3 Smart and Simple Methods for Decluttering Your Clothes Closet — September Sweep

I don’t know about you, but what’s inside my wardrobe is nothing like the magical land of Narnia. It’s mostly a mess of clothes that get rarely worn, but saved nonetheless. Because maybe one day I’ll get invited to a gala in the Maldives where that long, lime green bridesmaid dress can finally earn its keep on my hangers.

I’m guessing that, while you might not have a floor-length green dress like mine, your closet is full of similar stories. So let’s commit right now to sorting through it once and for all.

This project can be kind of a doozy, so I set it up for Friday so you can take the weekend if you need to.

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Today’s Assignment:

Declutter your closet, getting rid of clothing you no longer need.

Here’s how I’d handle the logistics:

  1. Take everything out of your closet and drawers.
  2. Group similar pieces together into piles (for example: jeans, work clothes, gym gear). I like doing this so it’s easy to see where you have redundancies.
  3. Work piece by piece through your piles, picking up each item to consider if it’s worth keeping. Try things on if you need to.
  4. If you’re keeping it, hang it back up or fold it back into your drawer.
  5. If it needs to be fixed, set it aside (maybe into your “wanderers” box) to address later.
  6. If you no longer want to keep it, drop it into your “sell” or “donate” boxes.

Step 3 here is tough, I know. Sorting through your clothes is an emotional challenge. I think the strategy you use here needs to be emotionally-driven, too. In other words, you should follow whatever rubric that speaks to your soul.

Apartment Therapy’s been helping people declutter their homes for a while, and we’ve published some great insights from pro organizers, stylists and editors over the years. Everyone’s techniques are similar, but different. You should choose whichever approach speaks to you (or if you have another favorite checklist, use that—and tell us about it in the comments) and make it your method for deciding what stays and what goes.

“The Rules” from the September Sweep

Yep, the rules from day two of the program can be applied to cleaning out your wardrobe as well. If the answer to all of these questions is “no,” get rid of it.

  1. Have I used this item in the past year?
  2. Will I use it in the year ahead?
  3. If I was shopping right now, would I buy this again?
  4. If it is broken, is it worth fixing?
  5. Would I keep this if I moved?

Fashion Stylist Laurel Kinney’s Four Key Questions

Kinney’s approach might speak to you best if you’re style-minded, or have a lot of pieces or categories of clothes that you cycle through. You can read more about her process here.

  1. Does this fit me physically the way it should? Is there something I would change about it?
  2. Does it say “you”?
  3. Is it nice enough to give away? If not, why are you still wearing it?
  4. Can you mix and match it?

Pro Organizer Shira Gill’s Clarifying Questions

If you’re trying to be more space-savvy, Gill’s technique is tuned in to mindfulness principles, mixing both style and space considerations. You can read more closet clearing advice from her here.

  1. Does this item reflect my authentic personal style?
  2. Would I buy this item for full price today?
  3. Would it impact my daily life not to have this item?
  4. Is this item really worth the space it’s taking up in my closet?

Are you ready to dig in this weekend? Good! Let me know in the comments which set of questions you’re using to guide you along the way.

But first, one more thing…

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!

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