15 Proven Ways to Clean Out Your Closet and Keep It Neat

Practical Ways to Clean Out Your Closet

Closet clean-out is an important aspect of maintaining an organized and clutter-free living space. It involves going through your wardrobe, sorting out things that are no longer useful or needed, and creating a system to organize the remaining items. Decluttering your closet can have a significant impact on your mental and emotional well-being, as it can reduce stress, increase productivity, and improve your overall quality of life.

There are several benefits of closet cleanout. For one, it can help you get rid of clothes that no longer fit, are out of trend, or have been unused for a long time. This not only helps to free up space in your closet, but it also makes it easier to find the clothes you wear and enjoy. To make the closet clean-out process easier, we have curated 15 practical ways that you can easily follow. These include setting a goal, taking everything out of your closet, creating piles for donation, selling, and keeping, as well as organizing items by category.

Let’s explore each way carefully and closely.

1. Empty and Clean Your Closet

Empty and Clean Your Closet

One of the essential steps in the process of closet cleanout is to empty and clean it thoroughly. This step is crucial as it provides a fresh start and allows you to assess the available space more effectively. To begin, take out all the items from your closet and lay them out in a designated area. This will give you a clear view of everything you own and help you make informed decisions about what to keep, donate, or discard.

While the closet is empty, take the opportunity to clean it deep. Dust off shelves, wipe down the surfaces and sweep the floor. This will eliminate any accumulated dirt, creating a clean and inviting space for your revamped wardrobe. Moreover, cleaning the closet will also help prevent lingering odors, making it more pleasant to store your clothes and accessories. This step sets the foundation for an organized and efficient closet, making it easier to sort and categorize your belongings.

2. Organize Items by Categories

Organize Items by Categories

When cleaning out your closet, organizing items by categories is an efficient approach that can help streamline the process and maintain long-term organization. Once you have emptied and cleaned your closet, begin by grouping similar items. For example, gather all your tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear, and accessories separately.

Organizing items by categories have many benefits. Firstly, it allows you to see the quantity and variety of each type of clothing or accessory you own, helping you to decide what to keep and what to let go of. It also makes it easier to find specific items when you need them, saving you time and frustration in the future.

To further enhance organization, consider sub-categorizing with each main category. For instance, in the tops category, you can separate them by sleeve length or color. This level of organization helps create a more visually appealing and functional closet space. It creates a sense of order and makes it convenient to find your wardrobe selection every day.

3. Try Hanger Trick

Try Hanger Trick

A helpful technique to determine which clothes you actually wear is to try the hanger trick during your closet clean-out. This simple yet effective method involves turning all your hangers in one direction at the beginning of the process. As you wear and return items to the closets, place them back with the hanger facing the opposite direction.

The hanger trick serves two purposes. First, it helps identify the clothes you consistently wear versus the ones that remain untouched. This provides a clear idea of the pieces you genuinely enjoy and those that are simply taking up space. Second, it assists in making decisions about what to keep or let go of.

By implementing the hanger trick, you can declutter your closet and create a more curated wardrobe. It also encourages you to prioritize items that bring you joy and actively eliminate those that no longer serve you.

4. Remove Items You Haven’t Worn in a Year

Young woman throwing clothes in walk in closet. Mess in wardrobe and dressing room

An effective approach to decluttering your closet is to remove items you haven’t worn in a year. If an entire year has passed without you reaching for a particular item in your closet, it’s likely that it holds no significance in your day-to-day life or aligns with your current style.

By removing these unworn items, you can create space for clothes that you genuinely like wearing. Letting go of unused items not only frees up physical space but also contributes to mental and emotional clarity.

Removing items you haven’t worn in a year is an effective way to minimize clutter, simplify your choices, and make your daily dressing routine more efficient. It allows you to curate a wardrobe that reflects your current lifestyle and personal style, ensuring that every item in your closet is meaningful and serves a purpose.

5. Donate Clothes that No Longer Serves You

Donate Clothes that No Longer Serves You

One of the practical ways to clean out your closet is by donating clothes that no longer serve you. As you go through your wardrobe during the cleaning process, it’s important to consider the items that no longer fit, match your latest trend, or simply have been neglected. Rather than letting these clothes take up space in your closet, donating them allows you to pass them on to someone who can benefit from them.

Donating clothes helps declutter your own living space, creating a more organized and well-planned environment. It also provides an opportunity to give back to the community and help those in need. Many charitable organizations gladly accept clothing donations and distribute them to individuals and families who may not have the means to afford new clothes.

