How I declutter my wardrobe in 6 simple steps

Since trying to be more minimalist I have decluttered my closet a couple of times. I am now at a place where I am quite happy with the amount of clothes I have in my wardrobe, so decluttering to cut down the number of items in there is not really necessary anymore. However, I still like to go through my clothes twice a year: when I put my heavy winter sweaters away and pull out my shorts and summer dresses and vice versa.

Decluttering is definitely not just to minimize your wardrobe: there are many reasons why it is important to go through all your clothes every now and then. There might be items in there that don’t fit anymore, that have holes in them or that you just haven’t worn in a few seasons. Decluttering can also help to find out which items you still need to buy for the next season and which items you already have enough of.

In this post I will give a step by step method that I use to declutter my wardrobe, loosely based on the KonMari method, to give some ideas and tips for how you can declutter your wardrobe too.

All of my clothes lying on my bed

Step 1: Put everything out of your closet onto your bed

I find that the best way to declutter well and not forget any items is by taking everything out of your wardrobe and putting it all on your bed. This way, you can see all of your clothes and you are forced to hold them one by one to see if you want to keep them or not.

Step 2: Sort your clothing into piles

The next step, sorting your clothes into piles, seems kind of obvious: you put them into a keep and discard pile, and possibly a maybe pile. That’s it. But there are many more ways in which you can sort your clothes! Many people use the KonMari-method, where they only keep things that spark joy. But that is not always a good method: many of us also own clothes that are more practical but don’t necessarily spark joy: think of work clothes or plain t-shirts you use as layers.

What I did with my last closet declutter was the following: I sort my clothes in an “absolute favourites”, “I love this too”, “I like this, but…”, “I need this” and “this needs to go” pile. Yes, I know, those are a lot of piles, but it did give me a lot of insight in what clothes I like the most.

When it comes to sorting your clothes into piles, there is no right or wrong way. The best way to do it depends on your decluttering goals. If you have a huge closet and are decluttering for the first time in years, it’s probably best to stick to a keep and discard pile. If you have decluttered a couple of times already, or are trying to finetune your style and find out why you love or don’t wear certain items, it can be really useful to sort your clothes even further in whatever way works for you.

Step 3: Put the items you keep back in your closet

After you have sorted all your items into piles, the first thing I like to do is put all the clothing I am definitely keeping back in my closet. This makes it easier to see what you are keeping and makes things look more neat and tidy again, instead of the chaos of having all your clothes laying around all over your room.

Some of my clothes hanging in my closet

Step 4: Go through your “maybe” pile once again

When you have finished putting your clothes back in your closet, it is time to go through your “maybe” pile again. Examples of questions to ask yourself here are if you are really going to wear them, can you wear them with the rest of your wardrobe, and would someone else maybe be happier with it than you are? You can also decide to give them another shot and consciously try to wear them more often, or put them in a box and see if you miss any of them. If you still haven’t reached for these items over the next season where they’re appropriate to wear, they should probably go.

For me, this time, my maybe pile was the “I like this, but…” pile. Those were mostly clothes I do like but don’t wear a lot for several reasons: it was either old, a little uncomfortable or not the best color on me. After I had sorted all my clothes, I went through this pile once again. I asked myself if I loved the items enough to keep wearing them anyway (at least at home), and made a note to replace some of them in the future.

Step 5: Sell or donate wearable clothes, recycle the unwearable ones

The next step is getting rid of the clothes you don’t want anymore. I think it goes without saying that you shouldn’t just throw these clothes in the trash. Take a good look at them and decide which clothes are still good enough to sell, which ones you should donate and which ones to recycle. Don’t just donate everything that’s not good enough to sell: if something has holes or is stained no one wants to wear it anymore (and yes, I’ve actually seen YouTubers do this). Instead, make sure you find a textile recycle program where you live, or DIY your clothes into something else! I personally am not that crafty, but if you are you can for instance make reusable cotton pads out of old cotton t-shirts. I think this can be a great way to keep your clothes from becoming trash!

Step 6: Enjoy your wardrobe

After you are done decluttering, the most important step is of course to enjoy your wardrobe! I find that decluttering helps me to appreciate the clothes I already have. Sometimes I realize I haven’t been wearing certain clothes a lot, but aren’t ready to part with them yet – so I try to wear them more often, sometimes in new outfit combinations. Decluttering can be a great way to make your wardrobe feel fresh and new, without actually buying any new items.

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