How to Get a Head Start on Decluttering your Closet

Want to learn how to declutter your closet? and learn what clothes you should keep and donate, plus how to put together a capsule wardrobe.

Picture it; it’s 8 AM, you’re rushing to get out the door, you didn’t fold the laundry before bed like you should have and now, you’re struggling to find an outfit that you feel good in within your giant mess of a closet. Can you relate?

I used to be this woman. My closet would be a mess, full of so much stuff and clothes I had to have and never wore. My closet doors were busting at the seams, and I still couldn’t find a piece of clothing that made me feel confident.

After taking a hard look at the facts, I decided, once and for all, that twice yearly, I would do a closet overall and finally get the wardrobe peace I desperately needed and deserved.

So many blogs, articles, and opinions already exist on how to tackle this successfully, all of which can seem daunting in the beginning. But we wanted to make an easy-to-follow guide that walked you through how to declutter your closet. Plus what to do with all your clothes after and a simple way to make your own capsule wardrobe.

Keep reading to find out how to declutter your closet!

Tools you’ll need

These are some of the tools you might need to declutter and make the most of your wardrobe this year!

How to Declutter Your Closet

Let’s start decluttering clothes, learning what to keep, consign and donate, and how to create a capsule wardrobe.

I promise that once you do these few simple things, you’ll be so impressed with the result that you’ll stay on top of it and look forward to a redo on the next major seasonal change.

My recommendation is to do this on a quiet afternoon when you don’t feel rushed or already overwhelmed. Might we also suggest a glass of rosé?

Looking for a few tips when buying used furniture? We’ve got you covered.

Empty, Empty, Empty!

The first step to getting the closet of your dreams is taking EVERYTHING, yes, I mean everything, out of your closet.

You can keep things on hangers for ease of putting them back, but by taking everything out, it will truly allow us to organize successfully as we put things back. When I organized my closet, I even took out the items stored on top like overnight bags and purses.

Woman to woman, I know the hardest part of decluttering a closet is letting go of items we spent our hard-working money on, even when we don’t love them, reach for them or even wear them.

The biggest takeaway from today’s lesson is for a successfully finished closet, you need to be open to getting rid of the things, even if they have tags on, that you don’t love and don’t wear.

Once everything is out of your closet, now the fun can begin.

Toss, Try, and Donate!

Now that everything is out, it’s time to slowly decide what is going back. We are going to evaluate each item in your closet as we do this.

We are going to organize it into FIVE different categories.


Do you love the item? Do you reach for it often? Do you feel confident in it?


Is the item at the end of its life? If it has rips and stains, chances are it can’t be easily repaired or repurposed for new life.


Do you never reach for this item? Does it not fit you as you wanted?

Decide Later

Is the item something you wear occasionally but not often? Is it something you bought for a specific event?


Is the item truly seasonal (shorts, bathing suits, etc.)?

How to Organize for Success

You know those beautiful closets you see in magazines and on Pinterest? They are usually organized according to either item style or color scheme.

Once you determine what option would work best for your personality, it’s time to put things away.

My closet is organized by items (pants, dresses, tanks, blouses, casual shirts, cardigans, and sweaters) which allow me to easily pick outfits in a hurry.

If you follow the same method, make sure to keep long-sleeve and short-sleeve items together.

For example, for my blouses, I have all the short sleeve ones together, then the long-sleeved ones, and then casual shirts follow suit next by using the same sequence.

For the items in your keep pile or your favorite things, put these in first.

Off-season clothes should be stored away from the closet, either using vacuum seal bags, garbage bags, or Rubbermaid containers.

We also recommend storing evening dresses, your wedding dress, and other not frequently used items in another location.

Keep only current season items in your closet. Put donate items into a bag and take them directly to your vehicle to drop off on your next outing, or store them safely for summer yard sales.

Take the tossed items to the garbage or donate them to a local shop to be used as shop rags.  

So what are we going to do with the decision later items?

Exactly that – decide later. Sometimes deciding to let go of something simply requires more thought and a little more time.

A practice I have gotten used to is taking items I am not quite sure about and putting them into a secondary Rubbermaid container. I then store these items, and if I haven’t gone looking for any of the contents within six months, I take the entire bin to a donation center.

I know it sounds crazy, but we promise you aren’t going to start using something more if it’s in a bin stored away. So by doing this practice, you can feel good about your decision to donate. Releasing the emotional attachment to the clothing is going to be key!

Note: Consign seasonal clothes. They tend to be the quickest sale because people are shopping for the current or upcoming season.

Donate or Consign?

While donating your gently used clothing is great from a social responsibility standpoint, consigning new with tags or gently used items that are still current to the season is a great way to declutter your closet and fill your wallet. A few helpful tips when trying to consign:

  1. Be mindful of the season! Most consignment stores won’t accept out-of-season or out-of-style items.
  2. Condition is key – if the item requires mending of any sort, it’s best not to bring it to the consignment shop.
  3. Pay attention to brand names. Popular designer names are highly sought after and give you the biggest return.
  4. Choose the right consignment store for your style. If your style is more vintage, for instance, look for a store with a similar vibe. This will lead to quicker sales.

Capsule Wardrobes

Learning how to declutter your closet can be a lot of work. But one way to prevent it from getting out of hand is to start a capsule wardrobe.

A capsule wardrobe is a perfect way to make choosing an outfit easy and keep your closet looking spacious. What is a capsule wardrobe you ask? A capsule wardrobe is buying a limited selection of interchangeable or investment pieces that complement each other.

These pieces of clothing are often classic pieces that will not go out of style and are made up of natural colors and beautiful fabrics. Because all the items pair together perfectly, it allows you to own a small selection of clothing overall. Some of the benefits of a capsule wardrobe include less decision fatigue, more time back in your busy morning, cost savings from purchasing fast fashion, and greater sustainability for purchasing less clothing overall.

Quick Guide to a Capsule Wardrobe

To start a quick capsule wardrobe, we recommend investing in the following. While there isn’t an exact set number of pieces, we believe these items will take you the furthest:

  • 3 basic t-shirts in natural colors (think black, white, grey, or tan)
  • 2 tank tops in similar tones
  • up to 3 timeless blouses
  • 3 classic sweaters (think soft knits and cashmere)
  • 2 dressy bottoms (maybe pants and a skirt)
  • 1 romper
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 2 dresses (1 casual, 1 business)
  • 2 pairs of jeans, 2 jackets
  • 3 pairs of shoes (a boot, a sneaker, and a dressy mule)
  • 4 go-everywhere accessories.

Most of these items you likely already have in your closet, so it’s just a matter of you putting pieces together that complement one another and purchasing a few new pieces to fill in the gaps. 

But if you’re looking for some style inspiration check out our shop page.

Looking for more inspiration for a perfectly organized closet? Check out a few of our favorite organizers for more tips and tricks for getting the closet of your dreams.

Shop Our Favorite Books

Click to shop our favorite organization and decluttering books above!

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