HOW TO DECLUTTER CLOTHES IN 10 EASY STEPS
Having a simpler, decluttered wardrobe full only of clothes that you love to wear can reduce your time and stress and make getting dressed a much easier and more enjoyable experience! Create space in your closet and more time for yourself with these tips on how to declutter clothes in 10 easy steps.
THE BENEFITS OF DECLUTTERING YOUR CLOTHES
Before we dive into how to declutter your closet, I just wanted to touch on some of the benefits of decluttering your clothes.
A simplified, decluttered wardrobe usually has less clothes. The clothes you do choose to keep are ones that you love to wear, feel great wearing and will co-ordinate with many other items in your wardrobe. A decluttered closet isn’t stuffed full of clothes you rarely wear or even random stuff that you don’t know where else in your home to store!
A clutter-free closet comes with many benefits. Here are some benefits that I’ve noticed when I decluttered my own clothes:
- Quicker to find what you’re looking for as there’s fewer clothes to root through
- Easier to decide what to wear as you’ve got less options (but they’re all good ones!)
- Simpler to keep on top of the laundry and always have fresh clean clothes
- Go for the ‘put together’ look, rather than the ‘what the cat dragged in’ look (most days anyway!)
A NOTE ABOUT SIMPLER, DECLUTTERED WARDROBES
Decluttering your clothes is the first step to making it easier and quicker to get dressed. How far you simplify your wardrobe is entirely personal choice but the ultimate aim is so you know exactly what you have in your wardrobe and that you enjoy and wear those clothes regularly. Maximum benefit from minimal effort.
You might like to limit your wardrobe to a set number of pieces, perhaps rotated through the different seasons. If you’re curious about this, try creating your own capsule wardrobe or challenge yourself with Courtney Carver’s popular Project 333.
In my own closet I tend to work with the space I have. I don’t measure the number of items particularly. I just know it’s time to declutter when my clothes start to feel squished in my hanging space or drawers (which is a pretty small space anyway!).
I also like to be able to see things clearly, whether that’s having organised drawers or space between hangers to push clothes apart. If everything is crammed in then there’s no wiggle room to see what’s in there.
DECLUTTERING YOUR WARDROBE AS A STARTING POINT FOR MORE SIMPLIFYING
Decluttering my clothes was one of my very first decluttering projects. I wanted to make it easier and quicker to get dressed in the mornings before dashing off to do the school run and go to work.
Decluttering my clothes was a great first project for me. It didn’t involve anyone but myself, I wasn’t getting rid of stuff that belonged to or impacted on anyone else. It was also a project that I could do just for me, to help me feel better about myself and what I looked like. This boosted my confidence and positivity and set me up for a better day.
All in all, decluttering my wardrobe was a great starting point and the benefits encouraged me to carry on decluttering the rest of my home and life too!
Below I’m sharing the process that I used to declutter my own clothes. I invite you to find a little quiet time and try it for yourself.
Here are some helpful tips to help you declutter clothes in 10 easy steps…
HOW TO DECLUTTER CLOTHES IN 10 EASY STEPS
Follow these simple steps to declutter your clothes and create a simplified wardrobe that works for you.
1. Take everything out of your wardrobe
Put the entire contents of your wardrobe on the bed or on the floor. Sort through and only keep what belongs in your wardrobe (that means anything that you’d put on your body, including accessories, shoes, bags, jewellery etc).
Wardrobes are often dumping grounds for other items that we don’t know what to do with, so now is the time to re-home the random stuff that doesn’t belong in your wardrobe. Re-home or get rid of those items right now!
2. Clean your wardrobe, drawers and shelves
Before you put your clothes back, clean everything thoroughly. It’s much easier when the cupboards and drawers are empty and it probably hasn’t been cleaned for a while!
Take a moment to start thinking about how you’re going to organise your clothes when you put them back in. Although I think you should declutter first, then organise, it might be helpful to have in mind how you want to lay out your clothes afterwards. Do you have hangers, do you need more storage boxes or drawer dividers? We’ll come back to organisation later.
