October 10, 2021

How to Declutter Your Closet

No matter how organized you are, there always comes a point when opening your closet feels overwhelming. Believe me, I know. Even as a neat freak, I still need to declutter and reorganize my clothes every once in a while. A lot has been said on the subject, but here are some tips I use to declutter my closet.

The best time to start this process is in the spring or fall when you switch out your seasonal clothes. Remove everything from your closet and lay it all out on your bed. Before trying to find a place to store them for the next few months, ask yourself a few essential questions about each item:

• Do I love it?

• Do I wear it?

• Does it fit?

• Is it in good condition?

• Does it match the style or the image I want? 

Be true to yourself while answering these questions. No matter how big of a closet you have, space is always limited. Don’t waste it on something you don’t love or that doesn’t represent you in the best possible way.

Once you’ve answered these questions honestly, it’s time to separate your items into four distinct piles:

  1. Keep: any items that check off all of the above questions.
  2. Alter: the items that need small fixes, like replacing a button.
  3. Donate: any item in good condition that doesn’t check off the rest of the five requirements.
  4. Trash: clothes and shoes that aren’t fit to use anymore. Double check if any of them can be recycled.

Once you’ve managed to separate your closet into these four piles, it’s just a matter of logistics. Organize the “keep” pile back into your closet, take the “alter” pile to the tailor, the “donate” pile to your chosen charity, and throw away anything left in the “trash” pile.

It sounds pretty easy, right? Yes, but it usually isn’t. There’s always one extra pile that we all have. These items don’t check all of the boxes, but we still hesitate to get rid of them. They probably fit into one of these four categories we didn’t mention:

• It holds sentimental value

• It was expensive

• It was a gift

• It’s something we might wear, someday 

I understand. I’ve been there too. These are all respectable reasons to hold on to an item. But your closet has a limited amount of space, so the clothes you're storing in it are the ones that represent you best. If an item is too special to give up, like your prom or wedding dress, find another place to store it, like under the bed.

If you’re holding on to the item for one of the other three reasons, consider all the people who would benefit from having the clothes or shoes that are only collecting dust in your closet. There are many out there struggling, wearing anything they do have, regardless of condition. If you haven’t worn the item in a year, donate it and make somebody else very happy. There’s no better reason to let go of a piece of your closet. 

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An interior design professional with a Master's degree in Architecture and 14 years of practical experience.
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