How To Be Ruthless When Decluttering Clothes: Tips for a More Minimal Wardrobe

Do you feel overwhelmed by your closet? Learn how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes so you can find experience freedom and joy with your wardrobe and have more motivation for decluttering!

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Clothing hung up in a closet.
Photo: @styleyouroccasion

How To Be Ruthless When Decluttering Clothes

A closet full of clothes but nothing to wear is a common problem for many people. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s likely time to declutter your wardrobe. 

This can be difficult, especially if you have a lot of sentimental attachment to your clothing. But being ruthless when decluttering clothes is the key to having a more minimal and enjoyable wardrobe. 

This blog post will discuss tips for being ruthless when decluttering your clothes and creating a more minimalist wardrobe that saves time, money, and reduces stress. It will give you motivation for decluttering too!

Clothing hung up in a closet.
Photo: @styleyouroccasion

How To Find Motivation for Decluttering

Knowing the benefits of decluttering will help you find the motivation you need to get it done. When you understand the positive results achieved by clearing clutter you’ll get that pep in your step to get started. 

Benefits you’ll experience include (but are not limited to)

  • More peace – By decluttering you’ll be creating a more serene and peaceful space in your closet which can be really freeing and allows you to focus on the clothes you love and actually wear. 
  • Saving money – Decluttering and adopting a more minimal wardrobe will save you moola as you will not be buying new clothes to replace the ones you have gotten rid of.
  • Donating to those in need – Clearing out the clutter and donating clothes you no longer like or wear to a local shelter will help bring you inner joy and help those in need. 
Clothing folded and laid out on a bed.
Photo: @styleyouroccasion

How To Be Ruthless When Decluttering Clothes

  1. The first step to being ruthless when decluttering clothes is to get rid of anything you haven’t worn in the last year. If you haven’t worn it in the last year, there’s a good chance you never will.
  2. Another way to be ruthless when decluttering clothes is to get rid of anything that doesn’t fit. If you’ve gained or lost weight, it’s time to get rid of your old clothes and buy new ones that fit. Even if you’ve been the same size, ill-fitting or worn out clothing should also be decluttered.
  3. The third step for how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes is by getting rid of anything you genuinely do not like. This can be difficult if you’ve had the same clothes for a while, but it’s important to have a closet full of clothes that make you feel and look good. If you don’t like a particular piece of clothing, there’s no reason to keep it. You’re never going to wear it if you don’t like it.

Also, if you’re having trouble parting with your clothes, ask yourself why you’re hanging on to them. Are they sentimental items? Do you think you might wear them again someday for a special occasion? 

If the answer is no, it’s time to let them go, and if the answer is yes…there’s more tips for you in the next section!

Clothing hung up in a closet.
Photo: @styleyouroccasion 

Tips for Decluttering Clothes

Here are some tips to keep in mind when decluttering your clothes.

Set goals for yourself

One way to stay motivated when decluttering clothes is to set goals for yourself. This can include getting rid of a certain number of clothes.

You can also set a goal of creating a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothes that you love and fit well, and this will make it easier to choose what to wear each day and help you save time and shop less. 

You can create capsule wardrobes based on seasons like this spring capsule wardrobe or  winter capsule wardrobe, or based on your personal style like this colorful capsule wardrobe. 

Empty ALL of your clothes out of your closet(s)

Before you start decluttering your wardrobe, gather all of your clothes together in one place. This will make it easier to see what you have and decide what to keep and get rid of.

Separate the clothes into categories

Once you’ve gathered all of your clothes, separate them into different categories. This can include pants, shirts, dresses, skirts, etc. When you group like items it helps to keep an inventory of what you actually have and it makes it easier to get rid of things that you don’t need.

Get three large bins (or create piles) for sorting

The three bins (or piles) will be designated: donate, sell, and toss. All the clothing items you declutter will end up in one of these three piles. 

Get rid of anything you have not worn in the last year

We mentioned this before but the best way to be ruthless when decluttering clothes is to get rid of anything you don’t wear. If you haven’t worn it in the last year, there’s a good chance you never will. Add these items to one of the three bins.

If you happen to be saving these items because they are sentimental or you think you might wear them at some unknown time in the future, remember that it’s best to own clothes only for the here and now and not your imaginary life. 

Sentimental items can be challenging to get rid of. My tip is to keep two or three items at most and remember that joy also comes from passing along clothing items to someone in need who can love and use them. 

Get rid of clothes that do not fit you

You may think that you will wear certain items in the future if you lose or gain weight but, it’s best to have a closet full of clothes that fit your beautiful body now and make you shine, rather than having clutter of clothes that you hope will one day fit – this is about being ruthless after all!

Also, if a clothing item is your size but has a weird fit to it, and is something you often find yourself re-adjusting, pulling, and tugging at – get rid of it. Life’s too short for uncomfortable clothing! 

