4 Steps to a Clutter-Free Closet

posted by Andrea | 07/19/2017
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Are you the type of person who is easily attached to clothing and finds it very difficult to purge?

Do you constantly stress about tossing something you “might need someday”?

Do you have a closet and dresser stuffed to the gills with things you rarely ever wear?

If any of these sound like you — I hope today’s post will be enlightening for you, maybe even just the motivation you need to finally clear the clutter from your closet, lighten your load, and speed up your morning routine (doesn’t that all sound amazing!)

Step 1. PULL OUT (anything you don’t love)

As quickly as you possibly can, go through EVERY item of clothing you own and pull out everything you don’t love, everything you don’t feel great in, everything you don’t currently have a use for, everything that doesn’t fit or flatter you right now, everything that is stained or ruined in any way, and of course, anything you just don’t want.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to make you donate or purge anything yet — I just want you to get these items out of your closets and dressers for a while. 

Since you won’t technically be tossing anything to the curb just yet, I encourage you to be RUTHLESS with your decision making process. In my experience, it’s better to remove MORE up-front so you’re only left with pieces you really love and feel great wearing.

Also, make sure you go through EVERYTHING. I literally went through every item of clothing I own — from socks and underwear, to dress clothes and old bridesmaid dresses, to coats, hats, gloves, and of course, boots and shoes!

I put everything into a clothes basket and brought it to an unused closet upstairs.

This way, it would be completely out of my sight, and I could enjoy all the extra free space in my closet and dresser drawers. However, if I decide that I really do need or want one of the items I pulled from my closet, I can simply walk upstairs to get it again. Nothing is “final” yet!

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Step 2. PICK OVER (anything you want to bring back into your closet)

Over the next few weeks and months see how long you can make do with the things left in your closet. If you need to go through your boxes and bins of “clothing in waiting”, only pull out the items(s) you want and leave the rest alone!

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Step 3. PAY ATTENTION (to anything you really love wearing)

As you get ready each day, really pay attention to what you’re wearing and why you love it so much.

Is it the color? The soft fabric? The fit of the piece? Or the fact that the item goes with so many other things in your wardrobe?

For me, I love anything black, grey, white, navy, and anything in the color palate of pink, fuchsia, purple, etc. because I think those colors look best on me. I also have mostly v-neck shirts because I like that style… and I apparently love stripes! Finally, I almost only ever buy cotton and spandex materials because I cannot stand the feeling of wool, silk, or anything scratchy on my skin (yes, I know, Nora gets it from me!)

By knowing what I like and what I feel comfortable in, I can shop for clothing faster and easier and avoid impulse purchases that are just going to sit in my closet for the next year until I purge them.

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4. PURGE (anything you didn’t miss)

I won’t make you purge right away… but I really can’t have a post about clothes clutter without mentioning purging at some point 🙂

After a few months pass (maybe up to a full year), I would highly encourage you to muster up the courage to blindly donate everything left in your basket or box.

It might be very difficult (I know) but in my experience, if you haven’t worn or missed an article of clothing for several months to a full year, you will not miss it in the future! On the flip side, you WILL enjoy all the extra space in your closet and dresser!

 

(p.s. here’s the post where I talk about how and why I fold my t-shirts like this)

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Although I’m currently not at a point where it pays for me to purge my own closet right now, I did remove a bunch of non-maternity items from my closet right after I found out I was pregnant again. I might decide to keep the items after the baby is born and I lose some of my baby weight, but for now, they are OUT OF MY CLOSET and I don’t have to stare at all the things that currently don’t fit or flatter me!

I’m certain I’ll make the time to go through everything a couple months after the baby is born (this might be a good Christmas break project for me) and I might just muster up the courage to purge all my maternity items by that point too!!

