Closets–we all have one, and most of us have too many. They’re full of clothes you don’t want, can’t fit, or don’t need. They are jam-packed with shirts, ties, pants, and shoes that you don’t even know you own anymore. However, don’t despair.
Now is a great time to get your wardrobe back into shape and organize your closet. It’s time for a closet declutter. The kind where you can get organized and live clutter-free–a deep clean-out. Here are 8 simple steps to declutter your closet…for good this time!
How To Declutter Your Closet
Decluttering your closet is a relatively simple and straightforward process. It begins with a mindset and ends with you taking action. Here are four simple steps to get you through the decluttering process:
1. Mentally Prepare
Decluttering is a challenge. It’s hard to let go of things that once brought you joy. Get in the right mindset before getting rid of clutter in your closet. Maybe talk to some friends who have done it or read an organizing book.
Learn how to declutter so you can make a plan. Then, set a goal for organizing your closet and reward yourself when the job is complete.
2. Make A Plan
Set limits on how many pieces of clothing you want to have. Decide what you’re going to keep and what you’re going to toss before you start sorting through your clothes. Make sure that everything in your closet makes you feel good about yourself. Don’t force yourself into keeping something just because it was expensive or hard to part with! Let it go if it doesn’t fit anymore and hasn’t been worn in six months!
Look for duplicates. Do you have two pairs of black pants? You probably don’t need them both to pick one pair and donate or sell the other one!
3. Establish Three Bins For The Decluttering Process
The first bin is for items you want to keep. The second represents maybe items. And the third is for things that need to be donated or discarded.
The “keep” pile should be things you absolutely love and wear frequently. The “donate” pile should be stuff that you don’t love but could possibly help someone else out with—it could be clothes or other household items (like a mattress or a crockpot). And the “throw-away” pile should obviously be things that are broken or worn out beyond repair (sorry!).
Then sort through each pile and figure out what needs to happen next. If something is in the “keep” pile but doesn’t fit anymore because you’ve lost weight or gained muscle mass since buying it? Consider tossing it if there isn’t anything else like it in your collection—you’d rather have multiple versions of an item than one version that no longer fits well.
4. Remove Everything From The Closet And Begin
The last step is to go through all of your items. First, you have to remove everything from the closet. Then, only put the things you will keep back inside. The remaining items are to go into the three bins of the decluttering process.
Now, remember to only keep the items that bring your joy and that you need during this process. Don’t keep something just to keep it. Don’t keep things because you “might need it” or “what if.” Instead, go with the first instinct-do you love it? If not, let it go. Here’s a list of decluttering questions to ask yourself when going through your items:
- Is the item old and outdated?
- Does it fit well?
- Has it lost its shape?
- Do you feel good about the article?
- How do you look in it?
- Is it a duplicate?
- When was the last time you used it?
If you have items that are more than one year old and you haven’t worn them, get rid of them. Don’t hesitate to get rid of things you look at often but never wear. And don’t worry about the waste. The money left the moment you made the purchase. All we can do is better in the future.
You’ll have an opportunity to donate clothes to charity or other people who can use them. Or you could also sell them on eBay or at a garage sale for some extra cash.
Tips To Declutter Your Closet
Decluttering is hard. Here are a few tips to try while decluttering your closet:
1. Let It Go and Clear The Clutter
The best way to declutter your closet is to get rid of all the clothes you don’t wear. This action will make room for new clothes you love and want to wear.
Take everything out of your closet (and dresser). Then go through each item one by one and ask yourself if it fits your style, if it still fits or looks good on you, and if it’s something you want to be seen in public wearing.
Then once you’ve got an empty closet, start over with buying new things. Don’t be afraid to splurge! Or just stick to basics like jeans or T-shirts that will never go out of style.
2. Store Occasion-Wear Separately
If you have a lot of special occasion clothing like a wedding dress or something similar—it can be tempting to keep those items together in one place, but it’s better to store them separately. Putting all of your fancy clothes together makes it hard to find what you’re looking for when you want to wear them. If you keep these items separate from your everyday clothing, they’ll always be easy to find.
That way, your cocktail dresses, and business casual pieces are together. And when it comes time to get dressed up for an event or special occasion, all you have to do is reach into your special occasion-wear drawer and pull out a few things that go together well. No need to dig through the entire closet!
3. Use Baskets And Bins
Baskets and bins are easy to move around when you need to reorganize, and they’re also portable. Use them in different rooms of your house or even bring them on vacation with you! And if you don’t like the way something looks in one room, just move it somewhere else until you find the perfect spot.
Baskets and bins are great because they’re easy to move around and can be used for multiple purposes. For instance, if you have lots of shoes but not enough shelves or drawers to hold them all, try putting them into a basket, so they’re easy to see and access. The same goes for purses and scarves—you can hang them from hooks on the inside of your closet door using S-hooks (or even just nails if you don’t want holes in your walls). And if there’s space underneath where these items would generally sit on top of shelves or drawers, consider placing baskets there.
