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  • Writer's pictureCassie D. Tilton

7 Easy Steps to Declutter your Closet

Woman sitting on the floor sorting and folding clothes that she will minimize to keep in her closet.
Sorting and keeping only what I wear often is key!

Whew…blink and it’s already been a hot minute since my last article. Life has a funny way to keep us occupied. To quickly recap, the last article I shared with you all was about the first area we tackled once we decided to push forward on our minimalistic journey, the Kitchen. Now, I’ll share with you of how we conquered our closet! We created three different areas in our bedroom: a place for selling, a place for donations, and a place for trash. Keeping it simple and reminding myself often to remain unattached to it all by focusing on functions and needs helped me keep the pace going. Following this order of categories is how we lightened the load and created much more space in our closet. Here are 7 easy steps to declutter your closet:

1. Shoes.

The many, many shoes. It wasn’t just me that had a pile of shoes that were hardly ever worn, my husband is just as guilty haha. I started with shoes, because it was the easiest option to feel a little accomplished early on. There were many pairs of shoes that I had not worn in years (or hardly ever wore), so I gathered them up and put them in the pile to sell. Then I placed in the donate pile ones that I used to wear often, but hardly touched anymore, yet they were still in good contidion to wear. Last, I went through and trashed the ones that needed to be trashed…you know the ones…the ones that are so deformed and “loved” that you wear them occasionally, but would never, ever step out of the house in them unless in an emergency? Yup…chucked them. What I kept were shoes that I wore on the regular, and also kept a nice pair of heels and boots on hand for the right occasions. Recognizing that I do not need 4 different pairs of black heels, or 3 different boots in brown, or several pairs of tennis shoes that I hardly ever wore helped me to keep attachment out of it and helped me focus on functions and needs.

2. Accessories.

I applied the same mindset as above to approaching all the accessories: belts, hats, scarves, jewelry, handbags, etc. All I did was continue to add to the piles as I went through each item. Any hats, scarves, jewelry, belts, purses, etc. that I no longer wore (or hardly ever wore) I placed in the sell pile. Then placed the items that were worn or used often at one time, but no longer the case, into the donate pile. Last, the items that were so overused and that were no longer being used, I placed in the trash pile. Again, focus on functions and needs to help remove any emotional attachment so you can move through it quicker.

3. Jackets & Sweaters.

Back in the day when I was working in an office, I collected all the jackets and sweaters a gal could get to layer up in an effort to look even more professional, annnnd to warm up in the ice box temperatures they kept the office at. Well, now that I am home, I no longer need 9/10ths of them so it was quick to get through them and only keep what I actually used when I need something to cover up with. So, I kept the ones that I had recently used and discarded the rest to the appropriate piles. That cleared up a lot of space! Remember: stay focused on function and needs to keep emotions out of it. You’ll feel the momentum building to encourage you to keep pushing through it. You can do it!

Photo of cabinets filled to max capacity and items overflowing onto the floor outside of the cabinets with a quote by Cozy Minimalism stating, "Just because we have the space, doesn't mean we should fill it with stuff."

4. Dresses & Skirts.

Since I was no longer working, I had stopped wearing most of the dresses and skirts I owned, so I was able to sell and donate the majority of them. This actually was a very freeing part of the process as it felt like that door was being completely closed and a new life was emerging for me, especially on this minimalistic journey. It felt like peaceful closure with an excited expectancy of fresh life to be lived with space to breathe. Keeping emotion out of it by applying my thoughts to functions and needs, only a few dresses made the cut to remain for the times when I do need something nice to wear to events and gatherings.

