In this post: What do you do when you have too many clothes and you’re overwhelmed by the mess? Read this post to learn how to declutter clothes and get control of the chaos.
Groggily, you get out of bed and saunter over to the closet to pick out something wear. You sift through messy piles of fold clothes, eventually deciding on an outfit that matches…sort of.
As you brush your teeth, you think of how nice it would be to have an organized closet. You’d be able to find things whenever you needed them and get out the door with less of a hassle.
Hey friend! Have you ever struggled to close the closet doors or shut the drawers because you have too many clothes? Yeah, me too.
With clothing becoming more and more affordable, many of us find our closets overflowing with clothes.
In this post, I’ll walk you through 6 simple steps to declutter clothes and get you on your way towards an organized closet.
#1: What is your dream for your closet?
This is something that so many decluttering methods miss. They dive straight into the strategy without having you ask yourself why you’re decluttering clothes in the first place.
Take a moment to dream a little bit. What would you do with a decluttered closet?
Would you have more peaceful mornings when you can find everything easily? Would you get ready quicker and spend more time eating breakfast with your kids?
Paint a picture in your mind so clear that you can see it as a possibility.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: decluttering stinks. I don’t know anyone who bounds out of bed early on a Saturday morning, eager to declutter their closet.
The process can be difficult, long and emotionally draining. But the benefits are so worth it.
That’s why it’s important to decide on a dream you’re working towards. When you don’t feel like decluttering your clothes and would rather go watch TV, you can remind yourself of your dream.
#2: Get Rid of Damaged Clothes
Ok, I am admittedly the worst at this. As I’m writing this, I have a t-shirt in my closet with holes in the pits and a pair of socks whose holes have holes.
But this can be a great place to start decluttering. If you have clothing that is damaged in some way, just throw it out.
If you plan on fixing it, great. Schedule a time to do it. In a few months, if you come across the same item…and it hasn’t been fixed, throw it out.
#3: Declutter Clothes You Don’t Like
Have you ever held onto a shirt you don’t really like, just because maybe you’ll wear it some day? But every morning, when it comes time to get dressed, that shirt gets passed over again and again.
I totally do that.
There’s something in the survival part of your brain that will tell you to keep it because you just might need it one day.
But ask yourself, do you really need it? Being that you came to this website looking how to declutter clothes, I’m guessing the answer is no.
Get rid of it.
#4: Declutter Clothes That Don’t Fit
After giving birth to baby #1, I was left with a stubborn extra 20 pounds that wouldn’t go away. After baby #2, I gained another 10 pounds of stubborn weight.
It was really hard to declutter clothes that didn’t fit because they were so dang cute! But while I am actively on a journey to a healthier body and lifestyle, it serves no purpose for me to keep clothes that don’t fit.
In fact, seeing those size 8s remind me the size I used to be and can be negative reminders.
I deserve better. You deserve better.
Don’t keep around clothes that no longer fit you. Love your body as it is even if you’re on a journey to a healthier you.
You deserve to feel good in the clothes you wear, regardless of the number on the tag.
You don’t have to declutter the clothes all at once, but I encourage you to release and let go. It can release the weight of perfection from your shoulders.
#5: Determine How Many Outfits You Need
How many outfits do you need? How often do you do laundry and how many outfits do you need to cover that time plus some extra?
I recommend keeping no more than two weeks, but feel free to pick a number that works best for you.
Here’s the thing…you’re doing laundry on a weekly basis right? (If not, go read this post about implementing a weekly laundry schedule.)
When you’re doing laundry at least once a week, there’s no logical reason to keep more than 14 days worth of outfits. Honestly, keeping more clothes will make your home harder to manage.
Based on my personal experience, it is psychologically harder to do the laundry when there are 3-4 loads of it vs doing a load here and a load there.
Before kids, our laundry used to be out of control because we had no system. We let dirty laundry pile up in the corner of the closet until we no longer had clean undies.
We’d then dedicate an entire Saturday to washing, drying, folding and putting away 4 loads of laundry.
Then we had a baby (who was a crazy spitter-upper) and the rate our dirty laundry accumulated double or tripled.
Our loosey goosey system no longer worked. So I painstakingly put a system in place that worked, even for a scatter-brained person like me who even forgets to brush my teeth.
Put a weekly laundry schedule into place so you’re doing laundry on a regular basis.
Then pick no more than 14 days of clothes. Less clothes means less to take care of which means less frustration.
And If You Think My Suggestion Is Nuts…
I know some of you are going to argue with me on this one. And here’s the thing: ultimately, the choice is up to you.
If you want to keep 147 outfits, I’m not going to appear in your closet shaking my finger in disapproval. After all, I don’t know you, your lifestyle or your family.
In the end, you have to be the one who decides how many outfits are just right.
Bring it back to your dream for your closet. Let’s say you get down to 37 outfits and can’t declutter your clothes any further. With that many outfits, can you still live out your dream?
If the answer is yes, you can stop and be satisfied with a job well done. Woohoo! 😆
If the answer is no, and you can’t possibly declutter clothes any more, I’m going to tell you to do something no other decluttering expert tells you: stop.
The goal is not to drive your motivation into the ground by forcing yourself to do something. The goal of decluttering is to remove some of the blocks that keep you from living your dream life.
And odds are, if you’ve already gotten rid of quite a bit of clothes, you’ve removed some of the frustration from your life. (Even if it’s not as much as you hoped.)
You can always come back to your closet a few months down the road if you have renewed enthusiasm to declutter some more.
There’s a saying that I love to remind myself when I’m feeling down: Focus on progress, not perfection.
The goal is not to reach perfection. Perfection is a myth, it doesn’t exist. Instead, focus on progress and give yourself a dang pat on the back every time you make your life easier by decluttering.
#6: Give Yourself Grace
In the process of decluttering clothes, you might come across clothes that make you feel shame.
Maybe it’s that expensive outfit (or shoes) that you’ll never wear. Maybe it’s clothes that no longer fit because you’ve gained weight. Or maybe it’s clothes that remind you of a time you made a mistake or of a time when things were different than they are now.
Give yourself grace.
You don’t benefit by shaming yourself for past decisions. Decluttering has this amazing ability to help shape our future purchases. Take note of the things you regret buying without adding shame into the process.
Friend, you are worthy…just as you are. You might’ve made poor choices in the past and that’s okay. Learn from them and make a plan for making better choices in the future.
For those of us who really struggle with the emotional weight of clutter, it’s not as simple as going through and clearing out the closet. Sometimes, we have to forgive ourselves and release that emotional weight before we can release the clutter.
You’re a beautiful, amazing human being. Give yourself grace because you’re worth it.