The Ultimate Guide: How to Get Rid of Clothes
Declutter & Detox Your Closet
Is your closet full of so many clothes that you feel overwhelmed? Do you find yourself forgetting about garments, leaving unworn items in your closet? Are there clothes in your closet that no longer fit your current lifestyle? Is it difficult to find things in your closet? Frustrated because you don’t know where to start to get rid of clothes and clutter?
If you answered yes to any of those question, or you just need guidance for decluttering your closet, you are in the right place.
It is time to dive in and detox, declutter, and organize your clothing! After going through each of the steps you’re about to read, you will be on your way to an organized closet you can feel good about! An effective closet detox has many benefits. Get dressed quickly, alleviate closet frustrations, and feel good about your outfits.
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Here are some simple steps to getting rid of unworn, unwanted clothing and what to do with it!
**TIP: To make this process easier, perform these steps for small sections of your wardrobe, rather than tackling everything in one sitting. This tip is critical if you have a large wardrobe.
Steps to Closet Detox: How to Get Rid of Clothes
- Take EVERYTHING out of your closet/drawers
- Assess every item
- Make a pile for recycle/donate, sell, and keep
- Put clothes away
- Recycle/Donate or sell
- Next Steps
Take Everything Out of your closet
Removing everything from your closet, or dresser, forces you to evaluate each item closely. If left in the closet, it is easier to bypass and not really consider if an item should be kept or not. This will ensure a more effective closet detox. Taking everything out also helps the organization process at the end!
Assess Every Item
For each piece, you must make a decision: Keep, Recycle, Sell. Ask yourself the questions in the guide below to determine what to do. If you aren’t sure, set it aside and come back to the item at the end.
This is an effective closet detox tool to identify clothes that you love and will wear frequently!
I would say the ONLY exception to this guide is sentimental pieces, that hold a personal value to you. Of course, to have a tidy closet, keep these pieces to a minimum, but use your own personal discretion for sentimental items.
Question to ask yourself
- Is the item damaged? Any damage beyond your ability (physically or financially) to repair should be removed from your closet.
- Do you love it? It is important to love everything in your closet. If a garment is not loved, it likely won’t be worn much at all. Therefore, taking up space in your closet.
- Does it fit? This one can be debatable, however if it hasn’t fit in 1 ½ years, it is time to go! There may be an exception if you are actively working toward your goal weight and nearly able to wear the item. If this is the case, you must be able to answer all other questions leading to KEEP in order to keep this piece.
- Is it comfortable? Everything about the item must be comfortable and flattering for your lifestyle. It would not make sense for a stay-at-home mom to have several pencil skirts, simply because she would not be comfortable in a pencil skirt for a majority of her daily activities.
- Do you feel confident in it? Everything must make YOU feel confident. It can be tough to part with items you LOVE that make you feel less than amazing. If you aren’t confident, you may not get the maximum wear out of the item. On the fence? Put it aside to the end and reassess later!
- Has it been worn in the last 1 ½ years? Most will say to get rid of anything you haven’t worn in a year. For a majority of us, the pandemic changed our lifestyles for a period of time. You may be still adjusting your lifestyle to a new “normal”. In that case, if you haven’t worn an item in 1 ½ – 2 years, it should probably be given a new home. Again, use your discretion, as you know your lifestyle best. If you are planning to return to the office in 2022, please do not get rid of your office attire!
Maintain a separate pile for Keep/Sell/Donate
If you will be doing this process over multiple days, use storage totes, laundry baskets, or garbage bags to contain your piles.
Put clothes away
Hang all clothing by type. All pants together, tanks together, long sleeves together, etc. Subcategorize each type by color.
This is my favorite system for hanging, because it is easier to find specific pieces.
Here are some things to help you organize:
**Seasonal tip: store clothing that is not relevant to the current season in a separate part of your closet (in garment bags), or in storage tubs elsewhere in your home. This alleviates the feeling of being overwhelmed by your closet and frees up hanging space so that you clearly see all items available for the season you are in.
Recycle/Donate or Sell Unwanted pieces
Did you know, nearly 80% of unwanted clothing ends up in landfills? Further, most synthetic clothing could take hundreds of years to fully decompose. Let’s avoid that and keep clothing out of the trash.
Here is what you can do with unwanted clothing
- Donate: I like this option because the clothing is given another life. This also benefits other people. Donate to local thrift stores, homeless or women’s shelters, and other organizations. This extends the longevity of clothing and avoids the landfill.
- Recycle unwanted clothes (sharing more on this next week)! There are websites that will send you a recycling bag for you to send in clothing that they will recycle or repurpose!
- Sell: There are several sites to sell clothes that are in good, used condition. I personally like sites like this because you can buy AND sell. I’ve purchased a lot of amazing name brand pieces, for a fraction of the price, on resale clothing sites. Here are a few options:
- Poshmark: Earn money from unwanted clothing and then shop from other Poshers! Poshmark is more of a social resale platform, which is great because you can connect with Poshers who have similar style to you! Creating a listing is super easy!
- thredUP: Order a Clean Out Kit from ThredUp to recycle, and possibly make money on your old clothes! The best part? ThredUp prepares the clothing and lists for sale. All you do is order a kit, send them your clothes in the kit, and wait for a sale! Unsold items go to recycle. Thredup has a phenomenal recycle program.
- Tradesy: With every sale you make, Tradesy prepares packing (including printing the shipping labels) for you! They do charge fees for this, depending on the dollar amount of your sale. Definitely a good option if you don’t want to deal with packaging.
Next Steps after Detox
Perform the next steps soon after a closet detox. I Maintain the most effective closet if it is well organized and tidy, a closet detox helps with that.
Asses what is in your closet
Determine if you have necessary wardrobe staples – this will save you money in the long run!
Wardrobe staples are basic pieces that are incorporated to outfits throughout the entire year. These pieces are timeless; therefore, they won’t go out of style.
Not sure if you have a proper staple wardrobe? Check out this post to see a recommended staple wardrobe.
While you’re at it, perform a closet checkup on your shoes. How do they look? Are they worn out? Do you have a pair for EVERY outfit? In this post, you can browse 8 popular, budget friendly styles, that are sure to look great with any outfit.
Consider Implementing a capsule wardrobe each season, like this. Why?
- Save money each year by buying less clothes
- Get dressed quickly
- Feel confident in your clothes
- Have a neat closet
- Have many outfits ready to wear
Are you still feeling overwhelmed in your closet?
Try another detox in a month or two! Learning how to get rid of clothes is something that can take several tries. Come back to this guide and follow the steps again.
For me, we moved in 2021. Prior to moving, I detoxed my closet because it had to happen. I went through my closet 2 times AFTER moving, over a period of 9 months, and got rid of so much STUFF. Guess what, I still have work to do. The more you work at it, the easier it is to identify items that are simply EXCESS.
Need help with your detox process, feel free to email me!