Reclaim Mental and Physical Space by Decluttering Your Closet


If you haven't already packed away your winter clothes and pulled out everything you need for spring, this is a great time to get in some good solid decluttering. Decluttering can make extra room in your closet, help you feel more focused every morning you get dressed, and help you feel a sense of accomplishment because you've taken the time to get it done. Here are some tips for organizing, sorting, and deciding what to keep or give away. And remember, you don't have to do everything in one sitting. Your well-being is what's important here. Follow these tips to help reclaim some physical closet space, and along with it, mental space as well!

Decide On Your Decluttering Goal

First, think about why you are decluttering. What are your goals? Do you simply have too many pieces and need to make room? Do you need to add to a specific category of clothes -- like workwear -- and need to trim down others? Or do you simply not wear most of your pieces because they don't fit well anymore, you don’t feel good in them, and just need say goodbye? Or all of the above?

Knowing your goals will help you streamline the process and make decisions faster. 

Set Yourself Up For Success

Figure out what you'll need in advance; usually we have trash bags, boxes or bags for donations and something for recycling and wire hangers…to bring back to dry-cleaner. Mentally break down your closet into parts--such as clothing, accessories, shoes, random knickknacks--and start with the easiest. Think about my LITL System of Organizing, the first step it to Let it Go. What are the things you know you don't want? Start there. After you are able to get those things out of the way, you'll feel more empowered and invigorated to continue with the next step.

Truly Non-Usable Pieces

There will be items and pieces that you truly don't want and some you cannot even donate: items that are ripped, broken, stretched out, discolored/stained, look awful, and so on.  There's no need to keep them, unless they can be cleaned or fixed. If they cannot be made usable, they are definitely for the trash.

Thin Out Similar Items

See if there are any duplicate pieces. For example, if you have multiple work shirts that all look very similar, chances are you don't need them all, unless they are uniform of course. Select one or two that you really like and donate the rest. Put them in the "Donate" bin or bag along with all your other unwanted items. Someone else will get much better use out of it than you will!

Evaluate The Items You're On The Fence About

There are always those "I just don’t know what to do with this" items.  As you assess each piece, consider how it fits into the goal you began with. 

  1. Does this item contribute to my goal (better work attire or more of a certain kind of clothing)?
  2. Does this item fit me well for the upcoming season? If not, can I have it altered to fit?
  3. Does this item make me feel content, confident, and happy when I wear it or use it? 

Ideally, the pieces you choose to keep should satisfy all three of these questions. If it only satisfies one, it's time to let it go.

Reclaim Your Closet!

You have worked really hard! Let’s say 90% of the items and pieces left in your closet are exactly what you want and need in there. The other 10% can be categorized as "we'll see what happens at the end of the season." If you haven’t worn or used them at that time you can always donate. Some suggestions to organizing your wonderful Decluttered closet: sort/fold/hang your clothes by tops, bottoms, and accessories, or color code your items light-to-dark. Keep clothes that you use most often within easy reach on hangers or lower shelves. Put seasonal or infrequent items into drawers or on top shelves. 

Enjoy your newly decluttered closet!

Year-round Decluttering

To maintain your hard work, remember these: 

  1. When hanging your clothes, turn the hangers the wrong way; the open side faces out. If any of the items are still hanging that way at the end of a season, you will know you did not wear them and could possibly donate.  Perhaps you'll be able to let go of a few more things!
  2. Start a one-for-one trading system with new clothes. Each time you buy something new, donate something from your closet. This will help maintain your closet at the same size while also keep it updated.

Decluttering is an ongoing process, but if you stay aware of the "inventory" in your closet, you won't need to overhaul your closet again. Keep your physical space organized, and with it will come a clean mental space as well!

Lisa Geraci Rigoni