This post is all about how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes.
Ever opened your closet and were greeted with an avalanche of clothes?
I’m guessing that’s a yes, and the motivation behind finding the best way to purge clothes.
Fortunately, you’re in the right place! Because today, we’re talking about how to declutter clothes the most ruthless way possible.
We’ll talk about how to decide what clothes to keep, how to declutter your entire closet (even dresser drawers), and tips for how to downsize your wardrobe.
Why You Need to Be RUTHLESS When Decluttering Clothes
When you’re ready to make a change and finally get your closet organized, it’s important to be ruthless in your efforts.
Why, you ask?
Well, how frustrating is it to not be able to find your favorite shirt or pair of pants? Even worse, when you finally dig through and find it, it’s all wrinkled because everything is jam-packed.
Imagine how much easier your life will be when you can open your closet door and find exactly what you want in seconds.
Unfortunately, the type of decluttering necessary for such a stress-free closet won’t happen if we don’t get serious about getting rid of stuff.
That’s where the ruthless part comes in 😉
Yes, the task of decluttering your clothes can be a challenge, but it is SO worth it in the end.
Getting rid of clutter in your closet is freeing! I’m so glad I did it. I want you to experience that glorious feeling, too, so let’s get to it!
How to Purge Your Closet Without Emotional Attachment
It happens to the best of us.
So let’s address it.
If you’re having a hard time parting with a favorite dress or pair of jeans, ask yourself, why?
Take some time to evaluate your emotional response to your clothes.
You might think you’ll wear that shirt someday, but if it isn’t already in your regular rotation, there’s probably a good reason why.
Try on those hard-to-part-with items and note how it fits as well as how it makes you feel. So many times we quit wearing things because they simply aren’t as flattering as we’d hoped.
Or it’s just uncomfortable—no matter how cute it is.
Try to detach yourself from emotional attachment and look at your clothing as if you were in a dressing room contemplating buying the item again.
Is it something you would choose to purchase now, or would it go back on the rack?
If it doesn’t serve you well NOW (because you’re not the person you were 2 years ago), get rid of it.
12 Ways to Declutter Your Wardrobe for Good
Ok, so you know you need to get serious and remain neutral, but what exactly does it look like to be ruthless when decluttering your clothes?
How do you actually accomplish it?
Let’s talk it through step-by-step.
1. Categorize Your Clothes
Wondering how to even start going through your clothes?
Go ahead and create categories for your wardrobe like:
- casual wear
- business attire
- comfortable hang around the house stuff
- date night
- work out clothes
That sort of thing.
Once you’ve chosen your main categories, set a realistic limit on the number of items for each.
This makes it easier to sort through clothes and whittle down your wardrobe because you’ll have to make some choices in order to stick to your predetermined limit.
One benefit of this strategy is that it helps takes the emotional aspect out of the decision-making process.
There’s no room to contemplate keeping extras once you’ve committed to a plan/number for each category.
2. Pull It All Out
Tackling a big job such as decluttering your wardrobe is going to be a time-consuming project.
Make sure you’ve set aside a good chunk of time so you can get it all done without having to leave everything in piles.
An easy way to organize clothes is to take everything out.
If that sounds counterintuitive, trust me on this, it’s not.
Start by pulling all of your clothes out of the closet and dresser drawers. Organize them by category type, so it’s easy to compare items that are similar.
The huge pile of clothes and clutter you see on your bed and floor will help keep you motivated to finish the job and get rid of anything that isn’t a must-have.
As you go through your clothes, make a pile for items you’ll donate or give away and another pile for those well-loved things that are now destined for the trash.
Anything you decide to keep should immediately be put back into your closet or dresser drawers. Neatly fold items for drawers and hang up clothes for your closet.
Organize as you go (so you don’t have to backtrack), making sure to leave plenty of space for the rest of your wardrobe.
3. Recruit Some Help
If at all possible, get a spouse, family member, or good friend to help you declutter your closet.
Get someone who will be honest with you, someone who will push you to be ruthless in decluttering your clothes.
Having someone who’ll give you a dose of reality when you want to keep everything will help ensure you get past any emotional attachments with your clothes that need to go.
Additionally, a second set of hands can be extremely helpful as you’re packing clothes in bags or searching for a particular piece of clothing you want to keep.
It can also be a lot of fun to reminisce, chat, and enjoy some company as you tackle this sometimes very difficult and emotionally challenging task.
4. Ask Yourself Some Key Questions
As you’re going through your clothes wondering what you can part with, ask yourself some important questions.
For example, is it something that you still wear? This is not the same as something that you think you’ll wear sometime in the future.
Is it an item that gets worn regularly?
Other questions to ask when decluttering clothes include:
- Is it stained, wearing thin, or showing its age?
- Do you feel good when you wear it?
- Does it project the image you want for yourself?
- Does it fit properly?
Use these questions as a guide to help you make a quick decision on whether to keep a garment or pass it along to charity.
The sooner you make a decision, the sooner you’ll be done decluttering. Don’t spend too much time thinking about every little piece!
