How to Clean Out Your Closet and Love What You Own

Published by Deanna Yates on

How to Clean Out Your Closet and Love What You Own (in a weekend!)

Discover how to clean out your closet and perform a full closet detox in a weekend. You'll also get a FREE Closet Detox Checklist! This free checklist will take you from "I have nothing to wear" to "I love my closet" in just a few days!

There you are…standing in front of your closet again. It’s packed with clothes, but you have nothing to wear. This stressful scene has played itself out more times than you care to admit. By the time you get out the door you’re running late, not comfortable with what you’re wearing, and stressed out. It’s time to learn how to clean out your closet so you can love what you own. It’s time for a closet detox.

But, what is a closet detox?

A closet detox is a practice of going through your closet and shedding those things that no longer fit your lifestyle, while keeping the clothes that you love, fit well, and truly reflect the amazing person you are.

And I’ll show you how to do it in a weekend.

How to Clean Out Your Closet in a Weekend

A closet detox is a way to quickly clean out your closet, but with the purpose of NEVER going back to the mess you currently have. A true closet detox will change your relationship with your wardrobe. It will make it easier to get dressed for any occasion and help you feel amazing when you walk out the door, knowing you are ready to take on the day no matter what life throws your way.

The closet detox outlined below is a 3-day process. This gives you the time you need to emotionally address the process. There will be lots of little decisions to be made and it’s best not to be rushed.

Ready to love your closet?

How a 3-Day Closet Clean Out Works

The process below is outlined for a weekend, but you can tackle these steps any day of the week. There is also no hard and fast rule that says these have to be spread out over three days, but in my experience, taking your time seems to work best.

Closet Detox Day One: Friday Afternoon 

Your first day is all about preparing for the big task ahead. You need to gather your supplies, do a little investigative work about your wardrobe, and make sure you have someone lined up to watch the kids.

First, gather your supplies and get in the right mindset.

You will need the following supplies to clean out your closet on Saturday.

    1. At least 2 garbage bags
    2. Two Storage Bins – Preferably Clear
    3. Snacks
    4. Good Music Playlist
    5. A camera – your phone will be fine

Second, decide what kind of clothes you need.

You need to get real with yourself on how you spend your time and what kinds of clothes you need to live that life. This will lay the foundation for a closet you love that fits YOU.

Determine how much of your time is spent on the following activities:

  • Professional/Work:
  • Casual:
  • Nightlife:
  • Gym:
  • Lounge/Sleep:
  • Special Occasion:

To do this count how many times you participate in each activity in a given week. For instance, if you work outside of the home, go to the gym 3 days a week and go on a date night twice a month, your numbers will look like this:

  • Professional/Work: 5
  • Casual: 2
  • Nightlife: 0.5
  • Gym: 3
  • Lounge/Sleep: 7
  • Special Occasion: 0

You can multiply these numbers based on how often you are okay repeating an outfit. Let’s say you want your wardrobe to last for a full month, you would multiply the numbers above by 4 (4 weeks in a month). That is the number of outfits you will need of each type of outfit – give or take.

This will come in handy when you sort your clothes tomorrow.

Third, get someone to watch the kids tomorrow.

You will be very busy and up to your neck in clothes the next day. Set yourself up for success and clear away time for yourself. That means arranging to have your partner or a sitter watch the kids while you clean out your closet.

Closet Detox Day Two: Saturday

The second day of this closet detox is your busiest day, but by the end, you will have cleared out your closet and be on your way to a wardrobe filled with clothes you love.

Step One: Set Your Closet Cleaning Intention

The first thing you need to do in order to set yourself up for success is get yourself geared up for the day.

  1. Wait for your family to leave the house or inform them that you are locked in your room and not to be disturbed.
  2. Take a few deep breaths and set your intention for the day. Visualize yourself completing the task and feel the excitement of checking this off your list
  3. Turn up your happy tunes and have your snacks and water near by

Step Two: Gather Everything in One Place

The next thing you have to do is take stock and find out what you have in your closet. In order to do that take EVERYTHING out of your closet and put it in one pile. (bonus points if you put it on your bed so that you are forced to finish) If you’ve seen the Marie Kondo show on Netflix…it’s just like that.

Putting everything in one pile works because you need to know what you actually own. Often people will find forgotten items or things that had been hiding in the shadows. 

Seeing all of your clothes in one pile also forces you to come face-to-face with how much time, energy, money, and space you have dedicated to your clothes in the past.

Finally, the best part of cleaning all of the clothes out of your closet allows you to start to see some patterns. Some things to consider when looking at your wardrobe:

  • Is there a color palette you seem to gravitate toward?
    • This might be your signature color.
  • Is there a color or style that sticks out like it doesn’t belong?
    • There may be an emotional attachment to these clothes you need to address.
  • Do you have a lot of clothes that still have tags on them?
    • This might be a time when you were swayed by a trend or a sale, but it’s not true to your style. 
  • Do you have a lot of clothes from a past time in your life?
    • For instance when you were smaller or larger than your current size, before you became a parent, when you worked a different job, etc. These may no longer fit your current lifestyle.

