We’ve all been there – standing in front of bursting closets, hoping the perfect outfit will just leap out and make itself known. Shirts awkwardly smushed on top of other shirts. Shoes lined up like sardines with no wiggle room. Don’t even get me started on the jeans…is that pile clean or dirty? 🤔

But finding an outfit shouldn’t feel like an excavation project each morning. And tripping over that Mount Laundry to get your sneakers? No thanks.

Closet cleanouts get a bad rap as a boring chore, but honestly they’re life-changing. Nothing feels better than opening your closet and seeing everything neatly arranged, with plenty of breathing room.

In this ultimate closet de-cluttering guide, I’ll walk you through a stress-free process to:

  • Declutter years of fashion relics
  • Find joy in only keeping beloved items
  • Organize with handy storage tools
  • Maintain closet bliss for the long run

Get ready to simplify your wardrobe, make getting dressed easier, and feel calmer each time you open your closet. Let’s do this!

Adopting an Effective Closet Cleanout Mindset 

Before we get to the nitty gritty of sorting and organizing, let’s talk about mindset. Your mentality going into a closet cleanout seriously impacts the end result.

Here are a few tips to adopt an effective cleanout mindset:

  • Be positive! Approach this like you’re gaining back control of your space. Don’t dread it.
  • Get motivated. Drink some coffee, put on pump up music, whatever works. This isn’t the time to be sleepy and sluggish.
  • Ruthlessly declutter. Don’t keep items out of guilt or “someday” reasoning. If you don’t absolutely love it, say bye bye.
  • Focus on favorites. Surround yourself only with pieces that spark joy when you see or wear them.
  • Fresh start. View this as a reset, not a chore. Out with the old, in with the new favorites!
  • Take your time. Make smart decisions by fully assessing each item. No quick judgements.
  • Have fun! Play around with different organization methods. There’s no right way to arrange your closet.

Get in the right headspace upfront and your cleanout will feel productive rather than painful. Now you’re ready to Marie Kondo the heck out of your closet!

Preparing for Your Closet Cleanout 

You’re pumped, you’re ready, now it’s go time! Well, almost. Smart preparation is key to a successful closet cleanout.

Here are a few steps to set yourself up for maximum closet decluttering domination:

Step 1: Schedule Uninterrupted Time

Block off a big chunk of time in your calendar to focus solely on Operation Closet Purge. I’m talking 2-4 hours minimum. Any less and you’ll get overwhelmed. Any more and you’ll get burnt out.

Ideal times:

  • Weekend morning when you’re well-rested
  • After the kids are in bed (enlist your partner for kid duty!)
  • A random vacation day off work

Put a buffer on both ends of your block. You don’t want to feel rushed.

Step 2: Gather All Clothing Items in One Place

Yep, it’s time to make a big ol’ pile. Pull every single clothing item out of your closet, dresser, laundry room, etc. and dump in one spot.

Seeing the sheer volume of stuff you own is crucial for making good decluttering decisions later. Don’t skip this step!

Step 3: Prep Donation & Selling Streams

Chances are you’ll be getting rid of a fair amount of stuff. Have donations and selling channels ready to clear out the excess quickly.

To donate:

  • Local thrift stores
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Clothing/textile recycling programs

To sell:

  • Consignment shops
  • Online platforms like Poshmark or ThredUp
  • Garage sale

Step 4: Visualize Your Dream Closet

Picture your ideal organized closet in your mind. Stuff neatly arranged, room to move around, you feel peaceful just looking at it.

What would make you smile each morning getting dressed? How do you want it to function? Write down some key words like “simple”, “spacious”, “joyful” to reference later.

Alright, you’ve got your game plan. Let’s do this!

Cleanout Process

You’ve prepped your space, prepped your head, now it’s time for the actual cleanout. This is where the magic happens!

Follow this process to effectively declutter your wardrobe:

Step 1: Categorize Your Clothes

As you’re sorting through the giant pile o’ clothes, make categorized piles like:

  • Tops
  • Bottoms
  • Dresses
  • Outerwear
  • Athleticwear
  • Intimates
  • Accessories
  • Shoes

Start with whatever category is biggest to make the biggest dent first. Working category-by-category helps the sorting feel less overwhelming.

Pro tip: Use your bed, couch, and floor to make piles so you can see everything.

Step 2: Honestly Assess Each Item

This is where the decluttering gets real. Be ruthlessly honest with each and every piece. Ask yourself:

  • When did I last wear this?
  • Does it currently fit and feel comfortable?
  • Does this reflect my current style?
  • Do I absolutely love this – would I buy it again today?

If you feel “meh” at all, add it to the giveaway pile.

Step 3: Make Your Declutter Piles

As you assess, split each category into:

  • Toss
  • Donate/Sell
  • Keep

Toss: Anything stained, damaged, or you’d feel embarrassed to donate.

