Inside of a tidy and decluttered wardrobe with title of the post across it

How To Declutter Your Wardrobe Effectively in 14 Ways

Woman lying on the floor with clothes from wardrobe all over her
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Is wardrobe clutter creating frustration for you?

We’ve all been there – that moment you look into your disorganised and cluttered wardrobe and get completely frazzled because there are so many things in there but you still can’t find anything to wear! Sound familiar? This doesn’t have to end up with you throwing all of your clothes away in frustration and splurging on a completely new wardrobe…but something does need to change. Here are my top tips on how to declutter your wardrobe to keep it organised and make it functional for you.

14 Top Tips on how to declutter your wardrobe

white wooden hangers on a clothes rail
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Tip #1: ‘Reverse Hanger’ trick to help with decluttering

This is a great little trick to find out what you’re actually not using. Hang all of your clothes with the hangers facing the same way (whichever direction you prefer). As you wear an item and hang it back in your wardrobe, hang it back with the hanger facing the opposite way. This way you will start to see which items you have not worn yet and it will give you a pretty good indication of what items are just taking up space in your wardrobe.

Extra tip: If you want to also see which folded items you aren’t wearing, you can use this same concept but by placing the folded items facing a certain way – up or down, sideways, etc. As you wear them and they get returned to your wardrobe, place them facing the opposite way. This way, even if they are stacked on top of each other, you will be able to see which items haven’t been worn in a while.)

Hands putting a folded pile of jeans in a cardboard box to help declutter a wardrobe
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Tip #2: Store clothes away temporarily for clarity

This tip is helpful if you don’t wear some items of clothing very often but you’re not ready to part with them just yet. Store them away in a box for six moths (or even a year). After your chosen amount of time, reintroduce the box back into your wardrobe and see if you’re excited to wear those clothes again. If you are, great! It’s like having a new wardrobe! If there is no excitement, then you know it’s time to donate those items because you don’t have a need for them. This is a nice little trick to get clarity on what you actually need.

Woman sitting on the floor sorting through clothes while decluttering her wardrobe
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Tip #3: Sort through ALL of the items in your wardrobe as you declutter

This might sound like a ‘no brainer’ but if your goal is to declutter your wardrobe, you need to go through every last item of clothing in there. This includes shoes, belts, hats, scarves and whatever else you find in there! If you only focus on a few things, the clutter will soon pile up again and you’ll be right back where you started. Decluttering your wardrobe is an all-or-nothing kind of thing!

Start by taking out all of your items and pile them somewhere like your bed. This will give you a great starting point and a clear insight as to just how much you have in your wardrobe. From here on out, you can go through each piece, one-by-one, and decide if you want to keep it or not. (You can make a ‘yes’, ‘maybe’ and a ‘no’ pile.)

This will be the most difficult part of the process so if you need more support, I highly recommend following through with the KonMarie Method, which includes asking yourself, ‘Does this spark joy?’ If an item brings you joy and you have a use for it, there is worth in keeping it. If it doesn’t, then you can identify what you no longer need.

Extra tip: You’ll definitely need to plan enough time to get the job done. You’ll need your bed to sleep on so that will help motivate you to clear all the clothes you’ve put on it before bed time!

Woman in a dress looking in the mirror with a blurry reflection in the background
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Tip #4: The mirror test

The mirror test is the easiest and most obvious way to eliminate clothing from a wardrobe. For some reason, however, we tend to overlook it or avoid it. Sometimes we hold on to an item of clothing because we absolutely love it but when it comes down to being honest, it doesn’t look good on us. It might be unflattering, too big, too small, the wrong colour or just not our style. Wear the item and take a good look in the mirror. Do you like the way it looks on you? Does it match the image you want to portray? Do you feel good wearing it? If you saw it in a store today, would you still buy it? If no, then don’t put it back in your wardrobe.

3 happy girls sitting on a bed looking at each other as if having a discussion
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Tip #5: Ask friends for their help

While what you wear should always be what you want and what you feel comfortable in, sometimes we need a little help from our friends. It might be helpful to have someone you trust and value look at your wardrobe with you. They can help you decide what might not be worth keeping. You can make it fun and put on a mini-fashion show, pretend you’re doing the Pretty Woman montage scene (you know the one!), or they could be your judges and rate your outfits. You could even get a friend to be your personal stylist and have them put together outfits that are flattering on you and share what items they think don’t do you any favours. Yes, the final decision should rest with you but it can be refreshing to hear someone else’s opinion that you might not have considered before. 

