12 Practical Tips for Decluttering Clothes

The never-ending cycle of trends in fashion can leave our closets bursting at the seams. Don’t get bogged down by all the clothes. Decluttering clothes is easy with these practical steps.

Woman sitting in pile while decluttering clothes.

Social media platforms barrage us with ads geared towards low-cost fashion. The constant stimuli of influencer marketing can make even the most frugal spender shell out a few coins for viral leggings.

Fast fashion has made it easy to accumulate large amounts of clothing. If you switch your frame of mind to a more minimalistic approach and think about your clothing with intention, you could not only declutter your physical space but also simplify your daily routine.

Here are practical tips to help you declutter your clothes and keep the closet organized for a long time to come.

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Decluttering Clothes

1. Inventory: The Good, Bad, and Why-Do-I-Own-That?

Did you know that people wear 20% of their clothing on average? It is easy to feel overwhelmed picking an outfit when you rarely use 80% of your clothing.

Once you decide to declutter your closet, you should start with a comprehensive inventory. Assess each item and categorize them based on how often you use them and their condition.

Woman sifting through clothes in a closet.

This may take some time, but it will establish a systematic approach to decluttering clothes, allowing you to identify the items that truly matter to you.

If you struggle to get rid of things, we get it. Letting go can be difficult. Here’s a general rule of thumb to follow for figuring out what to get rid of:

  • Clothes that no longer fit
  • Worn-out or damaged items
  • Outdated fashion trends
  • Never-worn items 
  • Unworn in at least the past year
  • Duplicates of the same item

Related: 100 things to declutter from your home right now

2. Do a Seasonal Declutter

Bulky sweaters decluttered from closet.

You probably organize your clothes based on the seasons, keeping your bulky sweaters in storage for nine months of the year or your summer shorts on the shelves for only two or three. Just like the seasons come and go, so too should your clothing.

A change in season is the perfect opportunity to declutter your wardrobe.  This will streamline your wardrobe and make it easier to navigate your clothes without the visual clutter of off-season items.

3. Konmari Method

Closet organized using the KonMari method.

Inspired by Marie Kondo, the KonMari method encourages you to keep items that “spark joy.” This will vary from person to person, but you’ll know whether or not an item still holds its shine in your eyes by holding each piece one by one.

Try this method to declutter your wardrobe and foster a deeper connection with your belongings. How do you feel when it’s in your hand?

If the item has a sentimental and meaningful element, it deserves space in your wardrobe. If you’re not feeling much and it’s still in great condition, that’d be something we suggest donating.

4. Reverse Hanger Technique

Clothes hanging in closet using the reverse hanger technique.

Have you heard of the reverse hanger technique? It’s a great way to help you identify clothes you rarely wear. This decluttering solution helps contribute to a more streamlined and intentional wardrobe.

  • Hang your clothes with the hangers facing backward.
  • After wearing an item, you’ll put it back in your closet with the hanger facing forward. 
  • After a few months, make a note of the garments that are still on backward hangers.
  • Set a timeline in your head (we recommend 3-6 months) to determine whether those backward pieces are still worth keeping or if it’s time to part ways.

5. 30-Day Challenge

Calendar with the number 30 circled in red marker.

Give yourself a month and a number, whatever feels right for you. Commit yourself to only wearing that set number of items for the month. Making this choice will help you recognize the pieces you genuinely love and rely on.

After the challenge is over, think about everything you didn’t wear. Did you miss it? Did you need it? Consider whether they hold enough value to keep in your regular rotation.

This is one of the best ways to train yourself towards a more minimalistic approach, letting go of items that don’t contribute significantly to your daily style.

Once you’ve sorted, another step in the decluttering process is to decide what to do with the clothing you aren’t going to keep.

6. Donate or Sell Unwanted Items

Clothes organized in keep, donate, and discard piles.

Consider donating or selling if you haven’t worn something in a year or if it no longer fits. Anything you plan to get rid of should be considered for donation before you throw it away. 

You know what they say: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Something you haven’t worn in ages could get a second life in someone else’s wardrobe.

7. Mend and Repurpose: Breathing New Life Into Old Favorites

Jeans being mended and repaired.

It can be frustrating when our favorite pieces begin to show signs of wear and tear. Repairing minor damages can breathe new life into your clothing.

If you get good at it, you can flex your creative muscles and repurpose old clothes into new items or accessories, minimizing waste and maximizing utility. TikTok is full of creators who are turning old dresses into rompers, jeans into shorts, t-shirts into rugs, and so much more.

You can even upcycle closet clutter.

Getting Organized

Getting organized is the next step in the process of decluttering clothes. Whether you keep all your clothes in a closet or you have dressers in your bedroom, these easy organizing tips will help you keep your wardrobe under control.

8. Maximize Your Space Efficiency

Clothing being stored in bins and baskets.

Maximizing space efficiency is crucial in maintaining a clutter-free wardrobe. Smart storage solutions create a visually appealing space and make it easier to locate items when needed.

Are you utilizing storage solutions like bins, baskets, and multi-tiered hangers? Try some of our favorites:

See more closet organization ideas.

9. Digitizing Your Closet 

Woman taking picture of a white t-shirt.

As you begin the decluttering process, consider taking a digital inventory of your clothes. It takes a bit of time, but digital wardrobes are a great way to visualize your clothing collection, plan outfits, and keep track of what you own without sifting through your closet.

There’s an app for that. Smart Closet has an outfit planning feature and even keeps track of your style statistics. Stylebook is another great one with a calendar to track your wearing history

The general flow of a digital closet is universal:

  • Photograph everything in your wardrobe and capture details like color, pattern, and style.
  • Categorize your wardrobe how you see fit, based on item, color, or season.
  • Allow the app to plan outfits digitally. Mix and match your clothing and save favorites for later.

10. Color Coordination

Decluttered clothes organized using color coordination.

It may sound simple, but organizing your clothes by color makes it visually appealing and easier to find items quickly. A color-coordinated closet creates a cohesive and harmonious look, making your wardrobe a visual feast for the eyes.

Decluttered and Sticking To It

Now that you’ve decluttered and organized, you’re wondering how to keep the clutter out. Avoid impulse purchases that wind up sitting on your shelf for months on end unused, and continue to declutter as you realize there are still items you aren’t wearing.

Here are some ways to keep yourself accountable for what you buy and add to your wardrobe.

11. Capsule Wardrobe: Quality Over Quantity

Woman shopping for jeans.

Have a strategy in mind when buying clothing. Invest in some signature, higher-quality pieces rather than accumulating a bunch of cheap things. Have fewer flashy patterns and quirky cuts that can’t be worn with multiple outfits.

You can create your capsule wardrobe by selecting versatile and timeless pieces that can be mixed and matched. This will reduce the overall number of items in your closet and your contribution to fashion waste

12. One-In, One-Out Rule

Woman holding two blouses while decluttering clothes.

Many fashion bloggers swear by this method, and it’s as simple as the name implies. It’s an especially good rule for those of us who enjoy shopping.

For every new item you bring in, remove an existing one. This rule will ensure that your closet remains balanced, preventing it from reverting to a state of clutter. You will not over-accumulate clothing if you diligently follow this rule.

Whether you check your wardrobe monthly, seasonal, or yearly, pick a timeline you will stick to. Regularly assessing and updating your wardrobe makes you less likely to accumulate things you don’t wear or need. 

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Anika Gandhi is on a mission to declutter and organize all the things around her and is here to inspire and encourage you to do the same!

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