By donating clothes, you contribute to sustainable fashion practices and reduce textile waste. It allows you to share your resources, support sustainability, and cultivate a sense of compassion for the community.

6. Sell Items that Are in Good Condition

Sell Items that Are in Good Condition

When cleaning out your closet, a unique approach to decluttering is to sell items that are in good condition. You may come across clothes, shoes, or accessories that you no longer use but are still in excellent shape. Rather than letting them go to waste or taking up valuable space, selling these items can be a great way to earn some extra money potentially.

Selling clothes in good condition has become increasingly accessible with online platforms and marketplaces dedicated to secondhand fashion. You can utilize platforms such as online marketplaces and social media groups specifically designed for buying and selling pre-owned items.

By selling items that are in good condition, you can not only free up space in your closet but also turn your unwanted clothes into a source of income. It’s a win-win situation that allows you to declutter while potentially earning some extra bucks and contributing to a more sustainable fashion ecosystem.

7. Repurpose Old Clothing and Accessories

Repurpose Old Clothing and Accessories

A creative way to clean out your closet is to repurpose old clothing and accessories. Instead of discarding items that no longer serve their original purpose, consider giving them a new life in a different form. Repurposing allows you to tap into your creativity and find innovative uses for items

There are countless possibilities for repurposing old clothing or accessories. For example, you can transform an old t-shirt into a reusable shopping bag, use fabric from an unworn dress to create pillow covers or turn a worn-out denim jacket into a trendy bag. The key is to identify the potential in each item and think outside the box.

By repurposing old clothing or accessories, you can unleash your imagination, minimize waste, and create meaningful pieces that reflect your personal fashion essence and resourcefulness. It’s an eco-friendly way of closet cleaning out while embracing sustainability and creativity.

8. Create a Capsule Wardrobe

Create a Capsule Wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is created by handpicking a versatile assortment of clothes that can be effortlessly combined to form a number of outfits. This approach organizes your closet, allowing you to remove unnecessary clutter and concentrate on the items you genuinely adore and often wear.

To create a capsule wardrobe, start by assessing your personal style and lifestyle needs. Consider the core pieces that form the foundation of your wardrobe, such as basic tops, bottoms, and outerwear. Select neutral colors that can easily be coordinated, along with a few accent colors that complement your style.

Creating a capsule wardrobe not only declutters your closet but also helps you discover your style preferences and reduce unnecessary shopping. It encourages you to be more intentional with your clothing choices, emphasizing quality over quantity.

9. Utilize Storage Solutions

Utilize Storage Solutions

To optimize the organization and functionality of your closet, it’s essential to utilize storage solutions such as bins, hooks, and shelves. These tools help maximize space, keep items in order, and make your closet more visually appealing.

Bins or storage boxes are ideal for grouping similar items, such as scarves, belts, and accessories. They help contain smaller items, prevent clutter, and create a tidy appearance. Labeled bins make it easy to locate specific items when needed. Hooks are excellent for hanging items such as hats, belts, or bags. Shelves provide additional storage surfaces to display folded clothing or shoes.

By incorporating storage solutions into your closet, you can optimize the available space, reduce clutter, and create a more functional and aesthetically pleasing environment. These tools help you easily locate and access your belongings, making it simpler to maintain an organized closet in the long run.

10. Treat Your Clothes with Care

Treat Your Clothes with Care

Treating your clothes with care is an important aspect of maintaining a clean and organized closet. By handling your garments properly, you can extend their lifespan and keep them in excellent condition. This not only saves you money but also reduces waste and promotes sustainable fashion practices.

One practical way to treat your clothes with care is to follow the care instructions on the labels. Pay attention to recommended washing, drying, and ironing methods. This ensures that your clothes receive the appropriate treatment and prevents unnecessary wear and tear.

Avoid overcrowding your closet, as it can lead to damage and wrinkling. Allow your clothes to breathe and have enough space to hang or lay flat without being tightly squeezed together. This practice promotes longevity, reduces the need for frequent replacements, and contributes to a more sustainable and mindful approach to fashion.

11. Fold Clothes Neatly

Fold Clothes Neatly

Folding clothes neatly is an efficient way of closet clean out. Proper folding techniques not only save space but also keep your clothes in good condition, preventing wrinkles and creases. To fold clothes neatly, start by sorting them into categories, such as tops, pants, or sweaters.

