January is a terrific time to get organized! With the holidays behind us, it’s a great time to purge your closet. Let me show you How to Declutter a Closet so you can love all the stuff left after the clean-up. This is a project that takes a fair amount of time, like much of a weekend, so that you don’t run out of steam midway through.
Once I’ve put away the Christmas decorations, most of my house looks bare. At least until I replace the holiday decorations with my early spring stuff.
This bareness, however, is not true of my clothes closet.
In this post...
How to Declutter A Closet
Part 1: Getting Ready to Declutter a Closet
As a fashion blogger, I LOVE SHOPPING. So I have way too many clothes at any one time. But, I think most women have too many items in their closets. I think this happens for many reasons. I think we tend to keep items around “in case” we need them for the future. Or we think we spent “good money” on an item, that we never reach for. Or do we think we should keep that item for when we lose those 10 pounds? Or we remember that item from a particularly happy event and therefore can’t part with it.
I bring up these reasons to help you understand why you might be hanging onto items that would better serve you by being given away.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard of Marie Kondo’s organizing decluttering book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. With Marie’s techniques, you learn how to go through your stuff thoughtfully, removing all items that don’t “spark joy”. What I think Marie means is to touch EVERY item in your closet and see if you LOVE IT and WANT TO WEAR IT!
***Pro-tip: If you just want ideas on how to hang your clothes and organize your accessories, just scroll down and see all the photos. They have captions under them with the items all linked so that if you click on the item in the caption, you will go right to that link!
Here are the actual steps to take to get ready to How to Declutter a Closet:
1. Before I declutter/purge a closet, I take the time to fix my hair and make-up I put on a good bra, and nude cami so that when I go to try on an item that I haven’t worn recently, I give it a better chance of making it back into my closet as something I now love.
2. Remove EVERYTHING from the closet. This step is CRITICAL. You need to get a fresh start in the space. I take all the clothes, shoes, boots, and accessories, and move them all to my adjacent bedroom. Now I know I am committed to the task.
3. Quickly clean the shelves, racks, and cubbies with Windex and paper towels so that putting things away will be easier and the result will be better. I vacuum the carpet and even wipe the shoe smudges off the walls with my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
4. Turn off my phone so I don’t get interrupted, and I then put on some uplifting music with my Air Pods. This keeps me focused and uplifted.
***5. Get a pad of paper and a pen so that as you clean and come up with a cute outfit, you can write it down. And as you think about items you need for your future shopping, make that list now.
Part 2: How to Declutter a Closet by Sorting the Clothes and How to Purge Your Closet Stuff
Here are the steps to sort and declutter all the items in your closet as well as how to purge your closet stuff.
1. Now you’re ready to sort your clothes into piles. The quickest way to do this is to go over to the big pile of clothes on your bed and pull out anything that you currently love and wear. You know these items fit as you routinely wear them. Take all these items and quickly hang them back in your closet. (You will organize all this in a bit). Any favorite well-fitting shoes, handbags, boots, booties, belts, etc. should also be returned to your empty closet at this time.
2. Try on everything you haven’t worn in the past few months as you need to determine if the item fits, is your current style, or is something you love. If you try it on and decide it’s something you love, put it back in your closet. If not see step 3 below.
3. Get four garbage bags and label them “to toss”, “to repair”, “to give away” and “not sure”. As you try each item on, sort each piece into one of these categories.
The “to toss” pile is anything that is too damaged to be worn; either irreparably stained, torn, or otherwise damaged. This bag will go in the trash.
The “to repair” pile includes items that need alteration, dry cleaning, button replacement, etc. This bag must be dealt with by dropping the items off at the dry cleaners or tailors.
The “giveaway” pile is everything you know in your heart would be better shared with someone else. Items to include here are any items that don’t feel comfortable when you put them on. Things that are too tight or unflattering to your current figure. The reality is that our bodies change over the years and we should embrace that as fashion stylist Stacy London would say, “Dress the body you have, not the body you wish you had” (great article!).
Give away anything that still has its tag on it as you probably don’t love it. Give away shoes that hurt, sweaters that itch, and anything that isn’t a flattering color for you now. And if you’ve retired, strongly consider giving away all those work clothes that no longer fit your lifestyle.
The “not sure” pile consists of things you like but don’t know how to style. Ask a stylish friend (or DM a favorite blogger, ahem) for suggestions so they can become items you love. Also in this pile are things that you like but rarely reach for. Don’t keep giving them valuable real estate in your closet. Put this “giveaway” bag in the basement or another slightly out-of-the-way spot. If you find yourself missing an item, go retrieve it. After a few months, give the rest of the “not sure” bag to someone who will appreciate it.
4. The last pile is out-of-season clothes. It is so helpful to keep the current season’s clothes as the only items in your closet. If you have another closet somewhere else in your home, put the out-of-season stuff there. If not, put the items under the bed or on the very top shelf of your closet in these types of storage bags. This way you can concentrate and create outfits just from the current season’s items.
I find that some items are used all year round such as tank tops, camis, some tee shirts, belts, etc. So those items stay in my closet all the time.
Part 3: How to Color Organize Your Closet
Once I have culled through all my items and am left with just things I love to wear, it is really fun to organize the items. I find it best to group like items together. I have sections for exercise clothes, jeans, pants, button-down shirts, dresses, skirts, tee shirts (I group these with camis and tank tops), shoes, boots, purses, belts, scarves, hats, and jewelry.
What Kind of Hangers Should I Use (to declutter a closet)?
I know this is a controversial topic. Some people swear by the thin profile of the velvet hangers. Others prefer the heft of a plastic hanger. And then there’s the plastic hangers with clips for pants. So what’s my take? I like all three and use them all strategically. I use the velvet hangers for lightweight items such as scarves. camis, tops, blouses, and some dresses. Blazers, jackets, robes, and coats go the plastic hangers. Lastly, my pants are hung with plastic hangers that have clips.
Pro-tip: Here is how to color organize your closet. Once I have the items in their appropriate section of the closet, I go back through each section and arrange the items by color. This is especially helpful for solid-colored items such as tanks, tees, camis, and scarves. Then when I go to put together an outfit, I can go right to the spot where the item is located and can quickly get dressed.
Pro-tip: Whenever I take an item out of the closet, I move its hanger to the “empty hanger” section of my closet. This way I always have hangers for doing laundry, and I don’t have lost empty hangers taking up space in my pretty closet.
Conclusion to How to Declutter a Closet:
Are you ready to do this? Are you a person who loves to read posts on How to Declutter a Closet or do you find the whole idea overwhelming? Consider taking the process in steps. While it’s probably best to go from A to Z and do all of this, you could also benefit from just purchasing matching hangers, or tie racks for organizing. It’s a process that can be built upon. Just have fun with the whole idea of organizing to make your life easier and more fun.
Please feel free to leave me your comments below. I would love to hear what topics you would like to hear about from me. Also, if you have any items in your closet that you need ideas on how to style, comment below or DM me on Instagram @drjuliemarshall.
PS Here are a few more posts for you to enjoy: