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How to Declutter Your Closet

Over the last couple of years I have really been working on paring down my wardrobe. I had a full closet plus a dresser that was always overflowing, yet I never knew what to wear. Decluttering your closet can be overwhelming so I’m going to share my favorite way to simplify your wardrobe below. Most people will tell you to take out items you haven’t worn in 6 months or a year, etc. but I find that emptying my closet and starting fresh works best for me. You will need to set aside a couple of hours to do this, especially if you have a lot of clothes, but it will be worth it to save you time and frustration.

Empty Your Closet

Take everything out of your closet. I mean everything, even the clothing you know you want to keep forever. This will give you a fresh, clean closet to work with. In fact, while it’s clean feel free to do any cleaning like vacuuming, etc. while it’s empty. I usually pile it on my bed (see photo above) based on type so I can see how many of each item I have pretty easily.

Can’t Live Without

The first thing you need to do is go through your piles and take out the items you absolutely cannot live without. These are the non-negotiables, not the “I think I really like this, but I’m not sure where I can wear it”. Hang those back up in your closet. Looking at the pile that’s left there should be a clear divide in your mind between everything left and everything you have in your closet, you LOVE everything in your closet, everything else has varying degrees from “hate” to “damaged” to “hmmm” to “i like it”.

Maybe and Rehome Piles

This is the hardest part, but you’ve already hung up what you can’t live without so you can really scrutinize your options here. I will usually take inventory of what I hung in my closet and use that as a guide. You can do this mentally, just noting in your mind or you can actually mark it down. If I already have 30 tops and I think that’s enough, I’ll be tough on the pile of tops and maybe only keep a couple of them. Your best bet will be to go through each category at a time and sort them into “Maybe” and “Rehome”. Anything damaged that either can’t be fixed or you have let sit around unfixed for months, or even years, should be in the “Rehome” pile. Anything you really just don’t like that much should go in the “Rehome” pile. Don’t think too hard, have second thoughts, just quickly go through without emotion and your clothes in one pile or the other.

Evaluating the Maybe’s

Once you’ve separated the “Maybe” and “Rehome” piles, go through your maybes and really consider each piece.

  • Do you have anything to wear it with?
  • Do you already have several tops like it?
  • If it were in a store today at full price would you buy it?
  • Try it on. Do you like the way it looks and fits?

I really recommend trying everything on before putting it back in your closet. If you don’t like the way it looks or fits now, you probably won’t like it later either. Don’t hold on to things hoping they’ll fit again later. Don’t hold onto things because your boyfriend’s mom’s best friend gave it to you.

I always like to actually create a maybe pile instead of putting them back in my closet so I can see how much I’m keeping. Usually, I’ll go back through one or two more times to take more out once I see how much I’m trying to keep.

Rehome: Toss, Sell or Donate

Once you have gone through your “Maybe” pile and have sorted them into “Keep” (back in the closet) and “Rehome”, it’s time to sort the Rehome pile into three piles:

  • Toss: throw away or repurpose. These items are too worn out, damaged, etc. to even give away. I personally hate throwing stuff out so many shirts turn into rags for cleaning/dusting or I even use a couple of my husbands shirts to cover the smaller dog beds in our house. I just hate throwing stuff away!
  • Sell: these are items that are on the nicer end that you don’t want to donate because you’d like to get some money back. For me this is usually higher end brands or items that are brand new with tags. Usually if I can confidently sell it for $10 I’ll do that. If you’re looking for a place to sell I really love having virtual yard sales via Instagram. More info on how to sell on instagram here.
  • Donate: Most items will probably end up in this pile. Clothes that are perfectly fine, but aren’t exactly sought after and will be better off used by someone else or sold at a thrift store for a few bucks.


  1. Getting rid of an item someone gave you doesn’t mean you don’t care about that person!
  2. By selling/donating, any items you don’t keep will make someone else happy!
  3. Having a wardrobe full of clothes and accessories you like and can easily access and manage will make you happy!

Getting rid of things is hard for a lot of people, but you will thank yourself next time you put away your laundry and have space to put it away without shuffling around. I hope this helps you get to a closet and wardrobe that makes you feel happy and peaceful.

If you’ve got some items you’d like to sell check out my How to Sell on Instagram eCourse, a step-by-step guide walking you through setting up your account, taking and editing photos, how to price, how to figure out shipping and more? Click the image below to learn more.

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