simple and guilt-free way to purge your closet

Purge your closet. You can only avoid it for so long. Eventually it will swallow you whole and all that will be left is a pair of old bedazzled jeans and a shirt you saved in your “I’ll wear it one day” pile.

I love to be organized but the thought of purging my closet makes me want to jab my eyes out and take a nap instead. Probably not in that order. With that in mind, I was determined to find a quick way to complete this project and not regret any spur-of-the-moment decisions I made while doing it.

By the end of this post, you’ll have all the steps to purging your closet, ideas on what to do with the items you’ve purged and even a way to deal with those “I can’t make a decision today” clothes.


What You Will Need: 

  • 4 large containers (boxes or Rubbermaid bins). These will hold your closet items temporarily.
  • Labels or sheets of paper for your containers. Get labels here: [paiddownloads id=”33″]
  • Tape.
  • Hangers.
  • Full-Length mirror
  • About 1-2 hours (after you gather the supplies). Let’s plan for one hour, shall we?

With a determined attitude and your bins labeled DONATE, TOSS, NOT CLOSET ITEM and CAN’T DECIDE, it’s time to face your closet. Don’t look at the big picture, just take it step by step – shoes included. 

Questions To Ask Yourself:

  • Do I like it?
  • Is it flattering?
  • Have I worn it in the last year?
  • Would I buy it today?
  • Am I keeping it because of the emotions/story associated with it?


clothing in a bin for closet organization


While asking yourself those questions, start going through your closet items piece by piece either keeping them in place or tossing in a bin. Take no longer than 30 seconds to make a decision. Don’t know the answer? Try it on. Still unclear? Just choose a bin because we’ll address what’s in each bin after you sort your closet. This whole project could take you a short lifetime if you dilly dally. Move quickly.

Once you have made it through your entire closet, you should have far less clothing available in your wardrobe and full bins. This is a good thing.

How To Sort Clothing In Your Closet:

Hanging your clothes is the most simple way to keep everything in order. If you don’t have enough room, consider folding (or rolling) tees, tanks and workout clothing. Stack them (beware of their tendency to topple over) on a shelf or in a drawer. You don’t have to get all Martha Stewart, just do it in a way you can continue to do later on. Today may be purge day but when you are rushing through chores and you need to put something in your closet, you won’t have time for perfection. Folding tips can be found here: How To Fold Laundry Quickly.

How To Arrange Clothing In Your Closet: 

This is a custom experience. How does your brain work? Would you rather have outfits grouped together? Would you rather have ‘like items’ grouped together? Would you prefer all of your clothing grouped by color? Make a decision and go with it. My closet is arranged by t-shirts, sweatshirts, dress shirts, jackets, jeans, yoga pants, pajama pants, formal pants, short dresses and long dresses.


Your bins need to be dealt with. This can be a quick process. Here are some suggestions and things to keep in mind:


  • When donating clothing, keep in mind that you are doing it so other people may find a good use for your fashion. This isn’t a dumping ground. Would you give that item to a friend? If your clothes are in really poor shape, find another place for them. Perhaps you can tear up a shirt and use it to clean. If not, just toss it.
  • Having a hard time parting with clothing because of how much you paid for it? Sell it on Craigslist, host a yard sale or get friends together for a clothing swap. Plan a date, meet at one person’s house and have each guest bring a stack of great clothes they don’t wear because of fit, style or because they purged, too. Each friend gets to shop the other’s wardrobe for free.


  • It’s likely that your toss pile is a bunch of damaged clothing. Turn it into cleaning rags or toss ’em.

Not A Closet Item:

  • Take your bin and start unloading the items into their correct places. Chances are, you’ll be organizing that room in the near future.

Can’t Decide:

  • A lot of times it’s hard to part with clothes that have some sort of sentiment attached, your “skinny wardrobe” or items you think will come back into style.
  • Sentiment – Store these in a bin with a lid that will lock into place. When you’re ready, read What To Do With Sentimental Clutter.
  • “Skinny Wardrobe” – When you reach your goal weight, would you like to pull something out of your closet or celebrate by purchasing something new or do you truly want to wear the items you’re saving? If you want to wear the items, consider how long you’ve been saving them. If it’s longer than a year (pregnancy doesn’t count, here), don’t torture yourself. Donate the clothes.
  • In a year from now, pull out the “Can’t Decide” bin and see if any of your thoughts have changed.


Now that you’ve completed all the steps, take a look in your closet. Nice work! Give yourself a pat on the back, grab a drink or tell everyone else it will last all day and spend the rest of the time doing whatever you want.

Any questions?

tawsha connell