How I decluttered my closet

Everyone seems to want to know the secret to decluttering my closet, so here’s my behemoth overview.

  • How I decided to take action one day
  • How did you get rid of all your sentimental items?
  • How did I cut down my wardrobe by more than 50%?
  • How am I going to fit everything I own into 3 suitcases and 2 carry-ons?

All very good questions.

How I decided to take action one day

It sounds so simple, it may be stupid.

I just decided to.

It’s the same thing as deciding to start taking care of your finances, start reducing the amount of chemicals you use every day, to quit smoking (I never started), or to lose that stubborn 15 pounds.

I looked around my home, and asked myself something along these lines:

  • Do I feel stressed out by all this stuff?
  • Do I feel bogged down by everything I own, to the point of feeling sluggish?
  • Do I own multiples of the same thing – like a Jacob sweater in 4 different solid colours?
  • Do I want a cleaner, more zen sort of quality of life?
  • Do I need all this to live?

And that’s when I decided it was time for a change.

  • I had filled up a good 4 closets packed tight with clothes and purses.
  • I had drawers full of jewellery I never really loved or wore.
  • I could never find anything.

It also didn’t hurt that I was heavily in debt at that time, and I wanted to sell everything I had just to get out of debt.

How I decided to pare down on everything

It was pretty easy for me.

I set a goal to eliminate half of my wardrobe so that it would fit into ONE closet, rather than the 2-3 closets I was taking up.



1. I tossed the following items:

  • Torn
  • Stained
  • Irreparable beyond belief
  • Unwearable

2. I was left with everything else, so I quickly and ruthlessly sorted the rest of the items into two piles:

  • Sell/Donate
  • Keep

3. I sold/donated the following items:

  • Items that didn’t fit
  • Colours I don’t wear any longer (like black)
  • Duplicates

The questions I asked while going through the rest of the pile:

  • Is it something I’d really wear again? No – Sell/Donate.
  • Does it look good on me and my body type? No – Sell/Donate.
  • Does it fit any longer? No – Sell/Donate.
  • Have I worn this in the last year? No – Sell/Donate.
  • Is there a duplicate that I can get rid of? Yes – Sell/Donate.
  • Are there tags still on it? Yes – Sell/Donate.
  • Am I keeping it just for sentimental reasons?* Yes – Sell/Donate.

*The sentimental part was difficult so I had another set of questions:

  • Do I really need to keep this?
  • Why am I keeping this?
  • Can I just photograph it?

I allowed myself to keep only 5 sentimental items – baby blanket, hand-painted t-shirts made by my mother, and hand-tailored garments she had tailored for me when I was born.

4. I set the items to donate/sell out of sight and out of mind.

I didn’t donate or try to sell the items until a month or so later, just to make sure I didn’t want to wear it again. If I kept it out of sight, I wouldn’t be tempted to pull it back into my wardrobe.

5. I re-sorted again going through those questions above:

I went through the process again and again until I was satisfied with my super small keep pile’s goal of cutting it down by 50%.

6. I re-sorted my keep pile into:

  • Kept for sentimental reasons
  • Take to tailor (taking in the darts to make it fit better on the bust)
  • Repair at home (sewing button on)
  • Keep as a favourite

The result was that I’d keep all my favourite items, and only pieces that I’d truly love and
actually wear on a regular basis.

Note: The following picture is just a sample of my jewellery, I have 2x as much.

I’ve since added about 5-10 necklaces, but I’m reasoning that out because I don’t buy shoes any more, and jewellery is much easier to pack. 😀

And that’s how I did it.

How I am going to fit my life into 3 suitcases:

  • No furniture
  • Not more than 2 coats – light summer coat and a fall coat

What I am going to bring:

  • All my electronics
  • All my jewellery
  • All my clothes
  • All my shoes
  • All my purses
  • Not many books (c’mon I have to bring my manga and some books at least!)

So now, everything really does fit into three suitcases after I did a major pare down.

I have two purchased already:

N-Motion Duffle Bag – 30″

  • Will fit my clothes since they expand a lot, and some books for support
  • Purses too
  • And shoes so they’ll be properly cushioned.

N-Motion Rolling Suitcase Bag – 30″

  • Almost everything else.
  • Books will go in here since there are strong sides on this thing.

And I’m going to carry my electronics in my 2 carry-ons (purse and rolling mini suitcase).

I may need a third suitcase just to even out the weight of everything since it may be over the limit after the books go in the one suitcase.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.