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9 Tips When Decluttering Your Wardrobe
Be honest, we’ve all been there. Waking up one morning and deciding today’s the day. The day we finally get rid of all the clothes that don’t spark joy. The day we toughen up, face the jumbled up pile of clothes that barely resemble a wardrobe, and attempt to make something presentable out of the mess. The day we declutter.
No matter what led us to these decisions — that new documentary on Netflix about the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle or simply bingeing one too many “closet cleanouts” on Youtube — what matters is that we’re here! And this time we’re going to stick to our guns and get rid of unnecessary items hanging about our closet once and for all.
The D-day can feel a little intimidating, but trust me, the results are far greater than our wildest dreams. Nothing is more satisfying than opening those closet drawers and seeing a neat and tidy wardrobe with everything in its place, no item left unfolded, no article crumpled up or tossed aside. In short, a closet that is organized, accessible, and does the job.
What are the benefits to decluttering?
You’ve seen many posts and pages dedicated to a minimalist lifestyle. This is because having an uncluttered space has wonderful psychological benefits. For one, it can boost our confidence. Decluttering requires and links problem-solving and decision making, two important life skills. When we declutter successfully, we get a sense of fulfillment. So, yes, you do deserve a pat on the back after cleaning out your closet. It’s an achievement worthy of a post!
Keeping a space uncluttered, especially if you have a shared room, can help reduce tension between those of you who share the area. Organization and tidiness is also shown to reduce anxiety and stress levels. If you’ve been extra buggy lately, cleaning out your closet might just be one of the things that helps!
Of course, we can’t keep our closets neat if we simply have too many items of clothing. If you’ve been itching to keep a more minimal home or simply came to the realization that you don’t wear most of the pieces you own, then you’re in luck! We’ve got these 7 tried-and-tested tips for decluttering clothes that are going to help you achieve a Pinterest post-worthy closet.
What Are the Steps to Organizing My Closet?
If you’re going to declutter your wardrobe for good, then you need to do it right! Organizing our closets is something we often want to do, but keep putting off. The hardest part of these decisions is sometimes our follow-through.
Before things get out of hand and you have stacks of clothes on the floor due to lack of space for everything you own, it’s time to make some tough decisions. Ask yourself these questions: what things do I need to keep, and what things should I throw away?
Now that you’ve decided to take control and declutter all the items in your wardrobe, these next few steps are going to help you avoid past mistakes. Before getting rid of unneeded items once and for all, keep these things in mind:
Step 1: Set a schedule.
If there’s anything you must do to commit to this task, it’s jot it down on your calendar! One of the biggest mistakes people can make is leaving the job out to chance. Instead of waiting for a free day or waiting for the inspiration to strike, take things into your control and intentionally dedicate a few days just for getting rid of unnecessary items. Plenty of busy women out there forget to do this step, and it gets lost in a sea of work, coffee runs, errands, or quality time with the husband and kids.
Personally, I would clear at least 2 days of my schedule — usually a weekend — and dedicate it to the decluttering process. I find that I get tired and don’t finish if I attempt to do it all in a single day. People have different preferences, but sticking to a schedule can help no matter who you are.
You can also try out some organization apps to make decluttering extra easy!
Step 2: Go section by section.
If you’ve got a large closet and don’t know where to start the decluttering process, don’t just dive in headfirst into your wardrobe. Categorize! Start with tops, then bottoms, then dresses, the outwear, and so on. Shoes and accessories get their own time as well. Breaking down the mammoth job of “decluttering” into bite-sized tasks helps to prepare us mentally, too.
When taking on each section, I make sure to bring the clothes completely out of the closet or drawers and onto a clean floor. Then I create only two piles: to keep and to give away. You may add one for clothes that need to be altered and repaired, but only do so if you can repair them right away, otherwise they’ll add up to the clutter in your home space. I usually search for extra garbage bags to store the to give/to sell pile.
Step 3: Keep a donation box handy.
Know a local donation center? Perhaps your younger siblings have a rummage sale at school? We Filipinas have been taught at a young age never to throw away clothes and instead pass them onto our relatives who might need them more.
To keep your closet clutter-free for the long haul, have a box on standby in case you decide an item of clothing no longer sparks joy. That way, you’ll be able to separate it from the rest of the clothes you wear regularly. Once your box is filled up, you can give those pre-loved clothes a second home.
Step 4: Set a deadline.
Don’t get carried away trying to declutter your closet forever. If you don’t set a deadline, you might find yourself procrastinating until you forget about the task altogether. Stick to your schedule and try to do as much as you can in that set time.
Now that you’re all ready to get your hands dirty (metaphorically, of course, unless there are a few dust bunnies hiding in that wardrobe), we’re ready to move on to step 5, which is pretty much the bulk of the process! Here are a few tips to keep in mind when decluttering clothes.
9 Tips For Decluttering Your Wardrobe
Break It Down
Like we mentioned above, it helps to break down one large task into bite-sized ones. When you’re decluttering clothes, don’t just go willy-nilly on everything in your closet.
One way to do this is to separate your pieces by category: pang-alis tops, bottoms, and dresses all get their own time. I always go by this method, starting with one place then moving on to different parts of the wardrobe. Once that first set of items has been separated into the keep/don’t keep pile, I can proceed to the pambahay part of my closet, which includes the loose shorts, dasters, oversized t-shirts, etc.
On that note, it helps to have only two categories of items: to keep or not to keep. Adding a “to alter” pile is only good if you can repair those clothes ASAP.
