simple living

How to Successfully Clean Out Your Closet

Have you ever tried to declutter your closet only to end up with a bigger mess than you started with? I’m here to help, friend. Today’s post is all about helping you get to the finish line – to a closet that is streamlined and efficient with clothes you love to wear everyday.

“Less is more” is one of my favorite mantras, and I truly believe it applies to our wardrobes. Most of us wear 20% of our clothes, 80% of the time. The purpose of an annual closet clean out is to help you remove the excess so you can see, organize, and enjoy the clothes which are worth keeping.


No matter the size of your closet, try to visualize how it could look. It helps me to remember that I don’t want my closet to look like a Goodwill store – jam packed with all styles and colors on mismatched hangers. That doesn’t help me get dressed easily in the morning. I’d rather my closet look more like a Madewell store with a coordinating color palette, white space, and wooden hangers.


Now that you have a mental picture of the finish line, start by removing all your clothes from your closet. Yes, all of it! Sweep and dust everywhere.

If you don’t regularly wear an item, it doesn’t fit or is damaged, set it aside. Try things on as you go. This will give you a gut check of whether you love wearing an item (think Marie Kondo’s spark of joy) or if you would value the mental space of not owning it more.


I prefer to keep off-season clothes out of sight to simplify my wardrobe. In October, I store my swimsuits, shorts and sandals in a box in our guest room closet. In April, I rotate these back into my closet and stow away my jeans, sweaters, and boots. This seasonal switch is when I do a semi-annual closet clean out to keep my wardrobe tidy and pared down.


You don’t need limitless options. Take the pile you’ve set aside and instead of keeping it out of guilt, I’ll give you a couple of options.

My preferred route is to act decisively and sell items in good condition on  the Poshmark app (sign up for a free $10 credit with code LINDSEYKUBLY). I also sell/recycle clothes with ThredUp clean out kits ($10 credit here with my link). The payout is generally lower with ThredUp, but it is less work than Poshmark.

Alternatively, if you are on the fence and need more time, I’d recommend taking a storage tub and filling it with clothes you don’t think you need. Set it aside for the season in a basement or closet. If you find yourself needing something, you can retrieve it. Anything you didn’t use or miss by the end of six months you can get rid of without any regrets.


This is the fun part! Slowly add the clothes you love to wear back into your closet. Consider investing in matching hangers and storage baskets to create a more cohesive, calm space. Organize your clothing by color or category to keep things tidy. Hopefully you can start to see your style emerge as you limit yourself to what you actually love wearing.


With the clutter cleared away, take note of any wardrobe gaps that need filled. Create a shopping list that will help guide any future purchases. Remember to keep your real, everyday life in mind, not a fantasy life. This is how to use your clothing budget to build a wardrobe that works for you in the long run.


A closet cleaning has become a rhythm in my year. With each season that passes, the steps become easier and faster, because I own more clothes that I truly love wearing. It has helped slow down my impulse purchases and refine my style. Bookmark this guide for reference and feel free to share it with a friend!

Lindsey is an Indiana-based blogger who writes about everyday style and simplicity. She loves pizza, yoga, novels, and a great pair of jeans.