I love my home, but I have to be honest. The clutter became OUT OF CONTROL earlier this year! Before I officially began my summer break, I had plans to redo my living room because the furniture was so old and outdated. But one day, I felt completely overwhelmed by the size of my wardrobe. I say one day, but this was actually building up over time. There were days I sat on my bed in an anxiety attack because I couldn’t decide what to wear; there were just too many options. It was crippling and I often opted to just not go out. Most of the clothes in my closet I had only worn once or twice because there was just so much. I knew there was no way I could wear everything I owned. Between work outfits, workout outfits and casual tees, I just had too much clothes.
Some people say they don’t know how they got to this point but I know exactly how I got here. Every time I travelled, I bought new clothes simply because I could. So when I travelled in April, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t buy any piece of clothing unless it would absolutely add some oomph to my wardrobe and I’ve been doing a pretty good job at that. This made it easier for me to see what I needed and what I was just holding onto for that “What if” occasion.
That’s right folks. I’ve decided it’s time to kick the clutter to the curb for good. Instead of simply cleaning up like we normally do, my husband and I decided to declutter our closet once and for all. After the decluttering process, I had 7 that’s right, SEVEN bags of clothes and about three pairs of shoes to donate! I cannot tell you how amazing it feels to walk into an organized space each morning! Keep reading to learn how to declutter your closet in four easy steps.
How to Declutter Your Closet in 4 Easy Steps
Step 1: Stop Buying Things
The first step to decluttering is to stop buying things. It’s hard to get rid of the old if you’re still bringing in new. Every time I bought a new piece of clothing, I forgot about the older clothes. This made it easier for my clothes to pile up and only served to increase my sense of drowning in my own belongings. That’s why it took me so long to get to this point. I didn’t know where to start amongst between the old and new clothes. But once I stopped buying new clothes, it was easier for me to see what I loved and what I didn’t love, based on how often I wore each piece.
Step 2: Only Keep The Items That You Truly Love
My process for this looked different from how it may look for everyone else. I decided to reorganise my closet. My closet was originally colour coordinated, with each item grouped by colour. I still had trouble finding clothes when it was time to get ready. So I decided to restructure. I wanted all dress to be together, all shirts together, all skirts together (you get it). From there they were colour coordinated (all black dresses together etc). Once they were grouped by colour, I group all long sleeved, short sleeved and sleeveless together within their colour groups. It was through doing this that I started tossing. I mean I tossed like crazy! And after putting everything back in my closet, I went through and pulled some more! As soon as I started using this thought process, streamlining my wardrobe was so much easier.
If getting rid of clothing and accessories is difficult for you, I recommend going through this process several times. I know it can seem scary, but I promise you—holding on to things that you don’t love will only add stress to your life and clutter to your home.
Step 3: Store Your Items Properly to Maintain Their Condition
Once you’ve whittled down your closet to your favourite items, it’s time to take care of them. One of the best parts of a clean and organised closet is the ability to properly store and maintain your clothing, which will help your clothing and accessories last longer. Using the right detergent, laundry bags and shoe boxes all help to maintain the life of your clothing.
“The Rules” from the September Sweep
Yep, the rules from day two of the program can be applied to cleaning out your wardrobe as well. If the answer to all of these questions is “no,” get rid of it.
Have I used this item in the past year?
Will I use it in the year ahead?
If I was shopping right now, would I buy this again?
If it is broken, is it worth fixing?
Would I keep this if I moved?
Download the printable PDF calendar:
September Sweep 2018
Fashion Stylist Laurel Kinney’s Four Key Questions
Kinney’s approach might speak to you best if you’re style-minded, or have a lot of pieces or categories of clothes that you cycle through. You can read more about her process here.
Does this fit me physically the way it should? Is there something I would change about it?
Does it say “you”?
Is it nice enough to give away? If not, why are you still wearing it?
Can you mix and match it?
Pro Organizer Shira Gill’s Clarifying Questions
If you’re trying to be more space-savvy, Gill’s technique is tuned in to mindfulness principles, mixing both style and space considerations. You can read more closet clearing advice from her here.
Does this item reflect my authentic personal style?
Would I buy this item for full price today?
Would it impact my daily life not to have this item?
Is this item really worth the space it’s taking up in my closet?
Are you ready to dig in this weekend? Sorting through your clothes is an emotional challenge. I think the strategy you use here needs to be emotionally-driven, too. In other words, you should follow whatever rubric that speaks to your soul. Everyone’s techniques are similar, but different. You should choose whichever approach speaks to you (or if you have another favourite checklist, use that—and tell us about it in the comments) and make it your method for deciding what stays and what goes.