Closet Decluttering: The Simple How-To Guide!

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It’s not easy to get me to clean out my closet. Can you blame me? I like my clothes! Who knows, I may even wear that shirt again one day, the occasion may arise when I really, truly, need it. But, even I had to admit, that the time had come to do some closet cardio.

Clothes to sort

When to Declutter the Closet

My closet was bursting at the seams! I’m surprised the hanging bar didn’t come crashing down in the middle of the night. To hang up one more item I’d literally jam every hanger over to squeeze in an extra quarter inch of space to hang up yet another shirt. Plus, I was taking over about 3/4 of the closet, and poor Chad was left with a paltry 18 inches of hanging space.

I was truly embarrassed about the state of my closet, so I knew something needed to be done. I know many of you understand what I’m saying, and might feel a little embarrassed about your closet, too. So, I got over my very important self and decided to go for it. I hope it will motivate you to do the same!

Basket to give away

What You’ll Need

After picking myself up off the floor and making several jungle animal grunts and groans, I got a few baskets ready and labeled them ‘donate’ or ‘hand me down’. My sister or nieces may be interested in the things I thought I’d love. Position these baskets very close to the bed.

Then, I got a vacuum cleaner ready to get into the corners and the floor space that never gets touched. I also grabbed a spray bottle and general purpose microfiber cloth for some dusting. I also got myself a garbage bag for the random items that simply belong in there! And finally, I ensured I had clear bed space where I could do all of my sorting.

Oh, and music—defintely need some music!

How To Start

Working top to bottom (as in shelf, racks, floor), remove all clothing, garments, purses, shoes, etc. Absolutely everything comes out. Place it on the surface you’ll be working on. Pile it on, lay it out flat, who cares—just get it done! I love doing this on the bed because it means I have to finish it that day or else I can’t sleep. See how I tricked myself into finishing this project?

Get Cleaning!

Next up, I cleaned the whole closet. I wiped down shelves and racks that hadn’t been dusted for way too long! Then I (well… Chad actually), did a quick vacuum. I have to admit there were more than a few dust bunnies hiding out in the corners. Then we took any garbage we found while emptying out the closet and threw it in the trash.

The Purge

I picked up each item and/or garment and asked the following questions:

  1. Do I LOVE this?
  2. Do I look GREAT in this?
  3. Am I PROUD to wear this?
  4. Is this flattering?
  5. Do I pick this over other items, or pass over it?
  6. Does this still FIT me?

I didn’t dwell. I worked fast. I could try things on and deliberate, but this job needs laser-like focus. Forget how much money you spent on any given item (like my AG jeans that I was a little too ambitious about when selecting the waist size), or how many times you wore it (like that Aritizia blazer that everyone has which didn’t look so great on me). Don’t think twice. Bye, Felicia. Someone else will get more use out of it than you will and you can hold that sentiment with you when you shop for new stuff.

It may also help to have a goal in mind in terms of how much you’d like to slim down your closet. I knew I wanted to get rid of about 40% of my wardrobe. When I go to get dressed there are really only 6 out of 10 items that I actually wear. This isn’t a hard and fast rule but it may help to keep you focused.

This was also a great time to go through our hangers. By removing everything off the hangers we were able to sort through them and put our clothes back on the good ones, toss the bad ones, and put any extras away or repurpose them in another closet.

Neatly folded shirts

Reorganize

Now that I knew what I was keeping and what was heading out the door, everything was headed back into the closet. I made sure everything was hung proper, folded nicely and placed in an organized manner back into the closet. If you need any reminders on how to hang or fold make sure to check out our folding videos!

The Results

Once everything was placed neatly back into the closet I immediately felt so much better! I could see my favorite items of clothing, I could get dressed knowing I could choose from things I actually like and I could breathe again in the space. It was very cathartic.

I have to tell you that I have one item that I just didn’t know what to do with… my wedding dress! When I pulled it out it was honestly the first time I’d touched it in five years. I wasn’t sure that I could part ways with it. It obviously has a lot of sentimental value, and I do love it, but was it really doing me any good sitting in my closet? Could someone else make better use of it or is it just one of those pieces that I permit myself to hold onto? I thought about it long and hard and decided it just means too much to me, so even though it takes up space, it’s space I am willing to part with for something I love.

Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

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