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Decluttering Made Easy™: Cleaning Out Your Closets


Clearing the clutter from our closets can be a challenging task, and the way you organize your clothing closet is different from how you organize closets that store linens, board games, or sports equipment. 


Let’s start with clothing. Have you ever stared endlessly in front of your closet and uttered the words, “I have nothing to wear”?  You’re not alone. Sometimes too many options can be overwhelming.

Not to worry. Here’s our tested method for managing the clothes in your closet:

To begin, you’ll want to designate separate areas in the room you’re working in, then create piles for different types of items. For example, perhaps the bed is for the “keep” items, the laundry basket is for the “repair” items, and a few big grocery or garbage bags are for the “donate” items. 

Once you have your designated areas, you’re ready to sort through your closet systematically. We recommend either working in one direction (left to right, for example), or going through different types of clothes at the same time (pants, skirts, etc.) — whatever method works best for you.

For each piece of clothing, ask yourself these three questions:

  • Do I like it?
  • Have I worn it in the last year?
  • Does it fit?

If the answer to all three is “yes,” move the item to the “keep” area. If the answer to at least one question is “no,” ask yourself why you have kept the item, considering the following questions: 

  • Is it a special occasion item?
  • Is it a designer piece?
  • Do you have nostalgia attached to it?
  • Are you “hopeful” it might fit one day?

The reason we keep certain things varies from person to person and item to item. But a good rule of thumb is to let go of anything that no longer serves a purpose in your life or makes you feel good when you’re wearing it. There’s a simple but effective concept behind this approach: if you like everything in your closet, getting dressed will be a pleasure. 

Donating Your Clothing

If you’re feeling somewhat attached to a particular piece but it no longer serves you, consider whether someone else would be able to make good use of it. Many organizations accept donated clothing, and some even specialize in certain types of clothes, such as business attire for those applying for jobs to get back on their feet. Could your blouse be a blessing to a woman who only has t-shirts and needs to find a job? You bet it can!

Recycling and Upcycling Your Clothing

Certain clothing brands and designers offer eco-friendly programs that allow you to trade in unwanted clothing — including items that can’t be resold, repaired, or donated. Eileen Fisher, for example, gives customers a $5 store credit per item as an incentive to extend the life of the clothing they manufacture. Madewell, popular for its on-trend denim styles, offers a similar program, offering a $20 credit per pair of unwanted jeans. Even unused sneakers can be recycled, through a program called GotSneakers.

Reorganizing Your Edited Closet

Once you’ve sorted through and separated all the clothes in your closet, it’s time to reorganize. We recommend organizing clothing according to type, then color. Put items back in your closet in categories (sweaters, jackets, etc.). Then, within each group, sort items by color (group all navy sweaters together, for example). This way, when you get dressed in the morning, you’ll find yourself saying, “I have so much to wear, and I love it all!” It will also be easier to find that white blouse and blue skirt combo you love. As a plus, sorting clothing by type and color can help you weed out redundancies in your wardrobe.


Now let’s look at your other closets — such as those that store linens, board games, or sports equipment. These can be less daunting to organize than clothing but are equally important. 

Using the same method and criteria as above, address each item in your closet as you take it out. First, organize everything into categories (pillowcases, flat sheets, and fitted sheets, for example). Next, decide what to keep, repair, donate, recycle, or toss. Make sure to give the closet a good wipedown before you put everything back. As with your clothing, we recommend grouping all items by type, which will help you find them easily in the future.

Whether it’s clothing, linens, or family board games, clearing out the clutter in our closets can be incredibly rewarding. Closets are easily overlooked (you can just close the door, after all!), but it’s important to the health of your home to keep things stored properly. 

More importantly, it’s good for your psyche to clear out unnecessary clutter. You’ll feel better for having done so — I know I always do!

All my best,

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