A Beginner’s Guide to Cleaning Out Your Closet

Cleaning Out Closet Featured

We all love looking our very best and having a variety of clothes to choose from so we can dress appropriately for the weather and the day’s events. However, closet space is often an issue for people, especially those who love clothing.

This guide will explain the benefits of purging clothing at least once a year and give you a step-by-step guide to cleaning your closet. After you purge, you’ll also receive tips on what to do with your unwanted clothing.

Benefits of Cleaning Out Your Closet

Nearly everyone has looked at their closet at least once and questioned cleaning it. Unfortunately, many avoid it because it requires so much time and energy. Before you start, it may help if you understand the benefits of cleaning out your closet.

Beginners Guide Cleaning Out Your Closet Benefits
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1. Removing Clutter

Many people accumulate a significant amount of clothing and accessories over time. Cleaning out your closet helps you declutter and remove items you no longer need or use. This can create a sense of relief and create a more streamlined wardrobe.

When you declutter, you will also likely lower your personal stress levels. Clutter impacts our minds, makes us feel on edge, and prevents us from relaxing. So, cleaning out your closet will immediately impact your mood, even if you don’t realize it.

2. Improving Organization

Clearing out your closet lets you assess your storage needs. You can rearrange items and utilize space more efficiently, maximizing the storage capacity of your closet. This leads to an improved organization that may spill over into other parts of the house.

Also, you can easily find what you need when reorganizing your clothing and accessories. This will save you time as you get ready each morning. You can then use this extra time for other parts of your morning routine, improving your day.

Beginners Guide Cleaning Out Your Closet Declutter
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3. Relationship Improvements

If you live with a partner or share closet space with a roommate, you may find that cleaning out your closet also improves your interpersonal relationships. Fewer items in the closet leave more space for both of you to organize your things, which can lead to productive conversations about everything from household organization to budgeting.

Also, you may find that you and your partner generally feel more connected when the closet is less cluttered. This is because people who live in cluttered homes struggle with non-verbal communication and facial expression reading. In other words, cleaning out your closet can boost your relationship even if you never fight about the closet.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Out Your Closet

Cleaning out your closet is essential, but it can also be challenging. We recommend you use the following steps to clear out unwanted items and organize your wardrobe yearly to maintain a well-organized closet.

1. Take Everything Out of the Closet

When most people declutter their closets, they scan through their clothes and pull out items they know they haven’t worn in a long time. However, experts say this isn’t the best approach because you will likely miss items and won’t reorganize the closet. Instead, the best approach is to create a clear space in the room, then pull everything out of the closet.

2. Create Piles Based on What You’ll Do Next

Once everything is out of your closet, your job is to sort everything based on whether or not you’re keeping it. To do this, pick up items individually, think about the last time you’ve worn them, and try it on if needed. Then, ask yourself, “Do I want to keep this?”

Beginners Guide Cleaning Out Your Closet Decisions
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Create space for piles based on whether you are keeping the item. You can either just have a two-pile system (keep and not keep) or break it down further into keep, sell, donate, and trash. Either option (or any variation thereof) is acceptable.

As you decide, place the item in the appropriate pile, and move on to the next thing. This can take time, but it will be worth it when you’re finished.

3. Double Check Your “Keep” Pile

After every item is in a pile, it’s time to double-check the “keep” pile and make a final judgment call on each item. This ensures that you don’t put anything back into the closet you no longer plan to wear. It also gives you a chance to purge even more if you still have too many things.

4. Put Items to Sell or Donate in Boxes or Bags

Now that you know which items won’t be staying, it’s time to prep them for removal. You can put them in boxes, bags, or reusable storage containers. Regardless of your chosen option, clearly label them so you can sell or donate them later.

5. Put Away What You’re Keeping

Finally, you will return the items you decided to keep in your closet. You can do this however makes the most sense to you. If you want to reorganize your closet, we recommend you do this when putting everything back in because it’s the perfect time to maximize space and change your organizational system.

Beginners Guide Cleaning Out Your Closet Piles
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What To Do With Unwanted Clothes

Now that you’ve cleaned out your closet, it’s time to decide what to do with the items you are not keeping. But what is the best way to get rid of your unwanted clothes? You can sell them, donate them, or throw them away.

1. Sell Them

If you identify valuable or high-quality items that you no longer wear, you can sell them through an online thrifting retailer or at a local consignment store. This can provide some extra income that you can use to pay down debt or put into savings.

2. Donate Them

If you don’t feel the unwanted items are worth selling, you can donate them. Places like Goodwill and Salvation Army accept clothing donations at any time. Alternatively, you can donate them to local homeless shelters or community organizations that help underprivileged people. Donating unwanted clothes is a great way to give back to your community and help others.

3. Throw Them Out

If you have unwanted items that are well-loved and falling apart, it may be worth throwing them away. Items like underwear and socks should also be thrown out.

Are You Ready to Clean Out Your Closet?

Decluttering is a normal part of adult life, like cleaning your house or doing the laundry. Now that you know how to effectively clean out your closet, it’s time to take action. If you aren’t sure when you’ll have the time to fit it in, you may want to consider time blocking your schedule so you can fit in a few hours to clean out unwanted clothes and reorganize your belongings.

Image credit: Nothing to wear concept by DepositPhotos

Megan Glosson

Megan Glosson is a passionate writer based in Nashville, TN. She enjoys writing about topics related to health, wellness, and everyday life, especially when the topic has a personal connection to her own life. Megan is currently published on over a dozen websites, including YourTango, Feel & Thrive, Moms.com, and The Mighty. Megan also serves as a content editor for Unwritten, a digital publication focused on millennial lifestyles.