Decluttering Cure

An Uncluttered Closet Begins With One Simple Step

published Sep 13, 2019
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Apartment Therapy’s September Sweep is a free 15-day decluttering program, guaranteed to leave you with a lighter, leaner home by the end of the month. Sign up here so you never miss a lesson, or go here to view all of the assignments so far.

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Decluttering is hard. That’s why we dedicate an entire month (and then some) to helping you figure out how to do it.

But there is one simple thing you can do to flip the script on your decluttering efforts: When you’re culling through a collection, you should spend your time thinking about what you want to live with, instead of what you want to live without. In other words: Don’t pluck through your stuff trying to find things to get rid of. You should take everything out first, and then layer in the things you love the most.

That “everything out” technique is what we’re going to try today as we target one of the most overwhelming areas to declutter.

Credit: Kim Lucian

Today’s Assignment:

Declutter your clothes.

OK yeah, this one’s a beast—that’s why I have it positioned here on Friday so you can take the weekend to complete it if you need to.

If you don’t think you can get through all of your clothes in the time you have available, 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.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Take everything out of the closet and dresser

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 dresser and closet are 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.

And don’t forget:

Clear three things from your monster zone.

All month long, we invite you to share your progress here in the comments and on Instagram with the #septembersweep hashtag. Or join our Apartment Therapists Facebook group to start your own conversation.

Just joining us? It’s not too late to sign up!

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