How To Be Ruthless When Decluttering Clothes?

Decluttering your clothes can be tough. Perhaps you’re unsure of which items to discard and which to keep. Perhaps you don’t know where to begin because you have tons of clothes!

Whatever the case may be, today’s tips and guide questions on how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes will surely help.

Why is it so hard to declutter clothes?

wardrobe decluttering

Do you find it harsh to get rid of some of your clothes? The good news is that you’re not alone! It’s natural to hold on to things even if you don’t use them anymore. Whether they’re a present or purchased out of your pocket, it’s hard to give them up.

According to Dr. Frank Niles, a social scientist, and business psychologist, people hold on to stuff they don’t need any longer for two reasons.

First, you feel the need for safety, security, and stability, so you can’t just bear the thought of tossing a dress you might wear one day.

It’s common to keep clothing that fit when you were younger or before you had children. You’re hoping that one day you can work out or diet back into those outfits.

The second reason is sentimentality, which is why you feel attached to things you own. You don’t want to get rid of items that bring back memories of an event or people you care about.

If one of your reasons for not purging garments is sentimentality, acknowledge that getting rid of the clothes does not mean letting go of the memories!

Decluttering may be difficult at first, but you’ll feel like a completely different person in the end – and your closet will be very tidy, which is an added benefit.

If you’re having trouble letting go of clothes, keep reading for some helpful tips.

8 Tips on How to Be Ruthless When Decluttering Clothes

1. Know you’re why

how to declutter your wardrobe

Before you even start the decluttering process, it’s crucial to understand why you want to simplify your wardrobe.

Have you changed employment and are now required to dress in an entirely new manner? Have you gained or lost a significant amount of weight, so you need a new set of clothes? Are all your outfits not currently fashionable?

Knowing you’re why will help you get started and stick to the job if you feel like giving up before it gets done. Make a list of your desired outcomes.

Your why determines your goals. The more specific your goals are, the more likely you can achieve them.

2. Empty your closet

declutter closet

Even though it may seem overwhelming, the best approach to go through your wardrobe is to handle everything altogether rather than simply staring at the hanging or folded clothes.

Set aside enough block of your time, then pull all your clothes out and pile them all on the bed or floor in a giant mound.

Even if you want to stop halfway, a massive pile will force you to finish the job.

3. Categorize your clothes and set limits

decluttering your wardrobe tips

To make the process less emotional and time-consuming, you can create categories for your clothes, such as business attire, casual wear, church clothes, and workout clothes.

Next, set a reasonable number of items to keep for every category depending on your lifestyle, preferences, and laundry routine.

For instance, you can go for 14 t-shirts, 9 pairs of jeans, 7 workout clothes, 5 jackets, and so on. Do not consider holding extras once you’ve decided on a limit per category.

4. Create 4 piles: Keep, Maybe, Donate/Sell, and Discard

decluttering wardrobe

Go through the pile of clothes one by one and decide to which heap each item should go.

The “Keep” Pile is for clothing that you enjoy wearing frequently, and you feel good or comfortable in them.

You can ask yourself the following questions to help you determine whether to keep an item or not:

  • Is it a good fit for me today?
  • Have I worn it last year?
  • Do I feel good and confident wearing it?
  • Doesn’t it have any damage or stains?
  • Would I feel happy if I wore it for the whole day?
  • Is it something I’d buy again?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to all six questions for an item, then you can keep it. Return anything you choose to keep immediately to your closet or dresser. Fold stuff neatly for drawers and hang garments in your closet.

The “Maybe” pile is for clothes you can’t easily decide what to do. Don’t put these items back in your closet for you to decide later.

Instead, place these clothes in a container, seal and label it with a future date, maybe 6-12 months from now. Consider this period as a test run. Set up a reminder on your phone if you tend to forget easily!

Put the box in a room where you can’t often see it.

When the set date comes, check if you have not missed, needed, or wanted any of the pieces of clothing in the box. Know that you’re just fine without them, so it’s time to bid them goodbye.

The “Donate/Sell” pile is for things you can part with but are in good condition. These could be clothes that no longer fit you, do not match your style, sentimental items, duplicate items, for an event unlikely to happen, and so on.

If you’ve got some clothes that you haven’t worn for the past six months or more and the tags are still attached, it’s time to donate or sell them. They can make an excellent addition to someone else’s closet.

Whatever the case may be, if it just does not fit well, or it was a unique purchase that you hoped to enjoy, but you didn’t, it’s high time you let go of them.

If there’s an item you haven’t worn in a while, it’s more likely you’ll never take it out and wear it after all.

Pack up everything and donate or sell them as soon as possible. Do not leave any chance for yourself to doubt your decluttering choices.

Finally, the “Discard” pile is for items you’re sure you want to dispose of, most probably because they are not in good condition.

These could be clothes with stains or holes, torn, ripped, or worn out, so no one else will feel good or comfortable wearing them. Take everything to be thrown into the garbage bin right away.

5. Remove any extra storage

declutter closet rules

If you are determined to be rigorous as possible while decluttering your clothes, a fantastic approach is to ditch any extra furniture you keep clothes in.

You’ll be required to keep only as many as you need if you have less or just enough space to store clothing.

6. Track items you seldom or never wear

declutter wardrobe

Another approach that you can do to declutter your wardrobe ruthlessly is by documenting the items you seldom or never use, then disposing of those clothes. The “Hanger Experiment” is one way to do this.

Hang all your clothes backward.  Hang each garment up facing the appropriate direction each time you’ve worn an item. Dispose of any clothes that remain hanging backward after a specified period.

Also, you can track your clothing by writing down every piece that you have and counting how many times you wore it throughout a season or a defined period. If there’s an item that you seldom wore or never at all, let go of it.

In addition, you can also wear every garment in your closet before reusing any item. Doing this is a fantastic method to see how much you value each item you maintain.

Consider dividing your closet into two halves. Hang clothes you haven’t worn to one side and already worn items on the other. Once an item is worn, return it to the “already worn” section.

Ditch anything you have no plans of wearing again or that didn’t feel or look nice when you were wearing it.

7. Start a capsule wardrobe

how to declutter closet

A capsule wardrobe composed of a narrowed number of interchangeable items that work well together. Frequently ageless pieces can make up this selection, so they will always be in style.

A capsule wardrobe makes it possible to generate a variety of distinct ensembles with a restricted selection of items.

Try and explore how a capsule wardrobe works. Dress only in those garments for the next couple of months.

The next time you declutter your wardrobe, you may be able to be more ruthless because you’ve tried and hopefully appreciated how liberating a simplified wardrobe can be.

8. Avoid impulsive buying

Stop making decluttering harder by setting a shopping limit on any apparel spending. If you can’t avoid shopping altogether, only buy the items you need.

It’ll be much easier to declutter if you limit the clothes that come into your closet.


Is it hard to declutter your wardrobe? Yes, particularly if you’re doing it for the first time! You won’t enjoy parting with things you own.

But, with the tips and guide questions on how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes given above, the process will be a whole lot easier.

how to declutter your closet

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