When folding, pay attention to the size and shape of your storage space. For instance, fold clothes to fit neatly into drawers or shelves. Stack folded items vertically rather than horizontally to maximize accessibility.

Neatly folded clothes are easier to navigate and locate, saving you time and effort when getting dressed. Additionally, it helps preserve the quality and appearance of your garments, ensuring they stay in good condition for longer. Taking time to fold clothes neatly during the closet clean-out process gives you an organized and clutter-free closet.

12. Get Rid of Multiple Similar Clothes

Get Rid of Multiple Similar Clothes

Often, we find ourselves accumulating multiple pieces that serve the same purpose or have a similar style. While having some variety can be beneficial, holding onto excessive duplicates can lead to unnecessary clutter. To tackle this, carefully evaluate each item and consider its uniqueness and value in your wardrobe. Assess if the difference between similar items is significant enough to justify keeping them all.

Removing multiple similar clothes helps you free up space. It allows you to curate a more intentional wardrobe, where each piece fills a distinct role. Moreover, letting go of excess items can make your daily outfit selection process more efficient. By getting rid of multiple similar clothes, you create space for new additions that can truly enhance your style and reflect your current preferences.

13. Implement the One In, One Out Rule

Implement the One In, One Out Rule

Implementing the “one in, one out” rule is a practical strategy for your closet clean-out process. The rule is simple, for every new item you bring into your closet, you must let go of one existing item. This approach helps prevent excessive accumulation and ensures that your closet remains clutter-free.

This role promotes thoughtful decision-making and prevents the accumulation of unused or rarely worn items. It helps maintain a manageable and curated wardrobe consisting of pieces you genuinely require to wear.

By implementing the “one in, one out” rule, you can achieve a more balanced wardrobe. It ensures that your closet remains organized, clutter-free, and aligned with your personal style and needs.

14. No Unnecessary Buying

No Unnecessary Buying

One of the most essential ways to clean out your closet is to adopt a mindset of no unnecessary buying. This approach focuses on curbing impulse purchases and ensuring that each item you add to your wardrobe serves a purpose.

By refraining from unnecessary buying, you become more selective with your clothing choices. Before making a purchase, take time to evaluate whether the item is truly needed, if it complements your existing wardrobe, and if it aligns with your long-term style goals. Consider factors such as quality, versatility, and how well it fills the gap in your current collection.

By adopting a no-unnecessary buying mindset, you not only save money but also contribute to a more sustainable and clutter-free closet.

15. Regularly Reassess and Declutter

Regularly Reassess and Declutter

Regularly reassessing and decluttering your closet is a crucial practice to maintain an organized and functional space. It involves periodically evaluating your clothes, shoes, and accessories to determine what items are still relevant and useful.

Set aside time every few months to go through your closet and reevaluate your belongings. Assess each item based on factors such as condition, frequency of use, and personal preference. Regular decluttering prevents your closet from becoming overwhelmed with unnecessary items. It allows you to create more space and make better use of the pieces that you have. It also makes it easier to maintain an organized system and locate your items quickly. By regularly reassessing and decluttering, you build a sense of mindfulness and prevent the accumulation of clutter, leading to an enjoyable closet experience.

Summing It Up

A closet cleanout can bring a sense of calm and organization to your life. By implementing the 15 practical ways to clean out your closet discussed in this article, you can achieve a more efficient and systematic wardrobe. To recap, start by setting a goal and assessing your clothing items based on your lifestyle and preferences. Take the opportunity to remove items you haven’t worn in a year, consider the condition, and donate or sell what no longer serves you.

Repurposing old clothing or creating a capsule wardrobe can help maximize your closet space. It’s important to explore sustainable and ethical disposal options. Additionally, maintaining a tidy closet requires adopting habits like the “one in, one out” rule, regular cleaning, organizing, and prioritizing quality over quantity. So don’t hesitate to start the process of cleaning out your closet today and adopt the freedom and simplicity that a well-organized wardrobe brings.

You’ll be amazed at the positive impact it can have on your daily life.

Gretchen Rubin
With a Master's in Organizational Behavior, Gretchen Rubin's career spans 20 years as a lifestyle consultant and motivational speaker. She has been a guiding light in the realm of personal organization and lifestyle enhancement. She became a part of our website in 2015, offering readers insightful strategies for personal organization and life balance. Gretchen is also known for her interactive webinars and workshops. In her leisure time, she practices mindfulness meditation and is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness.