Decluttering your closet doesn’t have to be so difficult, even if you are a recovering shopaholic. You don’t need to do it all at once, nor do you need to keep only the bare minimum. Keep reading to see all my tips to cross “decluttering closet” off your to-do list.
The benefits of decluttering your closet
It will have several benefits:
- As it’s easier to see your clothes and choose what to wear for the day, you get dressed quicker.
- You won’t have to search through clothes you don’t like to find this shirt you want for your next day’s job interview.
- The top won’t be compacted by 10 others shirts and won’t be crumpled.
- Your closet won’t make you overwhelmed anymore. You see what you have and know what you need to buy for more mindful shopping.
Why we keep clothes we don’t wear
We all tend to keep some clothes even if we don’t wear them.
We spent a lot buying them
We feel like the money was a good investment if we keep them. But are they really if all they do is collect dust in your closet?
It's a gift
You don’t want to resell it because it feels as if you don’t appreciate the giver. But think about it. Do you think they would be happy knowing that their gift bothers you instead of making you happy?
They have sentimental value
It can be your wedding dress or the last gift from your grandma. But do you really enjoy the memories linked to them when you see them or is it mixed with some guilt because they take up so much valuable space? And that’s when you see them because most of the time, they are far away in the back of your closet.
Your dream life self would wear them
When I was younger, I bought some pencil skirts and a few shirts I thought would fit what I wanted to become as a fully adult. The reality was that even when I got a job I kept wearing my jeans and I never wore the skirts. You see, I value my comfort and high heels and skirt are not what I call comfortable.
You hope to wear them someday
But most of the times, we don’t really know when that someday will come. Instead of saying that you’ll wear the item someday, try to find an occasion when it would be appropriate. Then ask yourself what are the chances that this occasion occurs.
Get in the right state of mind
It’s time to motivate yourself.
While decluttering, you’ll make a lot of decisions. You need to be at your top for that. So, my first advice is to eat before you begin and have some rest. You’ll also need time to go through your clothes.
Know what you’ll do with the clothes you don’t keep
Some are stained or beyond repair and the only choice you’ll have will be between the trash bag and the rag box. Personally, I find it difficult to use as a rag an item I loved to wear. So I tend to toss them. But you may not have the same problem and in this case, it’s up to you!
For the other clothes, you’ll choose between donating and selling.
The pro of selling is that you’ll get some money back. But how much do you value the time you’ll spend doing so? I suggest you take a few minutes to see how much you could gain and decide if it’s worth it.
On the other side, you can donate your stuff. You’ll spend less time but won’t see a dollar for your clothes.
Decide how many clothes you want to keep
This will give you a clear goal to reach and you’ll stay motivated more easily. To define this number, think of your laundry routine, your lifestyle, and your preferences. You won’t need as many clothes if you do the laundry every other day as if you do it weekly.
The goal can be materialized by the hangers you keep or you can decide how much to keep by categories.
Solutions for decluttering your closet
All at once
If you know Marie Kondo’s way of decluttering, you’ve heard of it. You pull all your clothes from your drawers, dresser, and closets and put them on your bed. It can be a lighting moment as you see how many clothes you have. But it can backfire if you don’t have time or energy to sort everything before night. Even with fewer clothes, you still need somewhere to sleep.
Category by category
You keep the idea of pulling everything from where they belong but you focus on one category at a time. You can still have a lighting moment but it may be less significant. The advantage is that it’s easier to go through a certain number of categories before sleeping time.
One by one
You pick one item of clothing at a time and choose what to do with it. You’ll have less mess and can stop when you want but it is more difficult to see the whole picture.
I prefer the second option. I find it’s the better of the two worlds. If you’re short on time or energy, you can aim to sort one category per day. At the end of the week, you’ll still make progress.
Tips to declutter your closet
Track your wears
Before your decluttering day, you can decide to wear all of your clothes at least once to see how they fit and how you feel in them.
Another solution is to turn all the hangers around and when you wear an item, turn the hanger the right way. After one month, look at which item you could have worn but didn’t. Are they worth keeping?
Use a maybe box
This box is for times when you don’t know if you want to keep or donate/sell an item. You put it in the box and put the box away for a set amount of time (I forgot mine until the next decluttering). At the end of the period, you know more confidently that you can donate what stayed in the box.
Note what’s your first reaction when seeing the item of clothes
Your gut will tell you what you think of the clothing item before your brain finds excuses to keep it. So listen to it!
Ask yourself some questions
Some quick questions will help you make your decisions:
- Do you like it?
- Do you look good in it?
- Do you feel good in it?
- Is it worn out or stained?
- Would you buy it if it was today in a shop?
- When will you wear it? (Someday is not an answer!)
Get support from a friend or a family member
Decluttering your closet can be emotionally draining. Ask someone you trust to be with you while you declutter. You’ll be able to talk to them about the memories that come with the clothes and they’ll help you make decisions. Just be sure not to ask them to do the final decisions!
What to do after decluttering your closet
Sell/donate as soon as possible
The more the clothes stay in your house, the more it will be taunting to second guess yourself. As long as the clothes are still in your house, you won’t see all the benefits of decluttering as clutter in bags near the back door is still clutter.
Declutter your closet again
Don’t wait too long before decluttering again. The more you declutter, the more you become ruthless and you’ll find items you kept the first time that won’t pass the second. You’ll end with a clearer closet with only the items you love.
Be more selective when buying new clothes
To limit how many clothes you’ll want to get rid of, be more mindful when you buy new clothes. Ask yourself if you need them. Be sure that you like the item because it flatters you and not because of the price on the tag attached to it. Answer to these questions :
- When would you wear it?
- What would you wear with it?
- Does it fit with your lifestyle?
- Will you take care of it? (Hand washing or dry cleaning)
Decluttering your closet can be long and somewhat hard but it’s so rewarding when you open it only to find clothes you love. It will take some time but you’ll gain it back while getting ready in the morning. So if you don’t start decluttering now, don’t forget to set a date to declutter your closet.