Decluttering Cure

The First Thing You Should Do If You Want to Declutter Your Clothes

published Sep 13, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

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Your wardrobe is one of the most emotional categories of items to declutter (maybe second only to sentimental clutter—but that’s a conversation for day 13). There are so many feelings wrapped up in the clothes you wear. When you start thinking about who you want to be, where you want to go, how you want to look, and how much space you take up in the world, well it’s no wonder you can only say goodbye to a few measly pieces. But I bet you wish you had some more room in your closet and drawers right about now, don’t you?

So here’s the answer: The first thing you should do when you’re decluttering clothes is take everything out.

Decluttering Tip: When you’re culling through a collection, you should spend your time thinking about what you want to live with, instead of what you can live without.

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Don’t pluck through your clothes trying to find things to get rid of. Empty the drawers. Take all the hangers off the rod. Pretend none of those clothes are yours anymore, then layer in the things you love the most. That’s the key to making a big dent in your wardrobe.

You can use this method anywhere in your home (and you will!), but I’ll walk you through the closet process below…

Day 6: Declutter your clothes.

If you don’t think you can get through all of your clothes in the time you have available today, it’s OK to focus on just what’s hanging up, or just what’s in the drawers, or maybe even just one drawer. But it’s important to stick with the “everything out” method so you can make the best choices about the things you love having in your life and in your wardrobe. There will be time for everything else later.

  1. Take everything out: Everything! Lay it on the bed, or on a sheet on the floor. 
  2. Sort into piles by category: For your clothes, that might be: jeans, tops, dresses, etc. Do whatever makes sense for your wardrobe.
  3. Choose two or three favorites from each pile to keep: Put the things you want to keep back into the closet or dresser. Instead of thinking about what you want to live without, we’re being mindful of what you want to live with.
  4. Keep going, picking favorites until your storage is full: Once you’ve got just the favorites in place, keep adding favorites from each category, one by one, until your previously-empty storage area is full.
  5. Get rid of everything left in the pile: You don’t have room for it, and you don’t love it as much as you love everything else.

I know this is a big one for some people, so I want to stress that you don’t bite off more than you can chew. This everything-out method is smart, but it does require a commitment, so if you want to work space by space and stop when you feel finished, that’s ok! We’re all about progress, not perfection.

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