A How-to Guide on Closet Clean Outs

The closet clean out has become a valuable ritual for many - especially during the transitions between seasons. But regardless of the changing weather we should do closet checks periodically with closet clean outs happening more than we think.

The closet check can happen at any point - it's a chosen moment when you're looking at your wardrobe to analyze a specific item that you are questioning with - "Do I wear this anymore?” or “Do I enjoy wearing this piece as much as I thought?” I'm constantly in closet checks - with the awareness that there are most likely multiple pieces of clothing that I don't actually need. It's a healthy rhythm to question and not let things build up too much - we do this in other areas of our lives, why not our wardrobes! 

Closet clean outs are a bit more of an intentional, time consuming map out of what you wear. It then encompasses eliminating the unnecessary items through upcycle. Today's post is dedicated to this practice to help lay out an effective + simple way to do your own clean out this year. I think it's likely that most of us are in need of it!




A quality clean out takes some time to properly analyze and sort through the clothing that has built up in your closet. Set aside about an hour or more to take proper time going through all the clothing, accessory and shoe styles that you own. This will allow you to be mentally present and aware of decisions to properly keep or get rid of certain pieces.


Right before starting, create a list (whether mentally or written) that can help you narrow down what your looking to keep, get rid of, and how you're going to decide on maybes.

Questions to ask yourself...

Have I worn this item in the last year?
Would this still be an item I'd purchase if I saw it in-store?
Can I wear it with at least 5 other items in my wardrobe?
Can I wear this item in multiple seasons? (I wouldn't say it's make or break, but if it's versatile, it's a bonus!)
Do I feel confident in this?


An easy way to work through your guidelines is to sort clothes in piles. Whether they are a yes, no, or 'under consideration' pile, this can be a helpful way to process your wardrobe. Through this process of sorting, you can try on items, mix-and-match to see if they are still versatile and make decisions.
Another pile system is sorting your clothes through occasion. Separating them in categories like 'work clothes', 'everyday clothes', 'event clothes', 'lounge clothes', etc can help sort through any areas of excess; as well as items that are not necessary to what you need day-to-day.

Tip: Enlist a friend to help you! You may even want to include a friend in your clean out to help you determine the tougher items you may still have an attachment to!


The less clutter in your wardrobe, the better it will be to find and visualize how each item can be re-worn with the different pieces you love. With the guidelines, piles and advice from a friend, this can be a painless and rewarding process! It may sound weird, but typically with a closet of less, but better overall quality, you will find yourself being excited to wear those loved items more and more!
A good note to remember - some items may stay in the 'maybe' pile for a while - that's okay! A good way to work through the styles you're questioning is to try to take the next few days or weeks to intentionally wear them. Add them to your outfits and figure out if they fit within your wardrobe's guidelines!

Tip : Take some photos of the clothing in your selection. Then work on creating several outfits with them to make wearing loved items easier. Apps like Cladwell are a perfect way to try out these style combinations!




Sell second hand - as a popular option, consignment is a great place to take items that are in season and in resale condition. This choice provides an opportunity for a new home for overlooked clothes as well as some extra income. (read more here!)

Donate to local charities - here in Richmond, we have Dress for Success which can be a great option to donate items for a good cause. There are always local spots to donate your clothes as well as the larger names like Good Will or the Salvation Army.
*Do some extra research (typically just through Google) to ensure what charity will use your items or needs them the most during the current season.

Host or attend a clothing swap - a fun and interactive option, the clothing swap is a perfect way to get a group of friends together to trade styles! It can be a simple event or something more laid out - it's all up to you, but it's another easy way to repurpose and reinvent items. (read more here!)

Recycle and reinvent - Always attempt to repair and reuse what you already own. This helps prevent waste in your own life that trickles down to a bigger impact in the fashion industry. Repair items that are torn, missing buttons or minor holes. And if they're unrepairable, you can use those over worn textiles as rags for cleaning, crafts, stuffing in pillow, etc.


Learn more about a leap into a capsule wardrobe and other helpful tips for a mindful closet.
Another perspective of a closet clean out from the reliable Apartment Therapy.
A great insight on different ways we can shop moving forward - it's all about our mindset!
More insight from Dress with Sense on how our wardrobes can be a catalyst for consumer change in our lives!