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Cleaning Out The Closet: 5 Tips For Making Room For New Clothes!

A little while ago I shared the goodies that I bought at Value Village on their most recent 50% off day. What I didn’t share was that these finds have been sitting in a pile on top of my dresser since that day because I didn’t have any room in my closet for more clothes. It was definitely time for a little “out with the old and in with the gently used” – in other words, cleaning out my closet.

Luckily, I find cleaning out my closet just as fun as shopping for more clothes! Is that weird? Purging items I don’t need anymore is a no-brainer way to calm clutter and it actually helps me feel more in control of my life. Every item I remove from my closet and my house is one less thing I have to keep track of, one less thing to organize and clean, one less thing filling up my home and my mind. And … it makes room for more clothes!

Clean Out Your Closet


Here are the tips that I follow whenever my closet and dresser drawers start bulging:

1. Go through your entire wardrobe: check every single hanger in your closet and every pair of socks in your dresser drawers. Pull out every item of clothing that you know you don’t want and put it right away into a “discard” pile.

2. Step two is where we start separating the purgers from the proto-hoarders. Go through your wardrobe again, and pull out everything that you’re not 100% sure about keeping. Put these in a “maybe” pile. Don’t worry, you won’t have to get rid of anything you don’t want to! Just trust the system for now and put that great dress you bought on sale three years ago into the “maybe” pile.

3. Now go through your closet and drawers one last time, and pull out everything you think is a great piece of clothing and fully plan to wear again one day, but that you haven’t worn in a long time (you can define “long time” however you like, but I like to go with “haven’t worn it since the last time I cleaned out my closet”). Put these clothes in the “maybe” pile, too.

4. Now try everything on! Don’t skip anything – make yourself try it on and check it out in a mirror. As you try things on, you might find that you change your mind about a lot of your “maybe”s and put them into the discard pile. It’s funny how clothing has a way of not looking as good as we remembered, and it suddenly becomes an easy decision to purge it. If you’re still unsure about something even after trying it on, put it back in the “maybe” pile.

5. When you’re done trying everything on, put everything that’s still in the “maybe” pile back in your closet or dresser. If it goes on a hanger, a cool trick is to hang the hanger backwards on the closet bar until you next wear that piece of clothing, at which time you put the hanger back normally again. Six months or a year from now, or whenever you next clean out your closet, you’ll know that everything on a backwards hanger has been sitting there untouched since the last time you cleaned out your closet. It might make it easier to discard next time.

Hang your hangers backwards


What to do with your discard pile? There are plenty of options! Pass them along to someone who has similar taste in clothing. Drop them in any of the streetside donation bins you find in most cities. Take them to a thrift store: Value Village, Salvation Army, Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul – every thrift store takes donations of gently used clothing. Or my favourite method because it’s so darn easy: contact the Canadian Diabetes Clothesline online and schedule a FREE pickup of your unwanted clothing and other household items. The Canadian Diabetes Association sells the goods it picks up to Value Village and uses the money for diabetes research and education. Everybody wins!


Saving the planet is a nice side benefit to going green, but I have to admit I'm in it for the money. Why pay more for new when used is better?

2 Responses to “Cleaning Out The Closet: 5 Tips For Making Room For New Clothes!”


Another great option, which you covered in “Pass the along to someone with a similar taste in clothes” is to have a clothing swap!
Invite a few or a bunch of friends, have everyone bring one bag of clothes, and let the fun begin.
Have a mirror handy, and a change room, so the shy can get changed.
Leftovers still go to the local womens shelter, (with a call first), or the local thrift shop.
CDC is a very convenient option, but Value Village doesn’t actually pay a lot for the clothes. If you have a local donation option, make the effort to take it there.
Thanks for the article! I love the idea of the backward hanger.


    Lisa Higgs

    Diana, those are great ideas! A clothing swap sounds like a blast.

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