5. Pants & Shorts.

Remember those jeans or shorts you absolutely loved when you were in high school, because they fit you just right in all the right places? Yeah…those need to go, dear. Going through my pants and shorts made me realize how long I had hung onto some of my clothes thinking, “Oh, I’ll be able to get into them and get that oooo-ahhhh feeling again when I slip them on.” If you’ve accomplished that, congratulations! You are a rare gem and deserve to be celebrated! For those of us who haven’t (raising my hand here!), just overcome the tug of desire to hold onto them and donate them. You’ll wish you would have sooner! Believe me, it’s been many, many years since I’ve slipped some of mine back on and gotten that feeling, so logically, I know that if it hasn’t happened yet, it's not going to happen in the next six months, or longer! Just. Let. Go.

6. Tops.

Tops encompasses t-shirts, spaghetti-strap tops, strapless tops, hoodies, long sleeved tops, etc. Gotta admit, this one was a little harder for me, because when I buy tops I put much thought into, “How cute is this on me?!”. Not buying something that I don’t think is cute on me prevents me from buying just for the sake of buying. However, I placed more emphasis on my tops than I did pants or shorts so it was harder to let go of many of them, and there were many! So, I approached tops by focusing on timelines. When was the last time I wore this? If it had been more than six months, then I placed them in a pile of 6+ months. If it had been 3-6 months, then I placed them in a pile of 3-6 months. Less than 3 months went in a pile also of 3- months. This helped me to visually see just how many I had not even touched within the last six months. Those automatically went into piles of either sell, donate, or trash. Sifting through the 3-6 months pile I would question if I really even liked them and delegate as necessary. If a top was questionable, then I would try it on and see how it fit to see if it was one I really liked and would actually wear again. You’d be surprised to know how many fit funky so I ended up delegating as needed to the right pile of sell, donate or trash accordingly. For the tops in the 3- months pile, I narrowed it down to the ones I wore the most often (as in the last few weeks) and held onto those. The rest I would repeat the same steps of trying them on and actually seeing if I loved them and if they fit right…if wasn’t a thrilled “Yes!” to both of those factors, then they got the boot. Another admission is that this is an ongoing process for me with tops. For some reason I have the hardest time parting with them, so there are still tops in my closet that should go, but I’m just not there yet to say, “Tootles!”. One day…just not today…and I’m okay with that.

Letting go doesn't mean you no longer want it. It means you know you will still be okay without it. ~ Mark Anthony

7. Storage Items.

These are probably items that you just don’t know where to keep them, or are not up for taking the time to place them in the attic, so they end up in the closet and tucked out of sight. Which, the fact they are still reachable helps all the more so you can face them head-on and toss what you can. We had a few boxes of random items in our closet that I went through and was truly able to toss most of it. This felt so good and freed up even more space! If items have been boxed up for an extended period of time, going unopened, and just seem to move with you from place to place, or are just shuffled around the house before making its way to the attic or even off-site storage, then chances are you don’t, and won’t ever, need them again. Take the plunge and purge it!

My husband is a master at getting rid of things without even having to go through a mental battle or checklist for any of it. He’s quick to the draw and super motivating through it! Made me fall in love with him all over again, he’s my hero (insert heart-eyes emoji here). He definitely went through this process way faster than I ever could. Once we completely got through our closet, we handled the piles we created respectively and then reorganized the items we chose to keep. It is amazing how big our closet became and how little we actually used. There might be other things you keep in your closet, and there might be things I mentioned above that you don’t keep in there, either way you can add or subtract to the above list of things to go through and tailor the time you use to focus on the categories that do fit your needs. Remember, there is no reason to force yourself and be miserable or regretful by getting rid of anything you aren’t ready to part with…so, go at your own pace and listen to your gut and make your choices based on what brings you more peace. You will still be accomplishing so much no matter how big your piles to sell, donate, or trash are.

I’d love to hear about your journey towards simplifying and would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Just leave a note below or you can contact me here and we’ll connect!

Sending each of you loads of Love and Light,


P.S. Sharing these again, because these are great resources to lean into when starting, or expanding, your minimalistic journey:

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1 Comment

Jul 09, 2023

Thank you for the motivation! I really enjoyed this! It’s amazing how much I need to do this again when I really think about it, I did this about 1.5 years ago and I know I need to do it again!

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