I’m a firm advocate for purging all clothing that is:

  • unflattering
  • uncomfortable
  • unloved
  • not the right size or style for my personal preference
  • stained, ripped, or otherwise defective
  • doesn’t coordinate with other items I already have

And like I mentioned above, even if you don’t fully purge it all right now, by simply REMOVING it from your closet and dresser, your morning routine will be faster, easier, simpler, and less stressful because you’ll only be choosing clothing from items you know you love and feel great wearing.

If you feel like your closet could use a makeover, I hope today’s quick tips will help!

Stop making excuses to hang onto your clothes clutter… instead, start making positive choices that will help you clear clutter from your closet, your home, and your life!

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11 comments

  1. Faith

    07/27/2017

    Andrea! After procrastinating and fighting a too-stuffed closet and dresser for way too many months, I spent three solid hours this morning going through ALL my clothes and following your plan. I have two full trash bags full of clothes I’m purging and a plastic tote full of other clothes I’m putting out of my way for awhile. It’s SO freeing and exciting to actually feel more organized and confident about my clothing choices. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — that’s amazing! I can imagine how fantastic it feels to open your closet now!! Enjoy your extra space!

    [Reply]

  2. Hannah Beth Reid

    07/20/2017

    I think I will try pulling out my none-loved or worn clothing this weekend. Paying attention to what you like to wear is so helpful. I read somewhere (book? blog? Not sure..) that you should pull out your 8 or 10 favorite items and 8 or 10 least favorite items to determine the qualities the two groups had in common or different. I discovered that I mainly like jewel tones, not muted colors, so even if a shirt is pretty and fits me, I pass it over if I don’t care for the color(s) itself because I know I will not choose to wear it.
    I did a similar thing at the end of last summer when I was newly pregnant: as something stopped fitting my non-pregnant body or the weather was cooling, I put those things in a separate box. I was fairly confident I wouldn’t be the correct size to wear them at the beginning of this summer and I didn’t need them taking up space when I brought in my maternity clothes. I also added any clothes I thought my children would be able to wear the following summer (which was only a few for each child as many had already been used for two summers) and labeled the whole thing “Summer 2017.”
    Thank you for the encouragement and tips!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, I always pull out a bunch of clothes when I find out I’m pregnant — I just don’t want to look at all that stuff that won’t fit me for so many months! Plus, it’s nice to have a less-full closet for awhile too!

    [Reply]

  3. Luba @ Healthy with Luba

    07/20/2017

    Andrea, I never thought of it this way – that getting rid of clothes in my closet that I hardly ever wear will help me to decide what to wear daily. My husband just went through his stuff, and I need to go through mine. It’s one of the last phases of our home declutter, and it feels wonderful!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    it’s honestly amazing how much simpler and easier it is to get dressed in the morning if you have fewer options!

    [Reply]

  4. Helen

    07/19/2017

    I love this advice and a simple closet clean-up without too many steps or rules ! It is inspiring For me, the best thing to do is put all the stuff I am thinking I don’t want anymore into a black plastic bag so I can’t even see it anymore. By the time I get the bag downstairs I usually don’t even want to peek inside anymore and it goes straight to the car and then to a charity. Love all your posts, Andrea – I admire your positive attitude towards so much in life. I had a daughter (first child) who was as challenging as Nora. It has all been so worth it. She’s now the mom of 4 beautiful grandkids and is thankful for the parenting she received.

    [Reply]

  5. Emily

    07/19/2017

    Normally when I go through my clothing, I just set things aside in my closet and then follow the rest of the steps you mentioned. I like the idea of physically removing them from the space. Less tempting to go through them again when it’s time to finally donate. Great tips as always!

    [Reply]

  6. Lauren

    07/19/2017

    This is great advice. It takes away some of the fear of getting rid of something I might need, want later. Thank-you!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I know so many people who are afraid they “might need it some day” so they don’t get rid of it. I think it’s much easier to purge something if you know for a fact you haven’t used it in months and months 🙂

    [Reply]

  7. Mara Yager

    07/19/2017

    Thank you, Andrea!

    [Reply]