3. Have a quick sort through
Rummage through your piles and take out anything that you know you definitely don’t want to keep. This might include items that you haven’t worn for years, don’t fit, don’t like, are damaged beyond repair or that you only bought for a specific purpose and that you won’t need again (for example, maternity clothes).
Don’t overthink things here. Just have a quick look through and take out any obvious items that you don’t want to keep.
Decluttering your home is a little like peeling away the layers of an onion. Start with a first sweep to remove the obvious clutter, then have another go to peel back another layer of clutter. Rinse and repeat! Every time you go back to declutter, you’ll have less clutter to sift through and it will become easier and easier.
4. Create 3 separate piles for unwanted items
By now you might have some items that you don’t want to keep. Create some space for 3 separate piles on your floor. 1 – to throw away, 2 – to donate, 3 – to recycle.
Making the space now and being able to chuck clothes in the relevant piles as you go will make it easier to just focus on your decluttering and the piles won’t get muddled up and undo your hard work!
Decluttering is easier if you’re prepared beforehand. Here are 11 simple things to do before you start decluttering.
5. Sort your clothes into different categories
To make it even easier for you to see what you’ve got, take a moment to sort through all your remaining clothes on your bed and put them into rough categories. Don’t be too perfectionist about your decluttering here, just use broad categories such as tops, bottoms, knitwear, underwear and so on.
I think it’s easier to sort your clothes now by category so you can begin to see how much of each type of item you’ve got. You can start to think about whether you really need 30 pairs of jeans, or 10 evening dresses (maybe you do, maybe you don’t!).
Did you even realise, for example, that you’ve got lots of tops but only a couple of pairs of bottoms? Seeing your clothes laid out in front of you can help you really see what’s been hiding in your wardrobe all this time!
6. Pick a category and try every item on
Try every item on. Don’t be tempted to just hold it up in front of you. Actually try it on, for a minute, an hour or even the whole day and make a note of your reaction and how it makes you feel.
Do you instantly feel good? Does it look good on you? Does it make you feel more confident, attractive, comfortable? If your reaction is half-hearted and it makes you feel like that too, then consider getting rid of this item.
You’re aiming to ONLY keep items that:
- Make you feel fantastic and…
- Are in good condition (or can be mended) and…
- Are versatile to wear with lots of other things and…
- That’s it! Everything else should go!
7. Assess what you’re keeping
Look through the items you’re keeping. Assess the items using the 2 points below and decide if you need more of anything in each category.
- Think about what clothes you need for how you live your life. Do you need more formal clothes for work or do you live in casual clothes for working from home or running around after a toddler all day? Your range and quantity of clothes should reflect your lifestyle. It’s no good having lots of skirts if you never wear them!
- Do you have items that are really versatile and can be used in lots of combinations? Think about keeping to a particular colour palette or go for layers so that you can use clothes in different seasons but just add or take away layers depending on the temperature.
8. Put the clothes you’re keeping back in the wardrobe
Now it’s time to put your clothes back in the wardrobe, drawers etc. Take some time to think about how you can arrange your clothes to make it easy to see everything at first glance. Here are some points to think about:
- Hang as much up as possible, only fold what will get damaged by hanging
- Consider grouping your clothes, by category, colour, season to make it look neater and it’s easier to find things
- Use drawer dividers or small boxes to organise underwear etc
- Check out Pinterest and the internet for inspiration on organising and storing your clothes, shoes, accessories to save space and make it easy to find things
9. Deal with the unwanted piles now!
This is a biggie! Don’t just leave your decluttered, unwanted clothes lying around as it will take up space, undo your hard work and you’ll be tempted to dig through it!
Move the unwanted piles into bin bags/boxes and deal with them right now by taking them for recycling, to the charity shop, to a friend etc.
Try these tips if you struggle knowing what to do with your unwanted items.
