Amanda Moments
April 13, 2015

tips for purging your closet

Ever since I’ve been turned on to the concept of minimalism, I’ve been trying to get rid of clutter and things I do not like or use anymore as much as I can. One weekend I decided to tackle my closet and go through every single piece of clothing in there to purge out the items I just don’t want or need. Since I have soo many things, it makes choosing what to wear each morning a task in itself since there are just too many options. A lot of what I own I barely even like, but haven’t been able to part with things because of my hoarder mentality. This time, I was determined to make a dent and simplify down to the clothes I love and wear most.

I’ve been following minimalism blogs and keeping my eye out for tips how to successfully purge. I wrote down the tips that resonated with me the most and referred to them often as I tackled my closet. They really did help! So much so that I couldn’t keep them to myself, so I just had to share them with you all in case you need some motivation to do the same.

Tips for Tackling Your Closet

-Before you even start, make three piles with bags or bins to make sorting easy: Donate, toss and sell.

-Consider a fourth pile for items you need more time to think about. Put anything you’re on the fence about in there and revisit it later. Going through it with fresh eyes then will help determine if you really care about it or not. And if you can’t even remember what’s in there, there’s a sign it must not mean that much and can be tossed.


-As you go, take EVERYTHING out of the closet. It’s easier to make a pile and go item by item, then put the pieces back in that you want to keep. This also helps you reorganize things as you go.

-Try on EVERYTHING. The only items I did not try on were the pieces I wore as recently as just a week ago.

-Try the hanger trick while you’re putting the keepers back: Reverse all the hangers so they face backwards. Then as you wear things, put them back the usual way. In a few months, or even weeks, you can easily see which items you don’t wear anymore and will make the next purge much easier.

closet afterPutting your hangers backwards helps you see which items you wear most, and least

-If you’re in doubt about an item, take a photo of yourself wearing it. Sometimes seeing it in a photo makes you view it differently and helps you really determine if it looks good or not. If you still can’t decide, send the photo to a friend and ask for her vote.

trying on dressI actually was planning on getting rid of this dress, until I looked at the photo of myself in it, when I realized it was still kinda cute!

-Within your donate pile, keep another pile of the nicest items with the least wear that you can either sell (like through ThredUp) or offer to friends instead.

sell items on thredupI sent four items to ThredUp to sell, and only got $2 back, but it’s always worth a shot to make some moolah

-Have goals before you start the process, such as to get rid of 25% of your closet or to keep 30 items per season if you want to try a capsule wardrobe.

-Allow yourself a little bit of leeway, but set limits. For instance, I allowed myself 3 keeps, or exceptions, for sentimental reasons.

-Try the 1-touch rule. I didn’t do this, but it might help for others: Only allow yourself to touch each item once, so you must decide right away if you’re tossing or keeping it — no picking it up multiple times and being indecisive.

-Have a basket by the door of items that need to be relocated (for instance, boots to move to another closet, etc.). When you’re done, move everything at once. This helps minimize distractions and keeps you on task.

-Find a place to make and put a permanent donation box so that in the future you can keep tossing items in there if you change your mind and want to get rid of pieces after you finish your first purge. This way you don’t just put it back and forget about it.

-Remember that everything must have a place and a purpose.

-If you want to keep things for sentimental reasons, try taking a photo of it instead so you can keep the memory without the clutter.

-Consider the opposite method, where instead of picking items to get rid of, you pick the items you want to keep. By prioritizing your faves, you more can easily find the items that don’t mean as much.

Questions to ask yourself about each item

If I were shopping right now, would I buy this (again)?

Does it make me feel good?

Is it versatile?

Do I love it?

Do I use/wear it?

Is it beautiful?

Does it have a purpose?

Do I really need it?

Would I notice if it were gone?

Could someone else get more use out of this than me?

Does this portray the image I want to convey to others?

What tips do you have for decluttering?

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18 responses to “Tips for Purging Your Closet”

  1. These are great tips! I’ve seen the hanger trick somewhere. Probably HGTV or something but I always forget about it when I organize. Lol.

    • Amanda says:

      Yeah! I had seen it floating around too but just never tried it. I wasn’t sure it’d work, but it totally does. I thought I knew which items I wear the most, but turns out some pieces I thought I wore, I literally haven’t even touched since I did the hanger trick months ago. Oops!

  2. christine says:

    I so need to do this! Thanks for the tips!

  3. Katie says:

    All great tips and great reminders for hoarders like myself. I did a huge purge last year and in the past month we’ve been going through the entire house. We’ve gotten rid of countless garbage bags of stuff. It is SUCH a relief! I just have to get started and then I get in the groove.

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, me too! I did a few smaller purges last year, but still I couldn’t tell afterward – we had so much stuff that bags of donations later, I still didn’t make a dent. This time I went big, but still I have a long ways to go. Letting go of hoarder tendencies is hard! But moving is always a great reason to let go of things.

  4. this is so great! we do something very similar and need to tackle it again!

    LOVE the hanger idea, i hadn’t heard of that before!

  5. Sandy says:

    Agree with all! I am tackling that job today in my closet. The idea of it is great, but it’s a lot of work–haha!

  6. Faith says:

    These were some great tips! I’m so bad about keeping stuff for sentimental reasons and then I have mountains of stuff I NEVER wear. Crazy! Thanks for writing this .. I’m determined I’m going to de-clutter my house! And that dress on you is so cute!

  7. Ashley says:

    Oh I desperately need to do this!!

  8. Yes!! I’ve been wearing a capsule wardrobe for a while now and it’s fabulous! I really like your tips. 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Aw thank you! That means a lot since your blog has been a huge inspiration for me lately in wanting to be more of a minimalist. I have a ways to go, but I’m so glad I got a start!

  9. Amanda Wood says:

    i so need to do this with mine and Hubs clothes. We have so much stuff we don’t wear anymore.

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