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Yes, I got rid of 80% of my clothing. I’m sharing with you my best wardrobe declutter tips to achieve a freeing and happy wardrobe yourself.
This post is going to be part of my “Messy to Minimalist” series, which I started a few months ago.
I’ve been going through this process of minimising my entire home.
Today, I’m going to share with you exactly what I did with my wardrobe recently.
I obviously can’t know for sure because I haven’t counted the actual items, but I would say I got rid of about 80% of my closet.
It was honestly so stuffed in there.
Now it’s so much more airy and there’s more of a sense of calm in there.
Where to start decluttering your wardrobe
I would honestly say 90% of the process is just your mindset.
Getting to that point where I recognised that – you know what – I actually don’t need this many clothes.
And then 10% is the actual physical effort of moving things out of your space.
But after you get over that initial work, it’s so much easier to keep it tidy and to not be so overwhelmed by it all.
I’m going to share with you the book that I read called Minimalista by Shira Gill.
It’s the one thing that sprung this whole minimalism thing in me.
I’ve been having this itch for a while now to get rid of stuff. To declutter.
But I didn’t know where to start.
What I did know was that I was starting to feel really overwhelmed with quite a few places in my home.
If you were looking on the outside, my home looked fine and it didn’t look untidy at all when I stayed on top of things.
But when you looked in cupboards, drawers, and closets, it was honestly getting so full that I was finding myself dreading tidying and keeping track of everything.
I started to feel like I needed a change.
The Minimalista book walks you through each room of your house and includes lots of tips and ideas on how to tackle each room of your house.
Honestly, I am obsessed with that book.
It has really, really helped me.
In the book, Shira has this four-step process to getting rid of things.
I’m gonna walk you through exactly those four steps and how I used them in my wardrobe.
I got rid of 80% of my clothing | Wardrobe Declutter Tips
Feel free to watch the video or keep reading below for all the juicy tips:
Most of us wear 20% of our wardrobe for 80% of the time
I actually read this quote: Most of us wear 20% of our wardrobe for 80% of the time.
This is honestly so true for me.
Or it used to be so true for me because I had this massively stuffed wardrobe.
I also had clothes stuffed in lots of different places in our home.
I would say I definitely wore 20% or even less on a daily or weekly basis.
And then I had all these other clothing items that I thought were cute and I liked what they looked like, but realistically, they didn’t really fit my lifestyle and I didn’t wear them. Ever.
I just had them in there.
Just in case.
In the past, I did so many “declutters” and organising videos.
Now that I look back on it, I realise a lot of the times, I was getting rid of a few things, but not a lot.
I was basically just moving this huge pile of clothes from one drawer to the next, thinking I’ve organised the closet.
But in reality, I was just moving stuff around.
I wasn’t actually getting rid of much.
And so, it just felt overwhelming all the time.
I would tidy it, but it quickly got disorganised again.
It was so hard to keep on top of it.
I was always dreading that wardrobe switch over from one season to another, because I knew there was so much stuff to go through.
I had stuff that’s been in there for years, and I hadn’t worn it in years, but I kept it because it was cute or I wore it a long time ago and it reminded me of something.
I just knew this process was definitely needed for me.
It was simply too overwhelming.
It was taking up so much of my time to try to keep on top of my wardrobe and laundry and clothes.
The 4 Steps to Declutter my Wardrobe
As I mentioned, there are 4 steps that Shira Gill recommends you go through as you’re decluttering each space. Here is how I tackled them in my own wardrobe.
Step 1: Clarity
Clarity means having a clear picture in your head of what you want your space not only to look like, but how you want it to feel.
For me, I wanted my wardrobe to feel calm, bright and airy.
When I open the closet, it’s not full of hangers stuffed and then more stuffed things at the bottom and all the shelves and the drawers stuffed with more things.
I wanted to have this sense of calm and air in there.
You know when you go into one of those nice little boutique shops and everything’s laid out nicely, and there’s lots of space between the hangers.
It’s not like I’m there 100%, but that’s what I’m aiming for.
Overall, I just wanted to spend less time organising and cleaning stuff in there, less time doing the laundry of all those items.
I wanted to have all of my favourite items front and centre, rather than a whole bunch of things I like or I think they’re cute but I never wear.
I just wanted to have the things that I actually wear and I actually love.
Step 2: Edit out
The second step of that process is to edit it out, right?
