4 Easy Steps to Clean Out Your Closet

by | Feb 11, 2018 | Featured, Refine Your Style | 0 comments

How many times have you looked in your closet full of clothes and determined that you have nothing to wear? Let’s change that by sorting through the keepers in your closet and ensuring that all of your pieces work for your coloring and lifestyle. If you’ve been wondering how to clean out your closet, look no further. Follow these four simple steps to clean out your closet and minimize your wardrobe, so you can maximize what you wear. 

closet cleanout

1st Step – Sort into sell, scrap and store piles

As a military spouse, I am not a collector. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than cleaning things out before a move – it’s cathartic. I have no problem filling the shredder with old paper and making a run to Goodwill with all of those camping supplies we haven’t used in years. When it comes to my closet; however, I sometimes hold on to things for too long. I worry about whether I might need that 70s outfit for a Decade party even though it doesn’t fit me anymore – simply silly! I’ve learned, over the years, to tackle my closet with the same gusto as I do my basement.

The first step is just to designate three piles, bags, or boxes as – SELL, SCRAP or STORE

  1. SELL is for your “No” items that are in great condition and can be sold or donated
  2. SCRAP is for your “No” items that are stained, damaged, or worn out
  3. STORE is for your items you don’t wear daily (formal gowns or Xmas sweaters)

2nd Step – Make Decisions

Determine if each piece of clothing is a yes, no, or maybe. Your “Yes” and “no” items should be a very quick decision – if you hesitate it’s a “maybe.”

  1. Yes – these are clothes you wear most often and feel good in. These are clothes that fit perfectly and you feel like you can’t live without.
  2. No – the items you haven’t worn in over a year (not including special occasion). These are items that have never felt right, are out of style, or don’t fit. If they did, you would have worn them. Put your No clothes in either the SELL or the SCRAP bag.
  3. Place the yes clothes that are everyday items on one side of your closet. Yes items that are more special occasion/seasonal can be put in a STORE bag or moved to a separate closet.
  4. Keep your maybe clothes where they are, but turn the hangars around, so you know you haven’t worn them. You might consider sorting them by like items and color as well.

Now take a break. You might just have a cup of tea or a glass of wine and then move on to Step 3 or you might want to wait for a bit to see how you are wearing your “yes” and “maybe” items.  If you take a longer break, track what you are wearing and how you feel about each item. Potentially use a wardrobe organization app to help you analyze (I wrote a post about Wardrobe journal you can check out). When you’re ready, move on to Step 3.

3rd Step – Tackle your “maybes”

Your “maybe” items are the items that caused you to hesitate and that you weren’t able to make a quick decision. Try each and every piece on – it becomes a yes, if and only if (If you’re not sure, ask a friend or take a selfie) the following are true:

  1. It fits and works with your body shape – or could with some minor alterations
  2. It is in your color palette or in harmony with your color palette (usually same temperature and value – your fan should not get muted or become garish against the color). If you don’t know your color palette consider completing a personal color analysis
  3. You feel good when you wear it
  4. It pairs with at least one other item in your yes pile

4th Step – Rework Your Wardrobe

Once you’ve sorted everything and know what you are keeping, it’s time to bring order to your closet. This video shows you how I organize my closet:

These are the steps I followed:

  1. Hang (or fold on a shelf) all clothes that you’re able to use to make an outfit
  2. Group by garment: Keep similar items together (tops, pants, skirts) then further subdivide by hem or sleeve length. No need to divide by occasion (work/casual) as many are dual purpose
  3. Color coordinate: Go through each garment group and organize by color
  4. Analyze your wardrobe for color: Look at each item and ask: Does it look like it belongs in my fan/season? Is it the right temperature/value? If not, consider moving it to your SELL bag. Now step back and look at your whole closet group by group, is there a color or piece that sticks out like a sore thumb? Maybe that piece isn’t in your season. If not, might you style it in a way that works? If not, consider the SELL bag

Lastly, in my opinion, you want to make your closet cute. Make it a place where you want to be. It should make you happy and not overwhelm you. One way to do that, is to use fun containers that help you stay organized and also are super cute. You can use these for your closet or for your pantry.


This video shows various products to keep you organized: 

If you are looking to purchase organizing supplies that are functional and cute Shop Thirty-One Gifts.

How do you do organize your closet? I’d love to hear tips from others in the comments below…


Please note that I am not an affiliate of 31 Gifts nor will I get a commission.