How to Trim Down Your Closet

One of the best parts about blogging is having no shortage of clothes. One of the worst parts about blogging is having a lot of clothes and not a lot of places to store them.
I try to stay on top of my closet, doing small purges every now and then, but there comes a point where a major closet clean out is necessary. I recently majorly trimmed down my closet and I have some tips.
1. Set aside a good time to do it. Now, I say this from experience. I have the worst habit of starting a closet clean out at 11pm. The fact of the matter is that it takes a good amount of time to properly get through the closet. Thirty minute might work for a small session, but if you really want to tackle your whole closet, I would block of a weekend afternoon. I always do the best job when I plan to clean out my closet versus when I spontaneously decide it’s time to dig in. I suggest putting it on our calendar at the change of every season.

2. Check your emotional baggage, but don’t necessarily toss it. I have a serious problem when it comes to getting rid of my favorite clothes. I am not and never will be the kind of person who can easily part with anything. I try to check my emotional baggage at the (closet) door, but I know when to draw the line about tossing things. One thing I do keep in mind: while those jeans might have been “so cute!” or “perfect with that sweater” three years ago, they don’t work anymore.

3. Ask for second opinion. If you’re extra difficult about getting rid of old clothes, bring in a second opinion. The person should be someone who knows how to speak objectively in a way that you respond to well. Your best friend might drive you crazy when she speaks her mind, however, your sister might know just how to tell the truth without hurting your feelings. You love them both, but go with your sister. Otherwise, you’ll end up frustrated!

4. Take. Everything. Out. Picking through piles, sorting through bins, and flipping through hangers just will not cut it!!!! Even though it gets insanely disorganized, I think it’s the absolute key for bringing order back to the closet. My bed ends up becoming my work table for the job! I take everything out in chunks and creating piles as I go. I’ll start with the clothes that are now out of season, and putting them towards the farthest end of the bed, to be dealt with later, of course. Then I’ll start with the actual clothes: pants, sweaters, folded tops, hanging tops/blouses, and #allthedresses. I find that overtime the different clothes have been mixed in with the wrong category, so creating piles can help to resort as you go. A sweater that you found hanging with your blouses, move it on over to sweater pile.

5. Think Critically. As you’re taking everything out, start to put aside clothes you know you want don’t have a space in your closet for anymore. I typically use a chair by my closet to pile up the clothes I plan on giving away later. At the very end of the whole day, I’ll categorize and organize the give away pile to donate.

6. Create the vision! 90% of the time, how the closet was is how the closet should be. But while everything is out, reevaluate the space to see if there’s a better way to store your clothes.

7. Fold and Hang. While everything is out of the closet, now’s the time to really get the perfect folds, shirts buttoned up, and dresses on the best hangers. I personally find that it’s helpful to fold and hang everything before making the big migration back to the closet. That way I can gauge the amount of space each pile or chunk of clothes take. When it comes time to transport the clothes back, I do a few hangers at a time, organizing by color/type as I go. It’s the same way I sort playing cards or alphabetizing… I start with one (even if it’s in the middle of the deck or alphabet) and file the remaining things as I go. While I’m refolding clothes, I also have a second chance to decide whether to keep something or put it in the donate pile.

8. Commit to the organized closet. (At least for a little bit!) I have a tendency to see some extra spaces between hangers and want to REFILL! More space does not mean there’s a void in my closet! If anything, it means that I can better wear the clothes I do have because I can actually see what’s in there.

9. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Another issue I run into is that I generally want to completely reinvent my closet! “Oh, this season I’m ALL about tan and black, only!” Is that realistic? Probably not. It may influence how I shop in the future, but I don’t want to go through my entire closet disposing of my favorite colorful clothing because of a likely temporary mood.

What tips do you have for organizing and cleaning out closets?

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My favorite tip is to not actually get rid of anything for at least a few months. Put it in a storage bin under your bed and if you think about it later one and wish had it, you still do. But if you completely forgot about it and moved on, then 6 months later you can can actually donate it without having the guilt. This has helped me part with a few cherished items that just got too small or too worn out!

