How to Clean out Your Closet
Time for a closet clean out! There will always be a lot of uncertainty in our world. But one thing we have total control over is how we look and feel. You can choose to wake up, put on a smile, take a shower, put on your best clothes, and make your life look the way you want it to. But maybe the first step is getting reorganized and learning how to clean out your closet! I will share my closet clean out expert tips to help you love your wardrobe.
This article is all about living your best life.
I recently did a closet clean out that had a massively positive impact on my happiness. Did you know cleaning and organizing can improve your physical and mental health? Plus, the steps I took in my closet clean out guide (which I’ve outlined in this article) are all designed with wellbeing and joy in mind.
We’re going to focus on how to clean out your closet fast in a way that:
- Finds YOUR unique style, so you rock everything you put on
- Brings in some extra cash $$$
- Makes you LOVE getting dressed in the morning
- Increases your confidence (because you know you look awesome in everything you own)
- Gives you a little breathing room in your closet
- Stimulates the economy (which is definitely a win-win during the quarantine)
- Promotes healthy environmental impact
So let’s start cleaning out your closet while we have a little extra time to free up some space in our homes—and in our minds!
Closet Clean Out Guide
Choose a few pieces you absolutely love
Don’t try to start by throwing your clothes away. You won’t get very far, and you won’t feel very good about it. Instead, focus your quarantine closet clean out energy on finding those pieces that you absolutely love. Pick out a few items from your closet that you look and feel your best in. These are the pieces you “can’t live without.”
For me, I have a red blouse that creates a stunning silhouette and perfectly matches my skin tone and hair. When I put it on, I feel absolutely unstoppable. It’s my go-to piece when I need a boost of confidence.
Look at the pieces you’ve chosen. What do you love about them? Do you have other pieces like this? Why do you feel so awesome when you wear this? Do these favorite pieces share anything in common?
The goal is to understand what you love, so you can start creating a closet that’s curated entirely to your style and confidence.
Dream up your wardrobe
What does your dream wardrobe look like? What are the types of clothing it has inside? Is it all designer dresses? Do you have jeans with neutral colored shirts? Is there a lot of neon?
Why does your wardrobe look like this? Are you a creative soul who loves hemp clothing? Are you a fashionista who is always up with the trends? Do you like to keep it simple so you can choose your outfit quickly? Do you want to be a rockstar, so you want a few more leather pieces?
The clothing you wear reflects who you are. There’s a pretty interesting psychology of clothing that says what you wear is what you aspire to be. So the purpose of this “dream wardrobe” exercise is to get an idea of what you really want out of your clothes and accessories. How do you want to feel when you walk into your closet and put on your daily outfits? What do you want your clothes to inspire in you? When you’re getting rid of items during your quarantine closet clean out, you want to imagine what you’ll replace those items with!
Determine what you look and feel best in.
There are a lot of factors that determine how your clothes will look on you. If they’re the wrong color, size, fit, accentuation, or material, you might not feel as confident as you could. When I put on orange, I feel washed out and boring. If my clothing is too big or the sleeves are too short, I just don’t feel comfortable. If the material is synthetic or itchy, I’ll be tugging at it all day.
But put me in a color I love, a fit that suits my body, and a comfy material… and you will not see the smile leave my face no matter what happens.
So do some experimenting to figure out what you really love to wear and what highlights your unique beauty.
You can take some style quizzes to get an idea, and I’ve listed some helpful and fun resources below:
- The Ultimate Personal Style Quiz To Rock Your Wardrobe
- Which Three Colors Look Best On You?
- How To Dress According To Your Body Type
- 7 Eco-Friendly Fabrics to Upgrade Your Wardrobe (& 3 to Avoid)
But ultimately, learning how to clean out your wardrobe is all about finding items that you feel amazing in. So you’ll have to run your own tests during your quarantine closet cleanout. Throw on your favorite pieces and figure out exactly what it is that you love about them. Then try on your least favorite pieces and pinpoint what makes you feel bleh in them. I recommend even writing down your thoughts, so you can keep track of the colors, styles, pieces, and materials you want more of in your closet.
