How to Clean Out Your Closet

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I'm Jade Scarfone.
A digital strategist and transformation catalyst, merging a decade of corporate systems mastery with a profound journey of self-discovery. From navigating the high-stakes world of banking to making waves in high-ticket affiliate marketing, I'm now dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs through strategic digital innovations. 

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Cleaning your closet can seem like a scary task. Especially if it’s been on your to do list for what seems like 30 years. But I’m here to take you through the process and show you how to clean out your closet. And feel good about it.

Cleaning your closet can seem like a scary task. I'm here to take you through the process and show you how to clean out your closet and feel good about it.

Firstly, let me say, I totally understand not wanting to do this. It can be confronting and bring up some not so great feelings.

In fact we are so bad at doing this. The average woman only uses 20% of the clothes in their wardrobe 80% of the time. It’s crazy that we do this to ourselves.

So why bother cleaning out your closet?

Well the flip side to ignoring the problem is so much worse. As it leads to a very unhappy experience. Looking at a wardrobe filled with beautiful clothes you can’t wear.

You know you need to look a certain way to uphold your personal brand and attract the right clients. But often you look inside your closet and it all just seems too hard. Nothing fits, nothing feels like you, nothing goes together. So you resort to those same comfort items that you wear all the time. 

And eventually you start to lose your confidence, and even your sense of identity.

Believe me, I was a culprit as well. Well, I’m still not fully cured. I often have this emotional attachment to my clothes. Either because of the price I paid for the item, the memories I had of wearing them, the love for the brand. Or the worst one of all, because I was hoping I would one day fit back into a piece.

I didn’t want to buy new clothes because I didn’t want to accept that this was my size.

But your closet should be a happy space and if yours isn’t bringing you pure joy when you look at it, maybe it’s time for your own closet clean out.

My experience with cleaning out my closet

When I moved to a new state I couldn’t cart all my clothes along with me. So I was forced to do a closet clean up. And this was one of the most liberating experiences.

I came to my new home with a fresh head and a wardrobe full of only the clothes I loved AND fit into. But 1.5 years on and my closet is in need of some TLC again.

Which is why I’ve been meaning to do it since I obtained my personal styling certification back in July. But I kept putting it off because I know it’s not a pleasant task.

So since I’m moving house, it seemed like the perfect time to force myself to do it. That way I’ll again go to the new home with a clear mind and only the clothes that make me feel fabulous and confident.

And I thought since I’m doing it, why not share the experience with you.

Ok, now that you know WHY you should clean out your closet, let’s talk about how to clean out your closet.

What do you need to clean out your closet?

Ok, so first things first let’s talk about what you’ll need when it comes to cleaning out your closet.

One: Time

The first thing you’ll need is to set aside time to actually go through the process properly. Allow 2-3 hours. Depending how much you’ve got you may need to set aside more time. Especially if it’s your first time doing this.

Two: Everything in Your Closet

Obvious one, I know. But basically to do this effectively you want to take EVERYTHING out of your closet so you can systematically work through it all. It will get messy, but it’s totally worth it because then you know you’ll only be putting the best stuff back in.

Three: Post-it Notes & Markers

When it comes to cleaning out your closet, you need to come to terms with the fact that you will be getting rid of stuff. I like to get some post-it notes and markers and set up three separate piles. Keep, Sell, Donate

Four: Mirror

The only way to know if something works on you is to see how it looks in a mirror. Get comfortable with the fact that you’ll be looking at yourself A LOT throughout this process. This part can be hard for a lot of us, especially if we avoid mirrors because we’re not so happy with what we see. But the only way to get that confidence back, is to work through the process and start loving what you see in the mirror.

Optional: Besties, wine & cheese

If you want to have a bit of fun with this process you could get your friends over and make a night of it. Remember that scene in Sex and the City where Carrie has her besties over to help her clean out her closet before she goes to move in with Big. They laugh, they cry, and they have a whole lotta fun. If that’s what you need to do to make this a more pleasant experience then do it!

Decide what you’re going to do with your clothes

Before you can make your piles and get stuck into sorting your clothes, you need to decide what you’re going to do with them.

As I mentioned above, for this wardrobe clean out I had three piles. Keep, Sell, Donate.

The things I’m keeping will come to the new house with me and be welcomed into my new closet.

Anything that still has tags on, has only been worn a few times, or is a good brand will go on a website like eBay or Facebook Marketplace to try and be sold.

