How to Declutter a Wardrobe: The Step-By-Step Guide to Decluttering Clothes

A Wardrobe Declutter

There's a reason why our wardrobes are full of clothes we never wear. Over half the clothes we buy are impulse purchases that end up thrown away with the tags still on!

Not only are we buying more clothes than ever before but we're wearing them a whole lot less too. Only 10% of our wardrobes get any regular wear as the majority of the clothes we own are ill-fitting and uncomfortable.

When most of the clothes we own don't feel good to wear, it's not surprising that our wardrobes end up full of clutter. It's easy to push the clothes we don't wear to the back of our wardrobe where they get forgotten about instead of facing our poor fashion choices.

If you're tired of looking in your wardrobe and feeling like you have nothing to wear—despite it being full of clothing! The best thing to do is follow this step-by-step guide to decluttering your wardrobe, from how to declutter clothes to tips for keeping your wardrobe organised and clutter-free.

How do I start decluttering my wardrobe?

Knowing what clothes to declutter isn't easy, which often results in a wardrobe full of items you never wear. The best place to start when decluttering a wardrobe is with the least-worn clothing. Focus on any clothes that haven't been worn in the last 6-12 months. Declutter anything that doesn't fit, is uncomfortable to wear, and that is stained or damaged.

Letting go of clothes is the hard part. We form all kinds of sentimental bonds with the items in our wardrobe, and getting rid of them can be difficult. But decluttering is essential for maintaining an organised and functional wardrobe. Find solace in the idea that by letting go unworn clothes, you're giving them a new lease of life with someone who will actually wear and appreciate them, rather than being hidden away in your wardrobe!

What is the best way to declutter your closet?

The best way to declutter your wardrobe effectively is to take everything out and only put items back in that you know you will wear. By removing all items to assess each one individually, it will be much easier to decide which clothes to keep, donate, or discard.

A good rule of thumb for decluttering clothes is to try them on. Pay attention to how the clothes look and feel on your body, and how well they can be paired with other pieces. Be ruthless in letting go of clothes you haven't worn in the past year or those that no longer align with your style. You'll be left with a wardrobe filled with items you genuinely love and wear.

How can I declutter my wardrobe fast?

To declutter a wardrobe quickly and effectively, you'll need to be focused and methodical. Scan through the clothing in your wardrobe and pull out items you haven't worn in the last year as well as any items that are damaged or stained. Look for any items that don't suit your current style or are unwanted duplicates. Don't overthink the decluttering process and trust your gut reaction.

While this method may not deliver the same level of thoroughness as a more in-depth declutter, it will swiftly and effectively help you streamline your wardrobe within a shorter timeframe.

A Wardrobe Declutter

How to Declutter Clothes

This is a step-by-step guide for thoroughly decluttering a wardrobe. You'll need to set aside some time to declutter everything all in one go. It might take less than an hour, several hours, or even an entire day depending on how many clothes you own!

If you have a lot of clothes to declutter, you can break the decluttering process down into more manageable chunks by working through each wardrobe category separately. This will make decluttering less overwhelming.

Remove Everything From the Wardrobe

The only way to declutter successfully is to know exactly what you own, and that means removing everything. It gives you the opportunity to see all the clothes you own, which is likely to be much more than you think!

Once all items have been taken out of the wardrobe, you'll know exactly what you own and how much you have, making it easier to decide what you want to keep and how you want to organise it all.

While the wardrobe is empty, give it a deep clean. Wipe down the shelves, dust all the rails, hoover up any mess, and start with a completely clean and clear space.

Group Clothes Into Categories

It's easy to get overwhelmed when tackling piles of clothes so to avoid decision fatigue narrow your focus. You might want to section your wardrobe even further into categories, like everyday clothes, workwear, occasionwear, loungewear, and athleticwear, etc. Prioritise what needs to be dealt with first.

Separating clothes into categories will not only make it easier to declutter, it will help create a more organised wardrobe in the long run. Methodically working through each category independently will make decluttering the entire wardrobe more manageable and less overwhelming.

Decide on categories for your wardrobe, such as workwear, occasionwear, and loungewear, as well as seasonal clothing. All items belonging to the same category should be physically grouped together. Once these categories have been created, you'll be able to decide what to declutter and what to keep.

