10 Steps to Declutter Your Clothing Once and For All (The KonMari Method)

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I NEED to do this! Step-by-step tips and advice on how to declutter clothing and closets once and for all using the KonMari Method.

You’ve read the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, you downloaded the free printable decluttering checklist, you set aside a time to completely declutter, and now you are READY to tackle the first step: clothing, shoes, handbags, and accessories. In fact, decluttering your closet may just change your life– you’ll feel better in your clothes by wearing only what you love, and visually it’s so appealing that you will immediately want to tackle the rest of your home. Are you ready? LET’S GET TO IT AND DECLUTTER THOSE CLOTHES!

I NEED to do this! Step-by-step tips and advice on how to declutter clothing and closets once and for all using the KonMari Method.

But first, the proof is in the pudding: I was quoted in the Jan./Feb. issue of Dr. Oz’s The Good Life magazine on this very topic. I truly did get rid of 75% of my clothing and it was totally painless PLUS gave us some great perks, like not only saving money moving forward but earning enough for a few family trips and outings. So take heart, you CAN change your life with this method!

I NEED to do this! Step-by-step tips and advice on how to declutter clothing and closets once and for all using the KonMari Method.

HOW TO DECLUTTER CLOTHING USING THE KONMARI METHOD

Step #1: TAKE IT ALL OUT. First and foremost, take everything out of your closet and throw it in a pile on your bed or bedroom floor.  Yup, everything. Take a moment to look at all that space. How does it feel? Think of your closet as precious, and honor your space by only putting things back that will bring you joy!

I NEED to do this! Step-by-step tips and advice on how to declutter clothing and closets once and for all using the KonMari Method.

Step #2: GATHER THE REST. Go around your home and gather all your other clothing, including the following:

  • out-of-season clothing
  • coats/outerwear
  • clothing in drawers
  • underwear, socks, bras
  • costumes
  • uniforms
  • scarves
  • pajamas, activewear, loungewear

(note: I did this separately for EACH family member. Breaking it down that way made it much easier to handle the huge amount of clothing plus think about sizes, outgrown clothing, what they needed, etc.)

I NEED to do this! Step-by-step tips and advice on how to declutter clothing and closets once and for all using the KonMari Method.

The free printable KonMari checklist will help you with this, download it here!

I NEED to do this! Step-by-step tips and advice on how to declutter clothing and closets once and for all using the KonMari Method.

Step #3: GO THROUGH THE PILE. It is huge! It is bringing you DOWN! How much of that do you actually wear?! Hold up each piece. Do you currently wear and love it? Ask yourself, does it bring you joy? While doing this, any piece of clothing where I thought ‘yes, I love it!’ went back into the closet. Anything that I hesitated about or was unsure went into a pile. The obvious no’s went into a bag to either consign or donate. Truly aim to get rid of half your clothes. I mean it! Capsule wardrobes are in– keeping basic pieces that work well with each other is the trend, as opposed to wearing something once and never again.

I NEED to do this! Step-by-step tips and advice on how to declutter clothing and closets once and for all using the KonMari Method.

I NEED to do this! Step-by-step tips and advice on how to declutter clothing and closets once and for all using the KonMari Method.

TIP: Don’t hold onto something because you once loved it or it used to fit your lifestyle. Work in the here and now– what do you love NOW? What works for you NOW?

Be brutal with your socks, underwear, and bras. They do have a shelf life, you know. You’re not doing yourself any favors by keeping ones that are stretched out and frumpy. Use this as an excuse to treat yourself to ones that make you look (and feel) amazing!

The ‘BEFORE’ of my husband’s sock collection. Wait until you see the ‘after’ in the next post about how to organize your newly decluttered clothing!

I NEED to do this! Step-by-step tips and advice on how to declutter clothing and closets once and for all using the KonMari Method.

Step #4: TRY EVERYTHING ON IN YOUR ‘MAYBE’ PILE. What’s your very first thought when you see yourself in the mirror?

TIP: Instead of asking ‘how does this make me LOOK?’ it’s easier to ask yourself ‘how does this make me FEEL?’

Here’s my ‘maybe’ pile. I tried each item on and evaluated it critically; about half got discarded.

I NEED to do this! Step-by-step tips and advice on how to declutter clothing and closets once and for all using the KonMari Method.

Step #5: FINALIZE YOUR CLOTHING. Your favorites should be back in your closet and your ‘nopes’ ready to go out the door. OF THE CLOTHES YOU ARE KEEPING, STORE ALL YOUR CLOTHING TOGETHER– don’t store off-season clothing in another area! You may need an outer layer in the summer or a fun tank in the winter for going out. Hiding your off-season clothing puts it out of mind and makes it easier to hoard. Trust me, you will love having your entire wardrobe in one spot. Don’t get too caught up in organizing it yet, that’ll happen in our next post.

Here’s a hot tip: go back into your closet and see if anything jumps out as odd to you. Anything not match the others? Often, this is a piece that you don’t really love but kept out of obligation. If that’s the case, get rid of it!

I NEED to do this! Step-by-step tips and advice on how to declutter clothing and closets once and for all using the KonMari Method.

TIP: As you put items back, take OFF the old wire hangers and replace them with slimline hangers which both look better and are better for your clothes. Here’s my favorite type of hangers for our bedroom closets, and my favorite wooden hangers for the coat closet. Recycle the old ones at your local drycleaners. You’re going to love how great your closets feel when refreshed this way!

I NEED to do this! Step-by-step tips and advice on how to declutter clothing and closets once and for all using the KonMari Method.

