Closet Decluttering Process

Closet Decluttering Process

November 27, 2017

If you have read The Power of organization , you’ll know it is only an introduction that shares my point of view regarding why I consider it essential to learn to organize your stuff. Although I try every month to get rid of the things I don’t need, I have to admit I haven’t done a full decluttering of my closet for almost a year. Honestly, it took me a long time to do it because either I didn’t have enough time, or as my husband wisely says, “I decided to do other things.” After reflecting on that, I genuinely think that waiting for a year to declutter my closet, was too much time. Let us do it at least two times per year. December is coming, and I think there’s no better time to do this; it’s a fresh start for the new year to come.

Closet decluttering process

I’m gonna share with you my closet decluttering process, but before we get started, here are some important things that you need to take into account:

You’ll be getting rid of stuff! If you are not sure about how to decide which garments and items you are going to keep, from the ones you’re gonna get rid of, it would help if you read the What To Wear section, to learn what are the best garments for you, depending on what you want to achieve. For example, if you consider yourself to have wide shoulders and you don’t know how to make them look smaller through clothing, you can learn here how to do it; it will make your decluttering closet task so much easier.

Do it alone! The closet is your most personal space! You’ll get confused if you do it accompanied, let the garments talk to you! Unless, of course, you’re getting professional assistance.

It takes time! How much will depend on the amount of clothing you have. It takes me almost a day to declutter my closet. Try not to do it in a hurry, take your time.

The process is divided into three main topics: The Setup, The Garment Selection, and The Closing. Now that you know the basics, let’s get down to business…


Prepare your decluttering outfit

Prepare yourself, wear the most comfortable clothes you have. I like to use a Mickey’s pajama that is easy to take off, so whenever I want to try a certain garment, it’s easy for me to change my clothes. (Some of the photos you’ll see here were taken the next day, my Mickey’s pajama is not my best outfit!)

Are you a “whistle while you work” kind of person?

In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo , she doesn’t recommend listening to any music while performing this task, because you can get easily distracted. However, I do it because I feel happy and energized. But if you can’t concentrate on the task at hand because you begin singing all the songs… then, it’s better for you to do the work without it. Today I chose Lana del Rey to help me with my task.

Closet decluttering music - Lana del Rey - Born to Die CD Cover

Setup the space

You’ll need two spaces, you’ll see why later. It can be your bed, the floor, a big table, or even all of them – whatever is available to you. On the bed, I got rid of all the cushions in order to have a flat surface.  If you have a rack, it would be great to use it to hang the heaviest garments, like jackets and coats.

Closet decluttering - Setup the space
Closet decluttering - Ready the space

Bring your closet back to its original state –Clean and empty!

Take everything out of your closet! Absolutely everything!… and clean it!!!!

Clean and Empty Closet - Closet Decluttering
Bed full of clothes - Closet Decluttering

Group your garments by kind

Separate every kind of garment you have. as you can see in the pic below, I separated every garment by category. I stacked all the T-shirts, blouses, sweaters, etc., each of them in a separate pile. This really comes in handy when deciding whether or not a piece of clothing will continue to be part of your wardrobe. I usually prefer to begin my selection with the printed T-shirts, but you can do it in the order you prefer, it doesn’t matter, the most important thing is that you analyze one pile at a time. This will also help prevent you from becoming overwhelmed.

Arrange garments by kind - Closet decluttering process
Closet decluttering process - Arrange garments by kind


Choose the garments you love the most

In order to choose the garments that will be in your wardrobe again, you should answer these three important questions:

  1. Do I love this garment?
  2. Do I feel comfortable wearing it?
  3. Do I really want it to be part of my closet again?

If all of the questions were answered affirmatively, then put this garment in your wardrobe again. All of the garments you saved in your closet without hesitation are called your, “Winner Garments”.

If all the answers were negative. You should discard this garment. There’s no chance you’ll wear it again, either because you don’t love it or you don’t feel comfortable wearing it. It’s completely useless to take it back to your closet.

In any other case, if you hesitated about keeping a garment, put it aside in another space or table. In the next point, I’m gonna tell you what to do with them.