4. Try A Modular Closet Organizer
You can find just about anything you need to make your closet look like a custom-built closet without the price tag. Check out modular closet organizers from companies like Rubbermaid, Elfa, and Ikea.
These closet solutions include areas to hang clothing, drawers, and shelves. You can arrange them how you like, and they tend to work with just a few screws and nails. They’re worth looking into.
5. Display Your Shoes And Handbags
Now that we’re only keeping items that we love, you need to show them off and remember that you have them. Line your shelves with shoes and handbags. You can find shoe organizers or a shoe rack if you have space on the floor.
6. Utilize shelf dividers
You only have so much space on the shelves, and using shelf dividers will help keep everything in its place. The closet will look tidy just having the right tools in place.
7. Create Your Own “Capsule Wardrobe”
Consider a simplified wardrobe like a capsule wardrobe that outlines the number of clothes you need in your closet. You’ll want a small selection of versatile clothes to coordinate with each other so that they can be worn in many different combinations over time to create an infinite number of outfits. By choosing pieces that work together well and eliminating everything else, it becomes much easier to decide what stays and what goes while still having access to plenty of options.
To create your own capsule wardrobe, start by looking at the weather for the next 12 months. Then, look at the activities coming up in your life (holidays, birthdays, work events). Next, do some research on where you’ll be spending time during those months and years—will it be cold or warm? Will there be rain?
After deciding what kind of weather and activities are coming up for the next year, put together an outfit that will work for each one. Make sure these outfits fit into one another seamlessly—they should flow from one piece into another without much thought or effort on your part. If possible, try not to repeat any pieces daily (or week to week). This will help keep things fresh!
8. Use A Set Number Of Hangers
Use only a certain number of hangers (say, 20) so that everything has a place in your closet instead of falling over onto the floor. This limit will help prevent clutter from building up and save space on shelves or drawers where items could be stored instead.
You can also use hangers for each type of clothing (e.g., one hanger for pants, one hanger for shirts). Then, when you’re putting away your clothes at night or after work, you’ll know how many items are still hanging up and how many need to be taken down or folded up.
9. Categorize your clothes
If you’ve got a lot of clothes, sort them into piles based on the color. Then, pick the colors missing from your wardrobe and add them accordingly.
If you have an array of different types of clothing, say shirts only or pants only—then sort them according to style (e.g., casual vs. fancy) or type (e.g., dresses). This step will help you eliminate things that aren’t aesthetically pleasing or helpful to keep around anymore!
10. Check in with a Professional
If you’re not sure where to begin. You can try a professional organizer. Organizers are ready and have the experience to conquer any job. You may find that working with a professional just once is life-changing and beneficial. They’ll give you closet organization ideas and help remove clutter you don’t want to part with.
Benefits of Decluttering Your Closet
We know that it can be challenging to keep up with the latest trends, not to mention the pressure of looking good on the go. But we want you to know that there are some significant advantages to having a streamlined, clutter-free, minimalist closet. Here are a few benefits of decluttering your closet today:
1. You’ll be less stressed and happier
Clutter can be stressful. Getting rid of extra things is very freeing. You’ll find that you have less stress and feel happier with an organized closet.
2. It’s more fun than you think!
When you start decluttering your wardrobe, you’ll often notice how fun it can be. You’ll find yourself reminiscing and feeling lighter. You may also be planning to make a small shopping trip to build your capsule wardrobe. You may find it fun just knowing what lies ahead.
3. Extra Cash
Make some extra money with clothes that don’t fit or have never worn. You can sell them on sites like Letgo or hold a garage sale.
4. You’ll save money
You’ll save money when you’re buying less in the future. Mainly because you might not want to go through the declutter process again. But it’s a win-win solution.
How Often Should You Declutter Your Closet
You should declutter your closet every three to six months to minimize clutter. Then, try to attack it during the season changes. The odds are if you haven’t worn something in 6 months, you won’t wear it again, so why keep it around?
But if you’ve got more than one closet? Then set aside time once a year for each one. Your main bedroom probably needs less attention than your sock drawer, but both need some love from time to time!
And finally (and most importantly), be sure to go through your clothes at least once per season. There’s nothing like trying on an old pair of jeans only to find out they fit better than anything else in your closet.
The Bottom Line
It’s hard to live when you have too much stuff. So whether it’s unwanted belongings or just unnecessary things taking up space in your home, it’s not welcome.
Tidying up your closet can be a daunting task for some people, but it doesn’t have to be. Use this guide to help your wardrobe be free of clutter. You’ll find that you can simplify your life with an organized space, and despite its uncomfortable beginnings, you’ll have a more fulfilling lifestyle.
Theresa Bedford is a syndicated freelance home and travel writer with regular contributions to the Associated Press wire and MSN. She helps everyday people love the life they have through simplicity, organization, and prioritization.