3 cardboard boxes with piles of folded clothes in each
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Tip #6: Create a capsule wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe? What is that? Well, it’s a really handy way of organising your clothes into seasons/times of the year so that you don’t have all of your clothing in your wardrobe all at once. In simple terms, depending on where you live and what the seasons are like, make a box (aka: capsule) for winter, spring, summer and autumn.

In each box, put your favourite key items that you wear in that particular season. When it is not that season, you put that box away and only take it out when it is time. This doesn’t mean you have to constantly live out of a box. You can have your staple items in your wardrobe all of the time – the ones that you can’t live without, no matter the season – and then just swap your capsule/season boxes throughout the year. This will keep you excited throughout the year as you won’t be constantly looking at the same clothes hanging in your wardrobe all year long.

Extra tip: If you want help with creating a capsule wardrobe, I found this capsule wardrobe guide quite useful for beginners – and it’s very thorough! Have a look and give it a try!

Woman smiling and taking out a red blouse from a wardrobe
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Tip #7: Think of functionality

Whatever items of clothing you wear most, make sure they are easily reachable (usually at eye level). If you store regular items too high or right at the back, you are making your job of getting dressed each morning that much more of a nuisance. If you can’t see it, you won’t remember it’s there so make sure that everything is visible (and accessible!) in some way.

This is very important when it comes to knowing what is actually in your wardrobe. I’m sure many of us have had that ‘ah ha’ moment when we’ve discovered an item of clothing in the back of the wardrobe that we completely forgot we even had – and it would have been the perfect thing to wear last weekend to the party. If only we had been able to see it!

Clothes that are a pain to reach or get out will be less likely worn. If you organise your wardrobe in a way that is easy to access, you are opening up the possibility of wearing all the items you have in your wardrobe rather than just the obvious ones that you can see.

Woman standing in front of a clothes rail with clothes organised by colour
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Tip #8: Organise your wardrobe by colour

When you’re looking for something, you always know the colour of the item of clothing. If you’ve organised your clothes in a colour-coded way, you will automatically know where to look to find it. This will also show you what colours you have a lot of so you’ll be able to mix and match different items together to make an outfit that works. You can sort each separate category by colour (shirts, trousers, skirts, etc.) to make everything easy to identify.

Extra tip: If you colour code your clothes, it also makes it easier when you’re shopping as you’ll know what colours you have a lot of (if you want to make sure what you’re buying will work with what’s already in your wardrobe) and what new colours you might want to introduce.

Close-up of wooden hangers with shirts hanging on them
Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

Tip #9: Hanging vs. folding

Everyone has their own preference on what they hang, what they fold and what they stash in a drawer! Now this might be a personal preference but I find shirts are so much harder and time consuming to fold correctly. Trousers, on the other hand, are very easy to fold. Save yourself some time by hanging your long-sleeved shirts and tops on good quality hangers. Hanging up shirts also helps to keep them wrinkle free.

Folding your trousers and jeans means they can be neatly stacked, saving you space. Short-sleeved shirts and vest tops can also be folded to save space. (See Tip #10 for tips on how to fold clothes in a useful way.)

Also, when considering the space you have in your wardrobe, if you have more hanging space or more shelving space, decide what will be the best items to hang and fold so that they will fit in an organised way. If you don’t have a lot of hanging space, definitely fold your baggy jumpers and sweaters.

Extra tip: I have stressed the use of good quality hangers because cheap plastic and wire hangers can stretch and misshape your clothes. (Avoid those bumps and stretches in the shoulder area!) Always use good quality, rounded hangers to suit the shape of your clothing.

Tip #10: ‘KonMari fold’ your clothes for instant organisation

When it comes to saving space and knowing how to declutter your wardrobe, Marie Kondo is the ultimate guru! I highly suggest folding your clothes (especially t-shirts and vest tops) following Marie Kondo’s folding method. This will not only save space in your wardrobe but will also help you see each of your items easily. Once folded, you will be surprised just how much you can fit on a shelf, in a drawer or in a basket.  

