Let's talk about clothes. I know we all need them because it is frowned upon to walk around naked, but how much is too much clothes? Seasons change, waistlines shift, and items get thrown into the black abyss of the back of our dressers or closets. Why? Because no one wants to take the time to go through and get rid of the unnecessary clothing items you've accumulated. That ends today.
This article will provide tips for decluttering your clothes, teach you how to declutter clothes, and the process to use when decluttering your closet or dresser. Follow along as we break down exactly how to declutter too many clothes.
Step 1: Recognize
The first step is recognizing that you have too many clothes. What are the signs that you've accumulated more clothing than necessary? My go-to example is if you have to stuff your clothes into your dresser to shut the drawer, you have too many clothes. If you constantly have to find more hangers to hang items in your closet, you have too many clothes. Or, if you have piles upon piles of clothes in disarray, it's time to declutter your wardrobe.
Having clothing for every season is a good thing. The issues arise when you revamp your wardrobe each season and don't purge the items you no longer want to wear. Don't worry, we all have clothes clutter. But I am here to provide the encouragement to declutter the clothes that you need!
Step 2: Make a List
This may be the most essential step. If you don't know what you need, it isn't easy to find it or make space for it. For this reason, list the types of clothes that you need. This can help you better understand what is necessary and what you don't need anymore. You can easily do this online, on your computer, or in a notebook. This way, you can keep the focus on what you're tossing, what you're keeping, and what you don't want anymore. This allows you to think more intentionally about what you have and want.
For example, if you recently switched jobs, you may not need all of those dress pants anymore. Or, if you no longer attend those yoga classes and instead focus on cycling, you can probably go through your yoga clothes to see if you can make more room. The goal here isn't to eliminate necessary garments; instead, you want to declutter unnecessary items.
So, make a list of what types of clothes you need in your life. If anything doesn't fit into that list, go ahead and look at donating, selling, or tossing them. My list would look like this:
Step 3: Make a Plan
I do not suggest being all willy-nilly with your clothes-organizing project. Instead, it's important to devise a manageable plan for your schedule that will give you the most results. Here is what I include when setting up a plan for decluttering your closet and dresser:
Block Out Time
If you've never thought about how to declutter your clothes closet or dresser, the initial decluttering will take some time. However, this is not a 2-3 day project. When you block out the time to get started and have taken the initial steps to prepare for the project, you'll be surprised just how quickly you can get the job done.
I recommend blocking out 2-3 hours to declutter clothes. It shouldn't take you much longer than that, but most importantly, you want to avoid getting distracted during this time.
Gather Your Supplies
If you've followed Boot Camp Mom for any amount of time, you already know that I suggest getting organized before organizing. I know, I know – but it works! So, before tackling how to declutter clothing, you want to ensure that you have all the necessary supplies ready. This is especially true if you block out a small window of time to tackle this task. Efficiency is key. I suggest the following supplies for decluttering clothing:
- Identify Staging Zones
- Staging zones will help you know where to put your clothes once you start sorting them. You will want an area for items to be donated, things to be sold, and items to be trashed. Identify those first, so you can quickly and efficiently move throughout your dressing room.
- Empty Boxes
- Put those Amazon boxes to use! I recommend placing them in the areas you have designated as staging zones. This will make transporting any items you are not keeping much easier if they are already boxed up.
- Trash Bags
- Yes – as you find items that you do not need and are not in good enough shape to be donated or sold, you need to trash them. Having a trash bag (or multiple trash bags) ready at the beginning of the process will allow you to quickly toss worn-out clothes and stop you from second-guessing your initial choice to toss them. We aren't dumpster diving when it comes to decluttering your closet!
- Trust me on this one. You will want something to stand on when you start to go through your closet. Have you ever watched the endurance challenges on Survivor, where the contestants have to hold their arms over their heads for as long as possible? When their arm starts to shake, and they can no longer hold it up, a giant bucket of water is poured on their head. While your closet probably doesn't have a trap of a water bucket somewhere, going through your closet without height support is not fun. Grab the step ladder, chair, or whatever. You can thank me later.
Decide Where to Start
It doesn't matter if you start in the closet or your dresser. The point is to begin the decluttering process in hopes of getting a clutter-free closet and dresser. However, if you don't know where you want to begin, I recommend starting in the dresser. Why? Because you don't have to hold your arms over your head for such a long period. But, other than that, just start!
Step 4: Declutter Your Clothes!
The next step after our preparation is actually to declutter your clothes. You know what types of items you want to keep; now, let's get rid of the rest. So, you may be wondering what questions to ask when decluttering clothes. Here is what I suggest:
Where Will You Wear It?
Is this an essential clothing item you can get multiple wears out of with different outfits, or is it a dress you bought for the company Christmas Party that you will not wear to the same event? If it's the second option, you might want to donate or sell it. I know – you looked smoking hot in the dress, but if you don't know of any similar events you will attend, what is the point of keeping it?
One of the most significant benefits of decluttering clothes is that you can sell them. By selling an item you will not wear again, you can make some money back to buy a new outfit for the next event. Why let them gather dust in the back of your closet? Make some money and buy a new one next time!
What Condition is the Item in?
Next, you want to evaluate the condition of the clothes. Do they have holes? Is there a tear? Did you accidentally wear that black shirt when you were using bleach to clean the bathroom (a little specific, but ask me how I know…). Also, check the armpits of your shirts! White shirts especially can get that dingy-yellow-looking sweat stain. If any of the answers to these questions ring true, I suggest trashing them.
However, there is an exception to this one. If you have shirts with holes that you plan to keep for yard work or any other sweaty and gross task, that's fine. However, they need to be stored in a designated area. For instance, have a spot in the dresser for them, or implement storage solutions to keep them for when you need them. Otherwise, yes, they are trash, so get rid of them.
Do the Clothes Fit?
Yes – you need to check the sizes. If you are like me and buy 90% of your clothes from one store, so you know what size you wear in that brand, you can check the tags. But, if you have multiple brands and your weight has fluctuated at least 5-10 pounds in either direction, you need to try them on. Don't just assume that they fit! You do NOT want to go through your entire wardrobe, finish the decluttering process, and then get dressed for date night only to find that the pair of black jeans you kept don't actually fit (again, ask me how I know this…).
Trust me. You don't want that to happen! So – take the extra minute to try them on. If they fit, keep them. If they don't, sell or donate them.
Closet vs. Dresser – What Goes Where?
As stated previously, it doesn't matter which location you start in. However, certain types of clothes make sense in either your closet or your dresser. Let's break them down:
Items to include in the dresser are socks, underwear, bras, swimsuits, undergarments (hello, Spanx…), cotton tank tops, athletic pants/shorts, jeans (unless you hang them), shorts, pajama pants, sweat pants, workout clothes, etc. Basically, the dresser is for items that can be folded easily and won't be the end of the world if they have a wrinkle.
The closet is the best place to store your dresses, blazers, dressy tops, t-shirts/casual shirts, dressy tanks, sweatshirts, cardigans, sports jerseys/shirts, dress pants, etc. Think of any item that needs to be wrinkle-free or that you wear repeatedly.
Step 5: Rinse and Repeat the Decluttering Process
The initial step you want to take is to empty each drawer in your dresser. I do not advise taking it all out at once. This can cause you to get overwhelmed quickly. Rather, tackle one drawer at a time. Take everything out of the drawer and sort through them, asking yourself the questions above. Fold them neatly and place the keepers back in the drawer.
With the closet, start in one corner and work your way around. You need to look at each and every piece of clothing. Use your step ladder if your arms begin to shake like a bowl of Jell-O, and if needed, take down chunks of hangers and move them to your bed to sort through them. Carry on with this process until all the clothes in your closet are sorted.
Additional Decluttering Clothes Tips:
1 – Do not buy organizational tools until you know what needs to be organized. Once you have completed decluttering your closet, you can look at adding closet organization storage solutions or an organization system to your wardrobe. For your dresser, the same rules apply. Before choosing drawer dividers, wait until you know what will be in your dresser. This will save you time and money in the long run. Declutter, THEN organize.
2 – Seasonal clothes can be hard to sort through when you are not in that season. For items that are specific season clothes, do your best to decide if you should keep them. Ask yourself the decluttering questions above. It is not the end of the world if you keep something you end up not wearing later.
3 – Once completed, stay organized! Do not go out and buy a whole bunch of new clothes! I understand that if your go-to black tank top has a hole in it and you have to throw it out, you might replace it. However, unless you sold items and made money, you need to give it a hot minute before replenishing the space you just cleaned out. If you purchase new things, I suggest repeating these declutter wardrobe tips every 6 months. Think of it as seasonal maintenance.
4 – If you want to finish off your closet by decluttering your shoes, I've got a whole post about that!
Woop Woop! You did it! You took the time to sort through the clutter and get your wardrobe back in shape! It wasn't that bad, was it? Be honest – you liked going through and trashing items, finding ways to make money, and overall just lessening the stress of clutter. If you caught the decluttering bug from this project but aren't sure where to focus next, the Declutter Boot Camp will combat the decluttering overwhelm. Decluttering is not hard, and the Declutter Boot Camp will walk you through how to combat those commonly cluttered areas of your home.
And, just like that, you now know how to declutter too many clothes. Take a rest – you earned it! But do not go clothes shopping!