That’s the actual bulk of the process.
So I took pretty much everything out of my closet, but I did it gradually.
I did it a bit each day.
I didn’t do the whole thing in one day, which is what I used to do in the past.
I would just take everything out on the bed, and then I would get so overwhelmed that I didn’t end up going through all of the pieces.
I would just stuff them back in.
So what I recommend if you are doing this process as well is to just do little bits.
I would take a drawer and take all of my jeans out.
Just pick one category and go through that.
Then I would think – ok, how many pairs of jeans do I have?
How many pairs of black leggings?
And then I tried to be honest with myself about how many I actually need or wear out of those.
As I repeated this process with each drawer or each section of my wardrobe, I would put things into three piles.
I did the keep pile, obviously the things that would go back in my wardrobe.
I did a donation pile, and so I put those in a clean bin bag.
These I usually put them on the curbside when there’s a curbside pickup. That’s what we have in the UK, which is so handy.
Then I also did a pile for selling.
Now, I didn’t actually spend a lot of time selling my items, except for maybe a few things that were a bit nicer or things that looked really good or were still great quality.
With those, I took a couple of pictures each straight away.
I didn’t want to have them linger in my closet.
I placed them in an outbox at the bottom of my wardrobe. And I quickly uploaded the items on Vinted.
Is it worth selling stuff online?
I’ve been loving using Vinted lately to sell my unwanted items.
My rule was that I put the items that I think are worth it up to sell, but then if they didn’t sell within two weeks, I would put them in the donate pile.
I didn’t want to have them in my closet for too long.
Because I think this is one thing that we can really get hung up on.
We’ll think “Oh, I’ll just sell it someday,” or “I’ll just donate it someday.”
But if you don’t actually physically take it out and decide “Okay, I’m gonna get rid of this if it doesn’t sell within this amount of time”, then it’s just gonna linger there in your closet forever.
Some things did sell on Vinted quickly, some things simply didn’t.
The ones that didn’t, I made it a point to get rid of them and donate them promptly.
To me, the point of selling my clothes was not to make my money back or to make any sort of significant income.
The point for me was to help those items reach a person that will actually use them.
Questions to ask yourself when decluttering your clothes
Whilst I was going through my clothes, there were a few questions I was asking myself.
These have helped me a lot with the decisions of what to let go and what to keep.
One of the questions, which is one of the most common things you hear, is: “Is it something that I have worn in the past year?”
If I hadn’t worn it in the past year, then I would really try to ask myself honestly: Why?
A lot of the time we would try to justify it in our minds.
“Well, I haven’t worn it in a year, but I might wear it for X event.”
So I tried to really think about the reason why I didn’t wear it.
Another question to go along with that is this.
If I open my closet in the morning and I go to pick up this item, would I wear it for the day?
And if not, why not?
So often I would have an item that I thought was cute and I liked the way it looked, so obviously I kept it.
But I would never gravitate towards it because of various reasons like:
- It wasn’t comfy enough
- It didn’t fit me quite right
- I felt like I needed to have a certain top to go with those pants and I didn’t own one.
- It needed a special bra that I found uncomfortable to wear.
If you’re really honest with yourself, when you look at an item, you probably already have in your mind (sometimes subconsciously) a reason why you’re not going to wear it.
I would also ask myself: “Is this something that I’m keeping for a future-me or a fantasy-me?”
Sometimes we have this future version of ourselves in mind: when we lose weight, when we get a different job, when X happens.
And so you have this fantasy-you in your head.
I would sometimes think “Oh, if I had this event to go to, this outfit would be really cute for that”.
“Or if I were to go into an office, this would be a really cute office outfit”.
But realistically I haven’t been in an office in so long because I work from home as a mum
Don’t get me wrong, I love my lifestyle.
But why am I keeping all of these clothes that I never wear?
If I’m not wearing it now, I don’t need it.
In the future, if I do get to a point where I might want an item like that again, it is very likely that it either won’t fit me anymore or I just won’t like the style anymore.
And I would want a new one anyway.
So why am I keeping this for years and years when I’m probably never going to wear it again?
Step 3: Organise
The next step after massively decluttering was to start organising.
Now, in my main wardrobe, I only keep the things I wear now.
The things for my current body.
The things for today-me.
That main wardrobe is really precious real estate in my daily life, if you know what I mean.
