Woman looking at clothing and deciding what to declutter

Decluttering: You Can Do It

A version of this post was originally published by Amanda Jefferson at indigoorganizing.com.

If you’ve been watching the new Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, you might have the sudden urge to purge.

Luckily, you can EASILY get in on the action. You can achieve your very own reality TV show “before and after” results in your closet, and it only takes five hours. Think about inviting a friend over to do this with you, and vice versa. (And if you are really stuck, you can, of course, call an expert!)

Here are some steps on how to effectively declutter and organize:

Marie Kondo and Amanda Jefferson from Indigo Organizing

Step One: Minimize The Distractions

Find a time in your schedule when you can get five hours, distraction free. No kids. No spouses. No phones. This is YOUR time.

Step Two: Take An Inventory Of Your Wardrobe

Pile every item of clothing on the bed.

  • Make sure ALL of your clothes are washed.
  • Drag those off-season clothes out of the basement.
  • Bring up those coats from the entryway closet.
  • Pull out those old bridesmaid dresses. You know, the teal ones with puffed sleeves.

Take a “before” picture of your closet and your pile.

Two friends trying new clothes on and choosing outfits

Step Three: Place Clothing Into Categories

Divide the clothes into broad categories like: tops, bottoms, skirts, pajamas, etc. Don’t worry about deciding what to keep yet. Focus on sorting, not discarding.

Step Four: Make The Hard Decisions

Now this is where the magic really comes in. You are going to take each and every item of clothing in your hand and ask yourself: Does this spark joy?

Pay attention to how the garment makes you feel. Does it give you a jolt of happiness? Do you love wearing it? Or do you frown, think about feeling frumpy or have a bad memory?

If it doesn’t spark joy, thank it for its service and let it go with gratitude, i.e. put it in your “donations” pile.

Portrait of a young woman with clothes donation

A few tips:

  • Get quick wins. Start with a smaller category so that you can feel the momentum.
  • Make a “maybe” pile. Don’t lose momentum by trying things on that you really can’t decide on. Make a “maybe” pile and try all of those on at the end. (You’ll likely let go of 95% of them!)
  • Make notes. As you go, write down items that need to be replaced or upgraded.
  • Take a break. Midway, take a 15-minute break. Have some tea and a light snack.
  • Take stock. Take stock at the four-hour mark. You might need to leave a few categories for homework, like shoes and bags.

Step Five: Place Donations In The Car

Put all of your donations and items to sell right in the car! While you have them sorted, you can even enter the donations into an app like It’s Deductible or onto a printed Goodwill checklist. You can save thousands at tax time with donations!

Step Six: Place Clothing Items Back Into The Closet

Put all of the clothing that sparks joy back into your closet and folded in their drawers. To learn how to do Marie Kondo’s special folding method, view this video. Think about using all that extra space in your closet to display your favorite items. I put my favorite books and my grandmother’s milk glass on the top shelf of my closet, where all of my bulky sweaters used to fall over onto each other. Some people hang artwork inside the doors or display wedding photos.

Walk-in closet organized and decluttered

A few tips:

  • Someday = Never. If you find yourself thinking, “I might wear this someday,” think again. Think about your life today. Check out this post for what to do with clothes that don’t fit.
  • Don’t get bogged down on sentimental items. Set aside sentimental items. Can you turn that fabric into a cool pouch? Can you display it?
  • Beware of the temptation of “selling.” It’s tempting to want to sell your items. Be aware that consignors are very selective. Often, you will get more back by donating the item and cashing in on a tax refund. Check out this blog post to learn more about the pros and cons of consigning.

Now that you’ve effectively de-cluttered your closet and narrowed your wardrobe to only the pieces that truly spark joy in your life, it’s time to help you stay organized. Here are some features that can transform your closet:

walk-in closet organized and decluttered with clothes hung

  • Shoe storage: Not having enough room for your various types of shoes is a common problem. In most cases, a shoe rack is not the answer. Instead, dedicated shelves for heels and dress shoes, and cubbies for flats, sneakers and sandals will help you keep your shoes organized and off the floor.
  • Hooks: Hooks on the back of closet doors or a wall help you stay organized. They’re a good spot to hang your robe or a frequently worn hoodie. They’re also good for hanging your work bag or a few purses.
  • A valet bar: Valet bars slide out from the wall and act as a convenient spot to hang garments as you plan an outfit or put away your clothes.
  • Custom drawer inserts: Whether you’re storing costume earrings, bracelets and necklaces or socks, ties and belts, drawer inserts can help. These dividers keep pairs of socks or accessories separated and in full view so they’re easy to find when you need them.

If you’re interested in learning more about custom solutions to help you get and stay organized, reach out to us for a free, in-home consultation. We’ll take a look at your space and your belongings, and help you create a more inspirational space.

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