You’ve decided this is it. Today’s the day—you’re finally going to declutter your closet, once and for all. No more waffling about what you want to wear in the morning because everything in it is something you absolutely love.
That sounds pretty great to me, but how do you get there? Start by pulling all of your clothing (yes, all of it) out and placing it somewhere easily accessible—my recommendation is the bed.
Divide Things Up
Once you’ve pulled out everything, start dividing your clothing up into four categories—Love, Maybe, Nope, and Seasonal.
Love items are your go-to outfits and the pieces that make you feel amazing no matter what. Any time you find one of these, put it back in your closet.
Maybe items are ones that you’re tempted to keep and might even like, but there’s just something that keeps you back from absolutely loving them—the cut, the fabric, how it fits into your lifestyle, or something totally different. If it doesn’t scream “love!”, toss it on the Maybe pile.
Nope items are those pieces you’ve been meaning to get rid of forever for any number of reasons. Whether they’re falling apart or you can’t even remember why you bought it, they’re a clear no. Decide which ones are still in good condition and could potentially be sold or donated, and which items need to be recycled instead and handle them accordingly.
Seasonal items are ones that don’t fit the current season of the year. So shorts in the winter or sweaters in the summer. Box these up and set them aside to be decluttered with the same love/maybe/nope analysis when that particular season rolls around in a few months.
Do Some Analysis
Now that you’ve divided all of your clothing into those different piles, you can start to analyze things a little bit.
Beginning with your Love and Nope items, look for commonalities. It could be the cut, color, fabric, specific type of items (skirt, shirt, etc.), but chances are there are some commonalities between the items you love that make you feel amazing and the items you didn’t hesitate to get rid of.
Whatever those commonalities are for you, write them down to keep in mind as you begin to more intentionally curate your wardrobe.
Give It Some Time
Depending on your specific approach to the wardrobe and the number of items you wound up with in your Love pile, you may want to supplement with a few items in your Maybe pile. It’s also possible you may need or want to weed your Love pile down a bit more than you already have.
Unless you’ve decided you’re going to do a capsule wardrobe and have a set number of items you’re aiming for, this is where I recommend stopping for now.
Don’t buy anything new just yet. Store your Seasonal and Maybe pieces away. Sell, donate, or recycle your Nope pieces, and give the rest of your closet space to just breathe for a bit.
Choose a set amount of time to get yourself used to the idea of a smaller wardrobe.
If you struggled to out commonalities in your favorite pieces right off the bat, use this time to help you discover those things. As you spend more time with your minimized wardrobe, you’ll start to notice the pieces you still lean toward all the time, as well as the ones you wish were in your closet.
From here, there’s several different ways to go.
If you’re doing the capsule wardrobe thing, you’ll want to go through and reshuffle your wardrobe in a few months time. If not, still think through your ideal wardrobe and examine potential pieces for their versatility and quality.
The Miscellaneous Pieces
Now you might’ve been reading this and thinking, “What about workout wear? What about undergarments? What about my jewelry? What do I do with all of those?”
There are two ways to approach all the miscellaneous items in your wardrobe—you can include them in this initial declutter, or you can tackle them one at a time.
For other clothing items like workout wear and undergarments, I say go right ahead and include them in this initial declutter. For accessories, however, it can be helpful to wait.
As you get a better feel for your ideal wardrobe, it’ll be easier to determine not only the kinds of accessories that will complement your clothing, but also the kinds of accessories that are practical for your lifestyle.
Intentionally curating anything—a wardrobe, a home, or a life—takes time, effort, and a fair amount of self-reflection, but clearing out the clutter to give you a fresh starting point will make the whole process that much easier.