I open it every single day.
So when I look in it, I want to have only the items that I actually wear on a regular basis.
I want only items that make me feel good.
Anything that I would not wear regularly or in my daily life, I did not keep in there.
Things like formal outfits, maybe a wedding guest dress or things like that, I would not keep in there.
I have this drawer under my bed where I kept a few formal things, a couple of high heel shoes for special events.
Any fancier shirts or a skirt that I would only wear to events, I kept it in the spare under bed drawer, because I don’t need it to be in the daily space where I look every single day.
Now a lot of my shelves in my wardrobe are actually empty, which I love.
Being honest with myself through this process really helped.
For example, I really do not need that many jeans because I do not even wear them often.
90% of the time I’m probably in leggings, a comfy outfit or just an athleisure type of look.
And I love it.
Have a system to keep it organised
My system for keeping it organised is to try to put everything away at the end of the day. Obviously, “try” is the keyword here because I’m not perfect.
I’m a busy mum.
I’m honestly so tired at the end of the day with a new baby, but creating a more minimalist closet has massively helped.
Now that I have all this space in my closet, the shelf under the hangers is empty now (which used to be stuffed with jumpers I never wore).
I can prep my outfit for the next day in that empty space.
Say I’m wearing a pair of leggings now that I want to wear tomorrow as wel.
And so they’re not quite clean to put them in the clean pile, they’re not quite dirty either.
Before, I would usually just fling them on a chair.
But now I can put them at the bottom of that shelf in my wardrobe, and that can be my next day outfit.
Another thing I implemented is to try to do one load of laundry a day.
I mean one full load, start to finish.
In the morning we put on a load in the washer, and we usually hang it dry till the evening, when I take 10 minutes to put it all away where it belongs.
If I stay on top of it like this daily, it’s so much easier to manage.
Simply having fewer clothes to manage has helped the laundry situation so much.
I am also a lot more mindful about the amount of stuff we bring into our home.
Because that’s the thing.
Every single week or every single month, if we think about how many things we bring into our home, we would be shocked to total it up and see the numbers.
How many cute pieces of clothing we buy.
How many little decor pieces that don’t have a place.
How many things we get just because they’re on sale.
And then let’s also think about how many pieces of clothing do we actually get rid of in that month?
If it’s not an equal amount coming in and going out, it’s simply going to build and build and get overwhelming.
That’s exactly what happened in my case.
Now I’m trying to do the one in, one out system as best as I can.
If I bring something in, I really want to think about how I’m going to wear it.
Is it going to fit my lifestyle?
Am I going to wear it a lot?
What can I get rid of to make space for that?
Because if I don’t get rid of things, it’s just going to pile back on and a few months from now I’ll be in that overwhelmed place again.
Step 4: Elevate
The fourth step that Shira mentions in the book is to try to elevate your closet.
So with that clarity in mind of how I want my wardrobe to feel, I did a few things to help me elevate it and make it look the way I want it to.
One thing I did was I asked my husband to install these LED strip lights at the top of my wardrobe – super cheap from IKEA.
They have a sensor, so when you open your doors, the light comes on.
They really make me smile every time I open my wardrobe now.
It’s that feeling of opening up to all the lovely things that I actually love to wear.
It was definitely overwhelming at first.
It was definitely hard to get in the mindset of getting rid of things.
But once I did it, it was honestly so freeing getting rid of stuff.
Now when I open my closet, it’s a whole different vibe in there.
How to keep the wardrobe clutter free
I also have an outbox that I put at the bottom of my closet.
So when I notice something that I take out in the morning or I look at it and think: “Oh, I don’t want to wear that because of this reason or that reason” then it means it needs to go.
I can just take it and put it in the outbox straight away.
Because if it lingers in there, I’m just going to forget about it.
And it will just start piling on again.
I’m trying to be way more mindful about these things.
Obviously you can be as strict or as lenient as you want with this.
I don’t think there is a specific number of items that make you qualify as a “minimalist”. It’s not about owning only two things.
It’s about only owning the things that truly bring value to your life.
Let me know what you guys think about my minimalism series so far and maybe what else you would like to see in this series, because I am getting so passionate about this topic.
Honestly, it has definitely improved my life and made it simpler and easier to manage.
As a busy mom, that’s a huge thing for me.
I look forward to hearing from you in the comments.