Style Guide

Closet Purge: 4 Ways to Get Rid of Wardrobe Clutter

Are you suffering from too much stuff syndrome?

By Julia Davila September 2, 2015

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Are you ready to break-up with your closet? Are you suffering from too much stuff syndrome? Divide and conquer—literally. Take control of your closet this fall with these four steps.


Before making the rash decision to get a completely new wardrobe, take a moment to evaluate your personal style and look at your current wardrobe. Ask yourself a few questions: Does this fit? If I were shopping right now, would I buy this? Have I worn this recently? Will I wear this in the near future?

Comfy, worn-down denim is hard to part with, so old jeans always seem to find a hiding spot in the back of closets. Sparkly, glamorous tops and dresses from past New Year's Eves bring back old memories of celebrating with several glasses of champagne and dancing until the morning. The right label makes poorly fitting items seem more appealing, but do you really need shoes that are one size too big or small?

Take everything out of your closet

What a hassle, right? Think again. Taking everything out of your closet will not only give you a chance to really see what you’re working with—there's always a work-appropriate shirt that has somehow been banished to the margins that can be re-introduced to the group—it also gives you the opportunity to clean surfaces and hard-to-reach corners.

Divide your wardrobe

Begin to separate your wardrobe into four piles: Can’t part with, No, Maybe, Seasonal. The items that you absolutely love and wear on a regular basis get put in the Can’t Part With pile—those should be obvious and easy. Put pieces of clothing you neither need nor want to wear in the No pile; the Maybes are those items that have sentimental value or which don’t fit right but might in the near future; the seasonal pieces range from bikinis to scarves and heavy peacoats.

Once your wardrobe has been divided, it’s time to place the Can't Part With items back in your closet. Un-seasonal options can be tucked into labelled storage boxes, while items that earned a 'Maybe' can go back in the closet, but consider them to be on probation: If you haven't worn them in a year, or by the next time you go through your closet, consider letting them go. 

“Use the same color hangers. It really brings joy to the eyes and makes the space look neat,” says Houston-based stylist Angel Woolsey.

Similar colored hangers will also make your space look unified. Woolsey suggests staying away from the thin, metal hangers that dry cleaner’s use as they can easily damage the shoulders of your best clothing. “I know people like those thin hangers to save space, but they are really brutal,” he says.

Another option for organizing your closet is through categorizing each piece in plain sight. Andrea Rapke, Founder of The Organized Move, says if you can’t see it, you won’t wear it. Bayou City Art Festival’s program coordinator, Trinh Nguyen, agrees with Rapke and suggests organizing your clothes in categories, “Don’t worry about color orientation. Just categories like jackets, dresses, crop tops, etc.”

“Have a cocktail closet hour with your besties and ask them to help you create groups of clothing so you can keep them together,” says Woolsey. “Keeping all of the same kind of items together in an assigned part of your closet makes your outfit decision faster and helps avoid morning frustrations.”

Don’t think of it as a chore; think of it as another excuse to get your friends together and make a party of it.


Would you believe us if we told you Americans throw away 68 pounds of clothing per person, per year? Be thoughtful, not wasteful, and recycle your clothing by donating it to the Salvation Army or an organization like Dress for Success. You never know who else will love your hand-me-downs. Donating clothing that you don't need and won't wear is the easiest way to make room for a new, well-polished wardrobe.

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