One-Day Makeover: 3 Keys to Declutter a Closet

Q: At the end of the day, where do you deal with your hang-ups?

A: Your closet.

Kidding aside, what hangs in your closet is probably not something you think about constantly. But which clothes you no longer wear or need is something that might warrant more of your attention, and it could potentially benefit someone else or even help the planet.

The middle of winter is the perfect time for a one-day home makeover — which doesn’t need to take all day. Experts say when it comes to purging, a little truly goes a long way. And, if you’re thinking of relocating or selling your house, one added bonus is that there’s less to pack for Moving Day!

Simply follow these three keys: Decide where it’s going, ask the tough questions, and repeat as needed.


Decide where to donate (or re-sell) your clothes in advance.

Organizing experts suggest three categories as you sort through your closet: keep, sell, or give it away. Knowing where your clothes are going helps you prioritize while you comb through any unnecessary items in your wardrobe.

This could include a local consignment shop, online retail sites like Poshmark or eBay, or charitable places like the Salvation Army, a local homeless or animal shelter, or the Vietnam Veterans of America. For clean but unwearable items like torn clothing or fabric scraps, find a local textile recycling facility. (One to try: visit USagain to search their nearest drop-off location.) For more ideas on how to declutter unwanted clothing, try this Good Housekeeping post.


Ask the tough questions.

Get real and ask yourself these objective questions:

  • Do I love it?
  • Do I wear it?
  • Is it projecting the image I want to project?
  • Does it make me scratch or itch?
  • Is it stained? Or smelly?
  • Does it fit?

If you’re stuck in analysis paralysis, consider asking a decisive friend to help determine these answers. Once you realize you no longer need or want something, imagine how much joy you can bring to someone else who could really use it.


Repeat as needed.

Whether that’s weekly, monthly, or at the start of every season, decide what timeframe makes sense for you, and then build a habit of regularly donating used items or rearranging any out-of-place clothes. To simplify, some experts suggest a “plus and minus” system: For each clothing item you add to your wardrobe, sell or give one away. Another helpful tip to decluttering is to keep a donation bin, bag, or basket in your closet or bedroom.

Can the case be made for keeping items? Yes, when it holds sentimental value … like a wedding dress or a hand-made item you inherited. But given that we each have limited space in our closets, try finding a place to store it other than your closet.