When you declutter your wardrobe, don’t forget to declutter your underwear drawers, too. Unless we’re constantly checking in on everything there, chances are, our drawers are full of undies that we’ve been using for years and aren’t exactly in the best condition!
In this case, we can throw away the ones that are a little worn down. Wearing only the best pairs of underwear and lingerie everyday can boost our confidence. Plus, bralettes and lacey corset tops are all the rage nowadays, making a strong case for underwear that can be worn as outerwear!
Keep Clothes That Actually Fit
The question now becomes, how do I know which clothes to keep and which pieces to get rid of? One factor to look at is how well they fit you. I used to have all too many items of clothing that were beautiful, but required a few strategically-placed safety pins just to be wearable.
Even though I did wear those items constantly, it eventually became a chore to have to style them just so they fit. Part of the process is being merciless with what you’re going to keep or not. So don’t compromise! One of the biggest mistakes you could make when decluttering is keeping something just because you can tweak it a bit. If it’s not an instant and obvious fit, you’re better off without it, period.
Keep Comfortable Fabrics
The next thing to consider is how wearable a certain item of clothing is. High-quality fabric is often more comfortable, shares fashion Youtuber bestdressed in her video below. Comfortable and more durable fabric is also going to last longer, making these pieces of clothing more sustainable. If you’ve got a few expensive summer dresses or boujee jeans, keep them, because they’re the ones that will withstand a lot of wear!
Keep Only What You Wear
This one seems pretty obvious, but only keep the items you actually wear. Whether that’s on a daily basis, weekly, or once a month, if you find yourself wearing an item often, then it deserves to go in the keep pile.
We don’t mean the clothes that you want to wear but never actually have. I find this to be the hardest part, because I did also have a few clothes that I’ve always wanted to wear but never had the occasion to: one deep blue ankle-length skirt I bought three years ago, a frilly champagne-colored satin number with roses trailing down the side perfect for a 2000’s-era prom night, and a few oversized leather blazers that were beautiful but altogether too hot for the country’s climate.
All these, despite starring in my most fashionable OOTD fantasies, never even saw the light of day. But because the clutter-free process requires being a little ruthless, I had to eventually let these babies go. If you have those, too, then it’s best to sell them or give them away no matter how difficult it may be.
Try the Backwards Hanger Method
To piggyback off of the previous tip, turning your hangers around makes tracking what you wear and don’t wear a lot easier. Melissa from the minimalist lifestyle blog Simple Lionheart Life swears by this trick in a blog post she shared a while back.
Do this by turning all your hangers around, then turning them back once you take out a item of clothing. By doing so, you’ll have a clear visual of which clothes you never take out of the closet and which ones you do. Set 3 to 6 months to observe your wardrobe, then declutter accordingly.
Keep What’s Versatile
Another widely-shared tip for clearing out closet space is keeping only the pieces of clothing that can be worn multiple ways and for every season. Some examples include a trusty white t-shirt, your go-to denim jeans, or plain-colored tops. These basics are essentials in any closet. They can be styled in plenty of ways and also make up the foundation of what’s called a capsule wardrobe.
Unsure about a certain article of clothing? Don’t hesitate to try the item on and match it with a few different pieces to see what works. If it effortlessly links to or complements other items in your closet and you see yourself wearing it often, then keep it. If it doesn’t, it has to go.
Know Your Style
Part of cutting down your wardrobe is knowing what suits your aesthetic and what doesn’t. Although it’s a great idea to have a versatile wardrobe that has something for every occasion and every category, it’s even better to stick to the pieces we know we’re going to love and wear for a long time, many times. Any items that we’ve outgrown or no longer suit our current style should go.
Alter and Trade
Since we’re all for sustainability, it’s a given that getting rid of clothes doesn’t mean throwing them away. But if you don’t know any donation centers, or relatives who are looking for new clothes, a great way to declutter your wardrobe is by repurposing old clothes or trading with a friend.
Did you find some stuff that was too good to give away, but are too out of shape to be an instant keeper? Alter them! While the alter category is optional, it does help breathe new life into clothes that are sitting in between the keep/give away piles.
It’s great to have a sewing machine on hand, but our tip is to only keep anything that can be repaired by hand. That way, you don’t have to make complicated alterations to, say, a large dress or a piece of clothing that’s too small. If the thing is going to take some time and hardcore sewing to alter, then it’s better to give that stuff away to a friend or someone else who might wear it better.
Make Decluttering a Habit
Now that all the clothes you need and don’t need are in their rightful place, you’re all set for the final step of decluttering: staying organized. This is a more holistic approach and requires a habit change, but it’s a habit that can change your life for the better.
Make it a point to keep your closet organized and easier to declutter. You can organize your closet the way you like, whether it’s through a color code, sorting by season, or purpose. An excellent tip is to keep everything in a designated place, so you don’t have to spend hours in search of that single coat or those pair of shoes.
The point is to regularly check in on the stuff in your closet and assess if you still want to keep them. This can apply to other items around your home, too! Overall, keeping your environment clutter-free shouldn’t just be a one-time event. It takes time and practice, but the benefits are worth it.
We hope you were able to learn a thing or two from this guide! Do you have a few tips of your own? Leave a comment, name a few steps, or drop some life-changing life hacks. We value reader interactions and would love to hear from you!
Joey is an AB Psychology graduate of the University of St. La Salle – Bacolod. Her life’s passions include writing, film, and spending hours on end binge-watching fashion vloggers on Youtube.