Guide to Cleaning Out Your Closet

how to clean out your closet

I am an avid supporter of the phrase “less is more” especially with material possessions and particularly with clothing. I go through my closet every 6 months looking for stuff to give away/donate. I love it! It makes me feel like this huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and that my life is now in less disarray. After I have cleared out my closet of all the clothes I don’t wear anymore, I suddenly have space and more room to organize. A neat closet makes me a happy girl.

I wasn’t always this way though. I have clung on to clothing that I’ve had since high school but haven’t actually worn since high school. Why? I suppose I just couldn’t bear to part with something I had once loved, spent money on, and wore quite often back in the day. My mindset while rummaging through my closet would always turn to something like, “Hmmm. I haven’t worn this in a few years and it’s not really my style anymore, but I might wanna wear it again someday. You never know!” Then I toss said article of clothing back in my drawer never to be seen until another couple years down the road. Sound familiar?

As much as I love getting rid of stuff now, it’s still difficult sometimes when deciding what to give away and if I can actually stand to be without it. So! I came up with this short, helpful guideline for girls like me who need a little reasoning & motivation when clearing out their clutter.


1. Have a plan.

Make sure you have a couple durable garbage bags on hand for the stuff you wish to donate. I recommend going through your clothes in increments. Start with tops, then skirts/dresses, then shorts/pants, then outerwear, shoes, and finish off with accessories (purses, jewelry, etc). While going through your closet, leave your “absolutely cannot give aways” alone, but only if you’re positive that you actually wear this piece often and could not live without it. For the rest, create two piles for each section: the “definitely don’t need this” and the “maybe” pile.

Your “definitely don’t need this” clothes will be the easy part because you know they won’t be missed (either you’ve outgrown them or they’ve outgrown you), but the maybe pile is gonna give you a fight. Your maybe clothes are the ones you look at and think, “Ehhhh… I don’t need it, and I haven’t really worn it, but… I still like it. I think. I mean, it’s still cute. I might wear it. Maybe.” It might even be something you bought and never wore, even a year later. Which brings me to…

2. The “maybe” pile.

Your maybe pile is made up of either “absolutely cannot give aways” or “definitely don’t need this.” More than likely it will be the latter (otherwise why would it be in the maybe pile in the first place?), but somethings deserve a second chance. Rarely in this case though, haha. Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding what to do with the pieces in your maybe pile:

Is it truly your style?

Is it a timeless piece?

Is it damaged (holes, stains, rips)?

Have you worn it in the past 6 months? Past year?

Is it versatile (can it be worn multiple ways)?

Did you literally just wear it that one time?

Do you feel comfortable in it? Is it even your correct size?

Will you ever really wear this again?

No, seriously. Come on. Will you?

If you’ve made it through these questions and are still determined to hang on to this “maybe” piece, go ahead and keep it. But! Put a sticky note on it with the date written down. Then when you find it again 6 months later (unworn, most likely), donate it.

3. Let it go.

The moment I decide to get rid of an article of clothing (or purse, pair of shoes, whatevz), I immediately toss it into a giant black garbage bag before I get a chance to miss it. If I keep my discard pile out in the open where I can see it, I’ll start to wonder, “wait maybe I shouldn’t give that away” and the whole process of the “maybe” pile begins again. Don’t allow that to happen, otherwise you’ll never be able to clear out the clutter. If you haven’t worn this piece of clothing in over a year (or even ever), then I promise you won’t miss it once it’s gone.

Back in July, I got rid of so much stuff, I’m talking 3 giant garbage bags of purses, shoes, jewelry, sweaters, dresses, and the like. It was AWESOME. My mom went through it before it was donated and told me a few days later that she couldn’t believe some of the cute stuff I gave away. I said, “like what?” to which she tried describing to me, but I honestly could vaguely remember any of it. So trust me, you’ll be okay. Just throw it in the bag, and don’t look back.

4. Alternatives to donating (optional)

Although I think donating is the best option (especially for those who just wanna get it over and done with), I understand that there are some special pieces you’re not willing to just give away. For those certain situations, you could always give these options a try:

Plato’s Closet: If you’re looking for a little (and I mean very little) money for your clothes, you might wanna give Plato’s Closet a shot. They buy gently used brand-name clothing/accessories and resell it for cheap at their stores which are located in every US state.

Sell online: Sure, you can try asking for a price on ebay or craigslist, but you could also create your own little online shop where you can control the price listed for your clothing. is a great free option where you can make your shop look however you want (I have one too, haha)!

Give to a friend/relative: If you want your old clothing to go to good hands, try giving it to someone you trust like a friend or relative. I’ve given plenty of clothes to my cousins & roommate! Plus, if you ever miss that piece of clothing, you could always borrow it, haha 😉



I hope this has been helpful! Cleaning out my closet has always been a great stress reliever for me, I suggest doing it at least once a year. If you’ve been going through a rut with your wardrobe lately, I would definitely recommend a closet clear-out for a fresh start. Once you’ve narrowed down to the bare necessities, you won’t be so overwhelmed with disappointing options and can start building your closet up again to something practical that you’ll get more wear out of.

What about you? Do you ever go through major clear-outs of your closet? What’s your process?