How to Declutter and Refresh your Closet


Inside: Practical tips for decluttering a closet seasonally; understanding how to decide what to keep and what to donate; developing a declutter plan for a capsule wardrobe.

Decluttering is a journey. It’s not something that’s one and done. I mean, I’ve spent the last three years of my life deep diving into the methods and ways I can live with less, or rather, live with enough and I still find times when I am facing a mountain of unwanted things. 

After doing a massive, whole, house declutter we feel good, cleansed. But it’s like going on a diet. The initial results are amazing, but if we don’t make that diet a permanent way of life, we will lose steam. I guess what I’m saying is I’ve been on a declutter diet for the last three years and I’m at the point where it’s just the way I am. 

Last week, I did my first ever Declutter Refresh in our Master Closet. It had been a while since I’d paid any attention to my clothing because I’d been pregnant and then on maternity leave and then I spent the last year as a solopreneur, working in my sweat pants all day. 

This year, I’ve decluttered all that uncertainty and I’m moving forward with being the best version of me that I can be. In my mind, that meant tackling my closet and my clothes with a renewed mindset and vision to where I see myself going over the next twelve months. 

I started this closet work a few years ago. At that time, I asked Eight Questions to decide what to keep and what to toss. It sorta worked. I went deeper when I did a deep dive with the Konmari Method for closets and now I’m at the point where I have my own adapted method that really seems to jive with real life. 

How I did my Declutter Refresh

I started like any good declutter starts. I emptied out my entire closet, piece by piece. I immediately rehang anything I knew 100% was going to stick around and then went to work on the rest. (I kept every single belt I own LOL – you can see how I organized my belts and scarves here.)

I used a method I call an ‘Ascent’. This is where you picture you declutter task like a literal mountain ridge; a sheer cliff that you are destined to climb. As you would if you were to physically climb a sheer rock face, once you begin, you cannot stop until you have reached a point of ‘safety’, or with the case of decluttering, acceptably less clutter. 

I triaged my piles into like-items, placing pants with pants, blouses with blouses and so on. 

The key with a refresh is to understand the intent. Are you trying to create more space in your closet? Are you trying to change up your personal style? 

The Capsule Wardrobe Concept

In my case, the intent of this declutter refresh was to push myself further towards my ultimate version of a capsule wardrobe. I’ve been doing a lot of research and consideration for this way of life and it appeals to me very much. A good capsule wardrobe consists of classic pieces that fit you well, that go together in a multitude of ways and that can be easily accessorized. 

Some capsule wardrobes talk about having only 40 pieces total, or only using shades of black, white and grey; but I feel like your capsule must be unique to you. The only rule should be that it must consist of pieces that fit you perfectly, go together and amplify your personal style. It’s also good to have some extremely basic items like undergarments and the like – but you know. 

Head to my Free Resource Library to grab a copy of my Capsule Wardrobe Checklist! 

When you hesitate to toss and donate clothing

As with all my declutter endeavours, my aim is to touch everything in the room, or in this case in the closet. Every shoe, sock, pair of leggings must at least grace my hands before I can say I’ve done a good refresh and declutter. 

Once I hold an item, I try my best to tap into my intuition and allow it to guide me on my next step. If I’m instantly inclined to keep it, then I immediately fold it or hang it back up. If there is hesitance, I dig deeper. 

Hesitance to release a physical item, such as clothing, is often an indication of something else going on in your mind. In fact, it more often than not indicates we are struggling with feelings of shame, self-worth and guilt. We can feel guilty for spending money on an item and not wearing it, so we somehow justify keeping it. We can feel shame for holding onto pre-pregnancy jeans that no longer pull above our thighs, and so we keep them hoping one day to tell a new story. We can feel shame that someone gave us a gift that we don’t really like, but we worry what they’ll say to us if we donate it, so we keep it out of obligation. 

Do you see what happens when we dig deeper? We discover keeping that item makes no sense AT ALL. So hesitation to me, typically signifies a mindful reckoning and a beautiful release of the piece to a new home. 

After sorting your clothes

This is up to you, but I like to hang my clothes by colour and season. I also add some labels to my cubbies to keep things straight. To be honest, this is mainly to help when my husband puts away the laundry! He doesn’t always know where I like to keep things, so the labels help. 

Are you interested in more decluttering? Check out these other posts I’ve got on my Organizing Page



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