Donate/Sell: Decent condition items that don’t fit your current lifestyle or taste. Give them to someone who will love them!

Keep: Your ride-or-die faves you feel amazing wearing.

Be ultra picky about the Keep pile – it should be small. If you’re keeping too much, go back and get tougher.

Step 4: Handle Closet Clutter Hotspots

Some areas are notorious sources of excess. Give these categories extra scrutiny:


Limit yourself to 3 stellar pairs in versatile washes. Different cuts, colors, and distressed styles can take over your drawer fast.

Keep only your daily go-to jeans in flawless condition.


Invest in high-quality basic tees you love in neutral colors. Ditch free tatty tees and graphic Ts from Events You Don’t Remember.

Keep a core uniform of 10-15 tee styles you rotate regularly.


Be brutal. Anything you haven’t worn in over a year has got to go. The exceptions:

  • 1 pair of formal shoes
  • 1 pair of each season’s boots
  • Special occasion heels

Clear out other shoes that are just taking up precious real estate.


If it doesn’t vibe with multiple outfits, say bye. Same with singular use items like a Christmas sweater pin. Keep versatile neutral accessories.

Whew, you did it! Now the fun part…

Step 5: Organize Your Keep Pile

More details on this in the next section, but start envisioning how you’ll neatly arrange your trimmed down wardrobe in your closet.

Group similar items and style functionally – heavier items on lower shelves, shirts before blouses when hanging.

Play around and get creative. This is your space…make it work beautifully for you!

Maintaining a Clutter-free Closet 

The cleanout is done…now let’s chat about how to maintain that fresh organized bliss long-term. Don’t want your hard work to be for naught?

Implement these habits to keep your closet zen:

Give Everything a Home

Treat your newly decluttered closet like a small village. Each item “lives” somewhere.

Give every piece of clothing, accessory, and pair of shoes a dedicated spot in your dresser or closet.

Make sure you have:

  • Enough hangers, shelves, and drawers for categories
  • Dividers or containers to section off areas
  • Vertical space utilized for shoes/bags

Put Things Back Where They Live

This is key to avoiding the growth of clutter. Always put items back in their homes after wearing, laundering, etc.

Make it easy on yourself by keeping things you use often in convenient spots. Don’t hide your everyday jeans in the back corner.

Do a Monthly Purge

Schedule 15-30 minutes each month to:

  • Toss items that got stained or damaged
  • Assess if you’ve had any change in style
  • Donate items you haven’t touched
  • Rearrange if needed

Quick, regular tidies keep your closet from spiraling out of control again.

Use Proper Storage Tools

Invest in quality hangers, shelves, bins and other tools suited for a functional closet.


  • Non-slip velvet or felt for delicate fabrics
  • Sturdy wood or plastic for heavy items
  • Slim hangers to conserve space
  • Vertical hanger for accessories


  • Sturdy, easy to clean materials
  • Use adjustable shelves or cubes to customize
  • Add shelves just for folded clothes

Bins & Baskets

  • Canvas fold-up boxes to hide seasonal clothes
  • Matching baskets for categorizing accessories
  • Clear bins for undergarment organization

Treat your closet like your own personal store. Use displays and tools that make finding things easy.

Well, there you have it! With these habits, you can confidently keep your closet clutter-free for good.

Curate Your Dream Capsule Wardrobe

One of the best ways to maintain a decluttered closet is to gradually build a curated capsule wardrobe.

This means thoughtfully creating a mini collection of versatile core pieces that can be styled and worn repeatedly.

Benefits of Capsule Wardrobes

  • Saves you time getting ready
  • Reduces need to shop frequently
  • Lets you focus on quality over quantity
  • Creates cohesive style
  • Makes getting dressed effortless

How to Build Your Capsule Wardrobe

Start with a blank slate after your cleanout. Then slowly add back:

  • Basic tees: Neutral colors like white, black, gray
  • Well-fitting jeans: Dark wash, mid wash, white
  • Neutral dresses: Solids like black, navy, olive
  • Coats & jackets: 1 warm, 1 light for layering
  • Quality shoes: Flats, booties, sneakers, sandals
  • Accessories: 1-2 neutral bags, belts, scarves

Look for pieces in classic silhouettes, premium fabrics, and versatile solid colors.

Mix and match these basics to create multiple outfits from a few quality items. Then accessorize to suit your mood and add pops of color!

Keep Evolving Your Wardrobe

As trends come and go, continue assessing each season if you need to retire or add pieces. Shop smartly and intentionally.

Remember – a thoughtfully curated capsule wardrobe means you’ll always have a go-to outfit ready in your organized closet!

