Questions to Ask When Decluttering your Closet
Last week, I posted a blog about the importance of an organized closet and my own personal journey on how creating an organizing solution for my bedroom closet allowed me to identify my style and appreciate the clothing items I owned.
To help create my ideal wardrobe as well as an easy-to-maintain bedroom closet, I evaluated every article of clothing. How did I do this? By asking myself a series of questions to help me determine the items I wanted to keep or part with.
I would be lying if I said it was a simple, quick task. Seeing all of your clothes in a pile can be intimidating, but once you repeat the process a few times you'll feel both confident in your decisions and the weight lifted from your shoulders. When I was finished, I was happy with the items I kept and didn't feel guilty about the items I donated. In the end, they were just taking up valuable space.
Below are the 5 questions I used to help me overcome my wardrobe, and the same questions I have my clients ask themselves when they bring me in to help organize their closet. I strongly encourage you to ask yourself these questions with every article of clothing you own to help you craft your ideal wardrobe and utilize the space appropriately.
Have you worn the item in the last year? ↩️📅
Yes - it is likely an item that can stay since you use it regularly or is an item that is either required (i.e. a work uniform) or brings joy (i.e. your favourite pair of track pants).
No - candidate(s) to be donated (if gently used or in good condition), re-purposed (i.e. old t-shirts cut into rags) or thrown out.
2. Will you wear it in the year ahead? ↪️📅
Yes - it can stay for now, but if this item is still not worn by year-end then it should be removed from your wardrobe.
A good trick for identifying clothes you wear throughout the year is to turn the hanger in the opposite direction. Any clothes with their hangers not turned in by the end of the year can be donated.
No - candidate(s) to be donated, re-purposed or thrown out. An exception to this would be formal attire (i.e. wedding/formal gown, tuxedo etc.) that is outside your daily wardrobe and reserved for special occasions and/or events.
3. If you were shopping right now, would you buy this again? 🛍️
Yes - then it is highly likely this article of clothing is still a part of your current style and a part of your daily rotation. These items can stay in your closet.
No - candidate(s) to be donated, re-purposed or thrown out. It is likely these items no longer suit your style, or make you feel self-conscious to wear them out in public. Your closet should be full of versatile clothing that reflects your personality and the person you want to be.
4. Is it frayed, missing a button, or worth fixing? ✂️
Yes - if it is a simple adjustment that you can make yourself, set aside time in your calendar to sit down and make the alterations. If after 1 month the article of clothing has still not been addressed, then it is time to part with the item.
Be careful with costs for repairs. Clothing in stores today is manufactured with the intent of consumers purchasing more items at a cheaper cost. Because of this, the cost of having items repaired can sometimes be more expensive than buying a new pair of jeans.
No - item(s) could be kept if they still meet your style, and are worn as part of your regular rotation. If they are items that have never been worn, it is highly unlikely you will wear them in the future and they should be donated.
5. Would you keep this article of clothing if you were moving? 📦
Yes - if you would take the time to pack the item in a box, take it to another location, and then unpack it into your new home, then the item is likely a part of your regular rotation or is something you value and enjoy wearing so it should be kept as part of your wardrobe.
No - candidate(s) to be donated, re-purposed or thrown out. Your time and energy are better spent filling your home with items that bring joy and reflect who you are, not just items to fill boxes that will then need to be emptied at a new place
By asking yourself these questions, you’re changing the association you have with your clothes, adjusting shopping patterns (less buying just for the sake of buying), and maybe even creating an identity or style that suits your personality.
🤞🏻Remember to be honest with yourself and only keep those items you value and appreciate.
If you are having trouble letting go of items, check out my previous post on the types of clutter that might be lurking in your home & suggestions on how to try and overcome it.
If you’re having trouble starting this process, or are feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated, check out my article on how a Professional Organizer can help you take back your space & be happy with the items that live there.
A key thing to keep in mind is that organizing is a process! It takes time to transform chaos into calm so try to not be too hard on yourself!
About the Author: Brittany Smith lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband and feline furbaby Zoey. She is a Certified Professional Organizer, Owner, and Founder of Control the Chaos, a Professional Organizing business that provides personalized in-home, virtual and digital organizing services aimed at transforming anyone's chaos into calm.