The thought of an ultimate closet clean out might be daunting, especially if you have a ton of clothes. Where do I start? What should I throw out? Will I regret throwing these out? When you’re knee deep in clothes, cleaning out your closet is probably a task you’ve continually put off. We’ve compiled the best tips for cleaning out your closet that WORK, but remember that the more intentional you are about it, the easier it will get. Not only is making this a regular habit a good way to declutter your space, it will also help you become a smarter shopper.
Let’s start off with a few key questions to help you evaluate all the items sitting in your closet.
What Do I Need in My Closet?
Is it a super trendy item or a closet staple? Are there multiple of the same styles in your closet? If it’s your only pair of rain boots, maybe keep it. But if it’s your fifth little black dress that you bought on a whim, ask yourself the next few questions…
Which Items Carry Sentimental Value?
Was it an expensive gift from someone special or an item purchased on a memorable vacation?
Does This Bring Me Joy? (Thank you, Marie Kondo)
Does it make you feel happy and excited?
How Many Ways Can I Style This?
Is this a piece I can only wear one or two ways? How often do I actually reach for it?
Does This Make Me Feel Good?
Does this piece make me feel confident and comfortable? Do I love how I feel and look in it? Is it a “someday when.” kind of piece?
It’s also important to decide what the purpose of your closet clean out is. Are you trying to refine your closet into a capsule wardrobe? If so, you may select which clothes you want to keep or donate a little differently.
Now that these questions have you thinking, let’s get into the practical steps to minimize the stress and clutter of an ultimate closet clean out.
STEP 1: Create 4 piles – Keep, Repair, Resale, and Donate
Ultimately, all the tips following these are ways to help you decide which item will go into which pile.
STEP 2: Keep
Let’s circle back to your answers to the 5 questions which will give you a pretty good indication of whether or not the item is 100% a keeper. If it’s a staple that you find yourself reaching for, a piece you wear at least once a month and can be styled many ways, or a piece you feel amazing in then you should probably keep it!
What if I’m 50% sure about it (I have reasons to let it go but I just can’t quite bring myself to)? Totally understandable and this is probably the toughest part about an ultimate closet clean out. It’s important to take everything out of your closet to get a better evaluation and put the 50%’s in a box. Yes, box it up and store it somewhere in your closet that’s accessible. Set a deadline, let’s say 5 months, and if you don’t find yourself reaching for a piece in that box in the next 5 months then it’s a good sign that you should either sell or donate it.
STEP 3: Repair
A great way to help the environment and lessen waste is to repair your clothes! Sure, it might not be as convenient as just tossing them out but this habit will leave a positive impact and go a long way. If you don’t have a tailor yet, now’s the time to find one. The other option is to repair and repurpose your clothes yourself. If you have a piece in a dated silhouette but still love the fabric, it’s a great opportunity to make it into something new. Put all the clothes in need of repairing into a designated space in your closet and be intentional about setting a time in your schedule to get it done.
STEP 4: Resale
There have been studies that show reselling clothes is an even better option than donating. There are plenty of secondhand consignment stores online, the most popular being ThredUp, Poshmark, Depop, Tradesy, The Real Real, etc. Reselling your clothes extends the life of each garment which decreases the harmful ethical and environmental impacts of unused clothes. If you have time, fix up your clothes so that they can be resold quicker.
STEP 5: Donate
The last pile is donations. Be sure that the clothes you donate are still in great condition (no stains, tears, etc.) because this increases the chances of it being sold at your local thrift store. Clothes that don’t get sold end up in landfills or being shipped to third world countries, adding onto the waste and disrupting the supply chain. Another option is to find a charity or organization in need of clothing so that you are donating directly to a cause that you care about it and will help the people who need it.
STEP 6: Evaluate
The final tip is to evaluate the clothes that made it into the resale and donate pile. This will help you become a smarter shopper by asking yourself which kind of styles are heading into these two piles so you can avoid purchasing those kinds of items that will eventually end up being tossed. Moving towards a capsule wardrobe and practicing slower consumption is always a great idea. Not only will it help with excessive closet clutter, it also makes dressing up easier, and it protects the environment.
What are some effective ways you’ve decluttered your closet? We’d love to hear your ideas!
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