How To De-Clutter Your Closet ~ I share how to systematically de-clutter your wardrobe and make your closet into an organized collection of clothes that you want to wear. Hope you enjoy this photo tutorial!
I live in an area that has significant weather extremes depending on the season. In winter it can be -30° C (-22° F) or colder and in the summer it can be 30° C (86° F) or hotter and dryer plus everything in between during the other seasons. Along with these temperature variations also come the climate elements including rain, sleet, snow, blizzards, wind, hail, fog and everything else except for luckily, weather extremes like tornadoes and hurricanes. As a result, I need a varied wardrobe with clothing items that keep me warm in the winter, cool in the summer and comfortable in the cool and warm temperatures of spring and autumn.
So twice a year in the spring after a long chilly winter and in the fall after a hot dry summer I conduct a major de-cluttering of my closet. It is actually a major re-organization where out of season garments are shifted to the back of the closet and in season garments are resurfaced from the back and moved to the front. It is actually quite fun to do because it is like going through a hidden treasure of forgotten clothing from the previous seasons. Previously worn garments suddenly become new because they have not been looked at or worn for several months.
This is also a time to conduct a wardrobe review. Some pieces that I have worn for years or that I liked last season now do not have the same appeal as the last time I wore them. For example, the pair of jeans I wore comfortably last spring now look too faded, too frayed, too out of shape and even too dated. So with a fresh outlook and perspective I need to weed out these pieces that are taking up prime space in my closet.
As I mentioned in a previous blog titled How to Store Accessory Jewelry my wardrobe consists of a collection of basics including bottoms in the form of trousers, capris, shorts and tops in the form of shirts, tops, jackets, and sweaters. I just mix and match the pieces with various accessories to create different outfits. I also tend to wear pieces for a long time so my wardrobe is quite varied and extensive.
Here are the easy to follow steps for how to de-clutter your closet…
To begin, I use 4-3-2-1 System to rank each clothing item that comes out of the closet:
- 4 = always: I consistently wear it, it looks great on me, I love wearing it and it is definitely going back in the closet.
- 3 = usually: I often wear it, it looks good on me, I like wearing it and it is going back in the closet.
- 2 = sometimes: I occasionally wear it, it is a specific item (I bought it especially for a Christmas party), it is looking worn, it is uncomfortable to wear but I am having trouble parting with it
- 1 = never: I have no interest in wearing these pieces again, what was I thinking when I bought it?, it is too faded, too pilled, too out of shape, too stained, too dated or too ill fitting so it will either end up in the trash or recycling to be donated for someone else to enjoy.
Clothing pieces identified as a 2 are actually the most difficult because my mindset is that I may still wear it one day. For example, it has a nostalgic value or I have the hopeful dream that I may fit back into it one day so I am going to hang on to it just in case. But according to Stacy London and Clinton Kelly the wonderful hosts of What Not to Wear on TLC their mantra is to only wear clothing that fits your size today and not try to squeeze or swim in clothing for a body of another time. This is excellent advice to keep in mind when going through your closet.
Create signs labeled Always/#4, Usually/#3, Sometimes/#2, Never/#1. I just used scrapbook paper and a marker.
Clothing items that are identified as Always/#4 or Usually/#3 are going right back into the closet so set these labels aside. They were just made for a visual reminder. Set out two laundry baskets and label one basket with Sometimes/#2 and the second basket Never/#1.
Haul everything out of your closet and pile it on your bed. Here I created a pile of bottoms and a pile of various tops. I don’t wear a lot of skirts and I only own a few dresses for special occasions so they didn’t really get a pile of their own.
Go through each item and identify it as 4-3-2-1. If it is a 4 or a 3, hang it back in the closet. If it is identified as a 2 place it in the Sometimes/#2 basket meaning that you are not sure for the various reasons identified earlier. If it is something that you have not worn for ages and have no interest in wearing again, place it in the Never/#1 basket to either donate or throw away if they are not worthy of wearing anymore.
This is a classic black dress that I bought a few years ago that I am keeping because it will be my standby choice to wear on special occasions. So it will go back into the closet even though I don’t wear it very often.
When you have completed going through everything pull out each item in the basket Sometimes/#2 for a second review. This is what my #2 basket looked like after the initial review. The jeans you see at the top are Tommy Hilfiger jeans I bought years ago and loved wearing. I am having trouble parting with them because I am hopeful they will still comfortably fit me. I think I am being optimistic but I am willing to give them a second chance. So after the second review they were pulled out of the basket and hung back in the closet but read Step 7 for a great tip for helping you make your decision easier regarding items like these jeans next time. By the way, the rest of the items basket ended up going into the donation bag after this second review.
If you have items that you are not sure about parting with, attach a piece of painter’s tape labeled with the month and date to the inside of the garment and hang it back in the closet. If you find yourself comfortably wearing it during the upcoming seasons, then it is a keeper and remove the tape. But during the next closet review and reorganization it still has not been worn, then it has to be moved to the Never/#1 basket and needs to be trashed or donated for someone else to enjoy.
So I now have a de-cluttered closet that has been reviewed and reorganized. It will be so much simpler to pull out the bottoms and coordinating tops during the spring and summer season. I will be following the same process next October so stay tuned next to see which garments I end up keeping, trashing or donating using this 4-3-2-1 System for de-cluttering your closet.
Here is a pinnable image for how to de-clutter your closet…
That is how to de-clutter your closet!
Do you see yourself using or adopting a variation of this system?
What strategies do you use to de-clutter your closet?
This has been so much fun to share with you!
I have written other posts about how to organize closets that you might want to check out too!
Hope it helps,