Want to learn how to fold you clothes to display them nicely and identify them easily? Watch the video below to learn the KonMari fold.

Learn how to KonMari fold just about anything!

Wooden table with sewing machine, scissors, measuring tape, an iron and patterned material lying on it
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Tip #11: Upcycle used clothes

Do you have an old or damaged piece of clothing (stained, ripped, etc.) that you absolutely love but you just never get around to fixing it? Why not see if you can turn it into something you can (and will) actually wear. A pair of ripped jeans could turn into shorts. A long maxi-dress could turn into a knee-length summer dress. That lovely (stained!) yellow top could be turned into a new pink shirt using clothing dye.

If you love the item, see if you can reuse it in some other way that excites you. This way when it’s sitting in your wardrobe, it’s not just taking up space. It’s still something you wear.

Extra tip: Don’t get in the habit of stockpiling clothes with the intention of fixing it ‘one day’. If you don’t have the time to do it soon, then you know that it will just sit in your wardrobe and take up space. Either set time aside to get the task done, bring it to a tailor or get rid of it.

Girl standing in living-room holding up a black shirt in front of her friend, doing a clothes swap
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Tip #12: Clothes swap

Swapping clothes is a great way to reuse clothing and feel like you have a new wardrobe for free…but you need to use this tip with caution. Since the whole idea is to declutter your wardrobe, what you don’t want to do is give your best friend a shirt you don’t wear anymore in return for three new items from her! If you keep doing this, you’ll end up accumulating even more clothes than you started with. This is not the goal of this post!

However, it is a great way to get rid of excess clothing that you just don’t wear enough but with the security of knowing that if you ever needed to ‘borrow it’ for that one-off occasion, you know where to find it! (And it’s not taking up space in YOUR wardrobe anymore!)

Coral painted wall with bags, mirrors, hats hanging nicely on scattered hooks and rails
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Tip#13: Use accessories to help organise your wardrobe

Most households (especially mine!) have baskets and hooks somewhere in the house where we store excess things so that they have a ‘home’ and aren’t just lying around everywhere. Why not do that in your wardrobe? If you always end up with a pile of socks on the floor, why not just get a small basket where you keep all of your socks? This comes back to that idea of functionality. It looks tidy and it’s effortless for you to keep tidy. Make it work for you!

You can hang scarves on a rail by hanging up a simple towel rail on the wall or the inside of a door so that they are nicely displayed and easy to get to. You could also hang them from a hanger. Anything too keep them off the floor or piled up in the corner.

Use dividers on a shelf to keep things separated and to allow you to stack things a little higher while still looking tidy and organised.

Hang your jewellery, hats, belts or even shoes on strategically placed hooks in your wardrobe or on the wardrobe door. Not everything needs a shelf to go on. You can buy strong adhesive hooks if you don’t want to make your interior designing choices a permanent fixture. Be creative with how to maximise the space you have.   

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Tip #14: Don’t keep clothing that doesn’t fit

I’m sure a lot of us have had that experience of keeping clothes that are just too tight but we hang on to them for that ‘one day’ when we hope to fit into them again. Don’t do this.

Firstly, the obvious reason is that they are clothes that you don’t wear and are taking up space in your cluttered wardrobe. Decluttering means getting rid of what you don’t use or need.

Secondly, it puts a lot of pressure on you every time you see those clothes and reminds you that you’re a different size. Yes, I can see the motivation seeing a pair of skinny jeans might give you, and keeping that one pair might help you stay motivated to achieve your health goals. However, a whole collection of clothes that don’t fit can really have a negative effect on your confidence if you see them on a regular basis staring at you in your wardrobe. Get rid of them by either donating them or storing them away in a box that you can come back to later if you need. (Refer back to tip #2.)

How will you declutter YOUR wardrobe?

By following some of these useful tips on how to declutter your wardrobe, you can turn your wardrobe from a place of frustration into a wonderful space of joy! When it comes to decluttering, less is always more! What tip will you try first? If you have any top tips of your own, feel free to share them in the comments!

*Feature photo by Victoria Borodinova from Pexels