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How to Declutter Your Wardrobe

real life decluttered and organised wardrobe

I struggled with an overstuffed and disorganised wardrobe for years. And I was wasting time looking for items every day. Then I often thought that I had nothing nice to wear. It was troublesome to make good outfit combinations. Looking at perfect minimalist closet pictures on Pinterest would make me cringe. Could I have one like this? I knew that, first of all, I would need to declutter my wardrobe.

But every time opening it and seeing bazillion pieces would discourage me. I would procrastinate and then make strategies for how to tackle the task. Then I would look for inspiration and advice. And would not go any further than this. It was too overwhelming.

Was I overcomplicating the situation? So it seems. Big time! Of course, we are all different. Some of us can jump in, declutter and re-organise the entire damn thing in one day. I admire you guys. But what if we have limited time and resources? Get interrupted continuously? Or are overwhelmed with our day-to-day lives?

In that case, we need a simple and gradual process to move forward. Preferably one that does not include making lots of mess and can be managed in 15 minutes or less a session. 

woman squeezing in clothes to a full wardrobe in definite need to declutter

How to declutter your wardrobe the easy way?

It took me roughly a month to declutter and organise my closet. I took it slowly in a few steps with minimum effort and reasonably low-stress levels:

What are the steps to declutter the easy way?

  • First, eliminate everything that can be defined as trash: worn out, broken, discoloured and out-of-shape clothes. Then any labels, shopping bags, packaging, receipts etc. Why are they even there?
  • The second step is to remove any items that do not belong there and take them to their proper place. The best practice is to have a home for all your belongings so they are not constantly migrating from one corner to another.
  • Number three, take out any clothing that you already know that you are not going to wear, does not suit your body shape, colour does not look good on you, or you don’t like anymore. I would then decide whether donate to charities, give them away to my girlfriends, or sell them on apps like Vinted, Depop etc.
  • Finally, target each different area of the wardrobe at a time. For example, jeans and trousers. Gather all of the kind items. Then clean the drawer or compartment you will be storing them. Could you think of a better time? Any pieces you wear often (or worn in the last two or three months) can go back in. For the rest, try them on. You will see what still fits and what doesn’t. 
woman trying on shirt

This way, you will be able to decide what to keep and what to toss. For me, it was like going shopping as many clothes I had were pushed deep inside the wardrobe that I didn’t remember having. So cheers to the discoveries! I found stuff that I love and continue wearing it often.

On the other hand, I managed to say goodbye to most clothes I was not wearing just by trying them on. Donation box and move on. However, there is a tricky part: the MAYBE items. There is always something you are not ready to let go of. 

How to deal with MAYBE items?

If you struggle to let go of a particular piece, there should be a reason behind it. Do you love that item but have no occasion to wear it? Are you emotionally attached to it? Is it a fantasy-self piece? I use two techniques to deal with these: the first is a maybe box, and the second is a fantasy-self challenge.

When it comes to a maybe box, I put any clothing I label as MAYBE out of sight for a few months. If I want to wear a particular item in a box, I do. Then it can go back to the wardrobe. But the harsh reality is that it seldom happens to me. Usually, I don’t even remember what’s in the bloody box.

A fantasy-self challenge means I challenge myself to wear that particular piece of clothing at a set frequency. (e.g. once a week for two consecutive months) If I succeed and want to keep that piece, it’s a definite green light to put it back in my closet. If I fail the challenge, I will let that item go. 

neutral tone elegant outfit combination for fantasy-self challenge

Moving On with entire wardrobe declutter

Continue with other areas of your wardrobe. So dresses, t-shirts and tops, underwear. Then you can move on to accessories and shoes. I applied the same rules for all areas of my closet. Feel free to decide the size of the work for the day. For example, you can tackle all your pants and skirts together. Or you can divide: trousers, jeans, shorts, skirts, formal, casual, and so on. And eventually, you will be able to declutter your entire wardrobe.

Decluttering seasonal items

My experience tells me it is best to declutter the wardrobe during seasonal swaps. We cannot wear winter coats in the summer! But if you feel inspired, go ahead and declutter anytime. There are no strict rules here. 

color co-ordinated wardrobe easy to decluter and maintain

Final thoughts

Decluttering and organising my wardrobe was a life changer. Now it always looks organised moreover it is much easier to maintain it that way. I only do occasional decluttering sessions during every seasonal change. But most importantly, I stopped mindlessly buying new clothes. In case of the urge, I would dig in my Maybe box. 

I found that decluttering process serves to appreciate and value what I already have in my wardrobe more. We can discover and define our styles better, try out new outfit combinations and take better care of our garments. Less is more really applies here. 

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