The other day I was shuffling through my closet trying to find something to wear when I came across a sweater I haven’t worn in ages. I started to notice old shoes and belts that had been literally collecting dust because I no longer wear them. When it comes to getting organized Marie Kondo says it best “If it doesn’t spark joy, get rid of it” and that is exactly what I am going to help you achieve with this guide on how to declutter your closet.
Like any large cleaning or organizational task, it can seem daunting and like you will never complete it, but I promise you, once you get started it’s hard to stop and the next thing you know after you’re done with your closet you will be decluttering every area of your home! If you’re anything like me your closet holds more than just your clothing, I have a bin of old electronics like a backup iPhone or two that I thought I would need and never did (thank you Apple Care), I also have a bin of socks that I couldn’t match up.
What are the benefits of decluttering your wardrobe?
There are so many benefits to decluttering your bedroom closet, not only will it free up space and make room for new items but it will give you immense satisfaction when you walk into your organized space. Truly is there much better than walking into something freshly cleaned? When you declutter, you remove the stress and anxiety from your life, and you can increase your creativity and productivity when you do this.
Another great reason to declutter your wardrobe is you rid your home of allergens that can build up, if you’re an animal lover you know how quickly pet hair can accumulate in your home which can eventually start to cause irritation for you and your family members. Dust and pollen are also contributing factors to this and decluttering your closet will help improve your airflow and, let’s be real… who likes looking at dust?
How often should you declutter your closet?
There is no hard and fast rule to decluttering your closet, you can do it every season, every other season, or maybe once a year, for me it all depends on if I need to make room or if I am continually passing up clothing items and need a little refresh. If you are decluttering often consider ensuring that you are doing this in a sustainable way, host a clothing swap party with some friends and swap clothes with them, it’s a great way to rid yourself of the garments that have gone unworn and it’s a sustainable way to get new items (bonus: you don’t have to spend money).
Where to donate your unwanted clothes?
Donation is one of the many examples of how to get rid of clothes clutter. You can take your clothing to your local Value Village, Salvation Army, or any local thrift stores in your city. Donating your clothing helps to reduce textile waste which accounts for 35% of microplastics that are released into the environment, on top of that it takes 2,700 litres of water to produce one t-shirt.
Eco Fact: 2,700 litres of water for one t-shirt could give a single person enough drinking water to last two and a half years.
If you’re trying to get a little money in your pocket for your old jeans, shirts, or coats then selling them is a great option! There are a few ways you can do this, whichever way that is easiest for you and makes the most sense for your time whether it’s online or selling your clothes to places like Plato’s Closet who will buy your clothing from you and resell them, if they can’t buy your clothes, they will donate them for you. Here are some ideas on how to sell your clothes online and declutter your items.
- List them on Facebook Marketplace
- Sell to shops like Plato’s closet (or whatever your local store may be)
- Share your items for sale on your Instagram through your stories
- List your items on Poshmark
- Sell your garments on ThreadUP
How to be ruthless when decluttering your wardrobe?
It’s time to crank up your favorite song and let the decluttering begin!! I’ve got some helpful tips that are guaranteed to declutter that closet and leave nothing behind.
1. Get in the mood and get it done
Cleaning and organizing can be hard but one thing I’ve learned over the years is that once you start a task like this, you must follow through to completion. Leaving it for another time or getting unmotivated is only going to leave you with a bigger mess than you started with. So for real, turn up that Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, or Taylor Swift, whatever your musical taste is, and make it a vibe, decluttering can be fun.
2. Make piles
Make a keep, donate, and reuse pile and start sifting through the stuff in your closet, whatever you absolutely know you’re going to keep putting it in that pile, donations in another pile, and anything that you can repurpose or give new life to goes in another pile. When I do a reuse pile, I find it helpful to store it in something that I know will keep it organized and on hand when I need it. This system will keep you organized and really sorts out what needs to go where. You can also incorporate a sell pile if you are planning to list your items.
3. Let go of the sentiment
The hardest part about being ruthless when decluttering your closet is the memories that your old pair of skinny jeans hold… well forget about the time Sally spilled her sixth margarita on your pants at Julio’s and you both laughed hysterically… It's time to move on and donate them to someone who will make new memories with them.
4. Limit your hangers
Yup, you read that right. Limit the number of hangers you have. This will help you keep the items that are essential and a must-have, I know it sounds like a hard task, but you’ve got this! It’s also a great way of keeping organized in the long run because you can keep your garments in circulation. If you start noticing items you’re not wearing, then start up a little box and keep that item in there until you have enough stuff to donate.
5. Swap out seasons
Storing your winter clothes until you need them is a great way to declutter and really focus on the season’s current items. Of course, you will need to have some stuff out for cold rainy days, but do you really need that teddy coat right now? Probably not. Put away the previous season’s garments and store them in containers or boxes until that season rolls around again.
6. If all else fails, do this one thing!
One of the biggest deterrents to decluttering is finding the time to do it! Over the past year here on The Eco Hub, I have covered a lot of stories related to decluttering both my home and my closet, and the biggest feedback I have gotten from you my readers is finding the time to actually declutter is hard.
I get it takes time to go through a kitchen cupboard or a drawer in your home, it can seem like a very overwhelming task. It’s a big reason why we tend to put off decluttering altogether and end up hoarding it instead.
This got me thinking, how can we make this more doable for people? It's simple, I keep a small basket at the bottom of my closet for clothes I am not wearing or just don't want anymore but were just hanging in my closet.
After a few months, the box was filled with clothing that was ready to be donated. This simple practice has eliminated the hours I would need to put aside to do a full closet purge.
If you have kids this is a great way to get rid of clothes that don’t fit them anymore. If they try it on and it does not fit, it goes in the box. After a few months, you will have a full box ready for donation.
You can do this in any room of the house, not just the bedroom/closet. If you come across something in your home that you know you don’t want, simply place it in the box, when it’s full, it's ready to go!
This is a super-simple way to approach what can feel like a monumental task. But it's also an exercise in mindful consumption. We are buying way too much stuff, shopping for vintage, secondhand, or thrift is a great way to reduce your impact. You can also think about how to create a capsule wardrobe by only shopping for secondhand clothes. Or even how to find affordable ethical clothing on a budget.
A final word on decluttering your closet
I think the most important aspect of greening your closet is to understand and ask yourself what is sustainable and ethical fashion anyway.
The fashion industry is producing 90 billion garments per year and we are buying them up faster than they can make them. On average we are buying 62 new items every year and paying less, sometimes half, than we were ever before. And to make matter worse about 18 of the 62 items we buy never even get worn! I am so guilty of this. ☹️
Those unworn garments make up almost 1.7 billion items. Obviously, this is not sustainable at all. Ethical fashion costs more money and is not accessible to everyone. In her book CHEAP, Ellen Ruppell says "cheap objects resist involvement. We tend to invest less in their purchase, care, and maintenance and that's part of what makes them so attractive. We have grown to accept and relish the easy birth and easy death of objects".
It's why fast fashion exists!
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