The problem is your closet. It’s jam packed. It needs to be decluttered and as a result getting dressed is stressful because you can’t find what you want to wear, you forget what you own, and you waste a lot of time. 50 something year old women tend to hang to clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories even if the items don’t fit. Often times they keep items in hopes that they will lose weight and fit into clothes that they have not worn in 10+ years. They hang onto an item because it was expensive or it was never worn and the tags are still attached.

The solution is to declutter your closet so you can have a positive experience getting dressed each day. These 6 tips will help you declutter your closet and give you strategies to help you get dressed faster, and easier.

1. Edit your closet by removing worn out clothes, items that no longer fit, and things that simply don’t suit or flatter you.

declutter clothes shoes closet wardrobe clean out organize

Pull every thing out of you closet and try each item on. This may take several days or several weeks depending on how much stuff you have. Get rid of the most obviously worn out things first. Work through all categories of clothing including tops. bottoms, dresses, suits, jeans, workout clothes, underwear, T-Shirts, handbags, shoes, hosiery, small leather goods, hats, etc. to evaluate each item.

Check the fit. Do the shoulders line up properly? Can you button the jacket at the waist? Are the sleeves the right length? It is worth it to have an item tailored? Does the silhouette flatter me? How about the color? Is it suited to my skin, hair and eye color?

Other good questions to ask yourself as you try things on: How does this make me feel? When was the last time I wore this? What does this work with in my closet or do I need to buy something so that I can wear it?

Get rid of garments that are too small or too large for you. Many women hang on to clothes that are too small for them. Get rid of the clothes that do not fit you. They take up room in your closet, don’t serve you and can be a downer to look at them and think one day I’ll wear these again when I lose ____ pounds. Unless you have just joined Weight Watchers or hired a personal trainer and made a true commitment to lose weight, it’s time to move on and get rid of these ill fitting clothes. The thrill of building a new wardrobe where everything fits you and suits you NOW is living in the moment not aiming for the past.

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Return or donate.  If you have clothes that still have price tags on them and you have never worn them, you need to rethink that purchase and return the item if you are within the guidelines of that retailers return policy. If you are not, donate the item so that someone else can use it and wear it. People tend to get really hung up on getting rid of a garment or accessory if they spent a lot of money on it. The fact is the money is gone. You need to move on and focus on bringing in new things that you love and fit you now.

Organize bags and boxes for outbound clothes and accessories. It’s best to set up and label several boxes or bags with any or all of the following. Make sure and label each box or bag so that there is no issue with a mix up of what item is supposed to go where. I have heard of things meant for storage going to donation by mistake and there is almost nothing sadder, so make sure you have your boxes and bags marked correctly.

  • Throw away
  • Donate
  • Resale ( See my blog post here about reselling and consignment)
  • Tailor
  • Press
  • Give to _________ (Friend or relative)
  • Small repair
  • Launder
  • Dry Clean

2. Change out all your hangers to one style to eliminate the disruption to your eye and the disservice to your wardrobe with a scattered assortment of hangers.

hangers velvet no slip closet organization declutter

Invest in one type of hangers for uniformity. This is one of the easiest things you can do to help make your closet more uniform, easier to look at and scan everything each morning. Create beautiful continuity with wooden hangers or velvet flocked hangers, depending upon your budget. Amazon has many hanger options or check out Bed Bath And Beyond or The Container Store.

Properly hang each item. Make sure each hanging garment is secured and properly positioned on the hanger. This means the item is zipped, and or the top 2 to 3 buttons are secured, and shoulders are aligned. Your wardrobe is an investment and part of your unique identity. Taking the time to properly hang your garments will ensure that things look good when you are ready to wear them protect your investment in your wardrobe.

declutter clothes closet hangers hang properly protect investment

Have each garment face the same direction. Hang each garment so that the front faces the same direction in your closet. The benefit of this strategy is that as you are looking through your garments, you will always see the front from the same side.

3. Sort all like garments together and then by color.

declutter closet clothes wardrobe blouses tops shirts

Sort your hanging garments by category. Sorting all your like items together will create a system and make it easier for you to locate the exact item when you want it. Think of you closet as a big filing cabinet. When you sort the same items together you will know exactly where to find them.

Sort each category by color. Take it one step further and sort by color light to dark within a category. For example all blouses, shirts and tops together, and then sorted by color whites or lightest color to black or darkest color. When you keep with with this system, putting things away promptly in the right spot will make it easier to find it next time. You can get more fine within a category if it makes sense for you. For example, you might want all your daytime dresses together and cocktail/party dresses together.

  • Tops / Blouses / Shirts
  • Dresses
  • Skirts
  • Pants
  • Jeans
  • Suits
  • Jackets
  • Coats
  • Blazers

declutter clothes closet skirts sort by category by color

Sort your folded garments. Sort things that should be folded such as medium to heavy weight sweaters or scarves by color. These will most likely be folded on a shelf or in a drawer. You don’t have to be as precise as the hanging garments, so feel free to sort by putting all warm colors together, cool colors together and finally neutral colors such as black, gray, white and cream together. The same organizational strategy will work for handbags and shoes.

declutter clothes closet sweaters folded by color

declutter clothes closet sort by category scarves scarf by color

4. Expose as much as possible in your closet. 

If you can’t see things, you tend to forget what you have, and then never where it. Or what’s worse, wanting to find a particular garment or accessory and not be able to find it. As handy as plastic bins are, they are not always the easiest to see the contents. If you must use them, clearly label what’s inside. For example all your cool colored scarves in one bin and all your warm colored scarves in another. Set up your handbags so that a small portion of the bag is exposed for quick identification. Do always store your handbags stuffed and in dust covers. For more information how to shop for and store your handbags check out this post.

5. Remove all items from your closet that have nothing to do with getting dressed.

Your closet is a special place where you put on your “costume” to tell the world who you are and what your intention is. This is a special place and an activity that most people do daily. Therefore, keep it orderly and not do not allow your closet to be a dumping ground for all the odd ball stuff you don’t want to deal with or things that you just want to stash away. Get the clutter out of your closet. The only exceptions would be the obvious: clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories. Other acceptable items include: luggage, tote bags, sewing kit, hamper, box or bag for the dry cleaner, tailor, shoe repair, etc.

6. Nothing goes into the closet unless it is ready to wear.

ready to wear declutter your closet

Reduce the clutter and your stress. Employ the rule that only garments, handbags, shoes and accessories that are ready to wear go into the closet. This will reduce the stress and anxiety of trying to come up with an outfit and dealing with unplanned issues regarding cleanliness, pressing  or repairs. This means all items in your closet meet some or all of these standards:

  • Clean
  • Pressed
  • No missing buttons
  • All hems are intact
  • No issues with a need of tailoring (sleeves shortened, waist let out, hemmed, etc.)
  • No issues with holes

Will these solutions help you achieve a decluttered closet? Let me know which step sounds the most helpful to you in the comments.

susan mcdonald personal stylist style

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