Don’t forget to download your free Closet Detox in a Weekend checklist. This free checklist will walk you through the steps to take you from “I have nothing to wear” to “I love my closet” in just a few days!

Step Three: Sort

Once you have everything gathered the next step is to sort it all into piles. Make sure you check EVERY room, drawer, and shelf! I also recommend including your dirty clothes just so you have the full picture. Here are the piles you need:

  1. Love it!!!
  2. Maybe
  3. Donate
  4. Toss

Items that you place in the donate and toss piles should be put in the garbage bags and removed from your room immediately. Some people suggest getting them out of your home right away, but I think out of sight is far enough out of mind for now.

** Now is a good time for a break if you have not taken one. You will need your energy to investigate your second pile. **

Next, we will look at your maybe pile. This is usually the toughest pile because something is drawing you to these clothes even though you don’t love them. I have found it to be very helpful to separate the clothes in the maybe pile into 4 additional piles:

  1. Like it, but the fit is not right. These clothes can be taken to the tailor and given a new life.
  2. Clothes with a purpose. Okay, so maybe you don’t love a practical set of work pants, but you wear them every week. These should stay in your wardrobe for now and replaced when possible.
  3. Not the right lifestyle fit. Remember how you looked at your lifestyle and how you spend your time yesterday? Is there something that you no longer spend time doing (like going out as much now that you’re a Mom)? If some of your clothes no longer fit your lifestyle, it’s time to say goodbye or to find another way to repurpose them.
  4. Trial Separation. For those pieces that you are really on the fence about, it’s best to pack them away in the first clear bin for a few weeks. If you miss something and can’t wait to have it back in your wardrobe, you can easily retrieve it. But if after a month or two, you have not thought about it, letting go of it will be that much easier.

The last step in your big sort is to go though your love it pile and set aside anything that’s seasonally inappropriate (sweaters in summer and tank tops in winter, etc.). These should be stored in the second clear bin until the right season comes around.

Step Four: Put Your Clothes Away (until tomorrow)

You have done an amazing job and deserve a break. Go ahead and put the seasonally appropriate clothes from your Love it pile back in your newly cleaned out closet and we’ll revisit them tomorrow. Your maybe clothes and the seasonally inappropriate clothes should be stored away.

By the end of day two you will be left with a closet only filled with clothes you love or that serve a clear purpose.

Closet Detox Day Three: Sunday

The final day of the Closet Detox weekend is the most fun day. This is when you will create your new wardrobe with only the clothes you love the most. This means that you will love what you are wearing and by the end of the day no longer think you have nothing to wear.

Create Capsule Wardrobe Modules

The best way to arrange your clothes is in modules. A module is made up of 1 outer layer, 3 shirts, and 2 bottoms. From these 6 items, you can make 12 outfits. 

If you add a second module, that coordinates with the first, you can create at least 72 outfits. To see an example of this check out this post about a French-inspired capsule wardrobe. 

Now that you know how capsule wardrobe modules work, it’s time to look back at how you spend your time. Remember when you looked at your lifestyle activities on Friday? The more outfits you need, but more modules you should create.

But, the best news is that even 2 modules for any lifestyle category will give you enough outfit ideas to last for more than 2 months!

Create a Look Book

The last step for how to clean out your closet is to create a look book. You can do this by trying on each outfit and taking a picture. Or if you prefer, you can layout each outfit on the bed and take a picture. 

These pictures will come in handy if you ever feel like you are in an outfit rut (wearing the same thing over and over) or that you have nothing to wear. You will always be able to refer back to your look book for inspiration and to get your creativity flowing.

I wish you all the success in the world as you embark on cleaning out your closet. It is not an easy task, but it is definitely worth it. A clean closet full of clothes you love and make you feel amazing will improve your day through less stress and more joy. No more looking in your closet and thinking, “I have nothing to wear.” Just imagine the possibilities!!!

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you would share it on Pinterest. Let’s help everyone get the closet and wardrobe they love!

Closet Detox in a Weekend Challenge! Go from "I have nothing to wear" to hundreds of outfits just by cleaning out your closet. Plus there's a free checklist to help you along the way.


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Discover how to clean out your closet and perform a full closet detox in a weekend. This free checklist will take you from "I have nothing to wear" to "I love my closet" in just a few days!

When you subscribe, you’ll also get instant access to the 3-Day Closet Detox Plan as my gift to you. Stop stressing when you look in your closet and think you have nothing to wear. I’ll show you how to love your wardrobe in just 3 days…no shopping necessary!

Categories: style

1 Comment

How to Find Your Personal Style Hidden in Your Closet - Little Green Bow · May 19, 2019 at 5:55 am

[…] you need help with the process, you can check out this post on completing a closet detox in a weekend and another on how to clean and organize using the 5-box method. Both will help you zero in on […]

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