6 Closet Decluttering Principles

I declutter my closet every three months to prep my wardrobe for a brand new season. Think of it like the culinary phrase “mise en place”, or everything in its place. For the winter I put away shorts and dresses, take out coats and toques, and go through each piece to determine whether I’ll wear it again before it’s hung up in my closet. That way when the cold weather comes my wardrobe is ready to go.

Regular decluttering is a great way to keep your closet feeling fresh and relevant with items you love and wear. It takes time but the best way to declutter is to take everything out and apply these six principles for each piece:

1. Get rid of stained or ripped clothes
A good dry cleaner may be able to get rid of stains that you can’t in the wash and rips can always be repaired but if you can’t be bothered or it’s completely unsalvageable, it’s time to let go.

2. Choose quality over quantity
I don’t have much in my closet but what I lack in quantity I make up for with quality. Quality doesn’t necessarily mean designer; it’s not important how much something costs but the quality of the fabric, fit, and workmanship. Good quality items last longer and can withstand years of wear, wash and dry.

3. Don’t wear it if it’s too tight or loose fitting
Your clothes should fit and look flattering. If it’s too tight and hugs you in all the wrong places or it looks a couple of sizes too big, it’s time for it to go. Also, always dress for the body you have now and not the one you want to have or the one you had.

4. Keep it timeless, not trendy
People say I wear a lot of black and why not? Black never goes out of style and looks great day or night. I’ve focused on building a classic wardrobe so I’m not updating my clothes every year to keep up with the latest trends. It’s also less expensive if you don’t have to shop as often — I buy a few key pieces now and then but most of my closet is made up of clothes I’ve owned for years.

5. Would you buy it right now if it was on a store rack?
Would you buy this particular item right now if you saw it in stores? At some point you liked it enough to buy it but our style changes with time. If you wouldn’t buy it now, you probably won’t wear it now either.

6. Wear what makes you feel good
Put it on and see how you feel in it. If you feel sloppy and not your best self, get rid of it. Your clothes should make you feel GOOD.

How often do you declutter your closet? Do you have other decluttering principles you follow?

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