Need help decluttering clothes? These tips will show you how to declutter your clothes quickly and painlessly so your closet and drawers can finally look tidy! And don’t forget to download my free printable decluttering checklist at the end!
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Do you ever find yourself overrun with clothes you don’t even like? I do, and it makes my mornings difficult because I have to push past 80% of my clothes in order to find my favorite 20%.
How much sense does that make?
I’m usually pretty good about decluttering clothes regularly, but here recently, it seemed like my closet was packed to the gills with clothes I no longer needed or liked. So I finally decided to do something about it. And do you know what? My closet and dresser drawers finally have room to breathe again!
It’s so refreshing to see a closet full of clothes I actually enjoy wearing. What a concept, huh?
Anyway, since I enjoy decluttering so much and had a BLAST spending my Saturday evening elbows deep in unwanted clothes, I figured I’d share my process with you so you can declutter your clothes too! I think it makes the process much easier when you have a system, so let me share with you what works best for me.
Also, you can download my free Decluttering Checklist for Clothes at the end of this post! It lists the seven important questions you should ask when evaluating each piece of clothing, and it also has a checklist for the different types of clothes and accessories you should declutter so you don’t forget anything!
5 Steps to Declutter Your Clothes
This is the system I use when I declutter any area of my home, but it’s especially helpful for decluttering clothes. This system will help you tackle your clothing clutter without getting overwhelmed or taking on more than you can finish in one sitting.
Let’s dive right in!
1. Create piles to donate, sell, and throw away
Gather some empty trash bags or boxes so you can put your clothes directly in them as you declutter. You’ll want to have separate bags so you know which items you plan to donate, sell, and throw away.
Donate – these are items that still have some life left in them. Even if they aren’t in style anymore, you can bet that someone out there would love to have your old clothes, so consider donating any items you no longer want to keep.
Sell – these are items that have some resale value. Typically, these are your higher end pieces that are still in good condition. You can take them to a consignment store or sell them online. Selling old items is a great way to make some extra cash, but it does create extra work, so if you don’t want to put in the effort of selling, simply donate them instead.
Throw Away – these are items that are worn out, ripped, or stained. Think old underwear, clothes you wear when doing dirty jobs such as painting or yard work, clothes you accidentally spilled bleach on, etc.
If you want, you can label the bags and boxes so you know which pile is which.
2. Pull everything out, either all at once or one category at a time
I haven’t read Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up yet, but I do know that she recommends taking ALL of your clothes out and piling them up on your bed or in the floor when you declutter them. This method is great if you have plenty of time to declutter your clothes, but if you’re low on time, you can do what I do instead.
Instead of taking everything out at once, I prefer to tackle things in groups or categories. So instead of taking out all of my clothes, I just take out one category at a time. I might start with shoes and then work on dresses, then shirts, then jeans, then scarves, etc.
Working in small batches keeps me from feeling overwhelmed, and it ensures that I only tackle what I can reasonably expect to finish in one sitting.
But it is important that you take everything out, either all at once or one category at a time, because taking everything out forces you to decide what you will do with each item.
3. Decide what to keep, donate, sell, and throw away
Using the seven questions below, decide what you will do with your clothes. If an item passes all seven tests, then set it aside to be put away in the next step.
For the items you don’t plan to keep, put them in the appropriate bag or box to donate, sell, or throw away.
Is it in good condition?
Check for holes, stains, sweater pilling, tears, stretched-out fabric, faded colors, yellowed underarms on white clothing, etc.
Does it fit?
Be honest here. Does it fit your body right now? Not the body you had a few years ago or the body you hope to have this summer. Only keep what fits you right now.
Is it in style?
If it went out of style a decade or two ago, then it’s time to send it on. It likely won’t be back in style, but if it does come back, you can always buy an updated version then.
Is it your style?
Even if it’s in style, is it consistent with the style you like to project? I finally tossed my corporate clothing because I work from home now and prefer more casual outfits.
Is it flattering on your body?
This one is sometimes hard for me to determine on my own, so when I’m not 100% sure, I’ll either
- Ask Josh because he will tell me honestly if something doesn’t look good.
- Take a photo of myself on my phone. My Maw-maw always said “You never know just how you look until you get your picture took,” and it’s true! Pictures don’t lie.
But honestly? If we have to get a second opinion, then that’s probably a clue that we should toss it. 😉
Have you worn it in the last year? (this doesn’t apply to special items like a wedding dress)
Taking the seasons into consideration, did you wear this item when it was in-season last year? If you didn’t wear the sweater last winter, then you probably won’t wear it this winter either. The same goes for shorts, dresses, and even shoes!
