Why Decluttering Your Closet is a Great Idea:
Today is going to be a very practical step by step post of how to clean out, declutter and organize your closet and even how to start a capsule wardrobe. So Let’s dive in:
Pro’s to decluttering your closet:
- It is way faster to get dressed in the morning because you can actually see everything you own located in one place
- It’s a lot easier to keep your room clean because it’s easy to put your clothes away at the end of the day
- You’ll be able to discover your personal style and be well on the way to a “capsule wardrobe” if that’s something you’re interested in (it’s a minimalist wardrobe where all your clothes can go together)
- It is incredibly satisfying to clean out your closet and have a neat and organized one after
- You will also be well on your way to only owning clothes that you actually love
Con’s to decluttering your closet:
- It takes a couple hours to do (depending on how much clothing you have)
- And it can be hard to really let go of some clothes, but I’ll talk you through that.
So now that you can clearly see the Pro’s outweigh the Con’s, set aside a couple hours this weekend, pull on your comfiest and easy to remove outfit (you’ll be trying on a bunch of your clothes), get a fun playlist loaded on spotify and let’s get started!
How to Declutter Your Closet: Clothes, Foot Wear & Outerwear:
Step 1: Pull absolutely everything out of your closet
Yes, every single penny you find in a drawer, or the bags of “stuff” in the back. Pull it all out. Put all of your clothes onto your bed or in piles on the floor by stacking them in order of “type”. So sweaters together, shirts together, pants together, lounge wear together, shoes together etc… I highly recommend that you take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dust/vacuum out your closet while it’s empty. (thumbs up!)
Step 2: Go around the house and find the rest of your clothes
Make sure you check the front hall for all your coats (they do count as clothes) and all your boots/shoes etc.. and check the laundry area in case there are any clothes you forgot about there etc… Bring them all into your room and form new piles or add them to the appropriate piles already formed
Fun fact: Apparently the average person owns 8x what they thought they did. This was true for me! I had WAY more clothes than I thought I had. Yet somehow I still had “nothing to wear!”…..
Step 3: Set up “Throw out”, “Donate”, “Like” and “Love” stations
I used an old hamper and lined it with a garbage bag for the throw-out pile and another I lined with a recycling bag for the “donate” pile just so these clothes wouldn’t get confused with the rest. Then I assigned a section of the floor (that I had swept) or bed for the “like it” pile and another section for the “love it” pile.
Fun Fact: according to Mari Kondo of TidyingUp.com, the average person removes around 30 garbage bags in the process of decluttering their entire house! I personally threw out 15 large garbage bags worth and donated 10 large recycling bags worth of my entire house. 3 garbage bags of clothes and 5 recycling bags of clothes. WOW!
Step 4: Handle each one of your clothes/foot wear (f.w) & outer wear (o.w.) and ask yourself the following questions in this order:
- Are there holes or stains on this item? – If yes: put it in the “throw-out” pile. If no: go to the next question (You might be tempted to think you will one day mend the holes in these items. Be real with yourself. Do you actually sew? Here’s a fair test: make a pile of items to be sewn, then either sew them or bring them to the seamstress within 7 days. If you don’t, throw them out.)
- Does this fit me perfectly and actually look good on me? (TRY IT ON if you’re not 100% confident in this answer) If the answer is no: thank it for it’s service and put it immediately in the “donation” pile. Don’t think too hard, don’t worry about “but that’s the only one I have!” just put it in the donation pile. Worse case, at the end you can always fish it out if needed. If your answer is yes: go to the next question
- Does this item spark joy? (Aka: do I LOVE this item?) If Yes: put it in the “Love It” pile. How do you know if you love it? Do you literally say “I LOVE this jacket!” or “I love these pants!” when you think of them/see them? Do you feel joy spark in your heart when you look at them? Then you love it. If the answer is no or not really, go to the next question
- Do I like this item a lot? If Yes: put this item in the “like it” pile. If No: put this item in the donation pile.
Important Note: Step 4 is the hardest part. Especially when you get to “like it” items. Don’t be afraid to put items in the like it pile. I know for me, my fear was “What if I don’t have enough clothes at the end?” as I slowly began to realize my “Love it” pile was remaining quite small. It turns out I didn’t own a lot of clothes that I “loved”. I had accumulated an incredible amount of clothes that others had given to me, that I had bought online at some point but it didn’t look quite the same in person, or
that didn’t fit my style as it had evolved over time or that simply just didn’t fit me anymore and I definitely did not love them. Tip: If your clothes no longer fit you, unless you are working out right now to drop weight don’t save the clothes you no longer fit into. Donate all these clothes that don’t fit or don’t work or just aren’t your style. Thank them for their service and give them to someone else who can use them. Then, when you hit that target goal, buy some new pants etc.. second hand stores can keep this from getting expensive and you can often find some really great deals there.
Optional Step 5: Separate clothes/ow/fw into seasons
If you live in a country like Canada and want to separate your clothes into fall/winter and spring/summer you totally can. When I first followed these steps it was the fall and I separated out all my obviously spring and summer clothes that I both liked and loved into a storage bag because it felt a bit too overwhelming to deal with all at once. I now have a reminder in my calendar to go through the above steps again mid-March but including my spring/summer clothes.
Step 6: Layout Your “Love It” Clothes/ow/fw – sorted by item
Just pick up the clothes you love and lay them out on your (hopefully now empty) bed. Sort them by “type”: Outerwear, Layers (blazers/cardigans etc..) Tops (t-shirts, long-sleeved etc..) Bottoms, Foot Wear, Dresses, Hosiery (incl socks), Intimates, Active wear, and Lounge wear.
Take a moment and look at each pile. You may want to ask yourself how much do you need of each item? I made a list beforehand that gave me suggestions of how many items I would need for each category. I’ve included a picture of it below that you can save to your computer and print out to use if you’d like. This list needs to be adjusted by you and has blank spaces where you can write down how many you want to have. You could decide how many are necessary per category based on your lifestyle, based on how many times you want to do laundry in a month, based on how much space you have in your closet. etc….
I had a few goals for my closet that helped me with my list: 1) I wanted everything I owned to fit into my closet so it would be easy to keep my room clean, 2) I wanted to simplify but still have choices (around 150 items including shoes) 3) I wanted most of my clothes to be used throughout the year and to be pieces I loved (aka only a few seasonal pieces in storage).
Ask yourself if the amount you have in each pile is enough for you on average with your lifestyle. For example, if you never work out, you may only want to keep one sports bra and one pair of shorts then use some of your “lounge wear” if you were to take a class. Or perhaps your work clothes are vastly different from your every day clothes, so you may even wish to dedicate a category to “work clothes”.
Step 7: Go through your like it pile once again.
You can refer to your list of clothes you’ve already made and if you had decided you want seven blouses in total, start by filling this with your “love it” pile. Let’s say you only have 4 blouses that you love, then it would be totally ok to make up the difference with clothes from your “like it” pile by adding 3 blouses from this pile. I personally made notes on my list for this. Continuing with the blouse analogy, if I had 3 blouses that I only “liked” I would make a note of that and before going shopping I would consult my list to see what items I should be looking for to replace my ‘like it” items. However, I made a rule for myself that I’m not allowed to purchase clothes unless I love them completely when I purchase them.
I recommend that you donate all leftover “like it” clothes that don’t make it onto the list.
Step 8: Hang Up & Fold Your Clothes
Depending on how much closet space you have, I recommend hanging up your clothes so you can see them. I even hang my jeans on hangers (folded neatly in half and draped off the bottom rung of the hanger) just so I can see them easily and I have a neat space for them to go back to. I used to stack them in my drawers but I’d lose track of them as they were piled 5 high etc.. I’ll probably have another post where I go into more detail about organizing your closet. For now, I’ll show some pictures of how I’ve organized my clothes. I used a small bookshelf that I got for free as a shoe rack and I also got a few organizer boxes from Ikea for super cheap to organize the items on my shelf and in my dresser.
Now you know how to organize your closet! Let me know how it goes for you and send me a pic of your before and after or tag me in them on instagram. My handle is @ruthdavispreston.
Thanks for following along this tutorial!
I hope you enjoyed it and I would love to hear in the comments what your goals are for your closets and what is the most challenging thing about decluttering.
Lots of love,
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