How to Purge Clothes From Your Closet

Jon Fesmire | October 15, 2019 @ 9:12 AM

Have you noticed your bedroom closet getting fuller? That’s probably because, as adults, we often purchase new clothes without getting rid of the old. After all, that shirt from college ten years ago may still fit.

Of course, it’s highly unlikely you still wear every piece of clothing you own. You probably have plenty of items that you’ll never wear again. These extra clothes can take up a lot of space.

Here’s a simple system you can use to go through your clothing, decide what to keep and what to get rid of, as well as what to do with the clothes you no longer want.


Set aside two hours or more for this project. The plan is to go through all your clothes. Put on some music you enjoy, and get ready to sort.

Empty all the clothes from your closet and your dresser. Do you have recently washed clothes you haven’t folded and put away yet? Gather those together as well.


Now, make sure you have room to put your clothes in four large piles. The first is the keep pile, the second the maybe pile, the third is the remove pile, and the fourth is the seasonal pile.

The keep pile is for anything you definitely want to keep. These are the clothes you already wear regularly and that you love. Is it possible you’ll find something you haven’t worn for a long time that you’d like to start wearing again? Absolutely. We suggest you try those items on and make sure they still fit, however. If they do, put them in the keep pile. If they don’t you’ll put them in the remove pile.

The maybe pile is for anything you’re on the fence about. If you’re someone who has a tough time getting rid of things, really think about each item before you put it in this pile. The items that go in it should be things you almost definitely will wear. It an item has sentimental value but you’ll almost certainly not wear it, it can go in the next pile.

The remove pile is for things you’re going to get out of your home. They’ll include pants that no longer fit, shirts with stains or that simply don’t match your current style, and so on. They’ll include worn out clothing as well as clothes that are like brand new. We’ll cover what to do with these clothes in a moment.

The seasonal pile is for items that are currently out of season. In the summer, this would be winter items, like your sweaters, long underwear, caps, mittens, and scarves. In the winter, it would be your skirts, shorts, and other warm-weather items.

What to Do With The Piles

After you’ve divided up your clothes into these piles, put those in the keep pile away nicely in your closet and dresser. Put the items in the maybe pile away as well. However, separate them in some way from the clothes you’re sure you want to keep. You might hang the maybe items to the left of the others, to the left on shelves in the closet, or in a separate dresser drawer.  Check these periodically when you get dressed and decide if you want to wear any of them. Any items you don’t wear after three to six months you can get rid of.

You have several options for items in the remove pile. Some, you may want to give to friends or relatives who would appreciate them. You can donate other gently used items to charities like the Salvation Army or Goodwill, which will sell them in their thrift stores. Clothing that in more heavily used condition can be recycled. Look for clothing collection bins in your city or town. One company that takes clothes for recycling is USAgain, and you can search for nearby bins on their website.

If you have enough room left in your closet, you can keep your off-season items from the seasonal pile there. However, if you don’t, a small self storage unit makes an affordable and handy off-season wardrobe closet. In fact, you could keep other off-season items in the same unit, and swap in and out clothing, sports equipment, and so on over the course of the year.

Do this closet purge every couple of years, and you’ll have exactly the wardrobe you want without a lot of clutter all year round.

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