Be on the lookout for duplicates

When you’re decluttering your wardrobe, be on the lookout for duplicates. This can include clothes that are a very similar color or style. 

If you have multiple pieces of clothing that are the same, it might be time to pair down. This is a big part of getting rid of the clutter.

Beach bag and hat hanging from a door hook.
Photo: @styleyouroccasion

Don’t forget accessories

When you’re decluttering your wardrobe, don’t forget about accessories. This can include belts, hats, scarves, and sunglasses.If you have too many of any one type of accessory, it’s time to clear the clutter. 

This is especially important if you have a lot of accessories that you no longer wear because they are outdated or no longer your style. 

‘The Maybe Bin’

If you are unsure or not ready to get rid of something, and it doesn’t belong in one of “the three” piles, put it in a bin we like to call it the Maybe Bin. 

You can store things you are unsure about for 30 days. If in that 30-day period you forgot about the bin altogether, or didn’t wear certain pieces, you should donate or sell those items, and this will give you even more motivation for decluttering when you see just how little you wear certain items. 

Clothing laid out and stacked on a bed.
Photo: @styleyouroccasion

How do you declutter too many clothes?

If you have a lot of clothes, it can be very overwhelming to start the decluttering process. 

Set aside a full day where you can empty your closet entirely, go through everything, and discard anything that you don’t love, doesn’t fit, or doesn’t bring you joy.

If you are swarming in clothing, and feel it will take more than a day, it may be better to attack the project from a different angle. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Work in sections of your closet(s), choosing one to tackle each week for a month. 
  • Invite a friend over to help with the process. Tasks are often more enjoyable when you have company. They also offer different perspectives of your wardrobe that may lead to new discoveries.
  • Make decluttering fun by playing music, eating your favorite snacks, or enjoying a glass of wine while going through your clothes.
  • Set a goal for the day. Whether it’s getting rid of ten pieces of clothing or sorting through a certain number of items, having a goal in mind will help you stay focused and motivated.
Black, white and gray clothing stacked on a white chair.
Photo: unsplash

How do you declutter clothes quickly?

If you’re in a hurry and want to declutter your clothes quickly, there are a few things you can do.

  • Start by taking quick inventory. Make a list of what you have and be honest about what you will actually wear.
  • Pass over each item quickly. Get rid of anything that doesn’t fit well or that you don’t love.
  • Set a timer. Challenge yourself to purge as many items as possible within the allotted time, then do this again another day, repeating the process for a month until you have achieved a decluttered wardrobe. 
  • Purge as you go. When getting dressed in the morning, if you try something on and it doesn’t feel good, add it to the donate or sell pile immediately.
Linen shirts hanging from a wooden clothing rack.
Photo: unsplash

What should you not do when decluttering?

There are a few things you should avoid when decluttering your clothes.

  • Don’t declutter without a plan. If you don’t have a plan, it will be challenging to stay focused and ruthless when getting rid of clothes and you can lose motivation for decluttering.
  • Don’t keep things “just in case.” This is one of the biggest problems when decluttering we tend to hang onto things “just in case.” But if you haven’t worn it in over a year, there’s a good chance you never will.
  • Avoid being sentimental. This is your chance to let go of those clothes you never wear but keep around because they hold sentimental value. Don’t be afraid to get rid of them!
  • Avoid holding on to items because of how much you paid for them. If you have a great pair of designer shoes you never wear, consider selling them and using the money to buy something you actually will.
  • Don’t keep items for a fictional life. For example, let’s say you have several blazers and skirts from a former corporate job but have recently become a stay-at-home mom (and don’t plan on going back to said job), it’s best to declutter those items. Your closet should contain clothes that are practical and relevant to the life you currently live. 

Your Decluttering Journey

It’s hard to let go of clothes we’ve invested in, even if we never wear them, and it can be challenging to find motivation for decluttering. 

How often have you held onto an article of clothing “just in case”? And how many times has that “just in case” actually happened? Probably not very often.

Decluttering your clothes can be challenging, but it’s so worth it (same goes for minimizing in other areas of your home like toy clutter!). When you rid yourself of the clothes you never wear, you make room for the clothes that make you feel your best and that gives you even more motivation for decluttering.

If you have the room, an IKEA PAX wardrobe is a great addition to any bedroom as it is allows for easy organization and avoiding the clutter that can accumulate in a regular closet! 

Follow these tips and be ruthless when decluttering your closet. You’ve got this!

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Clothing hung up in a closet.

More Minimalist Style Inspiration You’ll Love: 

Neutral Summer Capsule Wardrobe

Year-Round Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe

Spring Capsule Wardrobe

Maternity Capsule Wardrobe

Colorful Capsule Wardrobe

Mini Fall Capsule Wardrobe

Minimalist Dorm Room Ideas 


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