Try Everything On

The next step is to try everything on, working through each category methodically. Clothes look different on a hanger than they do when you wear them, and pretty shoes might pinch your feet. Knowing how something fits will greatly influence your decision to keep or declutter them.

Trying on clothes before decluttering is an essential part of the process because it's the only way to access each item for fit and comfort. Once you know whether it fits well and looks good on, you can make a decision about whether to keep or declutter it.

Decide What Clothes to Declutter

The next step may be the hardest: deciding what clothes to keep or declutter. Once you've tried on everything from a category, it's time to make a decision about what to do with each item. Create piles for clothes to keep, sell, donate, or declutter. You might also need a pile for items you want to make a decision about later.

Some items you'll instantly put back in your wardrobe because you love them so much and you wear them all the time. Other items serve a purpose and are essentials for your wardrobe. Some items aren't quite as easy to make a decision about.

Making the decision to let go of an item of clothing can be really difficult. It can be made easier by asking yourself these questions—so long as you're honest about the answers!

  • Does it fit and is it comfortable?
  • Do I feel good wearing it?
  • Does it suit my personal style?
  • Do I wear it regularly? If not, why?
  • Can I make multiple outfits from it?
  • Do I need it (for work, sports, hobby, etc.)?
  • Would I repair or repurchase it if it got damaged?
  • Am I reluctant to declutter it because of the money I spent on it?

Quite often we keep the items we don't wear because they remind us of our misspent money. That money has already been wasted and the real waste is keeping an unworn item in your wardrobe! Declutter these clothes and pass them onto someone who will love and wear them.

Other times we keep items because we need them, not because we like them, such as a work uniform of exercise clothes. There might also be items you need to keep because they're the only ones you have in that category. Just make a note of items you need to replace that are a better fit for your life or style.

When it comes to decluttering clothes, make firm decisions—even if it's tough to do. Once you've decided what clothes to keep, the clothes you no longer want to keep can be sold, donated, or thrown away depending on the condition they're in.

Organise the Wardrobe

When it's time to put everything you're keeping back into the wardrobe, it's best to keep items stored together as categories. This will help to keep the clothes organised and easily accessible. This is how to organise a wardrobe with tips to make the most of wardrobe space.

For larger wardrobes containing a lot of items, it might be best to store seasonal clothing elsewhere. Using vacuum packs or spare suitcases to store out-of-season clothing under the bed or in the loft is a great way to save space and protect items from dust or moisture.

What's left in your wardrobe becomes the foundation of an all-seasons capsule wardrobe and are the items you can use to build seasonal capsule wardrobes from.

Deal with the Clutter

Once everything that's being kept is back in the wardrobe or in storage, it's time to deal with the clutter. It's best to sell as much as you can to put your unwanted items directly into the hands of the people who want them. This is how to sell clothes on Vinted and make some money from your decluttering your wardrobe.

When it comes to donating clothes, make sure to only donate good quality items that the thrift stores and charity shop want and can sell. Anything that is damaged or stained needs to be turned into rags or recycled. There are also websites and apps, like GumTree and Freecycle, where you can give away unwanted items.

If you find it hard to declutter your possessions, even when you don't wear or use them, remember that by letting go of them you're allowing someone else to love and appreciate them.

Schedule Regular Declutters

Decluttering is an ongoing process. Even when you make careful decisions about the clothes you buy, it's inevitable that your life and style will change, requiring a new wardrobe. Over time, you'll make new purchases and your wardrobe might gain a few pieces of clothing that didn't get as much wear as you thought they would...

To prevent the clutter from creeping back in, get into the habit of decluttering your wardrobe every year—or whenever it starts to feel cramped. More regular small-scale clear outs will help maintain a streamlined wardrobe with outfits you love to wear.

Stop Buying Fast Fashion

Avoid having to declutter your wardrobe almost entirely by making better purchases about the clothes you buy. Although it won't happen overnight and isn't an option for everyone, avoiding fast fashion is the only way create a wardrobe that is more sustainable and less cluttered.

Fast fashion relies on rapid production, cheap prices, and quick consumption. It encourages the idea of disposable fashion, where garments are worn only a few times before being discarded. You're more likely to impulse purchase cheap items and less likely to care about throwing it away unworn when it only cost a few pounds—but not before it's spent months cluttering up your wardrobe!

One of the best things you can do for your wardrobe and your personal style is to quit fast fashion and start thrifting instead.

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