Choose the garments you love the most
Choose the garments you love the most and put them back in your wardrobe

Setting aside the ones you’re not sure about yet

In the second space —I chose a table— put the garments that you are not 100% sure about keeping. I know sometimes it can be really hard to choose.  So, when a garment confuses me, I try matching it with two or more of the “Winner Garments.” Remember, the “Winner Garments” are those you decided to keep and put back into your closet — because you love them without hesitation. I try to create as many outfits as I can, and see if each garment matches with the rest of the “Winner Garments.”  If it convinces me enough, because it looks amazing, I proceed to check the condition of the garment. If it’s in a good condition, then I take it back to my closet. But, if it’s in a bad condition, the most important question to answer is: Is it fixable? If it is, then send it to the tailor or fix it yourself. Otherwise, write them down on a list –  a “wish list” –  that you can take with you next time you go replacement shopping. Otherwise, write them down on a list —A wish list— that you can take with you the next time you go replacement shopping. At the end of this article, you’ll find a diagram that will help remind you about all of this, so don’t worry if it sounds complicated.

Closet decluttering choosing garments
Closet decluttering choosing garments

Closet Decluttering Infographic

This is a summary of the process that I practice when choosing what to do with each garment. I hope it comes in handy when you do your own closet decluttering!

Closet Decluttering Infographic
Closet Decluttering Infographic

Download a PDF version here Closet Decluttering Infographic

The Closing

Check everything out…One last time

Now that you have all the clothing you’ve decided will remain with you, take a last look at your whole closet. Sometimes I feel that I need to get rid of one more garment… and I do!

Closet Decluttering Check Everything one last time
Check Everything one last time

Closet decluttering final result

Ask your wardrobe to strike its best pose, It is a good idea to take pictures of the whole process, and the final result, to feel proud of the work you’ve accomplished.

Closet Decluttering Final Result
Closet Decluttering Final Result


Keep what you love, let go of everything else

Always remember to keep the garments you really love! When you let go, you’re creating space for something better.

Optimize the garments in your closet

A really good way to optimize my closet and take advantage of all the garments I own, is planning my outfits on a weekly basis. If you want to know how I do it, read My Ultimate Tool of Organization and Outfit Planning: The Garment Rack.

Keep most of your items visible

I had some bags and shoes stored separately, due to their fabric. I didn’t want them damaged — but, I decided it was better to have them be visible, otherwise, I would never use them. For example, I had a pair of suede heels stored in a box in the far end of my closet, and I decided to wrap them in transparent plastic bags to protect them from the dust, yet at the same time, leave them completely visible.

Do it!

It can be hard to set aside an entire day to declutter your entire closet, but you can try to declutter one kind of garment per day. For example, one day begin analyzing your blouses, the next day your pants, etc… For me, it has always been better to do everything in one day, because I can focus better. But do whatever works for you.

Disclaimer: Where I live we only have wet and dry seasons, so if you have other seasons I recommend only decluttering the garments of your current season.

My Closet Decluttering: Before and after

These are before and after pictures of my closet.

Closet Decluttering before and after
Closet Decluttering before and after

These are the details

Garments I got rid of

I got rid of 69 pieces between: clothing, bags, accessories, and shoes.

Garments sent to the tailor

4 pieces of clothing. The reason why I need to repair some pieces, is that I lost weight.


Closet Decluttering Garments I got rid of
Closet Decluttering Clothing I got rid of
Closet Decluttering Clothing I got rid of

Final Thoughts of my closet decluttering

I have to tell you that I always feel awkward in the beginning. Sometimes it is hard for me to leave things behind, but once I do it – I feel relieved! Because I have the things that I really want in my life. Overall, I think it is a process that is really worth doing. Once in a while, you need to stop and reflect. Question the things you do. Question the things that you own. This will help you to become a better version of yourself.

This closet decluttering process has helped me a lot! It’s helped me to realize, that deep inside – I don’t need so much stuff to be happy. I made a promise to myself that I would do my wardrobe decluttering again in 6 months. We are in December, 2017 at this very moment; my promise is to do it again in June, 2018. I don’t know what will happen, we will see. Maybe I get rid of more things, or maybe I had the need to add more things to my wardrobe, or to replace damaged garments… I don’t know, the only thing I know for sure – is that it will be even more exciting because I’ll know more about myself.

Don’t think this is the first time that I’ve done this; I have done this a lot of times! In the beginning, I was a real mess, I would just throw all my garments on the bed. I didn’t have any advise, step-by-step process, or method that would help me in my task. Years later, when I studied Fashion Consultancy, I learned the all important theory behind closet decluttering, but not the emotional feelings involved. They never told me that I needed to have a profound love for the things I wear and own.  I have learned this all over the years, and wanted to share it with you – to prepare you – to help relieve some of the anxiety, stress, and confusion that can sometimes come from such a rewarding, yet emotional task.

Red heels decluttering
Red heels decluttering

I would love to know if you have your own closet decluttering process. Let me know in the comments section below.👇🏽

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Closet Decluttering Process
What to Wear Guide


This guide will help you create the image you’ve always wanted, understanding how garments work and what effects they create in your body.

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