Top Tips To Declutter Your Clothes Closet Now

Sometimes when people have a strong feeling to clean out a closet it is because unconsciously they are looking for a change in life. Maybe your clothes closet is just messy and you want to clean it. Whatever the reason is that you wish to clean out your clothes closet I hope this article will help you.

I can’t tell you how many times I have cleaned out a closet or an area and shortly thereafter something new has come into my life! It is magical! When I am craving a change I look for stuff to get rid of!

Out with the old- in with the new, When one door closes another door opens. You have heard all these phrases and slogans. I have tested these ideas and am here to report they work. Not only will you get a sparkling clean closet, you may even get the surprise of something new coming your way.

If that isn’t an incentive to declutter your closet I am not sure what is!

Your vision

My vision is likely different from yours. I only learned recently the way I have dressed for the last 30 years is called having a capsule wardrobe.

Who knew? I am a fan of minimal clothing, meaning I decided I did not like the bother of getting dressed with too many choices and decided to change this.

What I have gained from this is I don’t have to deal with overcrowded closets and dressers, in fact I own no bureaus and I have only one average size closet for clothing.

Along with those positives I enjoy freedom from decision fatigue. Owning multiple pairs of jeans and a dozen or so identical black tops assures my clutter-free closet stays this way.

folded jeans

If new clothes bring you genuine joy, as they do many people, you will have to find a system of closet organization unique to you. We will get into the different ways to achieve an organized closet unique to your situation. Decluttering your clothes does not have to be an overwhelming task.

All the decluttering process takes is an investment of a little time and a rigorous honest appraisal of where you are today, Just a few easy steps and you are on your way to a decluttered wardrobe!

Considering you probably are not wearing half of your wardrobe regularly, why not free up closet space to give you easier access to what you store in your closet.

cool modern clock- minimal and red second hand

Your Time

Before starting a decluttering job it is important to have an end goal in mind. How else will you know what to aim for? Make a commitment to declutter your clothes closet once and for all. When you are committed to a process of anything the chances are very good the only thing that will stand in your way to reach your goals is you.

To give yourself the best chance to succeed do a little homework first. Figure out precisely what you want. Write your desire down and hang it in a place you will see regularly, perhaps your closet door.

Vision Board

Or you can make a vision board! A vision board is when you cut out pictures of how you want your life to be or in this case how you want your closet to look. You can draw your vision. I like using Canva to make vision boards. This is wicked easy and fun!

If you need help making a vision board check out my friend Pam’s Canva Clubhouse!

When you say that your desire is wanting to clean and organize your closet this is too vague. Envision how you want your closet to look when you are done. Does your picture include:

  •  fewer clothes
  •  clothes arranged by color
  •  clothes grouped in categories
  •  how you organize clothing?
  •  new storage solutions
  • shoes to be included in your decluttering project

When you have formed a clear and concise picture the next important thing is to decide when you will be decluttering your clothes closet and what length of time you will spend doing this.

Some people may be able to declutter a closet in an afternoon. Others may have less time to devote to this and may need to schedule several sessions. How much time you can spare to get the decluttering job done is up to you. Either way is fine.

The important piece is the time you plan to declutter your closet needs to be scheduled and honored like all your appointments are.

When you have your vision and your decluttering session(s) scheduled it is time to start.

3 labeled trash bags

I suggest getting the heavy-duty large black contractor bags because they are the largest, sturdiest plastic trash bags I have found. Next, you want to label 3 bags – Trash, Donate, and Sell. If you feel a fourth bag labeled Keep will help you stay organized during this process grab a fourth bag and label it.

Clothes belong in the clothes closet

Armed with your trash bags the first task is to remove anything from your closet not related to clothing and dressing. If you are keeping these items and not putting these things in your labeled bags return them to the other areas of your home where they belong.

Everything in your home should have a dedicated space where it remains when not in use. After this step, you will have only clothing and articles related to your wardrobe in your closet and you will find a home for all the unrelated things that do not belong in your clothes closet.

This post may contain affiliate links for which I may receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you.

Empty Closet

The very best approach to decluttering your clothes closet is emptying the closet down to its bare shelving. Then do a quick clean with a spray cleaner or however you choose.

If you are a compulsive person like me, after you clean the shelves and walls add a quick coat of fresh paint.

big clean white empty clothes closet

If you are lucky enough to have a really large closet and dressing space it may make more sense for you to empty and declutter one small area at a time. This will all depend on your time constraints and will also keep the mess minimal.

If you emptied your entire closet, and can’t finish going through all your clothes in 1 session put the clothes you have not gone through in bags or suitcases- anything but the closet. The closet is exclusively for your remaining clothes that you decide to keep after you go through every single item one item at a time.


If your wardrobe is not already grouped in separate categories do this next. 

Do you have a lot of special occasion wear like evening dresses? If you are short on closet space you may decide to house these seldom worn clothes in a place other than your closet- after you have decluttered them.

We all have our personal style of dressing. I dare say your ‘go-to’ clothes, the outfits you wear often are your style. These clothes are in good condition and are comfortable. This is why you repeatedly choose to wear them! These pieces will undoubtedly go in your keep pile.

Your favorite things

Before you start decluttering your clothes pick out a couple of your favorite outfits or your favorite pair of pants or a sweater. Try them on. These are the pieces that make you feel 10 pounds lighter and 10 years younger! You love these clothes and will never part with them.

sassy orange blouse and bright, and bold magenta skirt

Remember this great feeling you have when you are wearing your favorite things! Hang these in plain sight while going through your decluttering process to remind yourself this is what clothing should feel like when worn.

