, you probably won't wear it as much.


Make piles. Everything in your closet will fall into one of these piles by the time you're done. I prefer to use 5 categories, but do what works best for you. Some may need 3, some may need 8. This is really a personal preference.

Definitely Keep. These are the pieces that you have no question about. You love it. The fit, the style, everything. Your feelings would be hurt if something happened to it.

30 Day Notice. These are the clothes that you like but have never left the hanger. When you re-organize your closet, set them at the front of your closet and give them a time limit. If you haven't worn them. "They gotsta go."

Donate. This pile is for the gently used clothing that you can donate to a thrift store or someone you know that will actually wear them. You can also look into selling your clothes.

Mend. If you have clothes that need alterations or mending, put your sewing skills to use or let it go.

Trash. Accessories that can't be cleaned. There are holes that can't be mended and/or stains that can't be cleaned (hey, exploding ink pen) and the good Lord himself can't even explain why you hold on to these things. It's time to let it go, Sis.


This is the easy part. Put everything neatly back into your closet. Use storage bins, accessory racks, slimmer hangers, and/or bookcases if you have space. Use whatever works for you! It will literally make you feel better.

If you need more inspiration, don't forget to check out How to Declutter Makeup in 5 Easy Steps.

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