How To Clean Out Your Closet With Minimal Stress

Does the thought of cleaning out your closet immediately make you feel tense and overwhelmed? I think most of us would agree that cleaning out our closet can be a dreaded task, but oh the satisfaction when it is all in order and filled with only the things that we actually wear and love. Today, I would like to share some tips on how to clean out your closet with minimal stress.

August is here and even though we still have several weeks of summer, this is the ideal time to get our wardrobe and our closet ready for fall. Most of us have all the summer clothes we need. Personally, my focus from this point forward will be transitional pieces and fall clothing. Plus, fall is my absolute favorite time of year! It honestly brings me joy just to think about it. I may or may not have already burned a pumpkin candle – but I’m getting off track.

Before I purchase anything for fall, I want to take an inventory of what I have from last year and determine what basic pieces I will need. The COVID pandemic has changed many of our lifestyles and priorities. Many people are not buying new things, or are on a very tight budget. Personally, I stay home a lot more and don’t need dressy clothes, even though I enjoy wearing them. Whatever your situation, determine exactly what you will need to fit your current lifestyle.

Determine Your Personal Style

Before you ever step foot in your closet, take some time to think about your own personal style. Are you classic all the way? Do you prefer a more romantic/feminine style? Are you drawn to more modern or edgy styles? Maybe you like Boho style. Sometimes I am a combination of all these styles, but the point is we all have a certain look that is us.

Classic Style
Modern/Edgy Style
Boho Style
Romantic/Feminine Style

Once you feel confident with your personal style, it will be easier to weed out the things in your closet that need to go. Think about the pieces that you just love wearing…the ones that you wear over and over because they make you feel confident and comfortable. Ultimately, we would like our closet to be full of those types of clothes.

Visualize Your Desired Results

One other thing to consider before you start throwing things out of your closet is your desired results. Obviously you want a cleaned out closet! Think a little beyond the obvious. Maybe you have seen your dream closet on Pinterest and you want to incorporate something similar to your own closet.

Think about what type of wardrobe you want to create. Do you want a minimalist concept such as a capsule wardrobe? Do you want more casual styles or more office attire?

Visualize and plan out how you want to organize your closet. Do you need to invest in a new closet system or maybe you just need to rearrange things. Do you want it organized by color, style, season or all of these?

The point is to spend some time planning out what you want your closet to look like based on your budget and your space.

Choose Your Approach

In order to clean out your closet with minimal stress, there are basically two methods to consider.

1. Remove Everything From Your Closet and Tackle All At Once

If you are an all or nothing type personality, then you may prefer this method. Remove absolutely everything from your closet and start with a clean space. This approach will generally require an entire day set aside for this one project.

2. Work On One Section At A Time

If you have a closet that is large and out of control, you may want to consider working on one section at a time. Since this post is titled “how to clean out your closet with minimal stress” I personally recommend this approach.

One day work on shoes. Once that is completely finished move on to the next category…maybe handbags and luggage. This will give you a sense of accomplishment without being overwhelmed.

What could be more stressful than taking everything you own out of your closet and piling it on your bed and not having enough time to finish? This just leaves a big mess and makes you feel even more overwhelmed.

Only you know which method is best for your situation. Pick the one that suits your personality and time availability.

Questions To Ask When Deciding What To Keep

This is where most of the stress comes in to play. Deciding on what to keep. Here are some questions to ask in order to clean out your closet with minimal stress.

  • Does it fit?
  • Does it flatter?
  • Does it fit my lifestyle?
  • Have I worn it in the last 6 months?

If the answer to any of those questions is no, then it goes into one of three baskets. One basket for donate. Another for consignment, and one for throw away.

Once you have sorted into these baskets, deal with them as soon as possible. Commit to taking the donate pile or consignment pile to their destinations in the next few days. Sometimes I take them straight to my car so they don’t end up sitting in a corner for weeks or months!

Make “Cuts” By Eliminating Items In Rounds

For the items that make it past the previous four questions, here is a way to further eliminate items.

When you are trying out for a sports team or any activity that requires an elimination process, it is common for the coach or judge to make cuts. Usually there are at least two rounds….first cuts, second cuts and so on. This is the method I use when eliminating items from my closet.

For example, let’s say that I am working on white tops/shirts. I will remove all of my white shirts and lay them on my bed. For round one I pick my favorite top 3 white tops that I know I want to keep. These are the ones that I wear consistently and there is no question.

Then I go back for round two and pick out 1 or 2 more white tops. Sometimes I have a limit of 5 white tops total. The total number isn’t important, but the point is that once I reach that limit, the rest of the tops don’t make the cut.

Customize this method to fit your needs. Make as many rounds as you want and keep as many as you want. Just remember your goal!

Organization Tips

Now that you have successfully eliminated all the items that you don’t want or need, it’s time to put everything in it’s place. It would be ideal if California Closets could come and make your closet Pinterest worthy, but it’s not necessary. Implementing some simple organizational tips can accomplish your goals and have you smiling every time you enter your closet.


When you are planning how you want your closet to look, you will need to decide what items to fold and which ones to hang. This is totally personal preference. A few months ago, I decided to try the Marie Condo folding method. If you are not familiar with this, you can read more here.

Marie Condo Folding Method

I found these folding methods to be helpful, but the only ones that I have maintained are the panties, bras, and socks. It takes a little extra time when folding the laundry, but it is very satisfying to open a drawer and have order.

Velvet Covered Hangers

I highly recommend changing out all of your clothes hangers to the velvet non slip type. They are more compact, look neat, and most importantly keep your clothes from sliding off the hangers! You can purchase these pretty inexpensively at T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Amazon, Target, and Walmart. I have also seen them at Sam’s Club.

If you really want to get stylish, you can color coordinate your hangers with different categories of clothing, or any decor that you may have in your closet.

Other Organizational Tools

There are so many organizational tools out there that I could never cover them all. Once you get rid of all the clutter, finding a way to organize your closet is really up to you.

I think these shelf dividers are a great idea, especially of you like to fold a lot of your clothes.

Another thing that might help organize your closet is a clothes hamper with different compartments. I would recommend a style with three compartments…lights, darks, and delicates. I like this one and this one.

T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s are great places to look for jewelry storage and organization. Don’t be afraid to use unconventional items for storage. Be creative and think of different ways to use things other than their obvious purpose.

Some ideas are:

  • Hang a towel bar for scarves or necklaces
  • Use a large basket for a clothes hamper
  • Mount hooks on the wall for purses or jewelry
  • Use a bulletin board/cork board to hang necklaces
  • Use book ends found at office supply stores for shelf dividers
  • Use a bookcase as a shoe rack

Add Some Decor

Finally, my last tip to help you enjoy your clean and neat closet is to add some decor if you have the space. Consider some fashion themed art, a cute accent lamp, or a pretty rug. I have linked a few ideas in the shopping widget below.

It is possible to clean out your closet with minimal stress. It is so satisfying when you are all done and your wardrobe consists only of things you love to wear. I highly recommend doing a closet clean out now so you will know what pieces you need for fall.

If you enjoy organizational topics, you may enjoy my kitchen organization posts like this one.


  1. Andrea | 4th Aug 20

    This was a great post! Very helpful! Mine needs a major overhaul!

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