Cleaning out your closet can be one of the most emotional and challenging things someone can do in their lives. That’s why most people avoid it, allowing clothes to condense and build up to the point you can’t fit another cheap pair of ‘would look good if you lost five pounds and they were on sale so you bought them’ pants.
Listen. I know this is hard, but you know it’s time. The hardest step is to admit you have a problem.
And that is why you’re here.
I’m going to help you clean out your closet and help you avoid the everyday panic of ‘I have nothing to wear!’
Evaluate the Situation
Are your clothes pouring out of your closet and into every other crevasse of your room? Do none of your clothes fit properly? Are you in a bind every day because none of your clothes are appropriate to wear for that day?
It’s time to go through it all.
Every t-shirt, every pair of socks, everything.
What I want you to do is devote an afternoon (or a weekend depending on the level of severity) and pull everything out and put it on your bed. Completely empty your closet and drawers and take all your clothes and put it in a pile. Then go through every item and ask yourself these questions, and if the answer is yes to any of them, create a donate or recycle pile of those items.
- Does it have a stain or hole somewhere?
- Does it fit you?
- Are you keeping this due to sentimental reasons/how much you paid for it/just because you like it and in all actuality will never wear it?
The first two questions get rid of the obvious clothes clutter, but the 3rd one can be a bit tricky.
Don’t Hold on to Unnecessary Items
Your closet is not a photo album, nor a place to store dreams or hopes. I’m sorry, unless you’re a contestant in The Biggest Loser and will need those size 2 jeans in two weeks, you probably don’t need 4 different sizes of jeans loitering in your closet.
I know it’s hard to get rid of your homecoming dress from high school, or the t-shirt you wore when you had your first kiss, or the shirt you got in a sale that is just a little bit to small but you might wear this Christmas.
But think about it, when was the last time you wore this item? 3 years ago? Never? Why is it taking up valuable space?
If you lose the weight, you can buy new clothes. But until then, donate those items to someone who needs/will wear it.
If you have never worn something, why are you keeping it? If the clothes are highly situational, you can buy it when you need it.
If you’re keeping a stained old piece of clothing due to sentimental reasons, really ask yourself if this item is really going to matter in 20 years? Or are memories enough? Is it worth sacrificing space that a new item could be filling?
Okay, it’s pretty important. I know it’s a good cause to donate your prom dress, but I wasn’t personally ready to let it go. That’s why compression bags were invented, pick the few items you can’t let go of, shove them in a bag and suck the air out. They’re still in your closet but taking up less space, so it’s a win lose situation.
Alright, wipe away the tears, at this point there should be a pretty big pile beginning to grow of donation clothes. This is where the real work begins.
Put the donation/recycle pile off to the side, don’t let it distract you. Now I want you to put out every item of the keep pile, look through it again and ask yourself this question.
Do I wear this often? – (And by often I mean at least once every two weeks) If yes, keep it, hang it up in your closet.
Now you should have the clothes in your closet and the ones still on your bed. I want you to take a hard look at those remaining clothes and think about why you don’t wear them that often even though they fit you, they don’t have stains and you’re not keeping it due to sentiment.
You probably don’t like it as much as your other clothes, or you don’t like the way it looks on you. If you are a hard-core closet cleaner that has grand plans of buying a new wardrobe after this closet overhaul, then I say get rid of it and make room for more clothes.
If you don’t have the wallet to re-buy everything, I’d get rid of a few pieces that you really don’t wear and hold on to the rest. Look at my Tips and Tricks / Hacks pages to find out new ways to wear old items.
Make a Game Plan
At this point, you closet should be feeling slim. And this is a good thing, don’t be fooled by pictures of abundant closets and get jealous, they’re just like the rest of us and wear the same 20 pieces over and over again, at least you’re honest about it.
But there might be some holes exposed by your super efficient closet cleaning. Like at the beginning you thought you had more than enough jeans, but after going through them and asking the hard questions, you’re left with two pairs and you really need more socks.
Make a list of clothes items you need and go shopping. See my page on ‘How to Buy Cothes’ to get more info on buying the correct clothes to help avoid a closet pile up.
Enjoy your clean closet!