3 Steps to De-Cluttering Your Closet: Step 1 - Why You Need to do a Closet Inventory

Imagine this: It’s 9:00pm and you’re putting together your outfit for the next day. You look at your closet and have nothing to wear, stress overwhelms you as you have no idea what to choose. You look past all the dresses and shirts that still have tags on them or that one shirt you love the idea of, but you hate the way it fits. 15 minutes later you pick the same old shirt you love with a trusty pair of pants. As you get into bed, you feel anxious about those pieces you know you spent good money on and never wear. A feeling of shame comes over you as you think of all the clothes you never wear.

Sound familiar?

That was exactly how I was feeling 4 months ago.

When I would lay down to go to sleep, I felt so anxious because I spent thousands of dollars on clothes I either never wore or very rarely wore. I didn’t love the way they fit me, but still felt like they were good enough to keep, trust me when I say that created a lot of unnecessary clutter in my life. It was getting to the point of being unhealthy.

I knew I needed a change because the anxiety of my closet was getting to me, so I decided to do something about it! Today, I feel at a much healthier place with my closet, but there were steps I took to get myself there. Thankfully, we can all take these same steps!

So if you are feeling in that same boat, I want to give you 3 practical tips to pare down your closet for good and get rid of the stress you feel around what you own.

Tip number 1 is the most labor intensive of them all, but if you can get through it, trust me when I say you will feel so much better!

Step 1: Take a Closet Inventory

Do you know everything that’s left in your closet? How many gray t-shirts do you really own? Do you ever find pieces you totally forgot about?

Here’s what you’re going to need:

  • A few hours

  • Pen

  • Journal

  • Full length mirror

  • A lot of will power

Go into the deep depths of your closet and pull everything out. I mean everything. Take everything out of every drawer, every shelf and off every hanger (maybe off the ground if you’re anything like me…). I threw everything onto my bed and started putting things into piles such as denim, pants, dresses, skirts, etc.

This is where the labor intensive part/crying (I’m an emotional person) of the process comes in… Try. Everything. On.

And start making new piles:

  • Keepers: The pieces you absolutely love. They are comfortable and you feel good when you wear them.

  • Waiting List: The pieces that you kind of like. They fit well, but you’re not sure they’re your style or you just don’t wear them a lot.

  • Donate/Sell: The pieces that are torn or stained beyond repair. These are pieces that don’t fit well or are uncomfortable and you haven’t worn in years.


Those pants that don’t fit that well, that shirt that you really don’t love the color or that dress that is just a little too tight in the bust… this is the time to be super honest with yourself.

Isn’t it so hard when you’ve paid good money for things and there’s still a tag hanging on them or you wore them once but realized the sleeve was a little too tight? That’s where I like to play a little game and ask myself:

If you got everything for free, what would go in the donate/sell bin?

Changes your perspective, doesn’t it? It’s so easy to get caught up in how much money we paid for something, when in reality, it doesn’t make you feel good when you put it on.

So now is the time: get rid of that $50 sweater you thought was great but is super uncomfortable. It might be a little painful, but it’s much more painful when you see it sitting in your closet and you haven’t touched it in months (or worse, years).

Waiting List:

If you’re on the fence about something, put those pieces in a box, put them in your basement or in the back of the closet out of sight. After 3-4 months, if you never missed those items put them in the donate/sell category.

Let’s talk a little bit about items with sentimental value. Trust me, we all have them. I had a pair of tennis shoes I took on two separate 4 month trips to Ireland. Those shoes saw so many miles around Europe, and I have so many memories in them. But now, the soles were coming off and the fabric at the toe had ripped - I couldn’t wear them in public. I pack these away and put them in our crawlspace. They’re out of sight and out of mind, and I don’t need to feel bad that I can’t use them anymore.


Keep those pieces that you love to wear so often that you couldn’t imagine getting rid of them. Keep the pieces that make you feel confident and beautiful.

Anything that makes you feel less beautiful than doesn’t deserve a place in your wardrobe.

Write down all the pieces you know you love and want to keep. Those are what go in your closet inventory. Make sure you’re not too broad with your item descriptions; that way, you know what you meant when referencing the list.

A closet inventory is so much more than just a way to see what you already own. This is where you’re going to set a base for what your wardrobe will be and allows you to create a strategy around shopping and putting together outfits.

In this list you will find the foundational pieces you will build off to have a full, versatile wardrobe.

Are you feeling better yet with all the clutter gone?

Take a few deep breaths, the labor intensive part is over. Be on the lookout next week for step 2!

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