Step #6: HANDBAGS. Now do this with your handbags, totes, & clutches. Remember, what do you REALLY love? Which ones bring you JOY? Keep those. Discard the rest.

I NEED to do this! Step-by-step tips and advice on how to declutter clothing and closets once and for all using the KonMari Method.

TIP:  get rid of handbags you no longer use. Make a little money by selling them (eBay, local Yard Sale groups on Facebook, consignment stores) and put that towards one you really love.

Step #7: SHOES. Are you ready? Now it’s time to tackle your shoes. Be brutal. As you hold up each pair, ask yourself:

  • do you still wear them?
  • do they fit? Do they feel good?
  • do they work with your (newly decluttered) wardrobe?
  • are they in great condition?
  • are they in style?

Here’s part of my ‘BEFORE’ shoe pile (my sneakers and other boots were behind me when I took a pic). That pair of boots in front is torn up beyond repair. The rips and stains don’t bring me joy AT ALL! The red pair popping up in the back has never been worn in the 5 years I’ve had them because they pinch my toes. So why do I still have them? And… Coloriffics? Okay, those are my wedding shoes so they’re sentimental but I need to put serious thought into whether I want to keep them.

I NEED to do this! Step-by-step tips and advice on how to declutter clothing and closets once and for all using the KonMari Method.

Step #8: JEWELRY. This one is tough, because pieces are often sentimental or you think, ‘I might wear this one day’. It took me 3 tries to finally get down to the nitty gritty with my jewelry. I decided to keep only the jewelry I actually wear right now and a few sentimental pieces. Goodbye, necklaces from when I was teaching! Adios, ring from an ex-boyfriend! Buy-bye my 5 statement necklaces from 2009 that are way behind the times! Hello, gorgeous favorites.

Step #9: DISCARD. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200 (okay, you can collect $200 if you consign them!) Get those discards out the door! Here’s how I handled mine:

  • Upscale clothing, accessories & handbags: consigned at Clothes Mentor (made over $125!)
  • Regular clothing, accessories & handbags: sold at a yard sale and made a fortune— people love name brands!
  • Kids clothing: handed down to friends or sold at a local kids’ consignment sale
  • Bras: donated at my local Soma store (they collect used bras and refurbish them for women in need)
  • everything else: donated! (I actually donated most of my clothing, it’s so much easier than trying to sell it!)

I NEED to do this! Step-by-step tips and advice on how to declutter clothing and closets once and for all using the KonMari Method.

Step #10: ENJOY. Take a step back. You did it! How does it feel? Does a mostly empty closet make you feel happy? We’re going to work on organizing everything next week, but for now, enjoy your accomplishment and just wait until it’s all organized next week!

Like this post and wondering where to start? Read ALL the posts in the KonMari series:

1. Why This Little Book will Change Your Life (Plus a KonMari Method Cheat Sheet)

2. Free Printable KonMari Decluttering Checklist

3. How to Declutter your Clothing & Closets Once and For All (you are here)

next: How to Organize your Clothing the KonMari Way

I NEED to do this! Step-by-step tips and advice on how to declutter clothing and closets once and for all using the KonMari Method.

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8 Comments

  1. Hi – thanks for this great post! Realistically, how long did it take you to get this done for each member of your family? I’m planning on tackling my closet as well as my four kids’ closets… Is a day for me and a half day for each of them realistic? (if they’re not with me of course!)

    1. YES! Oh for sure I you could do this in that timeline, probably less. It took about an hour (max) for me to go through the clothing of each of my kids because it mostly involves checking tags and refolding. For myself, it took an hour for the initial weeding and then 30-45 minutes to try things on. I found because I did that initial brutal weeding, the items that I was on the fence about stood out like a sore thumb and I was able to weed those out the following week. Once you start getting rid of things you’ll fine tune your decision making and it gets easier. Good luck!

  2. I decluttered so much that I emptied an entire wardrobe, donated the clothes, and am giving the wardrobe to a friend. I only have a clothes rack and a chest of drawers now for my clothes. It feels great 🙂

  3. At what point can you replace items? Is it after you have finished discarding from that category?

  4. I will be praying and embarking on this journey this weekend. I am dealing with a lot emotionally….my mom passed and I was stuck with a lifetime of her things as well as I had things destroyed by an ex, and went into a period of grief in which I ordered stuff online daily and consumed way too much. On that note, I don’t want to be a hoarder nor should I have dresses from over 6 years ago that are too small or damaged. I will make a pile and discard half of what I have already. My goal is to sell some items, but most will go to Goodwill. Then next steps are to “stop” purchasing anything else clothing wise for like another four years. Meaning that I have so much that I need to make do with what I have.

    The rest is paperwork and getting rid of the stuff from my mom.

    Then I have photos and memorabilia that needs to be sorted through. But I am taking this one day at a time.

    Thanks and God bless.

    Thinking about a yard sale for this weekend as well, but I don’t have a table to set things on.

    Once this activity is complete, I can then arrange my closet accordingly.

  5. This especially works at season change time since you know you won’t be wearing the things currently in the closet for a long time. So it’s easier to say goodbye.

    I disagree with never packing up seasonal clothing because I live in a climate with severe and distinct seasons. If I plan to travel somewhere with an opposing climate it’s easy to take a wardrobe out of the Rubbermaid. My summer clothing is clearly meant for summer (white sundresses) and is absolutely incompatible with the -20 winters we experience. But if you’re lucky enough to live in a meh climate, this might work better for you.

  6. Pingback: A New You, Through And Through! Three Ways To Change Your Style – lauraelainebice.com

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