How to Declutter Your Closet

This step-by-step guide on how to declutter your closet will help you remove the excess and create a collection of clothes you love. Use these steps as another way how to declutter and continue to create a home you love to be in.

How to declutter your closet

This step-by-step guide on how to declutter your closet will help you remove the excess and create a collection of clothes you love. Learning how to declutter can be tricky and the steps you learn today will remove t overwhelm for good

It’s true that “decluttering and overwhelm” often go hand in hand, especially when it comes to the room where you keep your clothes. And even though your closet may seem small, it can hold so much more than you may realize. So much in fact, that we may avoid this project altogether.

What is the answer to decluttering your closet without stressing out?

Baby Steps.

Yes, baby steps are the secret to breaking this intimidating decluttering project down into small mini-tasks that you can do in just minutes. Sure, baby steps are small, but never underestimate the strides you can make one small step at a time. 

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Why should you declutter your closet? 

It’s funny. When you look at the size of most closets it can be amazing just how much they can hold.

Back in the day, closets were tiny at best and that meant we needed to be super selective as to what pieces we kept inside.

As time went on, however, closets began to grow (and grow) and that meant the number of clothes we owned, as a result, began to grow as well. Before we would be selective in the outfits we bought. Trying each one on carefully noting the look and the feel.

If they made the cut, they would come home to be carefully hung ensuring they stayed looking their best.

woman hugging clothes in her closet

Now, clothes are rolled, shoved, and even tossed in our closets until the outfits we once cherished are buried behind ones we do not. If you can let go of some of what you have, you can bring back the clothes you love and streamline your closet into a collection of outfits you enjoy putting on.

When decluttering a closet most people tend to be a bit apprehensive. Let’s face it, we have a lot of clothes, and sorting through them is a big and overwhelming project.

But let me ask you this. If you don’t love it or wear it, why are you keeping it? For me, I have a saying that helps me to get rid of anything I don’t love to wear.

This is my reminder that the space in my closet is limited and I need to be selective in what pieces will be allowed to stay.Remember, a smaller collection of amazing outfits are far better to have than a huge collection of random things that we have to work to sift through each morning while we are getting dressed. 

Hangers with different clothes in wardrobe closet

How do you declutter a messy closet?

Have you ever gone into your closet and stood there for minutes trying to find something to wear? You could have more clothes than your local Target store and you might still struggle to find an outfit to put on.

When this happens you might think it’s because you do not have enough to choose from and before you know it you are headed off to the store to pick up “just a few” more pieces to add to your already frighteningly large collection.

The problem isn’t because you do not have enough to choose from….the problem is because you do.

And that means the answer to your clothes struggle question is to remove what you don’t like so you can more easily see what you love.

Declutter what you have inside of your closet so you can organize what is staying and turn your area into one you love to be in.

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How to Declutter Your Closet

Step #1. Break it Down

When working to declutter a space I like to use the Declutter in Minutes Formula. This is how we break a large project down into small easier-to-do steps. This works especially well when decluttering a closet.

To break things down, take a look at what you have. Are there shelves? Do you have things on the floor? Are there different areas of hanging items? Do you have drawers or other areas holding accessories?

Make a list of 4-6 areas inside of your closet that you hope to work on.

Not sure how to break things down? Try this simple plan:

  • Area 1 – The top of your closet.
  • Area 2 – The middle of your closet.
  • Area 3 – The floor of your closet.
  • Area 4 – Everything else.

Bottom Line: Break your closet down into 4 areas that you can work on. This will turn your overwhelming project into a smaller one that you can do without freaking out.

finished clutter free closet organized copy

Step #2. Make a Plan

Now that you have a list of areas, your next step is to make a plan. You can do the “stress-free” way of working by focusing on one area each week. Or you can do the “go big or go home” approach of working on an area each day. Either way, it is important to have a plan so you can see this project all the way to the end.

How can I find time to declutter my clothes?

When making a plan be sure to keep in mind your schedule. If you have a week that is full of commitments, you may want to work on a small area in your closet instead of the entire space.

This will help you to make progress no matter how busy you are. And progress is the key to creating a closet you love!

Bottom Line: Decide how hard you are going to work. One area a week or one area a day.

Beautiful young woman  thinking what to dress near rack with hangers

Step #3. Pull and Sort

Using your bed as a work area, remove all the things (clothes, accessories, shoes, etc) in the area you are working on. Sort as you remove each item using the following categories.

