I’m excited to be kicking off a new series on my youtube channel on How to Build A Wardrobe you LOVE, where I’m going to be sharing my tips and tricks to building your dream wardrobe.  Join me by subscribing to my channel and be sure to hit the notification bell so you don’t miss a new upload!

The first step to building a wardrobe is by getting rid of all the clutter you no longer wear. It can be overwhelming to start, but I promise once you get going it’s very motivating and worth the work! This post will break down everything you need to know to clean out your closet.



If you know you’re going to have a hard time getting rid of pieces in your closet, I recommend taking everything out of your closet to start with a fresh plate. It’s easier to get rid of something that’s already out of the space. Place everything on your bed so you only need to put back the items you plan to keep. Taking everything out also makes it easier to re-organize if you’re needing to do that, too!

I share all my favorite closet organization essentials here!

Benefits of Decluttering your closet

If you’re needing some motivation to start the decluttering process, here are the reasons WHY you should declutter your closet!

  • The clothes you don’t want to wear no longer hide the ones you DO want to wear.
  • Donating clothes will make you feel good and help those who need it and will use them.
  • Decluttering helps to declutter your mind. It will feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulders and frees up mental space (yes please!).
  • Selling clothes you don’t wear will help pay for the clothes you DO want to wear.
  • Having a tidy closet = less stress in the morning when getting ready.

How often should you declutter your closet?

This is going to be personal preference, but I would at a minimum declutter twice a year in between big seasons. Ideally, I would recommend decluttering seasonally so you can sell things while they’re still on-trend and not as worn down to get the most return on items you no longer want.

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The question to keep in mind as you declutter

If I saw it in a store now, would you still buy it?

This is the #1 question I ask myself as I declutter anything in my home. We hold sentimental value in the items we own because it’s ours. You may feel guilty for spending the money on it, or it may have been a gift. If you ask yourself this question and you wouldn’t want to spend your own money on it today, you truly don’t love it as much as you think you do! And if you’re not even using it, you definitely don’t need it taking up precious space.

What to have on hand before you declutter

Before you get started, I recommend having a few things on hand to make the decluttering process easier and more productive.

  • bags or baskets to organize the items you no longer want. Make it easy on yourself to stay organized during the process and have separate bags to sort items you want to sell, trash, or donate.
  • A notepad and pen. As you go through your closet, take a quick inventory on items you need or maybe don’t need so you have an idea of what holes you need to fill when we start building a wardrobe you LOVE
  • Steamer and fabric shaverWhile you’re going through each item, take the extra time to go ahead and steam or clean up the items that need it. I’m guilty of having wrinkled clothes hang in my closet and I never end up reaching for them because I may not have the time to steam them when I get ready. I also like to go ahead and clean up any pilling on worn items to determine if they can be saved or if I need to replace of them.
  • New hangersIf it’s been on your to-do list to upgrade your hangers, now is the time to do it as you declutter! I switched my hangers to velvet years ago and it not only saved space on my racks but also helped keep items from slipping and misshaping.

What to Toss, Donate, or Sell:

Toss: Items that a very worn down or shouldn’t be reused by others. You can take them to recycle centers so they can reuse the fabrics in future clothing. H&M has a recycling program and offers a discount if you donate items.

Donate: gently used clothing, t-shirts, basics such as socks, shoes, blankets, coats, and items that you tried to sell but haven’t sold after a period of time.

Sell: Designer or name-brand items that are gently worn, like new, or new with tags that are relatively still in season. If you’re decluttering Spring items, you’ll be more likely to sell them slightly before or during that season when people are shopping for those types of items.

QUICK TIP! If you do plan to resell online, keep those items on hangers to avoid having to re-steam and hang them for the photos!

rules to decluttering wardrobe

rules to decluttering:

I think you really need to be in the mood to declutter, or else you will justify keeping more things than you need. I also find that once I get started, the easier it gets to remove things from my wardrobe. 

If there are multiples, just keep one (maybe two)
  • examples: multiple gray basic tops.. keep your favorites and donate the rest
  • exemptions include: multiples of your favorite work pants or something you wear very frequently
If it looks worn, stained, or didn’t wash well

Clothes aren’t going to last forever. Even if it’s your favorite top ever, if it’s looking worn down and you haven’t reached for it, it’s time to say goodbye. You’ll make room for your new favorite top! I added if it didn’t wash well because the likelihood of you wearing it only to wash it again is probably pretty low.

