The thought of downsizing and decluttering an entire wardrobe is enough to send most people off the deep end. Trust me, I’ve been there. I had clothes bursting out of every drawer and a huge need to declutter my closet.
That is why I've made this simple 5 step guide that you can follow to step into minimalism. It's going show you how to declutter your closet and make some income at the same time!
5 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Closet
Step 1- Take Everything Out
I mean everything. Just rip it all off the hangers, out of the drawers, and off the shelves.
Then, pour on gasoline and light the match. Welcome to Minimalism! (omg… I’m just kidding.)
It's okay to make a giant mess for the moment. It's really the only way you can properly sort all your clothes, so don't fret. Pull everything out for the next step, don't forget about shoes, jackets and even underwear.
Also in Step 1 - Sort all the "Hell No's"
We all have those questionable items lingering in the depths of the closet. The old stained shirts, the jeans with the ripped crotch, or dog ugly online shopping fails . Do yourself a favour: Get rid of these pieces right away to make the rest of the de-cluttering easier.
‘Hell No' items will include:
– Clothes that are ripped, stained, broken, super worn out.
– Clothes that you really don’t like, would NEVER buy again, or have been meaning to get rid of anyway.
Recycle or trash the lost causes, donate or gift the items that might have another chance with someone else.
Now that the bottom of the barrel is out of the way, we can get down to business.
Step 2- Make TWO Piles
For this closet declutter to work, you have to divide the clothing into 2 piles.
A ‘YES' pile an a ‘GO OVER' pile.
DON’T FREAK OUT.
Just because something is not in the ‘YES’ pile doesn’t mean you have to give it up. Just trust me.
Asking each item this one question is the ONLY filter we are using to determine these piles:
“Have I worn you in the last 12 months”
If the answer is YES, place in the ‘YES' pile and set aside.
If the answer is NO, place in the ‘GO OVER’ pile.
Step 3- Ask These 4 Questions
Downsize the ‘GO OVER’ Pile by asking 4 key questions.
Making progress on this pile is going to look like a speed dating interview, so get ready!
Ask these 4 questions:
1. “Does this item bring me joy?”
2. “Would I buy this item again?”
3. “Could I borrow or rent a similar item in the future if ‘just in case’ actually happened?”
4. “Would I rather have this item, or the MONEY I could have for it instead?”
It's really easy to make excuses or stories on WHY we should keep certain items. One of my favorites is: “But what IF I need it?!”. We live in a world where items are so easily obtained if/when a need should ever arise.
Listen: If an item doesn't bring you joy and you don't wear it…pull the trigger!
These questions are the most effective tool to clear the mental fog when it comes to clothes. You will have a crystal clear vision on whether to keep it, or break up with it.
Step 4- Hang Up 'YES' Items
The ‘YES' pile will now include items from two places. The clothes that passed all 4 of the ‘GO OVER’ pile test questions, plus the clothes you already wear/love.
The key is to organize and hang up all these clothes right away and make it look beautiful. The more streamlined and organized your closet is with ‘YES' items, the less likely you are to clutter it back up again.
You might want to organize it by colour or my fav, by type of clothing.
Personally, I like to hang up clothes based on type. I'll put dressy stuff in first and then casual clothes afterwards. I also sort them based on sleeve length to make choosing for the weather that day much easier. Making sure the types of clothes I wear most often are the easiest to grab is key. Clothes I only wear occasionally are further back to help my closet stay organized.
I fold pants four time and shorts two times to allow for horizontal storage. This way they looked ‘filed' and are easier to grab and identify without messing everything up.
Since everyone is different, make a system of organization that jives with your personality.
Step 5 - Sell/Donate Un-needed Items
This is the most CRUCIAL step of decluttering your closet! All the clothes that did not pass your 4 ‘GO OVER’ test questions have to go. It's so important NOT to get lazy/bored/frustrated and cram these items back in the closet. They need to be donated, gifted to a friend, or sold.
Should I sell my stuff?
You should SELL your used clothes if you:
Have any DEBT on credit cards, student loans, car loans, etc.
Are trying to SAVE for something important like a wedding, education, vacation or big purchase.
I didn't realize how much extra money I had laying around until I decluttered my closet. It makes me wish I had done it much sooner!
How to sell your used clothes:
You can sell your used clothes a few different ways.
Any city I have ever been in has a consignment store, so if you just want them off your plate ASAP, but still want some cash for them, bring them to a local consignment or used clothing store in your area. There are also online consignments stores that will ship you a pre-paid bag to fill with clothes to send back to them. For normal clothes try out: ThredUp or Swap.
For luxury items, try: The Real Real or The Upside (Canada).
If you want to get the MOST money for your stuff, try selling it yourself. You can do this with:
I have personally used Facebook Groups to sell over $8000 of my used stuff. I suggest either Facebook Marketplace, or looking up your local cities buy/sell groups. No annoying shipping was involved, as people just came to place to pickup items they wanted.
You can more tips on doing that HERE.
Apps make it easier than ever to sell your used clothing. First of all, they allow you to take photos of your clothing and list yourself in under 60 seconds. Then, when you get a buyer, they pay for you to ship the item to their address. The best apps are Poshmark and Tradesy.
Face to Face
Get rid of your stuff the good ol' fashioned way! Host a garage sale or set up a used clothes party with some girlfriends.
The reason why we hung everything up already in step 4 is to ensure you don’t start putting items from this pile back into your closet. Try and sell anything you can to pay off debt or save money. If your items aren't selling, try adjusting the price by at least 25%. If they still aren't selling, then it’s time to donate to someone less fortunate. Stuffing them back into the depths of your closet to never be worn again is actually pretty selfish when you think about it.
There are many people in need who would benefit from your neglected items. Donating and gifting is a great way to pay it forward.
List, sell, and enjoy the extra closet space and cash in your pocket.
Huge thanks to Victoria for lending me her closet, letting me help her downsize, and for her photography!
How to Declutter your Closet - 5 Easy Steps to Minimalism
1. Take everything out of the closet/drawers
2. Make 2 Piles – YES and GO OVER
3. Sort your GO OVER pile items based on the 4 key questions
4. Hang up and organize your YES pile
5. Sell the un-needed clothes, or drop off at donation centre.