Only keep the stuff that fits
No “fat” jeans “in case” are allowed here (unless you wear them for a specific health reason, like endometriosis bloating). No “goal” dresses. Everything in your closet should look and feel amazing right now. Anything you see in your closet should be an option for you to wear. The better your clothes fit, the more likely you’ll wear them. If they don’t fit, you won’t wear them (and you won’t feel good in them), so they’re just a waste of physical and mental space.
If you love something that doesn’t fit you right now for one reason or another, store it away. You can take it back out when the time is right. On the other hand, if something is too big or too small and you don’t absolutely love it and you can’t think of the last time you wore it, toss it in the “to sell” pile - this will make learning to clean out a closet much easier.
The exception is maternity clothes. While pregnant, I still recommend storing your non-maternity clothes and having a wardrobe filled with stuff that looks and feels great on your growing-baby body. You want to walk into your closet and feel like you still have total control over what you wear and how you style yourself every day.
Also… Know your measurements. It’s way easier to buy clothes online (especially during a quarantine) when you know exactly what sizes will fit you. Don’t guess based on the letter size you like (S, M, L, XL). Every brand has a different sizing system, so you’ll want to know your measurements so you can find the perfect fit for you.
Ask some closet clean out questions
Let’s start making some piles. We recommend four piles:
Sell everything that is in good quality that you want to get rid of, and donate anything that you can’t sell on consignment. We’ll discuss this more below.
Go through your closet piece by piece and answer the following questions to see if it’s worthy of staying in your wardrobe…
1. When did I wear this last?
If you didn’t wear it the last time it was in season (winter, spring, summer, fall), put it in the sell/donate pile. If you wore it last season but it’s not currently in-season (it’s a sweater but now it’s summer), store it.
2. When/where will I wear this next?
Can you think of a specific time and place you’d wear this piece? If not, get rid of it. (And no, wearing it to the Oscars as an award-winning actress if you’ve never acted a day in your life doesn’t count as a specific time and place. Keep it reasonable.)
3. Am I in love with this?
How do you feel when you put it on? If you don’t feel like a million bucks, get rid of it. Everything should bring you joy, according to Marie Kondo.
4. Do I feel gorgeous in this?
Does this make me feel good? If not, say goodbye!
5. Does it hurt, itch, or make me uncomfortable in any way?
If yes, say goodbye! This is a quarantine closet CLEANOUT, don’t forget!
6. Have I ever received a compliment in this?
This definitely isn’t a requirement, because we don’t care what other people think. But, most people have a tendency to favor clothing items that other people have complimented them on—because compliments make us feel good! If lots of people say you look gorgeous in that blue sweater, keep the blue sweater and think about what makes it so flattering. Do you look good in blue? Does the fit make your waist look gorgeous?
7. Do I have similar pieces in my closet?
Some people like the simplicity of a closet with just a few similar items, while others want more variety. But a closet clean out can be as simple as getting rid of outfits that are almost the same. Figure out what kinds of pieces you like, how often you wear them, and go from there. For example, you may not need two leather jackets if you rarely ever wear leather.
8. What will I wear this with?
Imagine how you’d put the outfit together. Do you have shoes to go with this dress? Do you have a shirt that matches this skirt? Too often we don’t wear something because we can’t match it with other staples in our closet; so it’s time to get rid of it. I had these green leggings I adored, but they didn’t match anything (except for St. Patrick’s Day), so it was time to get rid of them.
9. Does this piece of clothing realistically fit in with my lifestyle?
A lot of us have pieces we like but it’s not really our style, so we never feel comfortable enough wearing it. If you never go hiking, you probably don’t need those hiking boots. If you hate going to the club, you can retire one or two of your nighttime mini skirts.
10. Is it easy to launder/clean this piece of clothing?
You want your wardrobe to be easy to upkeep. Try to minimize the number of dry clean only items, unless you really love it. Make your clothing easy to wear, wash, and love. Check out these 10 easy hacks to make your clothes last longer, too.