5. Pay Close Attention to Seasonal Items
If you live in an area with very distinct seasons, chances are you have clothing that’s geared toward a particular time of year.
Those fun sundresses and cold weather sweaters certainly don’t have to be clogging up your closet and drawers all year long.
Consider organizing seasonal items that can be rotated in and out of your wardrobe essentials on an as-needed basis.
As you organize your seasonal wardrobe, keep in mind that each season is limited. You should consider how many bulky sweaters you really need or if you’ll actually wear all those summer dresses with only a relatively few numbers of warm days.
Make a limit as to what is realistic and put the extras in either your donation or trash pile!
6. Plan on Getting Rid of Everything
If you start out with the idea that everything has to go, then you can take a bit of pleasure in being particular about the items you decide to keep for your pared down wardrobe.
Pick each item with deliberate purpose.
Do you feel great wearing it? Does it fit you nicely?
Is it still in style or does it still meet your personal style criteria?
It’s not unusual for our sense of style to change as we go through different phases in life.
Be picky, keep the best stuff, and be ruthless about getting rid of the rest!
7. Figure Out What Works for You
Let’s face it:
Not all “getting rid of clothes” tips work for all personality types.
Everyone is different, so you’ll need to take some time and figure out the decluttering tips that work best for you.
Maybe you are a very sentimental person and you like thinking about those special times you wore a particular outfit.
Perhaps you feel like you’re wasting money by getting rid of clothes that you spent good money on but never really wore.
Capitalize on those strategies that help you move forward towards achieving your decluttering goals.
When you don’t have room for more clothes or you’re having trouble keeping things organized, it’s time to get real honest about your decluttering efforts.
So even if the tip or strategy feels hard at first, go for it.
Ultimately, the best way to declutter clothes is the way that works for YOU.
Once you get through the decluttering process, you’ll find it much easier to maintain that organized closet you desire.
8. No Shopping for More Clothes
If you’re overwhelmed with the clutter from excess clothes and overflowing drawers, the problem might have originated from too many shopping sprees.
No judgment here, sister!
Try to set aside a period of weeks (or longer) where you won’t buy any more clothes. If you can’t pass on clothes shopping altogether, try to make a pact with yourself that you’ll go into the mall or shopping center and only get the item you need.
Don’t browse the sales rack or the latest clothing lines. Just get in and get out as quickly as possible.
This can help prevent the temptation to purchase that cute blouse or those boots that would look perfect with your old jeans (but the cute booties you have are just fine).
When you minimize what’s coming into your closet, it will be a lot easier to keep the clutter under control.
9. Items with Sales Tags Still Attached
If you’ve had something in your closet for more than six months and the tags are still on it, it’s time to let it go.
There’s probably a very good reason why you haven’t worn it.
Maybe it just doesn’t fit quite right or perhaps it was a quirky purchase that you thought you’d like…but didn’t.
Whatever the reason, don’t keep clothes that you haven’t worn in the past six to twelve months.
At this point, if you haven’t worn the item, it’s unlikely you’ll ever pull it out and start wearing it after all this time.
Items that still have the tags on them can be given to charity and will be a welcome addition to someone else’s wardrobe!
10. Resist the Impulse to Hoard
There are many reasons you might want to hold onto clothing, but the only real reason to keep it is if it’s something that you like, you’ll wear, and that you don’t already have an abundance of.
Just because you paid way too much for it is no reason to keep shoving it back into your closet.
Similarly, an item might have sentimental value, but you can take a picture, or just keep the memory.
Remind yourself that decluttering means making room for a more organized closet and MORE memories.
11. Create a “Maybe” Box
If you still find yourself struggling to let go of a particular item, consider placing a box or basket in your closet.
This “maybe” box can be the transition spot while you spend a bit more time thinking honestly about whether it’s worth keeping.
The benefit of that middle ground for clothes you’re having trouble getting rid of is that you don’t have to make an immediate commitment.
You can keep it in limbo as you continue to declutter the rest of your clothes.
Just don’t let it stay there.
12. Take the Clothes Out
As soon as you’ve completed your decluttering project and everything you’re keeping is put neatly back into your closet, it’s time to ditch the items you’ve set aside for donating or throwing away.
Don’t leave yourself open to temptation or second guessing your decision to part with an article of clothing.
Take the things destined for the trash out to the curb or trash can immediately. The items you plan to donate can be placed in your vehicle.
If you can, take your donations immediately to the charity of your choice, or at least close up the bags and boxes and move them out of your bedroom.
Out of sight, out of mind is important here!
Make it as hard as possible to go back and rummage through those items. Once they’ve been removed, you’ll be rid of them and the clutter they created. Woo hoo!
And just like that, you have a tidy, organized closet and you are FREE from the clutter monster.
So how about it? Are YOU ready to be ruthless and declutter your clothes for good?
To declutter other parts of your home, check out these 9 DeCluttering Checklists. Also read: What to Do With Old Candle Jars? 16 Smart Ways to Upcycle Them