How to Clean Your Closet for Good

I opened up my closet this weekend, and an avalanche of clothes fell out practically burying me with cotton, muslin, and wool.

I grabbed a trash bag to begin sorting clothes to send to Goodwill, but every item I picked up flooded me with memories. One dress was a what I wore on our honeymoon, and another shirt was one I wore when I began dating my hubby, I couldn’t get rid of them could I?

By the time I finally shoved my clothes back into my closet, and closed the door with a crowbar I was sweaty and emotionally exhausted, and I had only put one pair of shoes (that rubbed my heels raw) and a few cast-offs in my bag. Leaving hundreds of clothes untouched.

After a couple days of thinking about all those clothes I knew I had to dive back into the war zone that was my closet. I grabbed my bag of discarded clothes, poured myself a cup of coffee, and proceeded to haul out every single stitch of clothing hubs and I own into the living room. It towered half way to the ceiling, no joke. As I stared at this behemoth pile of clothes I begin to get mad at it. Frustrated that these clothes were not only taking over a perfectly good Sunday, but that I had spent so much time taking care of them over the years.

With a murderous gleam in my eye I began culling the herd.

After many hours of sorting through my clothes, and hubby going through his, we had gotten rid of many pounds worth of apparel. Leaving a good sized pile to fold, hang up, and put away. Surprise, surprise all the clothes we had left fit remarkably well in our over-sized closet.

I tend to hold on to the past, and this bled over into my wardrobe.
I finally worked my way through my closet using these tips, and I am SO happy I did.

How to Clean your Closet for Good

1. Set aside 1-3 pieces of clothes for emotional reasons.

The first thing I did was put away a couple things that really meant a lot to me, and that I plan to use in quilts someday. I realized that I wore quite a few dresses on our honeymoon, and only kept the two that meant the most to me. Hubby, also, held onto the shirt he wore on our second date, and a few alohaย (hawaiian) shirts he had brought with him from Maui when he started college.

2. Pretend like you are a shopper putting together a wardrobe.

The easiest way for me to be brutally honest, and get rid of the most amount of clothes was to pretend I was someone else. I walked into that closet, used a french accent, and tossed aside anything that did not fit my vision for my wardrobe. This included some mustard yellow pants that didn’t fit, a slew of dresses I have never worn, and several bright-colored clothes. By seeing my closet as a whole rather than a bunch of pie

3. See Your Closet as a Whole Rather than a bunch of pieces.

I tend to buy a lot of bright-colored clothes. Before I began I had two pairs of bright yellow pants, a red coat, a pink dress, bright blue shoes, and a slew of bright shirts. No wonder I have trouble putting an outfit together! When I looked at my closet as a whole I either got rid of the pieces that did not fit or I set them aside and wrote down what I needed to buy in order to make an outfit.

4. Give the Cast-Offs to a Friend

Even going through this process and getting rid of clothes was liberating it can still be hard to get rid of the clothes, and even harder to see them show up in your local goodwill. One of the ways to beat this is by giving them to a friend who might appreciate them! One of my aunts used to give us bags of her clothes growing up, and my Mom, sister and I loved her style so much that we would dump out the clothes and take turns choosing piece by piece. Ha! Your clothes could be a major blessing to someone else! And when you are giving a beloved dress to a person you know it makes it a lot easier to let go.

My closet is now clean, tidy and peaceful for a change. All because of a little tough love, a long Sunday afternoon, and a few trash bags.

Do you have trouble letting go of clothes? What are your secrets for a clean closet?

18 thoughts on “How to Clean Your Closet for Good”

  1. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ve seen many articles and blog posts that talk about the Kondo method. One of the things that stuck with me was to get rid of anything that does not bring you joy. While I won’t apply this to my whole house, because there are needed things that don’t bring me joy, it worked wonders with my wardrobe. It is so much easier to get dressed now. I have only pieces that I love, and that look good on me. I don’t have to worry about what to wear.

  2. I love this! About once a month I’ve been going through my closet and each time, I get rid of a little more (after the first initial major purge!). The sentimental attachment has been big – there’s a couple dresses I never wear but haven’t removed from my closet yet for this reason – one I wear the night I got engaged, another my rehearsal dinner dress. LOL. Looking at my closet as a whole instead of each piece individually has definitely helped though! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for reading, Becky! I think it is important to keep a few pieces that have sentimental value. The problem is I was keeping EVERYTHING, because I could find a memory for every piece of clothing if I thought hard enough. Ha ha!

  3. Great job! This is exactly what caused me to start a capsule wardrobe… and now I blog about it haha! But really, it can be so hard to part with items of your wardrobe that you spent money on or had an emotional attachment to at some point, but it’s SO worth it!

    Karin |

  4. I needed to read this post so much! My husband is always making fun of me because EVERYTHING has a memory. I need to go through my entire house and simply remember them one more time and then get rid of the things I don’t absolutely need.

  5. Olivia @ Simply Liv

    These are great tips! It seriously take courage to go through your clothes and get rid of them- especially ones you’re attached to. Good work!

    1. Ha ha! That is a lot of shorts, but I would have hated to count my skirts before I weeded some out. Skirts and dresses are my kryptonite. I don’t even wear them that often, but they are the first thing I buy!! Sigh.

  6. Clothes, clothes… yes, they build up so quickly, don’t they? There is always something new and pretty just waiting there for you in Goodwill. This inspires me, Bethany. Maybe I’ll go look through my closet….

  7. Bethie,
    Did I need to read this! Honestly, I think my clothes must be (shhh! awkward) breeding in my closet when I’m not watching! It seems like every time I look in there, it’s more crowded. I think the key in this whole process is to start out with all your clothes in one big pile (Kondo-ish) so you can see how much you really have. This is not a chore for the faint of heart, I’m sure, especially where we Goodwill shoppers are concerned, because we can accumulate so MUCH in such a small amount of time (like, one trip to town!). But I love your tips! Especially the big cup of coffee and the French accent. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Ha ha! That IS awkward. Multiplying clothes–yeesh! It’s funny, because I haven’t even read the book, but I learned so much from talking to you about the philosophy behind the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up that I feel like I read it!

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