Anything I can’t sell will go to charity. In the past I’ve given clothes to friends and family, but since I’m now in a different state to them that’s not an option.

Figure out what suits you best and then create your piles. Now you’re ready to try on your clothes.

How do you decide what to ditch?

Now comes the hard part, you actually have to do what you set out to do. It will be a pointless exercise if everything ends up back in the ‘Keep’ pile. So you have to be a little ruthless here.

Here’s some top tips for how to decide what to keep and what to ditch…

One: If it doesn’t fit, ditch it!

Holding on to things that don’t fit you is not doing anyone any good. It creates the illusion that you have a lot of clothes to choose from. When in actual fact, every time you look at your closet you realise you don’t. And that can be very upsetting.

You want your closet to be a happy space. If it doesn’t fit, stop holding on to it.

Two: If it doesn’t bring you absolute joy when you look in the mirror, ditch it!

You know those items that you were unsure about in the shop but bought anyway. Or those items where the colour is kinda off but you like the style.

If you look in the mirror and aren’t 100% happy with how you look in an outfit, you’re not going to be confident when you go out wearing it. So get rid of it.

Three: If it’s not in great condition, ditch it!

Wouldn’t life be so much simpler if we just did this at the time. You know the go. Maybe something got a stain that you’ve been meaning to take to the dry cleaners and never got around to.

Or some stitches came loose and you’ve been meaning to get around to fixing it.

If it’s been sitting in a pile gathering dust, it obviously hasn’t been a priority, so you’re not going to miss it. Get rid of it!

Four: If you haven’t worn it in over a year, ditch it!

Here’s some things that will happen while you’re cleaning…

  • You’ll come across items you forgot you had. “Oooh I forgot about this, can’t wait to wear it!” But then it will end up buried in the back of your closet, another year will go by, and you still won’t have worn it. Accept it’s over and move on.
  • You’ll come across items that are totally 10 seasons ago. “Oooh I better hold onto this just in case it comes back into fashion.” Trust me lovely, it’s not gonna come back. And if it does the style will be different anyway.

In the words of Elsa. Let it go, let it go…..

Gee, it sounds like I’m getting rid of everything. What can I actually keep? Lol, don’t worry, let’s cover that now.

How do you decide what to keep?

Simple, whatever sparks absolute joy and confidence when you look in the mirror.

  • If it fits well, the colours and cuts suit you, and you absolutely love what you see in the mirror, keep it.
  • If it serves a particular purpose and you wear it regularly, keep it.
  • If it goes well with other outfits, keep it.
  • If it’s in fabulous condition and ticks all the other boxes, keep it.

What if it has sentimental value to me? I get it, some things just hold way too many memories and you can’t let go. If it holds sentimental value but you don’t actually wear it, I would recommend taking it out of your closet and putting it in storage somewhere.

This way you still have it, but it’s not claiming space in your wardrobe.

What next?

Great, now you’ve tried everything on and separated everything into their piles. Now it’s time to come through on your word.

The worst thing you could do is just leave those piles sitting there. You want to take action right away. Anything you’re keeping should be placed back into the closet immediately.

Then get some bags and take anything you’re donating to wherever it is you’re donating it.

And if you’re selling anything make a plan to get it uploaded to the site within 5-7 days. The longer you leave it, the more likely it is to just continue sitting there gathering dust, which you definitely don’t want.

There you have it…

How to Clean Out Your Closet

Your clothing is such a huge part of your life. Every single day you have to get up and choose what to wear.

How much easier would that be if you had a wardrobe that filled you with complete joy? If you had a wardrobe filled with outfits that you know work perfectly for your body? If you felt totally confident and beautiful in every piece of clothing you own?

Final Tips

To ensure it doesn’t seem like such a big and daunting task, I would recommend doing this twice a year. This way you could do it after the change of the main seasons.

If you focus on a winter clean up and a summer clean up it’s easy for you to compare to the previous year and know if you’ve worn things or not.

And guess what, a clean wardrobe makes space for new and better clothes to come in! Woohoo.

Above all, have a little fun and approach the process as something joyful. The better you start to feel about your clothes, the more you will exude confidence in everything you do.

Happy Cleaning!

Jade xo

P.S. If you like what you’ve read feel free to like, comment, or share. Your time reading my posts is greatly appreciated.

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