10. Shopping for new or replacement items
If you’ve decluttered your clothes and have only kept back the ones that you really, really want to keep, you might find you need to buy one or two more pieces to replace or add to what you’ve kept.
Shop according to your budget. Bear in mind that shopping intentionally can help you save money, or at least, spend more wisely, by ensuring you’re buying things that you only really want and need. Many of us get caught out with impulse buys when we see big red sale signs or we don’t have a clear vision for what clothes we like to wear and would work well in our closet.
Check out this post on Minimalism and shopping with intention. There’s some helpful tips specifically for clothes shopping!
COMMON PROBLEMS WHEN DECLUTTERING CLOTHES
Decluttering is meant to be fun and rewarding, but sometimes we can get stuck. Here are some common problems many people face when being ruthless with their wardrobe and decluttering clothes:
1. You can’t make up your mind
Keep a box for those items you’re not sure about. Put the clothes in and hide the box away where you won’t see it and be tempted to root through it. Don’t just forget about it though! Set a reminder on your phone or mark a date on your calendar for a month’s time. If you miss the item within the next month or so, keep it. If not, donate it.
2. You want to keep something but you don’t wear it often
Wear the item for a day. If it feels scratchy, ill-fitting or uncomfortable, you’ll soon realise why you don’t wear it very often!
3. You don’t have time
Don’t declutter your entire wardrobe in one go. Split your clothes into different categories and do one a day. Declutter bags, shoes, scarves etc separately. Here are some more tips on how to declutter when you don’t have time or how to purge your closet quickly if you just want to get it done right now!
4. Just in case items
I never wear dresses but for years I held onto a few dresses just in case I ever needed them. I never did until the time came when I did need one. But, all the dresses I had didn’t really feel comfortable and I didn’t like the look of them anymore because my body and style had changed since I bought them.
Think carefully about your ‘just in case’ items and whether you need them taking up space in your closet even if you never wear them.
5. Clothes that don’t fit
If your clothes don’t fit you now, declutter them. Opening your wardrobe doors every morning to be confronted by jeans that no longer fit is demoralising. Dress your body how it deserves to be dressed, right now.
6. Feeling guilty and wasteful
If you bought a bag to the value of a month’s salary but never use it, is it a waste of money? Instead of just letting the bag sit in your closet gathering dust and taking up space, is it any more of a waste to donate it to someone who will enjoy using it or sell it to get some money back?
Often, the real waste comes about when you purchase something unwisely, not when you declutter it. Here are some tips if you struggle to declutter because you feel guilty or wasteful.
ENJOYING YOUR NEW DECLUTTERED WARDROBE
If you’ve followed these steps then you’ll be on your way to having a clean, decluttered wardrobe which only holds clothes that you love to wear and make you feel and look good!
It will be easier and quicker for you to get dressed in the morning so you can get on with EVERYTHING ELSE you have to do in the mornings!
It’s also one less decision you’ll have to make that day (or an easier one at least because you’ve got less clothes to choose from!).
RESOURCES FOR DECLUTTERING CLOTHES
Here are some more articles and resources to help you declutter clothes and simplify your wardrobe:
- Tips to simplify your wardrobe and keep it simple going forward!
- Seasonal clothing declutter: 5 tips to declutter clothes each season
- What to do with unwanted stuff you’ve decluttered
- How to purge your closet quickly
- Which clothes to declutter? Simple questions to help you decide
- How a personal daily uniform can help simplify your life (and how to start for yourself!)
- How to find the motivation to declutter
- Declutter Starter Kit – a free guide and workbook to help you understand the what, why and how of decluttering. Projects, tips and guidance to clear the clutter in your home and life.
YOUR NEXT STEP…
If you’d like to try decluttering your clothes for yourself, I’ve put together a free Wardrobe Declutter Checklist to help you get started. You can assess how well your wardrobe works for you now and what changes you’d like to make.
Pop your details in the box below to get started…