Pro Tips for Total Closet Domination

You’re almost there! To recap, here are some extra pro tips to level up your closet cleanout skills:

Do It All at Once

Resist the urge to split up your cleanout over multiple days. Knock it all out in one go for the best results.

You’ll have momentum and be in the decluttering headspace rather than dragging your feet. Plus, you can accurately assess what you own.

Schedule 2-4 distraction-free hours. Pump up jams optional.

Work Solo

Do the cleanout alone without any other opinions. This is about what you love and wear.

Others may make you second-guess keeping or ditching items. Don’t let guilt lead to poor choices!

The only exception is if you share the closet with a significant other. Then do it together.

Use the Marie Kondo Method

Professional organizer Marie Kondo popularized the idea of only keeping items that “spark joy” for you.

As you sort through clothes, feel which give you happiness or confidence when worn. Toss the rest!

This mindset shift helps avoid keeping stuff for the wrong reasons like guilt or obligation.

Remove Tags Immediately

New clothes pile up when you don’t process them right away. As soon as you get home, cut off tags and wash items so they can go straight into your closet system.

Don’t let new purchases clutter up your space! Break this bad habit.

Keep Storage Tools Simple

Fancy organizers can actually add clutter. Opt for basic hangers, shelves, cubes and bins in muted colors.

Focus on functionality over flashy accessories. You want to focus on the clothes, not the containers!

Donate ASAP

Bag up giveaway items immediately so they don’t creep back into your closet. Don’t let bags haunt your hallway for weeks.

Schedule a dropoff or pickup within a few days of finishing your cleanout before clutter accumulates again.

Whew, you’re basically a professional organizer now! Use these next-level tips for closet nirvana.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s wrap things up with some commonly asked questions about mastering closet cleanouts:

How often should you clean out your closet?

Aim to do a major cleanout that assess every item 2 times a year – spring and fall. This lets you reset before and after major weather changes.

Then, monthly quick tidies help you stay on top of clutter and new purchases. Freshen it up!

What’s the easiest way to declutter your closet?

Make it a fun project, not a dreaded chore! Put on some music, enlist your partner to help, and remind yourself how awesome the results will feel.

Approach decisively pile-by-pile. Avoid getting overwhelmed looking at everything all at once in a giant heap.

What should you look for when cleaning out clothes?

Be ruthless about pieces you don’t wear often or don’t fit well. If it’s been over a year since wearing something, it’s likely time to let it go.

Focus on keeping versatile basics and beloved statement pieces that fit your current style and body comfortably.

How do I organize my closet?

Use the space efficiently! Install shelves high up for bags, bins under hanging rods for shoes.

Group like categories together, arrange by weight/frequency of use. Design the space for how you actually get ready day-to-day.

Invest in quality hangers, storage cubes and bins to neatly corral your items.

What storage solutions help keep a closet organized?

Clear plastic bins or fabric cubes/baskets to neatly store and separate categories like sweaters, intimates, and accessories.

Hangers all of the same style so everything hangs evenly. Sturdy shelves for folded items. Shoe racks to get pairs off the floor.

What should I do with clothes I’m getting rid of?

Try to donate or consign gently used quality pieces so someone else can enjoy them. Recycle unwearable fabrics.

For items too worn to donate but too sentimental to trash, upcycle them into memory quilts, pillows or rag rugs! Pinterest has great DIY ideas.

How can I maintain a decluttered closet long-term?

Give everything a designated spot and always put things back after use so clutter doesn’t re-accumulate.

Do monthly mini-purges. Shop intentionally for versatile basics over trendy statement pieces.

Build a core capsule wardrobe of staple pieces you can remix into multiple outfits.

Let me know if you have any other closet cleanout questions! I’m here to help.

Parting Words of Wardrobe Wisdom

Well, we made it! Hopefully you now feel equipped to thoroughly clean out and organize your closet like a pro.

Here’s a quick recap of the benefits you’ll gain from decluttering your wardrobe:

  • Reduced stress when getting dressed each day
  • A happiness boost from being surrounded by favorite items
  • Confidence from clothes that fit great and suit your style
  • Saved time finding outfits without rummaging through clutter
  • Peace of mind from neat and tidy storage

With a few simple organizing tools and commitment to maintenance, you can maintain your newfound closet bliss for the long run.

No more tripping over piles of clothes or mountains of shoes! Just a fresh start with beloved pieces and room to breathe.

When you’re ready to clear out other household clutter, AM Dumpster Rental & Junk Removal can help. We specialize in removing unwanted junk and providing dumpster rentals in Medina, OH. Whether it’s old furniture, appliances, or random stuff that accumulated over the years, we can remove it quickly and efficiently.

Pair our junk hauling services with your new decluttering skills for an uncluttered home inside and out! Here’s to organization zen.


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