​Controlling the Clutter: Part 2 - Closet Overhaul

Jan 24th 2022

In our last blog we shared some tips for how to reduce clutter, specifically kids’ toys, games, crafts, and paperwork. When it comes to clutter, your mind may not immediately drift next to an overstuffed closet, but that’s what we’re going to tackle next.

This is the perfect time of year to purge a few things from the closets and drawers in your house. Being firmly planted in a specific season allows you to reflect on what you did or didn’t wear the previous season. Additionally, you can see what you’re regularly skipping over in the current season. As an added plus, this time of year many organizations are collecting coats, shoes, and clothes to donate in various ways.

Why Bother?

Do you feel like you have a closet full of clothes and shoes, and yet nothing to wear? Our closets have a tendency to fill up, especially as we go through seasonal and style changes. Having too many clothes and shoes makes it difficult to find what you are actually looking for, robs you of time as you try to sort through it all (and perhaps leaves you with a pile to hang back up or put back away once you’ve decided it doesn’t look just right), and often plays on our mood or emotions when we look at things that remind us of what we used to wear, but don’t or can’t any longer. Simply put, purging your closet allows you to free yourself of something that doesn’t quite serve you anymore, and instead allows you to have a wardrobe you love. And that’s a win for sure.

Start Small

As we did with the toy purge, remember to start small. You don’t need to tackle every closet and drawer in your house in one fell swing. Set a timer for 30 minutes and declutter one small area. Instead of taking everything out of your closet, focus on one shelf of shoes or one category of clothing, such as sweaters or jeans. Instead of emptying out your whole dresser, just go through one drawer. Remember, these small steps will eventually make a big difference.

Making Decisions

Probably the hardest part of any purge is knowing what to keep and what to let go. To that end, it’s good to have a plan and some criteria. The right perspective is also key. There’s freedom in the purge. There’s peace in knowing you’ve simplified your life in one small way. There’s comfort in having done something kind for yourself.

Consider asking yourself the following questions as you go through your belongings:

Does it Fit?

Obviously, the first step in a clothing clutter cleanout is trying things on. When you do, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if the piece of clothing fits—and not just fits, but fits well. Did you used to like your shirts longer and baggier, but now you prefer a more tailored look? Can you button a pair of pants, but it hugs you a little differently than it used to and you know you’re not really going to be comfortable wearing it anymore? Bodies change, and that’s okay! Holding onto clothes in the hopes that “someday” you might wear them again is an anchor that just holds you down and prevents you from loving yourself and moving forward.

Is it Versatile and Practical?

It’s important to be intentional about the space you have and use it for items that you can continue wearing over time and for different occasions. Items that have only one use or aren’t practical in your daily life might be taking up space in your closet and drawers that could be better suited for other more useful things. A wardrobe with items that are simple, yet stylish allows you to mix and match outfits. Having a classic pair of shoes that go with a variety of outfits and can be worn over multiple seasons is a perfect addition to your closet. Simple wardrobe staples that you can dress up or down and wear on multiple occasions are a great investment. This criteria is also a great way to pare down items—if you have several similar shirts, choose the two that are the most practical, versatile, and reflective of your style.

Do I Love it?

There’s a big difference between “Eh, it’s okay,” or “I might wear it someday,” and “I love this!” Clothes that fit well and fit our current style and needs feel good and instill confidence. It’s amazing how feeling good on the outside can change our entire outlook on the day! As you try items on, ask yourself, Do I love it? Does this make me feel my best? Do I want to keep this on and not change out of it? Does this make me feel comfortable in my own skin? If the answer is "No," then it’s time to make a new plan for that item. You may have to fill in some gaps with the items you choose to purge, but buying what truly fits well and feels good is a great investment in yourself.

Why am I Holding onto This?

Purging clothes is emotional. Despite our best intentions, sometimes it’s just really hard to get rid of things you’ve bought that are still in good shape, even if they don’t fit properly or make you happy. If you answered “No” to the Do I Love It? question, but you’re still finding it difficult to let go of that item, ask yourself why you’re holding onto it.

Someday Mentality

This one stings a bit, but how often do we push off the decision about whether to keep something by saying, “I might wear it someday”? Yet, someday never seems to come. This is especially true of items we keep just in case we might need them in the future. Things like that cocktail dress you wore once or the business suit you used in your “former life” are probably just taking up space.


We all have certain clothing items that have sentimental value. Perhaps it’s the pair of shoes you wore on your wedding day (but haven’t worn since), or the top that once belonged to your grandmother, or anything along those lines. If you have sentimental or heirloom clothing items you don’t want to part with, consider placing them in a bin in the attic or under your bed so they’re not taking up valuable space in your dresser or closet.


It makes sense that you hold onto items you’ve spent a lot of money on, even if you’re not wearing them. Somehow you feel less guilty about the money you spent if it’s still sitting there in your closet. If you get rid of it, it’s wasteful, right? But hanging onto something and not wearing it doesn’t give your purchase value. Usually, it does the opposite and becomes a negative reminder in your closet. The bottom line is, it’s more wasteful for shoes or an article of clothing to be in your closet not being worn and becoming outdated than it is hanging in someone else’s closet, blessing another person who needs it.


Did you receive a cozy sweater from a good friend, but you simply didn’t have the heart to tell her it’s not your style? Are you keeping something just to make someone else happy? While gifts should be valued and treasured, sometimes we get something we just don’t love. But someone else might. That gift can still serve a wonderful purpose as a donated or shared item.

After going through the above process, if you’re still unsure about something, create a “Maybe Bin” in your closet and add a few items into it—things you can’t seem to part with but know you don’t truly love. If you decide you’d like to wear it after all, add it back into your closet or dresser. If not, find it a new home. This helps reduce any feelings of remorse or stress during the process.

Purged Items

You’ve made it through your shoe and clothing purge. Now what? If you have items that are in good shape, you might be able to sell them. Check out a local consignment shop or look into reselling them on online sites (such as Thredup, Poshmark, or other local buy/sell/trade marketplaces).

For items in good shape that aren’t really sellable, consider a worthwhile donation. There are many local organizations that provide clothing to needy individuals in the community (such as schools, county resource centers, shelters, etc.). There are also organizations that take clothing or shoes to instill entrepreneurship (such as Soles4Souls). For dressier clothing, look into an organization that takes nicer dresses (such as Tim Tebow’s Night to Shine that hosts prom-like events for individuals with special needs) or places that need suits or business attire for individuals who are reentering the professional world after serving their country, being in poverty, or being incarcerated (such as Dress for Success or a local verteran’s center).

If your items are stained, ripped, or in bad shape, recycle them (for rags, etc.) or throw them out.

A simplified closet and dresser is refreshing, and it allows you to start rebuilding your wardrobe with a new perspective. What a perfect way to start the new year!

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