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How to Purge Your Closet in 23 Easy Steps

6 minute read, by Closet America, on Oct 22, 2019

This guide will help you purge your closet and create a new closet space that will make it easier than ever to stay organized.

When you need to clear out and reorganize your closet, merely getting started may seem overwhelming. Maybe you have big ideas and no idea how to implement them. Or perhaps you only have a vague vision of what you would like your closet to be, but aren’t sure of the best way to bring that vision to life.

This guide will help you purge your closet in precise, simple steps, including how to declutter and reorganize using custom design principles and maybe even a little help from the professionals.

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How to Purge Your Closet

A healthy closet fosters a happy mindset. When unworn items are buried under layers of dust and your hangers stick out in all the wrong places, that’s when you know it’s time to take the leap.

Getting into a closet-clearing state of mind is never easy. However, these steps will help you see the project from a whole new perspective. Envision the result and push ahead to eliminate closet clutter and create a fresh new storage space for yourself and/or your family.

1. Clear your mind—and then clear out your closet. Remove every item of clothing and place it all in several piles in a common area within your home.

2. Clean your now-empty closet. Give yourself a clean slate and a blank canvas—if you will—to begin anew. Place belongings into boxes within your common area. You may even want to paint or deep clean at this point.

3. Go through your clothing piles one by one and create a sorting station for items you want to keep, donate, or giveaway.

Ask yourself, will I wear this again? Does this still work for my style? 

  • If the answer is a definite yes, place the item in the “keep” pile. 

  • If it’s a no, and you honestly realize you never wear this apparel, then place it in a donate or giveaway pile, never to go back into your closet. 

  • If your answer is maybe, then, you should still place next to the no pile and consider again, perhaps at a later time: Do I really need to keep this item?

custom closet organizer

4. Consider style—are the items you may want to keep timeless, or passé? If you don’t know, visit a popular retailer online or in person, check out the styles, and give yourself a fresh perspective. If a clothing item is old, out-of-date, and not likely to be in style again, you may be better off placing it in the giveaway pile.

5. Decide if the item(s) compliments your wardrobe and will match with other items for future outfits.

Does this item only work with one outfit, multiple outfits, or nothing at all?

Remember, a happy closet is a simple, organized closet. Items that have few (or especially no) matches typically do little more than gather dust. If you don’t have at least one outfit you can wear it with, it’s definitely time to let it go.

6. Allow yourself to keep items that are sentimental in value. If you love it for personal reasons and can’t bear to part with it—don’t force yourself to just for the sake of minimizing your closet stash. Instead, find a new, better way to store it—for instance, you might consider placing custom corner shelving in your closet for your treasures.

7. Determine the empowerment value. In other words:

Does it make you feel great when you wear it?

If you don’t feel right wearing it, chances are you probably won’t wear it at all. Why not give it a second chance and give it away—who knows? The next person who finds it might fall utterly in love with it.

8. Ask yourself if it’s too much hassle to clean or de-wrinkle.

Is this a laundry nightmare?

If you have to dry clean or hand wash the blouse every time, is it really worth keeping? If not, place in your giveaway or donate pile.

9. Remove anything that is worn or torn. Anything that has holes in it, is torn, or looks tattered, remove it. If you love it, and it’s a mess, still toss it, but make a note for yourself to find a suitable replacement later.

10. Get rid of anything that does not fit.

Does a dress really fit or is it just too uncomfortable?

It’s torture to look at clothes that you love but can’t actually wear, or that fit so badly it’s painful just thinking about putting them on. It’s best to keep your wardrobe functional by filling it with items you can actually enjoy wearing.

custom walk in closet shelving

11. Set aside items that you have not or will probably not use anytime soon. Consider moving holiday, seasonal, and other less frequently used items to a closet under the stairs for storage.

12. Separate “donate” from “giveaway” items. Goodwill takes jewelry, clothing, shoes, hats, and many household items. But perhaps you have items in good condition that they can’t take—or perhaps you have someone (or several someones) who would love this top or that pair of boots. In this case, make sure you have at least two distinct piles to make sure the right things end up with the right people!

13. Confirm your giveaway, hand-me-down stack. Double-check the items you want to give away and make sure they’ll be a good match. Will those heels actually fit the best friend who’s been lusting after them for years? Will the person you’re giving that blouse to recognize it because they were the ones who gave it to you in the first place? Move anything unsuitable for giving away back to the “donate” pile.

14. Decide what else stays and leave the rest behind. Sift through the remaining boxes and piles of items which may include your accessories, undergarments, and various belongings. Place into either the keep, donate, or giveaway piles.

15. Organize apparel into themed categories and then further organize by color. Place athletic wear all together organized by color, place dress and work attire in another area, and continue until you have finely organized all of your remaining items. This includes all of your pants, jeans, shorts, and capris.

custom walk in closet layout

16. Take a look at what’s left, take a deep breath, and form your game plan. This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. It’s time to ask yourself the big question:

 Can I do this myself?

  • If the answer is a confident yes, then, by all means, move forward.

  • If the answer is no, or even just an unsure “maybe,” consider working with a custom closet company whose experts can help you with the hardware, organization, custom closet components, and installation.

17. If you decide you need help, you may wish to contact a local manufacturer and custom designer for a custom closet solution. With a local company, you’ll be able to easily visit the showroom in person to see products and materials for yourself—and shipping costs and risks will be greatly reduced.

18. Formulate a custom closet floor plan that will delight your life and organize your space.

19. Install your final custom closet redesign components, including adjustable shelves for your shoes.

20. Make items you use most frequently the most accessible. Ensure your custom closet is set up with your everyday wear close at hand to create a closet space that truly fits your lifestyle.

21. Store items less frequently used higher up or farther back. You may require a custom-designed wardrobe lift to reach business or special event attire.

22. Place undergarments, jewelry, and accessories into dresser drawers and hats and purses within sturdy built-in custom closet cabinetry.

23. Relax and enjoy your new custom closet—now clutter-free and better than ever!

custom walk in closet island

Need Some Custom Design Encouragement?

If you’ve read through these steps and you still feel overwhelmed, don’t worry! We’re here to help and happy to offer some professional encouragement.

We wish everyone could have a custom closet that will make them feel less stress and more joy. It’s the least we can do to help figure out not only how to purge your closet but how to put a beautiful custom closet plan into action.

Sometimes you just need a professional opinion on how to remodel or reconstruct a small closet in a tiny DC apartment or reorganize a few large family custom closets. Whatever the case may be—whatever you envision as the ultimate closet result—we’d be proud to help you turn that hopeful thought into a happy reality.

If you’d like some support while purging and redesigning your dream closet, contact us—or, to get a head start, feel free to go ahead and schedule a free design consultation today.

Lead image: Shutterstock

Closet America was able to work with my unique circumstances in order to give me the best use of my space.

Amy B.,
Fairfax Station, VA

Let’s Start Your Project

Whether you’re interested in a custom-designed closet, office, pantry, or garage, starting your project couldn’t be easier. Just fill out the attached form or give us a call to schedule your free in-home design consultation. You can download our brochure and you’re welcome to visit our Landover Maryland showroom, to see how beautiful our custom-designed organization systems look in person. We want you to experience the Closet America difference and see how we build organizing solutions for life.

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