How To Be Ruthless When Decluttering Clothes: 9 Tips For Success

Why is doing a clothing declutter so hard? The idea of a major clothing declutter just might be enough to send you running in the other direction…until now. Learn how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes so that you can learn how to decide what clothes to get rid of quickly and easily.

My wardrobe management tips will help get you motivated to keep an organized closet while today’s specific tips will help you stop being a clothes hoarder.

Text how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes on white background over image of woman sitting next to pile of clothing while deciding what to declutter.

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You may have thought ‘I have too many clothes’ at some point, but actually doing something about it can be a… challenge. 

I have good news! I’m sharing some of my top tips showing you how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes. Implement even just a couple of these gems and you’ll transform your closet in practically no time. Just think of how good it will feel to be able to say you are no longer a clothes hoarder!

How To Part With Clothes: Why It Can Feel So Hard

Before we jump into how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes, I think it’s important to touch on the HEART of the matter: the issues that stop you from being able to do it easily in the first place.

The Washington Post once published a story that gives 4 reasons why people have such a hard time getting rid of bad clothes they don’t wear:

  • In case they lose weight
  • The belief that it’ll become fashionable again
  • Guilt because it was expensive
  • Sentimentality

If you find that one (or more!) of these reasons is killing your motivation to declutter clothes, take a little time to sit down and take an honest look at them. 

Will you really wear the same clothes if you lose weight or will you want to celebrate by purchasing something new? Do you REALLY want your wedding dress or shoes taking up space when you just don’t use them or look at them?

Sure, fashions come and go, but I just can’t buy into the idea that it’s worth holding onto items for decades because the fashion MIGHT come back in style in your lifetime.

While there’s SOME grain of truth in each of those arguments, the BIGGER truth is that none of them are worth holding onto clothes and clutter that you just don’t use. Let’s dive into how to part with clothes when you don’t think you can.

No time to read the entire post? Just want to start decluttering your closet? Click here to have the free printable Simple Closet Decluttering checklist sent right to your email.

How To Be Ruthless When Decluttering Clothes: 9 Tips

Ok, here’s a little tough love. If you ever wonder ‘do I have too many clothes?’ then the answer is an automatic YES! Use these tips to learn when to get rid of clothes and how to do a thorough — and painless — clothes declutter!

Figure Out Your ‘Why’

Before you can do anything when it comes to decluttering, it’s important to know why you WANT to do this in the first place. Have you changed jobs and now follow a completely different dress code? Have gained or lost a bunch of weight and need a new wardrobe? Are your clothes all trendy and not currently in fashion?

These reasons will vary greatly from person to person, but one thing doesn’t change: knowing your ‘why’ will help motivate you to get started and keep you moving forward if you feel like quitting before the job is done.

Don’t Keep Buying New Clothes

You can’t declutter and simplify your wardrobe if you continue to add items to it! Before you even start wondering how to decide what clothes to get rid of, stop making the job harder and put a shopping ban on all clothing spending for the time being.

Once you’ve decluttered — and depending on your ‘why — you may choose to add a few thoughtful items to your wardrobe later. But worry about that later.

Get Rid Of Damaged items First

One of the easiest things you can do to start paring down your wardrobe is to pull out any ripped, torn, see-through, stained, very worn, or otherwise destroyed items. This can give you a quick win and encourage you to keep going!

Toss The Trends

I’m not a fan of following every fashion trend that whizzes by. It’s terrible for your closet, your wallet, and your stress level!

Instead of buying the latest fast fashion item and only wearing it for a month, carefully curate your wardrobe with items that are classic staples you’ll actually wear. You can dress them up with fun accessories that take up less space. Bonus: it’ll make choosing your clothes for the day so much easier.

Try It On

Try on every single clothing item that you think you might want to keep. How does it feel? Does it tug here, pull there, or otherwise feel uncomfortable?

Look at yourself in the mirror… Do you like the way you look in it?

An honest assessment in the mirror of how each item looks, feels, and fits can be your secret weapon for how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes. We sometimes remember clothing differently than it is now. Be honest and willing to let go of things that don’t make you feel comfortable when you wear them.

You Must Be Able To Answer ‘Yes’ To These Questions For Every Item You Keep

Denim shirts and jackets that need to be decluttered hanging on hooks against white wall.

Every single item you keep must be able to pass the question test. Unless you can answer ‘yes’ to BOTH of these questions, the item HAS TO GO!

  • ‘Have I worn this item in the last year?’
  • ‘Do I feel confident and comfortable in this piece of clothing?’

Honesty is going to be your best friend here because the point is that if you don’t want to be a clothes hoarder, you need to get rid of every clothing item that doesn’t add value to your life.

Create A Maybe Box

I get it. Sometimes there are items that you just can’t make a decision about. Don’t just kick the can down the road and put them back in your closet to decide later. Instead, put them in a box, seal it up, and write a future date on it (I suggest 6 months or a year from now). Remember to add a reminder to your phone!

Think of this time as a trial run. You aren’t getting rid of it yet, but you’re testing how life is without it. Then when the date comes around get rid of any items you didn’t miss and keep any that you did miss.

Flip The Perspective

Some people have a hard time letting go. So instead of wondering about how to get rid of clothes, flip it around and ask yourself what you want to continue seeing in your closet (and wearing). 

Sometimes learning how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes means deciding what you want to keep in your life rather than what you want to let go of. Flipping the perspective around can make it easier to say goodbye to items you really don’t want.

Visualize Your Simplified Space 

If you need some help staying motivated to finish the job, visualize the way your closet will look once you’ve pared everything down and organized it. Think of all the extra space you’ll have and how much easier it’ll be to do laundry or find what you’re wanting to wear that day.

More Decluttering Resources

So now that you know how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes, are you ready to get started? You can always think you need to prepare more or get motivated, and that in itself can be a trap that keeps you from moving forward. Use these tips and plan some time and just go for it. 

You’ve got this!

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2 thoughts on “How To Be Ruthless When Decluttering Clothes: 9 Tips For Success”

  1. I have gone through my closet (and totes) and gotten rid of all that is orn out, not ith it and hat doesn’t fit. I’m not illing to get rid of perfectly gorgeous clothing that looks great on me!! I strongly disagree about one year haven’t orn it rule. hy get rid of perfectly good clothing? I pack mine in totes and hen the season roles around I pull out hat seems like ne clothing. Some of us are just more into fashion than others. I admit that and believe that’s the difference here Many ladies do hat I do!! It saves money!! Also giving you more variety!! hen you keep to your personal style your clothing doesn’t go out of style as quickly! Hope this helps someone!! e are all different in hat is really important to us!!

  2. Your post came at exactly the right time! I’m getting ready to redo my closet and before I get started it’s time to PURGE! We’ll be sharing your post in our weekly roundup on Sunday. Thanks so much for sharing it with us on the Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop!

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