Thanks for all the amazing tips though:)
Annie Belle

Audrey Lin

One tip I use is hanging clothes all in the same direction in your closet, and after you wear it, put it in the laundry, and hang it back up, but hang it in the opposite direction. After some time, you'll see which clothes you have worn and which ones you haven't, so those would be the clothes to get rid of! Oh, and I can totally relate to the first point–why is it that I'm always motivated to sort out my life at 3AM?! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

Alexandra Aimee

Eek, even the thought of trimming down my closer it scary, lol! Thankfully the big move from LA to Hawaii really helped me make the tough decisions about what I actually love enough to haul across an ocean, and what should probably be donated to good will.

— Alex at Cashmere Kangaroo

Ellen Ross // Ask Away Blog

This is my tip…. I love this post by the way… but when it comes to clothes that arent flattering… if i dont get rid of them the day after i wear them, i become in denial. If i have a top that no longer fits me well , itll bother me the day i wear it… then instead of putting it away at the end of the day I put it in a bag to donate, or watever im gonna do with it. It;'s easier then the crappy guilt i feel when i pull it out next time and try to part with it lol
xo Ellen from Ask Away

CT Cupcake

i'm sure it's amazing to get tons of free clothing but it seems a bit off somehow to make that your lead about why blogging is great. as a reader, it's off putting that getting free goodies comes before expressing yourself via the blog and connecting with readers

Kate Mitchell

Great tips! What really helps me is putting my clothes back in my closet with the hangers all facing the same way. As I wear them, I put them back in my closet facing another way. That way, after a year, I get rid of the clothes that I haven't worn in a year. The only exceptions are formal occasion clothes or costumes. With those, I check them every couple of years. If I've had formal occasions but haven't worn them, I get rid of them.


Hillary Style

This morning when I was getting dressed I realized I need to do a major closet clean out (and one for my dresser, and one for the bins under my bed… oops). I rarely take everything out and put it back in. I will definitely try that this time. My suggestion is to make a section of the closet (if you can afford the space) for "things I don't need to wear, but need to have." My job right now is very casual, but I have a lot of great suits and dress pants that I know I'll need again some day and won't want to go spend money on to buy again, so I leave myself some space to keep the things I have that I'd still wear if I needed to dress up.



Living in Spain, I have minimal closet space so I've learned to embrace the mentality that less is more. That still doesn't keep me from wondering how I've accumulated so many clothes, even though I moved here with only one suitcase!


I'm a pro at cleaning out my closet, my mom…not so much. I try to be really pragmatic! Like, you might really love a piece of clothing, but ask yourself, how often have you really worn it in the past year or so?

And when donating, the salvation army or goodwill are always good options, but I highly recommend contacting a local women's shelter! They can really use certain clothing articles around the start of winter/summer, and it's a great feeling to help them out 🙂

Emily S

I go by the rule of 3's….if I can't wear it with 3 different outfits and/or to 3 different occasions….or haven't work it for 12 months (3 times 4!) then I get rid of it. It feels so good to clean out the closet and then donate to a worthy cause like Goodwill or Dress for Success!

Vi Nguyen

I'm hoping to clean my closet this weekend and purge clothes that have been sitting there for wayy too long. I saw on pinterest one idea to keep track of what you wear vs. not wear – start off by hanging your clothes on the hanger in one direction. Then the clothes you wear you turn the hanger in the other direction. Over time you can see what you actually wear vs. what you don't and that will hopefully eliminate some!

Julie Beattie

This is so funny, I've been meaning to ask you about how you organize your clothes & closets, because it seems like you have so many nice things and I can imagine the space in a NYC apartment isn't huge. I've also been meaning to so my own closet purge, this post is the motivation I needed. Now if only I had a free weekend afternoon in the near future…

Rebecca Fear

Great tips. I'm so tired of hearing the same old "if you don't wear it after a year, get rid of it." While that may be a good way to figure out what you don't want, it takes a year for it to happen! This is a more realistic way to purge a closet season by season.


Lindsey Lam

I did a huge purge last year using a Cosmo article haha it felt so great! Now I am in the works of turning the room next door to my bedroom into a much larger walk-in closet. I'll probably do another (much smaller) clean out once that gets done.

High Heels & Happy Feels