How to Purge Your Closet in 5 Easy Steps

How to Purge Your Closet in 5 Simple Steps

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If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’m a big fan of Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and her KonMari method of organizing (you can read about my big closet cleanout here).

There were so many times I thought, I should clean out my closet and see if I can donate anything, and I’d only ever pull out a few things. I didn’t realize it then, but I was going about it the wrong way. Instead of opening my closet, looking inside, and wondering what can I part with?, I needed to take everything out and ask instead, what should I keep?

Once I made that realization, it made purging so much easier. Here are some simple steps to help you purge and clean out your wardrobe.

Step One: Take EVERYTHING out.

This should always be the first step of any clean out. Empty your closet and drawers and even any storage bins if you’ve got off-season clothing stored someplace else. Separate all your clothing into like piles (tops in one pile, jeans in another, dress pants, sweaters, shoes, accessories, etc.). Sorting everything into categories will help you see everything you have.

Step Two: Designate Piles.

The next step is to create space for what you’ll keep, sell, donate, or toss. Even things that you want to keep should go in a pile before making their way back into your closet.

Step Three: Go through each piece individually.

This is a concept from Marie Kondo. She suggests touching each item and asking yourself, “Does this spark joy?” That can be a little vague if you haven’t read her book, but after going through a few items it starts to make sense.

When it comes to purging vs. saving in my wardrobe, I like to ask myself some of these questions: Do I feel good when I wear this? Is this piece flattering? Are there any duplicates? Does this fit my current lifestyle? Have I worn this within the last year? If I were out shopping today, would I buy this?

If something doesn’t fit, is torn or damaged, isn’t flattering, doesn’t make you feel good, etc. then it shouldn’t go back in your closet. No excuses.

If you’re on the fence… personally, if I’m on the fence about something, I get rid of it. I want my closet to be filled with pieces I truly love. BUT, if you’re not that ruthless, you can try keeping the item for another month or two. If you still haven’t worn it, maybe it really is time to let go.

Step Four: Put it all away.

Anything that needs to get thrown out should go in the trash immediately. Bag or box up your donations and drop them off ASAP. Don’t let anything linger, lest you try to change your mind. Anything you want to consign or resell should be cleaned and taken care of as soon as you can. (On your clean out day, just bag and box up your donation and resale items and scoot them to another room so they’re out of the way- but be sure to take care of them within the week!)

Now, you should be left with a pile of clothes you love! Congratulations. Here comes the fun part. With extra room in your closet, the pieces you love with have room to breath. Take care when you put your clothes back. Fold things nicely, leave a little space between your hanging items, organize your accessories so things are easy to find, etc.

If you want tips on folding clothes, I recommend the KonMari method. I’ve shared this video before, but you can see how she folds here.

Step Five: Repeat.

If you’re like me and you’re always adding things to your closet, this is a good process to repeat at least once each year, if not once at the end of each season. I find the more I stay on top of what’s in my closet the easier it is for me to put outfits together. Plus, if I decide I no longer want something, it’s easier to resell before the item goes out of style.

What are your favorite closet cleaning tips? When was the last time you purged? Where do you go for organization inspiration?



PS – What it’s like to shop after decluttering my wardrobe and why you feel like you have nothing to wear and what to do about it.