Forget fast fashion
Fast fashion isn’t flattering on most people. Although it might be trendy, it typically doesn’t fit well and the materials aren’t high quality. You’ll probably end up feeling itchy and uncomfortable—which isn’t what we want out of our fashion. Fast fashion also wears out much faster, so your clothes will start to fade and tear quickly, which typically doesn’t look very good. This also contributes to massive textile waste, which is bad for the environment and your wallet. In other words, one of the top priorities in our closet clean out guide: Get rid of fast fashion and say goodbye for good.
That’s why I recommend designer clothing for every woman. The quality is top notch, and the pieces are tailored with fit and finish in mind. You will feel 10x better putting on a designer item than a fast fashion brand. Learn how to buy quality clothing like an expert designer.
Plus, designer clothes don’t have to be expensive. Buy your pieces on consignment and you can have gorgeous, quality pieces at a fraction of their ticket price. Seriously, you can sometimes get up to 70 or 80% off the original price by buying pre-loved items. That’s something worth celebrating! Check out these 11 things you probably don’t know about consignment stores to learn more.
What should I do with old fast fashion pieces if I want to get rid of them during my quarantine closet clean out? Donate them! Some organizations will re-sell or offer them to others, or they can repurpose/upcycle the materials!
Do a fashion show with your girls
Sometimes it’s hard to see ourselves clearly. Too often, we might be overly critical or judgmental of ourselves. That’s why we’re doing this quarantine closet clean out! To focus on self-love and confidence! Cause girl, you got it going on.
Get your girls in on the fun for an in-person show. Or Zoom, Facetime, Skype the ladies in your life that you always go to for fashion advice and advice on how to clean out your closet. If you miss shopping with your bestie, use this time to host a closet fashion show like you would in the store! They’ll be sure to give you the best advice about what you do and don’t look good in. And you can do the same for them with their closet!
This is a fun way to connect while also upgrading your wardrobe to only items you look and feel phenomenal in.
Fill your wardrobe with the basics
What do you need and use on the regular? And what do you probably not need? If you live in the desert, you probably don’t wear more than one pair of winter gloves. If you’re a homebody, you may not need three gowns. It’s all about what you do, where you go, and what you like to wear.
But even more importantly, get some good basics in your closet. These are the pieces you can throw on with just about anything else, and you know it’ll look good. For example, every girl needs a quality white tee. Throw it on with jeans and booties for a casual yet gorgeous on-the-town look. Pair it with a black skirt and cardigan and you’re work-ready.
The “essentials” make life easier, and you’re sure to wear them on a consistent basis. Remember that we want things in our closet that we will actually wear, use, and love!
Check out these 11 classic wardrobe essentials you need to own to take your closet up a notch.
Organize your closet by functionality
Do you ever look at Pinterest boards of closets with envy and excitement? You want that gorgeous, stunning closet that the trendy influencers show off. They’re clean, stunning, and easy to find all your favorite pieces in a snap. (Plus, no clutter means you’ll actually wear everything in your closet, because you have access to it.)
We’ll give you some tips on how to organize your closet by functionality, so your life will feel put together and organized from the moment you wake up and choose your outfit for the day:
A functional closet
- Take an inventory of all the clothes you’ve decided to keep. This will help you solve the “puzzle” of your closet. You want to know exactly what you have of everything, so you can decide what needs to be hung and folded and how you’ll organize everything.
- Figure out just how much space you need, based on the inventory. Folded shirts and sweaters require about 9 to 15 inches of linear space. Coats require up to 68 inches of vertical space. Pants need 50 inches of vertical space (about half if you’re folding_. And skirts need about 45 inches of vertical space. Make sure you have enough hanging room and then add shelving units for foldable items.
- Create a special rack to hang your bags. Put your jewelry in a tray. Keep everything functional and easy to get dressed–including accessories.
- Put the items you wear most frequently towards the front of your closet. Work clothes will usually be front and center with dressier clothes towards the back.
- Have a catch-all bowl for the small items that end up in your pants and skirts, like mints, receipts, change, and receipts. Go through the bowl weekly or monthly to stay organized and know where everything is.