  • Keep – What is going back into your closet.
  • Put Away – what needs to go into another space.
  • Donate – what you are giving to charity.
  • Give Away – What you are passing on to a friend or family member.

Step #4. Stay on Task

This part can be a little tricky. Working on a project until it is completely done can be the hardest part of decluttering and organizing a space. I have a few tips that should help you stay focused.

  • Music – Make a playlist of upbeat tunes that you know will keep you motivated. Use that music as a timer to help you keep moving at a good pace. For example, 5 songs span 20 minutes of work time.
  • Timer – You can always use a timer on your phone to keep you going. There is nothing quite as motivating as a ticking clock.
  • Audio Book – I love audiobooks and use them all the time for decluttering and organizing projects. They keep me from getting distracted so I can get done more quickly on the work ahead. Bonus, the better the book the more I will find time to work!
  • Pod Cast – this works the same as an audiobook and is a great motivator.

Bottom Line: Give yourself tools that will help you to keep working until today’s goal is done. Find what works for you and use it to keep moving forward.

Step #5. Clean

Once you are done sorting and decluttering, take a few minutes to clean the area that you just emptied out. Wipe down your shelves, bars, drawers, and floor. by wiping things down you will be able to start out with a fresh and clean area before putting things back where they will stay. A great motivator all on its own.

Bottom Line: Clean each area after it is emptied out before you organize it with what is staying.

Step #6. Put Back Only What is Staying

When working to declutter a closet keeping the clothes you love is the key to things staying organized.

This is where the KEEP basket comes into play. Take the items that are staying back to your closet. The goal is to end up with more space than things. If you find you still have too much in an area, go through your keep basket being more determined with your sorting decisions.

KEEP basket of clothes from a closet

How to be ruthless when decluttering clothes.

The best way to remove the extra items in your closet is to draw a line in the sand. If you know your closet will hold 15 hanging items then only keep 15 hangers in your closet. This will keep you more focused on choosing the things that are allowed to stay.

The same is true for folding clothes. If you only have room for 3 pairs of jeans, then you can only keep three. The decision has been made by the room you have available in your closet. You are not the bad guy here. the amount of space you have is. Use that line in the sand as your motivator to be ruthless with your selections.

A streamlined closet is so much easier to have than a crammed full, cluttered, and even chaotic one. You do not need to go minimalistic unless this is something you want to have. You do, however, need to be selective so your closet stays neat and put away without too much effort on your part.

Bottom Line: Return what you are keeping being sure to have more space than you have things.

Step #7. Organize What is Staying

This is the trick to keeping your closet from ever getting cluttered again. Create a home, a specific area, where you will keep each category of clothes. You can do this with bins, baskets, and other containers.  

  • Bins – Great for shoes, purses, sweaters, or sweatpants.
  • Baskets – Great for accessories, scarves, pajamas, socks, underwear, or tank tops.
  • Hanging organizers – Great for scarves, purses, tops, or shoes.

Remember what your goal is whenever you organize a space. To help you find what you are looking for more easily and to just as easily put your things all the way away when you are done using them.

This is why easy-to-use organizers are so important. The fewer steps you have to put something away, the more likely you are to do so.

A few Organizers to Consider:

  • Cube bins
  • Over-the-door organizer
  • Baskets
  • Hanger organizer
  • Shoe organizer
  • Totes or tubs

Bottom Line: Use containers in your closet that will help you to keep things where they belong.

A woman folds her clothes and puts them in metal black baskets and boxes. Nordic style minimalism.

Step #8. Keep it That Way

There is nothing more frustrating than working to clean out a room in your home only to have it become a cluttered mess all over again in just a few short weeks. How do we prevent this from happening? You put your things all the way away when you are done using them.

Adopt this one clutter-free habit and you will find your home staying neat and tidy without much effort from you.

Bottom Line: Always put your things all the way away when you are done using them.

Decluttering can be hard but it doesn’t have to be. Choose a room, break it down into 4 areas, and focus on. one area at a time. Sort, clean, and organize your way to a closet you love to be in.

When you work on how to declutter your closet you may just find that less is more especially when it comes to the clothes you love to wear.

More Help Decluttering Clothes

10 Best Closet Organizers

How to Quickly Clean Your Clothes Closet

The Best Way to Organize Your Closet

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