Ready to Minimize? Your Closet is a Great Place to Start.

by Nov 12, 2021

Cut down your closet by 25% by asking yourself this one question: ‘If I were shopping right this second, would I buy this?’ If the answer is no, out it goes. 

Melanie Charleton Fascitelli

Reduce Your Closet Clutter

New Options. Easier Selections.

How did you react when you read the title and anticipated the challenge to clean your closet? Did you think of it as a chance to do something you have been meaning to do – or as an impossible task? 

For many people, just the thought of clearing their closet is enough to cause some anxiety.  The closet and the clothes hanging there can represent different phases in your life and hold memories of times you had while wearing them.  Some of the clothes might represent your goals for a different lifestyle. That makes it hard to think about getting rid of anything because of the plans that you had when you acquired the items – and might still have.  But those issues can be part of the reason to motivate a reduction in your closet.  Because you look in there every day, those things that don’t work are a constant reminder of poor choices or unmet dreams.  It almost certainly contains things that no longer serve you or suit your current lifestyle or the one you are trying to build.  Clearing out the closet gives you a chance to make room for new items that will align better with the new you.

Think of it as a Fresh Start

Wouldn’t it be great to have a neatly organized closet with items sorted by colour and style, designed to let you easily choose the perfect outfit for your day? Unfortunately, most of us don’t experience that situation because we have bought too many things and held on to them for too long.  Is your closet a welcoming place that makes you happy each day or is it overstuffed with too many clothes, many of which you rarely wear?

A closet that is too full makes it hard to see what you have and difficult to see everything to make a choice and put together your clothes for the day. It can be time-consuming, frustrating and stressful – and result in just throwing something together, probably from the same few pieces. It might also make you feel that even though you have lots of clothes, you don’t have anything that you want to wear.  That makes you feel like you need to buy something new, which adds more stuff and continues the pattern. Break that cycle by getting things back in control. That will contribute to a sense of ease and greater contentment.

The tips that follow will help you minimize in order to maximize your closet space.

Identify your Favourites

Begin with selecting some of the go-to clothes that you wear often because they fit you well, are comfortable, and make you feel confident.  Mix it up with different pieces and styles – a closet full of sweat pants and well-worn hoodies might be tempting at times but probably is not practical as your only wardrobe choice.  You might find a few items that you love and had forgotten in the clutter.

Put these things in the ‘keep’ pile.  They can be part of the foundation of what you are building and the core of your new, more coordinated wardrobe.

Next, it is time to start choosing things that you are NOT going to keep.


Start with the Obvious

Begin with the easy stuff – grab everything that is worn out, badly stained or damaged beyond mending, We all have a few items like that. Trash them or collect them to turn them into rags or scraps (if suitable material AND if you will use them in a timely fashion). If they are in that bad a state, or of poor quality, they are not worth saving or donating. Clothes that are still wearable but not suitable for you are dealt with in the next step.

Get Rid of What Doesn’t Fit or Suit You

Chances are good that you have clothes in your closet that just don’t work for you.  They may be too big or too small or out of style or just have never felt comfortable or suited to the way you live.  Yes, your weight might change or a style might come back or you might have occasion to wear that fancy dress that you spent too much to buy.  But maybe none of those things will happen and, if they do, you can buy suitable items with intention.  In the meantime,  why hold on to things that are taking up space and not offering you any benefit.   Instead, collect all those things up to pass on to someone who will love them.  (If you have something that you really don’t want to depart with, you can choose to save it  let yourself do that for more than a few pieces.) 

You might be able to sell some of your better things in online markets or at a consignment shop if you are prepared for the time and work that requires.  Otherwise, pass your things on to friends or family members or donate them to a local shelter or resale shop.  You will feel lighter and knowing that your things are making someone else happy rather than filling space in your closet.

Avoid Multiples

Do you really need the same sweater in multiple colours? Or 6 pairs of black slacks? If you have multiples of similar things, pare down to your favourite 2-3 items of good quality.  Keep the ones that complement your skin tone, hair color, and other wardrobe pieces. Donate the rest. Getting rid of multiples is a simple way to reduce excess.

Separate Seasonal Items

If possible, store your out-of-season clothes in a different closet or pack them in storage containers. This will give you more space in your closet and make it more practical to select items suitable for the season.  Do not pack away things that don’t fit you or suit you.  If you do that, you’ll have the same problem with your closet when you switch for the next season.

Reduce Accessories Too

Belts, bags, scarves and shoes can take up a lot of space and is another category where you are likely to have multiples that you don’t need. These items also tend to be very prone to trends. Let go of items that no longer fit your personality and style. Others might love them or have ways to upcycle or update the items. Keep only a few classics and maybe 1-2 unique ones that you really love.  Updating or replacing old accessories with quality items that will go with multiple outfits is a great way to update your look while reducing clutter.

Ongoing Process

Do these reviews regularly. This is an ongoing process. Do a clearing every season to keep things fresh, timely and clutter-free. That will save you frustration and make it less likely that you will have the feeling that you don’t have anything suitable to wear.  Keeping your closet stocked with quality, thoughtfully chosen items also give you more confidence in your look as you become more clear on what you want and what suits you.   You’ll have a better sense of your personal style, your fashion signature, and what makes you feel good.

Take Action

Follow these suggestions to streamline your wardrobe. You’ll feel better with a closet that is organized and free of the clutter of  clothing items you no longer need or want.

Challenge Questions for Day 12

What type of items to you find hardest to clear from your closet?  Why are they so difficult?  How can you turn the problem into an opportunity?  For example, if you don’t want to let go of things that will fit you when you lose weight, you can remind yourself that when you lose weight, you can buy quality stylish, suitable clothes in your new size.

Declutter Challenge for Day 12

Tackle your closet

Apply strategies from today’s post. Don’t over think your choices Keep – Donate – Recycle – Trash (as a last option)

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Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Educator, Artist, Storyteller


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