If you also notice you have a huge pile of dry cleaning but never find the time to get it done, make note that you may want to avoid those types of items in the future. Really consider if you’re going to get around to it, or if those items just aren’t functional in your closet.

If you’re wondering when to donate your bras, I have a full Bra 101 guide here!

If it doesn’t fit 90% of the time
  • I don’t generally fluctuate in weight very much, but if you’re someone who does I can see why you may want to hold onto a few sizes. If you have a pair of “goal weight” pants or a dress, hold onto one or two and donate the rest. If you still can’t fit in these pieces next season… it’s time to donate and make room for things you can wear!
    • If you do end up changing sizes or hitting your goal weight, I think it’s a great reward to add in new pieces to your closet and may help motivate you to get there!
If you haven’t worn it in a year+, it’s time to donate
  • exemptions: a special occasion dress (that still fits and is still in style for your next occasion)
  • A classic interview outfit (classic blazer, little black dress, etc) that you may need
  • Again, only keep the items if they still fit and if you would wear them when the time comes!
If it’s uncomfortable or doesn’t make you feel good when wearing it
  • If the material isn’t soft and comfortable, I won’t reach for it! Especially if it’s scratchy or generally doesn’t make me feel great when wearing it
  • This rule also applies to items you’re not personally comfortable wearing or you don’t feel confident in. Your clothing should boost your confidence when wearing them, not make you feel self-conscious in them.
If it no longer fits your personal style
  • Your personal style is an evolving process, and the more in tune you are with it the easier it will be for you will narrow down and love your wardrobe.
  • For example, if you only reach for and wear neutral colors in your wardrobe, it’s time to declutter all the colorful prints and patterns that have been sitting in your closet. Make a note to buy less of these items that don’t fit your personal style so you remember, too!

If you haven’t downloaded your wardrobe guide, I share helpful tips to help you understand your personal style, what colors may look best on you, and even an ultimate list of wardrobe essentials! Click here to download it

build your dream wardrobe

Where to resell your items?

Social Media: You’ll make the most money selling directly through social media, but keep in mind shipping can be pricey depending on where they live and will vary to cut into your overall gain.

Poshmark: I typically resell on Poshmark, although I currently don’t have the time for it. You have to steam, post the items (pictures and details on the item), answer questions, and ship out the items yourself. Poshmark does take 20%, but you don’t have to worry about shipping and you have a good chance of selling things on there, especially if it’s a brand name.

Consignment: If you want to get rid of something quick and easy and maybe make a little money in return, take your clothes to a consignment shop like Plato’s Closet or something local. Personally, I don’t find the return to be very much, so I would rather just donate the clothes to someone who needs it.

thred UP: I’ve sent off three bags to thredUP because I wanted the clothes out of my house. I made about $70 back, which isn’t much compared to what I would have made through Poshmark, but I didn’t really have the time to put towards selling them myself. Out of all the options, this was the easiest! If you’re not familiar with thred UP, they resell certain items you send in and you get a cut, and they donate the rest or items that don’t sell within a certain time frame.

while you’re at it…

Set aside pieces that need steaming/ironing while you’re at it. I hate when I’m rushing to get ready for work and the shirt I’ve finally picked out is wrinkled. Having your closet ready to go will save you time in the future, and you’ll be more likely to wear items that are ready to wear.

Color coordinate or re-organize by type. It’s really not hard to keep up once you get everything in place. I’ve had mine color-coordinated for years because I put together outfits based on color. I somewhat organize by type, but this doesn’t always stay in place as much as the colors do. I try to keep short sleeves and tank tops together or else they get lost in the closet next to longer sleeved items. I do group my dresses, coats, and pants together. If you’re looking for more tips on how to organize your closet, I have a full guide here!

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I hope this post helped to either motivate you to declutter your closet or you found some useful tips and tricks to make the process easier. Stay tuned for more parts to this series on how to build a wardrobe you LOVE. If you’re looking for inspiration on how to style some of the items in your wardrobe, I have a ton of how to style guides here and here!

If you found this post helpful or you want to save it for later, here is a quick pin image to save to your Pinterest! If you want to see what I’m pinning lately, follow along here.



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