Declutter your closet

closet 2

Since Miss E’s arrival last year, our clothing storage space has slowly become increasingly messy. Typically I’ll go through the shelves when it starts looking a little dodgy and refold everything perfectly, but babies significantly decrease your time to do luxurious things like that!

One morning a few weeks ago, I started searching for a particular top and began pulling things off the shelves in the closet to get to the clothes behind/underneath – after about ten minutes of failure I got seriously pissed off and started hauling everything out, dumping it onto the floor in an enormous pile behind me. The baby – who was sitting at my feet – saw the fun in this and started hauled everything off the lower shelves too.

It wasn’t until all the shelves were empty (and I still hadn’t found the top) that I looked behind me and realised I’d made the problem tenfold worse. It took me a few days to get up the courage and the time to tackle that pile, but I try to be a glass half full kinda girl and saw it as a good opportunity to do a clothing cleanse. Just so you know I’m not lying, here’s the before and after shots (yes, that’s Miss E sitting in front of the pile admiring her handiwork):


closet 2

Ignore the messy left side – that’s the husband’s clothes. He can do his own clothing cleanse. Now that you are convinced I’m a specialist on the topic, here are some of my top tips on how to declutter your closet.

Clear your space

The concept ‘out of chaos comes order’ comes into play here. Take everything off your shelves and start from scratch. You can’t declutter your closet without looking at everything in it. Do what I did, chuck it all in a big pile on the floor or on your bed and go through each item one at a time. Little horrifying but very effective.

Be brutal with your collection

I’ve still got clothes I bought in my teenage years (I’m now 32) that have been worn once but could wear again one day. After this recent clothing purge there are distinctly fewer of these left… Having said that, I divided my enormous pile of clothes into four groups.

  • Clothes you absolutely want to keep
  • Clothes that you might want to keep (go back over these again at the end and put them into one of the other three piles)
  • Clothes you want to get rid of (I donated mine to charity, I’ve also done a clothing swap with friends in the past where you pool all your unwanted clothes together and pick whatever you want – though this is dangerous as you may end up with more clothes than you arrived with)
  • Clothes you want to keep but probably won’t use until next season

The last group brings me to the next point:

Divide your clothes by season

If you’re like me and have a ridiculously unnecessary amount of clothes combined with a ridiculously small storage space for them, it might help to set aside the clothing you don’t need right now and put it somewhere else.

It’s currently the middle of winter and my floaty summery tops, shorts and beachwear won’t be making an appearance on me for some time. Put your opposite season clothing into a large plastic tub or a vacuum bag, label it and store it in your garage, in a spare cupboard or under your bed. When the time is right, take it out and swap your your clothing over to maximise the space in your bedroom closet; this means the clothes you regularly use will be the only ones you’re looking at each day.

Organise your space

Once you’ve taken away the clothes you’re not wearing and the ones you’re going to get rid of, all that’s left to do is put your ‘new’ wardrobe of clothing away. Whether you have shelves, racks, or drawers, it’ll make finding your clothes again a lot easier if you divide them into sections.

Our closet’s a little annoying in that the shelves are deep so anything at the back is pretty much inaccessible. If you’re in the same boat or you have a tall closet where you can’t access the top shelves, these are the places best to store the things you don’t use often.

My top shelf is pyjamas, singlets and some floaty smart-casual tops (as I’m a personal trainer, studying to be a yoga instructor and running around after Miss E all day, I don’t have much use for those at the moment but they make the odd appearance for media launches and special occasions!).

Next shelf down is sports gear which is what I wear all the time – separate stacks for tops, shorts, leggings, and the lesser used stuff for ice skating/thermals etc. Keeping the clothes you use most often level with your upper body means they’ll always be an easy reach, which can be handy if you’re in a hurry to get changed.

Third shelf is generic T-shirts, skirts, shorts; the things I’d normally wear in the weekends. Bottom shelf is all the heavier stuff and layering clothes – denim jeans, cardigans, woollies, hoodies. We have a dresser with drawers for all the smalls (underwear, socks etc.).

Stand back and admire your work

As someone who is a little OCD, I can honestly say that seeing all those freshly folded clothes in neat stacks makes me pretty happy. In yoga terms, decluttering any physical space you regularly encounter is a good step towards creating mental space as well. Good reason to clear out your wardrobe and closet? I think so.

Image / NZ Real Health

Scroll to Top