Consider getting rid of the clothes that do not make you feel this great. At the very least get rid of the clothes that make you feel ‘meh’, the ones that are too tight, or the wrong color and style. You may have only bought these things because they were on sale. Why not cut your losses now and learn from your rare lapse of judgement?

Curate each piece

As you go through each piece of clothing you have to act like an art museum curator. Inspect each item carefully and thoroughly, one piece at a time.

Ask the right questions:

  • Does it fit?
  •  Does this flatter you as much as your favorite clothes?
  •  When was the last time you wore this?
  •  Is this piece in good condition and free of stains?
  •  If it needs repairs am I ever going to repair it or bring it to the tailor?

Be honest!

Ask yourself – Are there sentimental reasons you keep some clothing items? This is the area most people find the most difficult to reconcile. If you are in doubt as to which pieces of clothing have not been worn in years do this simple trick.

When you wear a piece of clothing and return the item to your closet hang the hanger backwards. At a glance, you will learn what clothes you are wearing and which pieces are just taking up space.

Be more honest!

Does such and such fit or do you continue to say when I lose 10 pounds it will fit?

Would you buy this item again at full price in the same size and color?

Would you spend money or time to get this piece repaired?

Do you feel as great wearing this as your awesome outfits?

Would you wear it today? If you are hesitating in the least challenge yourself to wear the item today, tomorrow, or within the next few days. If you won’t do this and the piece is appropriate for the season – you are most likely not going to wear it again. You have to be painstakingly honest.

Pareto rule

If you have a closet full of clothes you love and won’t part with, why do you do laundry so often?

The Pareto rule states that we wear the same 20% of our clothes 80% of the time! This is why we do laundry so often even though we have a whole closet full of other things we can wear.

Let’s just admit it most of us have way too much stuff and we don’t want to part with it.

We can’t have it both ways, a decluttered closet and the unwillingness to let go of anything. You have to make a decision which way you choose to go.

Another thing is if you want to wear something and are in doubt if it is appropriate for you to wear due to style, fit, or any reason. get rid of it.

You would not have doubts if the item looked and felt great on you. When in doubt, go without is an expression that has saved my day repeatedly!


What about that pile of clothes that needs repairs? How long has it been sitting there? Repair them or bring them for repairs in one week’s time- or get rid of them.


This is a perfect time to donate to someone who may be less fortunate.

computer keyboard key with the word Donate in blue

Be sure to grab a copy of my Free 17 page Resource Guide I made listing organizations that in some cases pick up your unwanted goods for free and low cost, even big heavy stuff and old treadmills!

It is a win-win to donate your unwanted items to a charity shop or a charitable organization that you hold dear to your heart. 

My go-to charity to donate women’s clothing to is Dress For Success

I love donating clothing to women going on job interviews because some women, down on their luck, have nothing appropriate and cannot afford to buy anything. Nailing a job interview can turn someone’s life around! Feels awesome to be a part of this.

Why keep a whole bunch of clothes that you may or may not ever wear again in the closet taking up valuable real estate when someone else can benefit?


I have read that only 15% of our unwanted clothing is being recycled. The rest is filling our landfills.

The Commonwealth of MA instituted a ban on jeans and worn socks to be discarded in the landfills. This is an attempt to find big offenders, companies that are over burdening our landfills with clothing and textiles.

textiles over-filling our landfills

I have my friends trained to show me their unwanted textiles because I dabble in fiber art and love repurposing old clothing and fabrics. Perhaps you know a local artist that would love your recyclables.

Store it

If you are on the fence about keeping or getting rid of an item, or anything in your home, a neat trick is to box it up and put the box out of sight. Put a note in your calendar for 3 – 6 months to remind you about the box of stored items.

If you haven’t thought of any of these things you have stored- you likely never will. Get rid of them!


People handle out-of-season clothes differently. All my clothing for all the seasons, and I live in New England, fit nicely in one regular-size closet, with room left over to spare.

clear plastic totes with lids

Some people only leave the current season clothing in their closet. Others use storage containers to store out-of-season clothes. Only you know what works best for you and your circumstances.

If you are going to store out-of-season clothing in totes the clear water-resistant type of covered tote is best.


Whether you have a huge walk-in closet or a regular small closet a great way to stay decluttered is to stay organized. This can be achieved by categorizing clothing items, color coding clothes, using shelf dividers and other organizational aids of which there is no shortage.

colorful shirts hanging in closet grouped by color

Some people admittedly feel the need to hire a professional organizer. If this is you maybe a consult would prove worthwhile. Once you learn some new techniques and practice making these ideas habits you will be good to go.

For the more confident among us try using drawer dividers to keep small things like socks and underwear neat.

A friend of mine uses one of these folding boards to fold her tops neatly.

Another space saver is vertical storage. Check out these hanging closet organizers that hold a lot of stuff and take up very little closet space.

Practical tips

At the end of your closet decluttering session get rid of the 3 bags immediately to eliminate the trap of second-guessing your decisions and retrieving goods.

Regularly keep paring down your clothing. What is especially helpful is the ‘one in, one out rule’. When you bring a new item into your home get rid of an item. It would be impossible to build up clutter if we followed this rule each time we bought a new thing.

I hope I have been able to motivate you to organize your clothes closet in a way that helps you every day. Getting rid of the old and making room for the new to enter my life is something I challenge myself to do regularly.


Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutter-er and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

For more Declutter Buzz & Freebies check out our safe and private Decluttering community on our Facebook page. We are a safe and private space of like minded folks tackling this all encompassing clutter thing once and for all.No shame allowed and always a few laughs!

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