Declutter Your Closet in 9 Steps

The closet purge. It doesn’t matter how well you know your style, every so often it’s time to clean everything out. Am I right? It could just be that the seasons have changed and as you un-box your clothes for the new season wardrobe you spot pieces and items that just aren’t working for you anymore. Or maybe there are a few things that just don’t fit the same as they used to–hello Christmas cookies and those extra holiday carbs. Or maybe you’ve had a major life change and your wardrobe no longer fits your current lifestyle–I’m looking at you brand new mama. Whatever the case may be, life is constantly changing and so our wardrobes are constantly changing as well.

I have two resources I recommend reading on the subject of decluttering and closet management. First is ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up‘ by Marie Kondo and the second is ‘The Curated Closet’ by Anuschka Rees. They both have a wealth of knowledge on two different but similar subjects–one on organization and health the other on style–and I highly recommend you read them both. I drew a little from both of these resources while coming up with my own purging method.

A few recommendations before you start:

Purge your closet before organizing your closet

  • I’ve made this mistake a hundred times and let my say that trying to organize where bags and shoes should live among all the clothes you probably don’t wear and wont be keeping is a total waste of time. Leave the organizing until the end.

Purge accessories and shoes last

Gather your tools

  • Trash-bags, permanent marker, music to set the mood, something to keep you hydrated

Let’s Begin!

You will be making four piles: pieces that don’t fit, pieces you haven’t worn in the last year, pieces you’re keeping, and a donate pile. Lay a trash-bag out to represent each pile.

1. Separate and place in a pile what doesn’t fit

  • Let’s be honest–you probably know the exact pieces of clothing that don’t fit in your closet right this minute. And if you aren’t sure, you probably have a good idea which pieces really need the ‘try it on’ test. I will go so far as to guess with great accuracy that you are picturing those pieces of clothes right now. Take everything for the current season that you know doesn’t fit and put it in a pile. Don’t try anything on yet.

2. Separate and place in a pile everything you haven’t worn in the last year that still fits

  • Don’t make excuses for your clothes, don’t not put it in the pile because you spent good money on it and you probably will wear it later on–maybe(that’s called the sunken cost fallacy–go google it). Just put it in the pile. You will be glad you did later on.

3. Go through the ‘doesn’t fit pile’ one piece at a time, try it on if need be, and determine if this is really something you will ever reasonably be able to wear again.

  • If you’re not confident you will be able to fit into it again within the next six months or by the next year(summer 2019 from now summer 2018) then toss it in the donate pile. Holding onto the past sometimes keeps us from reaching our goals in the future. I’m speaking from personal experience as someone who lost 130lbs. When I started my weight loss journey, I parted ways with a lot of clothes I had been keeping for years in the hopes one day I could go back and fit into them like the old days. You can’t go back to the old you. You–in the present–has to move forward to your future self–that’s how time works. However, if a particular piece of clothing motivates you forward I say keep it! That clothing is now an empowering tool to encourage you! You will know the difference too as you hold each item. If it fills you with guilt its holding you back. If it empowers you, keep it!
  • If something is too small or too big but has extreme sentimental value(notice I didn’t say guilt or sunken cost fallacy) then keep it!

4. Put all clothes you haven’t worn in the last year in the donate pile

  • Let’s face it–you didn’t wear it because you didn’t love it and you probably are never going to wear it. Give someone else the chance to wear it who really would love it. If it’s a more expensive item try selling it at a consignment store or through an app like Poshmark. *
  • If there’s something you haven’t worn but has extreme sentimental value(notice I didn’t say guilt or sunken cost fallacy) then keep it!

5. Go through the remaining clothes in the fourth pile piece by piece and determine if it fits your style perfectly

  • Can you make three separate outfits with this item? Do you really love wearing it? Does it fit right(can you wear it all day without discomfort)? Does it make you happy to put it on? If you answer yes to all these questions then place it in a new ‘to-keep’ pile. Repeat this step for each item. What doesn’t make the cut gets tossed in the donate pile.

6. Separate all the off season clothes (that would be fall and winter right now) and put them in bags or boxes and store them underneath your bed

  • When doing a major ultimate purge I don’t recommend trying to sort off-season clothes because it’s too overwhelming to guess where you might be in four-six months in life. Just repeat this process once the seasons change.
  • Move all off-season clothes into bags or boxes and store them under your bed. This will free up space in your closet and each time you look for an outfit you will only see the clothes that can be worn right now. This is really a huge deal because it gives your brain a mental rest and it becomes relaxing to look at the clothes in your closet and not have to constantly block out all the off season items.

7. Bag up all the clothes being donated or stored and label them

8. Put your donate bags in the trunk of your car

9. Place all the items in the ‘to keep’ pile back in your closet

10. Repeat these 9 steps for your shoes, jewelry, and other accessories

*There might be a few items that you’re on the fence about. I recommend a trial separation for these items. Put them away for two weeks in a bag under your bed. If you don’t go looking for them in two weeks donate them.

Once you have it all purged its time to organize and beautify your closet!

I hope this post was incredibly helpful and simple. Its daunting to tackle what seems like an impossible task but I know you’re up for it! I want to know if my ‘method’ worked for you! Come back once you’re done and tell me how it went in the comments below!

Maegan — xx

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