If you reached into your closet with your eyes closed and pulled out this piece of clothing to wear, would you be happy that you get to wear this today or sad because you have to wear this today?
This one is probably the most freeing of all, and it was actually the biggest game-changer for me in terms of giving myself permission to let go. Notice the subtle difference between “get to wear” and “have to wear.”
If a particular item doesn’t make you happy when you wear it, then why on earth should you keep it? It can be pretty, trendy, and flattering all day long, but if it doesn’t make you happy when you wear it, then it’s time to send it on so you can make space for the items that do make you happy.
4. Only put back the items you plan to keep, and put them back neatly
When you know which items you are going to keep, neatly put them back in your closet or drawers. If you’ve never had an organizational system before, now might be a good time to come up with one that works for you.
Personally, I like to keep my clothes grouped together by category. So I have all of my dresses together, all of my short sleeve shirts together, all of my shorts together, all of my pants together, etc. This method keeps me organized because I always know exactly where to look for a particular item.
You can try this method for yourself or find a different system that will work for your needs.
5. Deal with the donate, sell, and throw away piles accordingly
Once all of your clothes are put away, it’s time to deal with the things you no longer want to keep. Take the “donate” bags or boxes to charity, toss the “throw away” items in the garbage, and list the “sell” items online or set a date on your calendar to host a yard sale.
What you don’t want to do is let these bags and boxes hang around in your home for weeks or even months before you finally get rid of them. But if you don’t have time to deal with them right away, there are a couple things you can do to make sure you don’t forget about them:
- Put your “donate” bags in the car so you’ll have them with you next time you’re out and can swing by a donation center.
- Set a deadline on your calendar for selling the “sell” items. If you haven’t sold them by that date, then drop them off at your favorite charity.
Tips for Decluttering Clothes Without Feeling Overwhelmed
Decluttering clothes can be overwhelming, especially if you have a large collection to sort through. To keep from getting discouraged or burned out, give these tips a try. These are the things that make decluttering much more enjoyable for me, so I think they’ll help you enjoy the decluttering process too!
Set aside time to declutter so you won’t feel rushed
You’ll be much happier when you have plenty of time to really dig in and tackle your decluttering without having to watch the clock. Set aside some time in your calendar that you can dedicate just to decluttering clothes.
Work in small batches so you don’t get overwhelmed
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged when you see a huge pile of things to sort. That’s why I’m not the biggest fan of Marie Kondo’s method of decluttering clothes. If you think taking everything out at once will stress you out, then work in small batches or categories like I mentioned earlier so you can see a definite end to your decluttering efforts.
Only tackle what you can reasonably expect to complete in one sitting so your room doesn’t stay messy for days on end
Be realistic with your decluttering goals. If you only have a few hours to declutter, then you definitely don’t want to take everything out of your closet and pile it on your bedroom floor. Doing that is a surefire way to have a messy room until you have time to finish your decluttering session!
Instead, work in small batches so you can have a tidy home between decluttering sessions.
Have some fun music playing in the background to set the tone for your decluttering party
Music makes everything better, so crank up the tunes while you declutter! You’ll instantly feel happier and time will seem to pass much more quickly.
Free PRintable Decluttering Checklist for Clothes
And now for the free printable checklist I promised you! You can get my Decluttering Checklist for Clothes here.
Wrapping It Up
Decluttering clothes can seem like a daunting task, but you can tackle it like a pro with these tips! The best thing you can do is start small so you don’t get overwhelmed, and only start what you can reasonably finish in one sitting.
And if you have a hard time deciding which clothes to keep and which ones to toss, be sure to ask yourself the seven questions I listed earlier in the post. They’ll help you get rid of clothes without feeling guilty!
Better yet, go ahead and download the decluttering checklist so you can see those questions along with a list of the different kinds of clothes to declutter!
Other Posts You May Enjoy
- Let It Go: How to Give Yourself Permission to Declutter
- Keep It or Toss It: 11 Questions to Help You Declutter Your Home
- How to Keep Your Home Tidy with This Quick Morning Cleaning Routine
- How to Declutter Your Home Without Feeling Overwhelmed
- Daily Cleaning Schedule: The Simple Solution for Your Messy Home
- 4 Simple Rules for a Tidy Home Every Single Day
What about you? Do you have any tips for decluttering clothes?
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