- Keep two hampers. One for lights and one for darks. This makes laundry day that much faster and simpler. A hamper with a removable liner to bring to the laundry room doubles the ease!
Think about sustainability
If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a contentious consumer. You care about fashion, but you also care about how your clothes impact your health and the environment. You may already know that not all clothes are created equal.
Fast fashion made from synthetic fabrics and dyes, for example, are more likely to end up in the garbage. Plus, they’re often not biodegradable. That means one shirt could end up sitting in a landfill for decades, if not much longer. This sort of textile waste is a huge problem across the globe, a major contribution to climate change and carbon emissions.
When you’re looking for a sustainable closet, we recommend checking out the material, the quality, and the longevity of the piece. To help you with the sustainability side, check out our resources below!
- 7 Eco-Friendly Fabrics To Upgrade Your Wardrobe (& 3 To Avoid)
- Save The Earth, Save Your Closet: How Sustainable Fashion Is Changing The World
- 6 Top Brands To Find Sustainable Fashion
- Repair and alter items
Are there some items that you can’t decide where to put them because you love them but they’re broken or un-wearable? You can save your favorite pieces from yellow stains and lost buttons—or even not fitting right—with just a few easy DIY tricks.
Check out my resources below to get started fixing your clothes. (And mot of these tips require no sewing knowledge!)
- Cool DIY Ways to Revamp Your Clothes + Closet
- 10 Easy Hacks to Make Your Clothes Last Longer
- Buy that dream piece of clothing
In the beginning of this closet clean out article, I said to envision your dream closet. What’s that one accessory or piece of clothing that you’ve always wanted? Do you want a Chanel investment bag, a pair of Loubotins, or a little black dress from Valentino? Maybe you’re just looking for more bohemian pieces from Alice & Olivia or you want more classic styles like Karen Millen.
Think of this step as your “wardrobe goal.” If you know what you want your closet to look like, you’re more likely to work to keep it in alignment with that dream.
Whatever it is you dream of, it’s time to start planning for it. There is something magical about achieving that “dream closet” filled with all of the pieces you’ve fantasized about wearing. If you don’t have the means to buy it right now, start saving up! Selling your unwanted clothes on consignment can help.
Sell on consignment
Want extra cash to start saving for that dream piece to bring into your collection after your closet clean out?
Now that you’ve decided what to keep and you’re starting to reorganize your closet, it’s time to also get rid of the items you’re not keeping. Don’t throw them away! It’s a waste of textiles and money, and it can do damage to the environment. Unless your clothing is super old and worn out, you can probably give it a new life elsewhere!
Selling your clothes to Current Boutique is one of the fastest, easiest, and most rewarding ways to get cash for your pre-loved clothes.
Get started selling on consignment with these guides below:
- The 5 Best Websites To Sell Your Designer Clothes Online
- Top 15 Brands You Can Make Money by Reselling (those aren’t the only brands; check out Current Boutique’s extensive array of designers here!)
- 11 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Consignment Stores
- 5 Ways Shopping + Selling On Consignment Is Good For The Earth
- Donate the rest
Don’t waste any of your clothes. Every article of clothing you’ve ever loved deserves to have a long life, even if you’ve decided to get rid of it. Not sure where to donate? Google some local charities that offer pickup or drop off clothing donations. Goodwill is always willing to accept just about anything, and your donation will have a real impact on the people in your community.
If we can’t purchase the items you’ve sent in to us at Current Boutique, we’ll typically donate them to one of our local charities. We work hard to ensure the sustainability of our stores and clothing, reducing the number of textiles that end up in landfills while also emphasizing the sustainability of the clothing materials we source.
What will your closet look like a year from now?
Feeling good about yourself, your style, and your closet is something you have complete control over. A little closet cleanout that focuses on what you look and feel INCREDIBLE in can make a huge impact on your psychology, happiness, and wallet!
Take a picture of your closet cleanout and tag us! We want to see how your closet organization and your favorite items make you feel gorgeous!
And start shopping for your dream designer pieces with Current Boutique! We have all the styles, designers, and looks you could want—at a fraction of the cost! You can also make some money by selling your unwanted clothes with us.