The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Out Your Closet

Don’t know where to start when cleaning out your closet? This ultimate guide will help cut the clothing chaos.

You’ve decided to tackle your textiles.  Congratulations! Cleaning out your closet is a struggle for many. Time to gather a few bags or boxes and dive in.  There are a few approaches you can take when preparing for a purge.  You can remove items one at a time and assess.  I recommend creating piles-Donate, Consign, Pass to Friend, Return, Sell & Trash.  If you plan on selling your items, take pictures and post ASAP.  Have a plan to move donated pieces out of your home.  Don’t let them haunt your trunk or porch either.

Alternatively, I typically recommend taking EVERYTHING out.  Dump it on a clean surface.  The bed works great for this kind of project.  Group into categories, placing like items together.  Tops, pants, sweaters, dresses, etc.  You get the picture.  Begin editing, category by category.  Not sure if it fits or looks good?  Fashion show!  Try it on and find yourself a full length mirror.  It doesn’t hurt to invite a friend over for an honest opinion.


Creating a Capsule Wardrobe

Perhaps you’ve decided to move toward a simpler or more streamline wardrobe.  Awesome.  Capsule wardrobes are a cool and practical concept…for some people. There are some stellar examples.  I successfully help clients to achieve this garment goal.  Personally, I failed spectacularly when I attempted to create one for myself.  You can read about that magical experience here.  

Decisions, Decisions.

As an Organizer, I often work with owners of ample attire.  The number one question I receive is “How do I know what to keep and what should go?”  Much like style, rightsizing a wardrobe is unique to the individual.  I have compiled a list of questions for you to reference if you find yourself getting stuck when cleaning out your closet.  That brings up another great point, you can get stuck in more than one way.  While these questions will help you with your decision making on what stays and what goes, they will not help if you find yourself trapped in a too small ensemble.  Keep your phone handy for emergency situations.

Need help cleaning out your closet? Ask a friend.

15 Helpful Questions to Ask When Cleaning Out Your Closet

  • Does it fit?  Does it fit your body as it is RIGHT NOW?  Not 10 or 20 pounds from now.
  • Does it make you feel WONDERFUL?  Do you LOVE IT and how it makes you feel when you are wearing it?
  • Is it comfortable?  Are you constantly tugging or readjusting when you wear it?  If it gives you a wedgie consider letting it go.
Fits? Feel great wearing it? It’s a keep!
  • When was the last time you wore it?  Realistically, will you have a chance to wear it in the next 3, 6, 12 months? 
  • Would you buy it again?  Is it an essential piece?
  • Is it in good condition?  Any holes, frays, tears or stains? *Exclude comfy clothing that you wear around the house!  Darn skippy, I’m still rocking my oversized wool sweater with a hole in the armpit.
I should probably fix this.
  • Would you wear it in public?  Hey, style is an individual thing.  IF IT FITS & FEELS GOOD, ROCK IT!
  • Is it decades old, faded or outdated?  Trends come and go, don’t hold onto clothes that might come back into style someday.  Keep the basics & classics.  Hello, little black dress. 
  • Does it feel or smell weird?  Yeah, fabric can be fussy & funky.
  • Was it purchased ages ago-worn once or never at all?  Like that weird, off the shoulder top with the fringe…
Impulse purchase from Wish?
  • Does it belong to an ex or evoke unpleasant memories?  Hold a symbolic cleansing ceremony.  Burn it if you must.
  • Doesn’t belong to you?  Return borrowed clothing to its owner.  Apologies to my sister.
  • Is it too fancy to wear anywhere?  I’m looking at you flowy, peach floor-length gown.
  • Do you have multiples of the same item but gravitate toward only one or two?  Pick a favourite.
  • Is it made of material too heavy or light for the average temperature where you live?  Keep seasons in mind, of course.
Multiples of the same or similar items? Pick the best and leave the rest.

More Tips to Help With Cleaning Out Your Closet

Consider auditing your accessories when you are cleaning out your closet.  Shoes, hats, scarves, jewellery, sunglasses and bags are all fair game.

Missing a button?  Torn seam?  Pants need to be hemmed?  Remove clothing in need of alteration or repair.  Either fix it within a reasonable timeframe or pass it on/pitch it.

A word about work clothes.  I’m not referring to blazers and trousers.  Rather, clothing that you throw on when you are painting, gardening and working on dirty projects.  I keep one ratty shirt and pair of pants for such occasions.  Why ruin perfectly good clothing?

Still not sure?  Hold onto it for now.  When you hang it up, flip the hanger in the opposite direction of your other items.  Set a time limit-if you haven’t worn it within that period of time then it’s time to go!

Empty hangers are a bonus when cleaning out your closet. Job well done!

Need Help Cleaning Out Your Closet?

Um, in case you didn’t know this about me, I LOVE clothing. I also LOVE organizing. Do you know what else I LOVE? Helping people declutter, organize and simplify! If you are looking for a hand with your closet, reach out! I’ll even help you out when you get stuck. Mentally AND physically. No need for 911.

Yours in All Things Sorted,

Donation Drop!

Looking for suggestions on what to do with weeded out wearables? I encourage to join a local Buy Nothing group. They are awesome options for offloading clothing of all descriptions! Also, many hospitals gladly accept good condition clothing for patients in difficult circumstances.

Please check with the organization(s) first to determine what they are currently accepting:

Do you know of any others? Let me know in the comments below! *Disclaimer-I am not endorsing any of these organizations rather, making the information available so you can make your own personal decisions on where your donations can go! The choice is yours.*

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