Decluttering Cure

The Easiest Closet Clutter Clearing Trick

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Decluttering is an exercise in introspection. You need to think about the way you feel about your things (aka the entire KonMari philosophy) and also about when and how you use them. Who wants to hang on to things they don’t need?

It’s that question—will I really use this?—that is at the heart of my favorite closet decluttering exercise: The reverse hanger trick.

The idea is that you turn all the hangers in your closet around so that they hang backwards on the rod. As you go about your day to day life — hopefully, you know, wearing clothes* — you’ll have an easy way to see what gets worn regularly: When you wear a garment, turn the hanger around to hang the “correct” way. Anything that’s still on a backwards hanger after some time has passed… well, that thing is ready for retirement.

*This trick does not work for nudists. Or maybe it does? I mean, if you don’t ever wear any clothes maybe you don’t need any? So then, yeah, I guess it works for everyone.

Back on day two of the September Sweep, I had you turn all your clothes hangers around to face backwards. And today, we’ll finally get to assessing our wardrobe and hopefully clearing out some unworn threads.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Today’s Assignment

Revisit your closet and see which hangers haven’t been touched since the start of the month. Use that as a starting point to clear unworn things from your closet for good.

Pick up anything that hasn’t been worn and try to reason out why. Does it fit? Does it need tailoring or a repair? Or maybe is it just not your taste anymore? You might find it helpful to revisit our 5 questions to help you confidently part ways with the clothes you haven’t worn. Or, if you’re the bold and fearless type, just toss all the clothes from the backwards hangers right into the donation pile.

If the hanger trick gave you a new-found clutter-busting confidence, ride that wave and consider moving on to other areas of your wardrobe — like the dresser drawers and your shoe collection.

And don’t forget…

Grab one more thing to pull away from the monster zone for good. We’re almost there!

Want to catch up with Apartment Therapy’s September Sweep decluttering plan? You can see all of the month’s assignments right here.