How To Clear the Clutter from Your Closet

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 (And Your Life!)

By Stephanie Tipple 

Spring has finally decided to make an appearance, and with the transition in seasons comes the need for good ole’ Spring-cleaning. Yes, that means you can no longer avoid your closet that is teetering on the brink of capacity. And while clearing out a weekend afternoon to de-clutter your closet may not be at the top of your priority list, it can be a great way to clear the clutter from your life and learn a little something about yourself. You might also find that winter boot that you’ve been missing all season.

Get Psyched

Whether it’s a Starbucks latte or dancing around to the Rocky theme in your gym shorts (am I the only one that does that?), you need to get psyched up about cleaning. Maybe dust bunnies don’t make you quiver with excitement, but it’s better to crank up your energy levels to get the cleaning over with. And while you get your body revved up for your Spring-cleaning, make sure your mind is ready too.

Getting rid of your belongings isn’t easy,  even if you’re not a full-scale hoarder. Make sure that you tell yourself that this is a positive change, and that it will be a positive experience to take stock of what you have, enjoy the pieces that you forgot that you had, and let some of your items go.


Have a plan of attack that works with your clothing and closet space. Whether you want to sort your clothing by season, item classification or color, you’ll save yourself time and a panic attack when a sea of clothing, shoes and accessories surrounds you. Stick to your plan and you’ll be fine.


If you’ve got the floor space, it makes this task so much easier but regardless, remove your clothing items and place them on your bed, dresser, floor – whatever surface you deem fit. Once you’ve got all of your clothing out in the open, it’s decision-making time. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this clothing item still fit? (Be honest!)
  • Is it damaged, worn or in need of repair? (If yes, then create a separate pile for clothes that need maintenance, or add them to the donation pile)
  • Is it on trend? (It doesn’t have to be for you to wear the garment, but it’s always a plus!)
  • Do I enjoy wearing it and how I feel when I do?  (Clothing should always make you feel great in your own skin. If it’s too tight, loose, long, short etc, and you don’t feel confident in it, then let it go.)
  • Do I have the same item in my wardrobe already? (8 black dresses? Join the club. Having multiple can come in handy, but make a note of recurring themes and consider letting a few replicate pieces go.)

While there are a million questions you can ask yourself, these are the main staples that will help guide your fashion conscience to where you need to go.

As you are asking yourself about the different items in your wardrobe, form different piles; the keep pile, the maybe pile, the garbage pile, the donation pile and the repair pile. When you’ve done your entire closet, go back to the maybe pile and make a final decision on your items. Once you’ve completed that, use the organizational system you had planned up (you crafty devil you!) and organize your keep pile accordingly. Place your garbage pile in the proper receptacle and the donation pile into bags to transport to a location shelter or charity drop box. Get in touch with your tailor or seamstress about the pieces in the repair pile.


hangersTake the garbage pile and put it in the garbage (and don’t fish it back out later – we’re watching!). While you might make excuses to keep clothing beyond repair because of its sentimental value, you need to purge the items in your life that no longer have a place. Donating can give you a sense of well being when giving your possessions away, but throwing them out is the hardest. Be your own therapist and tell yourself you’re making the right decision to throw away your favorite bell-bottoms with the large rip in the inner thigh.


Now that you’re exhausted, your closet is clear, and all is right with the world again, it’s time to take a break and reflect. Did you find yourself keeping most of your old items? Throwing them away? Putting them in the repair pile (for those who are more clumsy than others)? How you respond to de-cluttering says a lot about you. There are some who keep the same high quality pieces and classics for decades, while some look for more “fast fashion” trends that are gone in a season or two. Knowing the styles that you like and taking stock in them, along with your buying habits, will provide insight into what items you should be looking for during your next shopping trip.

Author Stephanie Tipple is a college student, journalist and community leader. Her passion for fashion started in high school, where she won DECA Business Awards in retail events before earning a degree in Fashion Merchandising and Retail Management. She has also authored fashion columns at Northern Virginia Community College for two years. Stephanie resides in Woodbridge and can be reached by email at




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