2 Super Quick Ways To Clear Closet Clutter

posted by Andrea | 02/8/2018

In my experience helping all sorts of people clear the clutter in their homes and lives, I can confidently say the two most challenging areas to purge are memorabilia and clothing.

I’m not the most sentimental person in the world, but I will say that clothing is one of the hardest things for me to purge too!

Over the years, my closet has gone from very full to very empty many, many times over… especially as my weight fluctuated so much before, during, and after my 4 pregnancies.

At times, it was easy to make excuses to keep clothing I never wore:

  • I had room to store it
  • I might be that size again someday
  • I might need it for a special occation
  • It still fit me… so I could wear it

I could go on and on (I’m sure none of you can relate to those excuses!)

Other times, I was ready to purge 95% of the items in my closet – I came close a few times!

The part of me that hates making extra decisions (like about what to wear) desires a super minimalistic closet with several of the same pairs of pants and tops, just in different colors.

On the other hand, the part of me that like to switch things up on a regular basis wants variety.

And then there’s the fact that I live in Michigan, which means we can literally live through all 4 seasons in one week — so I need clothing for very hot and humid weather as well as clothing for arctic blizzards on hand all the time.

If you share my frustrations with closet purging, I have 2 super simple, super quick solutions that should help you get started on your closet purge ASAP!!

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Method #1: Remove EVERYTHING You Don’t Love Immediately

This is my most favorite way to declutter any area of my home (especially my closets) — because it provides INSTANT gratification.

I literally go through my closet and remove every single item I don’t absolutely love and use on a very regular basis.

The trick is that I put all those items in a clothes basket, a large box, or a few bags and tuck them away in our storage closet upstairs — so they aren’t totally gone for good.

NOTE: I include a sticky note with the date of my purge with the items (this will be important for later).

Then, over the next several weeks and months, I continue living with only the items left in my closet. If I feel like I want to pull something out of the boxes in storage, I do so, but only if I REALLY feel like I’m going to wear or use the item.

After a few months go by, I can confidently donate anything left in the baskets or boxes since I obviously didn’t need or miss the items while they were in my storage closet.

For me, this provides guilt-free purging because I don’t need to wonder “but what if I might need it again” because if I can go several months without it, then I most likely won’t need it.

Plus, everything is already in a box or bag or basket… which means it’s really easy to load up in my car and take it all away!

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Method #2: Turn The Hangers Backwards Until You Wear an Item

I’ve mentioned this before on my blog — and it certainly isn’t my idea — however it IS very effective and very simple!

Starting today (or whatever day you choose) put the date on a sticky note somewhere in your closet. Then turn all the hangers in your closet around so the open hook of the hanger is facing out (see photo below).

Whenever you wear something, turn the hanger around the correct way (with the open area facing the back of the closet).

After several weeks, you’ll already be able to see what items you wear regularly and what items you haven’t touched since you first flipped the hangers.

Give yourself a few months if you need, and when you’re ready to head to the thrift store, you can quickly grab the hangers that are still turned the wrong way as you know you haven’t worn those items in many months.

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I realize both of these methods sound extremely simple (maybe even too simple) but that’s the beauty of them. They do NOT require lots of extra time or energy upfront nor do they require you to purge immediately.

However, they DO provide a very visible reminder of what items you actually wear and what items you don’t. After all, you can’t really say “but I might wear it again” when the item has been boxed up for months or on a hanger that is still facing the wrong way 6 months later!

If you are struggling with clothes clutter, give one of these simple methods a try and see if you can’t part with 10 or 15 items. You might find it’s easier than you originally thought! 🙂

Looking for more clothes clutter tips and ideas?

Click here to read the hundreds of clothes clutter posts in my archives!

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Filed under: OrganizingHomeClothesPurging

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19 comments

  1. Mary

    02/08/2018

    I am sooo close to purging most of my closet and starting a capsule wardrobe! Your closet looks so streamlined and efficient! Love the square laundry basket, where can I purchase them? Thanks for such great daily inspiration!

