If you want a more streamlined, organized closet, a closet purge of everything you don't need is a great way to start. Here are 7 things you can get rid of right now, without a second thought. 
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Flat lay composition with different stylish sports shoes on pink background
Credit: Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

A well-chosen closet organizer can make a huge difference in a cluttered closet, but if you're hanging onto every piece of clothing you've ever owned, organizers can only do so much. The real solution: start with a complete closet purge, and get rid of everything that's no longer serving you. But letting go is easier said than done, especially when clothes hold a sentimental value for you. To help make the process a little easier, we've outlined below seven things you can get rid of right now, without giving it a second thought. By first setting up some guidelines to determine what you really need and use, versus what's just taking up valuable real estate, you can successfully complete a closet purge in under one hour. Ready for a more organized closet? Set your stopwatch and get to work on the list below.

1. Plastic Dry Cleaning Bags and Hangers

If you own a lot of dry clean-only clothing, it's likely you have a large collection of dry cleaning bags and hangers taking up space in your closet. Now's the time to toss them all. Recycle the paper and toss the plastic (or stash them outside your closet—they make great tarps for your next painting project). And to cut down on the future closet clutter, remember that you can always politely ask your dry cleaner to skip the plastic. 

2. Shoe Boxes and Shopping Bags

Do you have a towering stack of empty shoe boxes or a shopping bag full of more paper shopping bags hogging your closet floor? It's time to recycle them. If you actually reuse the paper bags (pop quiz: have you reached for one in the past week?), save a few and recycle the rest.

3. Anything You Haven't Worn in the Past Year

If you've made it through a second winter without wearing that striped sweater, it's time to let it go and make room in your closet for clothing you actually do wear. Donate anything that you haven't worn in the past 12 months and you won't have to worry about missing it. 

4. Clothes That Are Stained or Ripped Beyond Repair

You may have at one point ambitiously decided to patch that pair of ripped pants or mend that holey sweater, but six months have passed and it's still taking up room in your closet. It's time to get rid of them. Rather than toss these garments in a landfill, try to bring them to a fabric recycling center. Some retailers, like H&M, even have bins in their stores to collect clothing to be either resold or recycled. 

5. Shoes That Didn't Survive Last Winter 

If you have a pair of boots that served you well all last year, and now the soles are worn down and they're covered in salt stains, it's time to toss them. It can be hard to get rid of the shoes that saw you through every snow storm and arctic blast, but they're no longer serving you if you can't wear them. 

6. An Excess of "DIY Project Clothes"

Sure, it's necessary to keep at least one outfit you can throw on when you're repainting your bedroom—but when your painting clothes stash starts to encroach on your work wardrobe, you know it's time to cull the collection. Keep your favorite paint-splattered t-shirt, pants, and shorts, then either donate or recycle the rest. 

7. Bridesmaid Dresses and Special-Occasion Clothes 

If you're still holding onto bridesmaid dresses you only wore once, it's time to let them go. If they're still in good condition, consider reselling them on sites like Poshmark or Tradesy. The same goes for wedding guest dresses, gala dresses, and award ceremony suits you don't see yourself wearing again.