5 Questions to Ask When Decluttering Your Closet

It's time for a top-to-bottom clothing reset.

Wish you had more closet storage space? Surprise, you probably do! Follow these steps to declutter what you don't need, sort your clothing in a way that makes sense, and double your closet storage without busting through walls. Start by asking yourself these five questions as you declutter. You'll end up with a bigger closet—no reno required.

Ask Yourself...

What do I actually wear?

One thing we’ve learned in the last few years: We need fewer and different items of clothing! Time to review the contents of your dresser drawers and closet and ask yourself this clarifying question to figure out what to keep and what to let go.

Is a drawer the best place to store this?

Short answer: probably not. You may have better storage spots for specific types of clothing. Consider hangers and hooks for work clothing. Try open shelves for folded garments that stack well, such as jeans, sweaters, and sweatshirts. Undergarments and socks may be more conveniently stashed in a basket or bin that sits on a shelf.

What's my method?

Your specific sorting methodology doesn’t really matter as long as you have one that makes sense to you. Try sorting your clothes by type, then style, then color. Or it might make more sense to designate areas for specific activities like work, workout, casual, dress-up, and seasonal. Use sticky notes as reminders for the first few weeks to help your designations become habitual.

How much can I see instantly?

Think like a merchandiser and arrange items in your dresser and closet to eliminate layers. Inside drawers, roll or refold clothing into packets that stand on end. Use spring-loaded dividers to keep clothing standing tall. Display shoes, jewelry, and accessories on shelves and racks, then snap a pic. Even if you don’t share it, the process forces you to further edit and sort. Bonus: Your digital pics are a handy visual guide when assembling outfits.

What will I wear tomorrow?

Establish a valet rod or hook inside your closet or on the door as a spot to pull together the elements of your next outfit. Install a second hook for that hoodie you wear every morning or the jeans you wore once and probably will wear again tomorrow.

From the Pros

“Any clothes or shoes that have collected actual dust can be let go of immediately. They haven’t been worn in a while, and odds are they’re not your taste any longer.” —Liana George, Organizing Expert

“Place a small laundry basket or waste bin lined with a trash bag in your closet. When you’re ready to donate an article of clothing, toss it in the basket. After the basket is full, it’s time to donate. Simply pull out the trash bag and go.” —Toni Hammersley, Creator of the blog A Bowl Full of Lemons

“Splurge on velvet hangers. They keep anything, even slippery tank tops, from falling onto your closet floor. As you bring new clothing into your closet, determine which older items are no longer ‘hanger worthy.’ This mental game helps you replace clothing instead of adding more.” —Dana K. White, Creator of the blog A Slob Comes Clean

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