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    Andrea Reply:

    just a thought — why don’t you simply purge the items you don’t like, live with the items you DO like for a bit, and then slowly add in a few new items (if necessary) based on what will fit with your the things you like.
    you’ll save yourself a ton of money… and you can get started today!
    Also, the laundry baskets should be available at target, walmart, meijer, or basically any store that sells laundry items

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  2. Rebecca

    02/08/2018

    The hanger trick is nice, but I have heard that if one has a fire in their house it can hamper the fireman. When the fireman are searching for the cause of the fire, they may empty the closet. The backward hangers keep them from pulling a load of clothes quickly.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Hmm… I’ve never heard this one. I think if my entire home burned down, I probably wouldn’t care much about losing my clothing — so I’ll take my chances with the backward hangers 🙂

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  3. Jutta

    02/08/2018

    I keep a large tote bag in my closet. When I am getting dressed, if I put something on and it doesn’t look right or if I have to spend a lot of time to figure out how to make it look good, in the bag it goes! I have been amazed at the amount of stuff I have gotten rid of this way! If the bag is there, the temptation to hang the item back up and keep it disappears. Try it!

    Jutta

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    this is what I do for the kid’s clothing — a box in each closet and any time something doesn’t fit or they decide they no longer will wear it, the item goes in the box. Then when I’m ready to venture out to the thrift store, I just gather up the contents of the boxes and I’m ready to go!

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  4. Olivia

    02/08/2018

    I used the hanger trick on my husband, who swore up and down that he wore all of the pants in the closet! Six months later, I took him into the closet and pointed the 8 or so hangers that were still backwards, and donated those pants. It really works!

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — that’s great!

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    Alison Reply:

    Me too! My husband is a packrat and HATES to part with clothes. I’ve used the hangar trick on him too. Also, last time I just said, “I do your laundry, and I can’t find hangars for your stuff, it’s time to purge!” We’ve been married long enough, he just goes along with it now.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha – glad he’s willing to let you purge now 🙂

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  5. KR

    02/08/2018

    Ah! Clothing is my worst enemy as far as clutter. I have a ton of clothes that still fit me because I’m practically the same size I was since high school. I have such a hard time donating since they technically fit. Thanks for the inspiration!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I still have 2 items from highschool (but I actually DO still wear them both on a fairly regular basis!) That said, I have purged almost everything else from high school, college, before kids, etc. Even if it DOES still fit me, the styles have changed so much that I’d never wear it anymore!

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  6. Lynn

    02/08/2018

    Turning the hangers around is a great idea that I hadn’t seen before! I will definitely be doing both of these when I purge my master bedroom closet in the next few weeks! I usually make a pile that I know I will donate and a pile that I know I don’t want but one or two of my friends will (you know, it will look better on them than me!).

    Tomorrow, our post will come out on fulltimefulllife.com regarding me purging and organizing my office closet! I commented on a post last week that this would be coming out! I hope you get a chance to look at it!

    Thanks Andrea!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, the hanger idea is so simple, so quick, and free! plus, it’s a great visual to help you realize what clothing you wear and what clothing you don’t!

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  7. Babs

    02/08/2018

    Good Morning!
    I’m IN the closet today—a put off I must admit. I’m recovering from the flu, not well enough to go to the office but well enough to do a few home projects…and this is it!
    Also, have been organizing my electronic clutter and wanted to share this with you and get your feedback. I downloaded the Budget Workbook xls again. Previously I was able to just download, keep on the desktop or pin to the start button. However, NOW, there is a pop up advertisement saying I should download drivers and to have the ad removed I should pay $1.99 to do so.
    Is this something you are aware of and should I do so?
    This also appears on all of your free downloadable sheets except the daily planner(which I enjoy, thank you)
    Hope my virtual GrandOnes are happy and well!
    Best!
    Babs

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    hmmm… I have not seen this on my blog — and NO, you should not have to pay $1.99 to download anything or have an ad removed! If you are looking for a printable but can’t access it, just email me and I’ll send it to you.

    In the mean time, I’ll have to do a little “digging” around to see if I can figure out why are you are seeing those popups! Sorry about that!
    Happy decluttering!

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    Babs Reply:

    Good Morning!
    Thanks for your follow up! Soooo, I’m living in the closet but the local thrift shop will soon have lots on their racks!
    Now if I could just sell an antique bed I’ve had….pulling out your Craig’s list article to review…

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  8. JJ

    02/08/2018

    Your blog has been the biggest reason I have decluttered over the last many years! I used to hold onto clothes that I didn’t like or that didn’t fit right. It was so freeing to get rid of the clothes!!! Most Goodwill stores even have drive up drop offs, so you hand them your stuff and don’t have to haul it in. It also has SAVED MONEY because now I don’t just buy every deal I see. I make sure I REALLY like the shirt, pants, shorts, skirt, dress, etc. Thank you for all of the tips!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay! I’m so happy to hear this!!

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