Decluttering Cure

3 Surefire Ways to Tackle Closet Clutter, According to a Professional Organizer

published Sep 24, 2022
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White closet full of colorful clothes. Plants on top in white vases. Hand reaching out to grab a shirt
Credit: Sarah Crowley

Apartment Therapy’s Decluttering Cure is a free two-week decluttering program that’ll help you achieve a tidier home. Joining us today is guest cure-ator Pia Thompson, a truth seeker, joy finder, and mama to a 11-year-old girl. As a home organizer, writer, and speaker, she empowers women to live confidently in their truth and joy by turning tidying their homes into fun self-care.

Closets are home to one of the most personal things you own: your clothing. What you wear is an expression of yourself and if they don’t suit who you are, it can negatively impact how you feel about the way you look.

“Clothing is important because you use it every day,” shares Pia Thompson of Sweet Digs and today’s guest cure-ator. “Of all the things we own in our home, none of them will be used as often as our clothes.”

So today, you’re going to spend a little bit of quality time in your closet sorting through your clothes to identify what still makes you happy, and honestly, what absolutely doesn’t anymore. 

Day 6: Spend 20 minutes of quality time in your closet

With 20 minutes on the clock, you’re going to go through your closet. Get a timer and be sure to dedicate this time to decluttering and try to stick with what’s going on in your closet. You want to remove any distractions. 

Here’s what Thompson recommends doing in those 20 minutes:

Categorize and put together like items. 

Focus on one category at a time and do what you can in the allotted time. For instance, you can arrange by types of clothing — blazers with blazers, pants with pants — or by color. “That’s an easy way to get some organization out of a space that may be disorganized,” she says.

Review what feels good to you. 

Look through your things and see what makes you smile. You probably have things in your space where the moment you see them, you instantly know that you’re going to look amazing in them, shares Thompson. 

Identify the qualities you love. 

Discover what qualities you like about these pieces. Is it the style, color, or fit? What do you gravitate toward? As you go through your closet, you’re going to want to replicate these qualities. Taking stock of the things you love about each subcategory of clothing will help you make decisions in your closet and when you’re out shopping in the future, says Thompson.

This process of focusing on joy and what feels good will naturally let other things fall away, she adds. If you don’t like something or it harbors bad feelings, such as guilt, it’s best to let it go. You don’t want to be wearing and carrying around those feelings, says Thompson. No matter how it ended up in your life or how much you spent on it, if you don’t like it, you’ll always feel bad wearing it (or never wear it at all).

THOMPSON’S PRO TIP: For those 20 minutes, do something that will pay you back immediately, such as the daily clothing you wear, then move on to other categories. If your closet is home to other items — such as shoes, bags, and miscellaneous — go through each big category one at a time. “Don’t bite off more than you can chew,” urges Thompson. 

Did you find out what qualities in your clothing that you gravitate toward? Was it certain colors or fabrics? Let us know in the comments.

More ways to participate in the decluttering Cure:

The Cure Program is a tradition here at Apartment Therapy — it happens every January, April, and September. Click here to learn more about the year-round program and when to sign up.