Closet declutter checklist: 17 things to get rid of in your closet


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Use this closet declutter checklist next time you’re decluttering clothes. It includes 17 things to get rid of in your closet that you won’t miss at all! 

If you’re struggling to find what to wear in the morning or your wardrobe is full of pieces you never wear and don’t like anymore, it might be time for another closet declutter. 

Decluttering clothes and shoes will simplify your life and make getting ready effortless.

And these are not the only benefits

But if you don’t know how to start and what clothes to get rid of, don’t worry.

This closet declutter checklist will give you practical ideas of things to get rid of in your closet.

And I promise, you won’t miss any of them once they’re gone! 

How to clean out your closet and let go? Some closet declutter tips before you tackle this closet declutter checklist

If you don’t know how to start decluttering and feel overwhelmed, remember that you don’t have to tackle your entire closet in one go.

You can do it little by little, for an hour during the weekend, then 15 minutes every evening, and 5 minutes every time you fold the laundry. 

Choose one category of items and take all those pieces out of your closet.

Then, start sorting.

Put your clothes in different piles: keep, donate, sell, and recycle.

While doing it, ask yourself specific questions to determine whether they’re worth keeping (see next section). 

If you’re struggling to make decisions, use this closet declutter checklist to find ideas of things to get rid of in your closet! 

You might also want to have a maybe pile for the clothes you’re unsure of.

When you’re done sorting, put this maybe pile away and revisit it after a few months to see whether you’ve missed the items.

If not, you can let them go. 

After your decluttering session, get rid of your unwanted clothes right away.

Take your donations to the thrift store and your worn-out pieces to the textile recycling bins.

Give yourself a week to list all the pieces you want to sell and if they’re not sold after a few weeks, donate them. 

If you want more tips and guidance when decluttering clothes, make sure to read the following articles: 

This closet declutter checklist includes lots of ideas for things to get rid of in your closet!

Questions to ask when cleaning out your closet

Here are some questions you should ask yourself to determine whether your pieces are worth keeping: 

  • Does this fit me?
  • How do I feel while wearing it?
  • Is it in good condition? 
  • When was the last time I wore it? 
  • How many pieces in that category do I already have? 
  • Is it practical to wear?

Read more: 50 helpful questions to ask yourself when decluttering your home

Closet declutter checklist: 17 things to get rid of in your closet 

1. Clothes that are annoying to wear

Let’s start this closet declutter checklist with a huge one: clothes that are uncomfortable and annoying to wear.

If you constantly need to readjust a shirt while wearing it, it’s not worth keeping it.

It will continue bothering you all day long! 

Similarly, if you’re constantly thinking about the piece you are wearing because it’s so uncomfortable, declutter it. 

Other examples of items that fall into that category are:

  • Uncomfortable undies that ride up
  • Clothes that dig into your skin
  • Itchy sweaters
  • Clothing that makes you sweat too much
  • Bikinis that you’re afraid they’ll fall off your body

2. Pieces you always end up taking off after trying them on

Do you have that piece in your closet that every time you put it on, you somehow end up taking it off and opting for something else?

And unsurprisingly, you end up never wearing it. 

Even if you don’t know why it happens, keeping that piece of clothing only wastes your precious time in the morning (and space in your closet).

It’s irritating and contributes to decision fatigue. 

So do yourself a favor and find that piece a new home, but don’t keep it in your closet. 

Closet declutter checklist idea #2: clothes you always try on and end up taking off are some of the best things to get rid of in your closet.

3. Worn-out or damaged items

Some of the best things to get rid of in your closet are worn-out items or clothes that are damaged beyond repair. 

This includes:

  • Clothes that have stains, holes, or rips
  • Threadbare items
  • Undies whose elastic is gone
  • Coats and zip-up hoodies with broken zippers
  • Bras with the wire popping out

You can also declutter clothing that has too many pills, tights with runs in them, or fake leather pieces that are disintegrating.

There is no point in keeping worn-out clothing.

We all deserve to feel and look good in our clothes.  

Of course, if you can repair something like sew up small holes, that’s awesome!

But don’t keep anything that’s beyond repair.

Instead, see if you can find a textile recycling program near where you live. 

Read more: How to make your wardrobe more sustainable?

4. Things that make you feel self-conscious

Do you have some clothes that make you feel self-conscious about your body?

Or even clothes that you don’t feel your best in? 

If you have pieces that make you feel bad about your body, for instance, if they show a part of your body you don’t like or if they’re not flattering your body shape, let them go. 

To feel our best, we should wear clothes that we feel confident in.

So if you feel self-conscious wearing certain pieces, this is your sign to declutter them. 

5. Things that don’t fit properly

Get rid of anything that is either too big or too small for you.

These pieces can bring up negative emotions. 

For instance, pieces that are too tight or small for our body might remind us that we don’t have the same body as before.

For some of us, it can be a good thing, but for others, it might not be something we are happy about. 

If we’ve lost weight and are glad about it, pieces that are too big can keep us in the past.

It’s almost like we’re keeping them just in case we gain weight again.

This is not encouraging at all! 

Plus, wearing pieces that are too big or too small is not flattering our bodies (even if we fit into them). 

Clothes that don't fit properly are great things to get rid of in your closet. That's why they're on this closet declutter checklist!

6. Items that are too difficult to maintain

Sometimes, we like certain pieces but to be honest, they are a pain to maintain and take care of.

If you encounter such pieces when decluttering clothes, consider if they are worth keeping in your closet. 

Some of them might.

Others might not. 

For instance, I chose not to own clothes that require dry cleaning or hand washing.

I also don’t keep items that require me to iron them regularly.

I find great freedom in having such boundaries around clothes, and doing this saves me a lot of time

Read more: 10 minimalist hacks to live a simple life

7. Clothes that are not for your current lifestyle or phase of life 

Next up on this closet declutter checklist: declutter clothes and shoes that are from another phase of your life.

For instance, do you still have maternity clothes when you know you don’t want any more kids?

Give them to another mom!

Or do you still have clothes from high school when you’re currently starting your career and need professional attire?

You probably don’t need to keep most of them! 

Similarly, do you still have clothes from when you were working, yet you’ve just retired and don’t need business clothing anymore?

Give them away! 

8. Anything with tags still on

Go through your clothes and set aside all those that have tags still attached or that are still in their packaging.

How long have they been sitting there? 

If you’ve just bought them, that’s fine.

But if you’ve had them for months or even years and you’ve never used them, you probably won’t in the future either. 

Let go of the financial guilt that you’ve spent money unnecessarily and resell them or give them to someone who can use them now.

Otherwise, you will feel bad every time you look at them. 

Read more: 13 tips to stop impulse buying & shop intentionally

9. Items you can only wear with one or two other things

If you have clothes, shoes, or accessories that you can only wear with one or two other pieces, reevaluate whether you truly want those pieces. 

For instance, you might have shoes that match only one outfit in your closet.

Or you might have a belt that you can only wear with a specific dress. 

Those items might take up a lot of space, so think about how often you wear them and if it’s worth keeping them. 

Consider decluttering them unless you wear them regularly. 

Closet declutter checklist idea #9: clothes you can only wear with one or two other things are things to get rid of in your closet.

10. Shoes that hurt your feet

Have you ever heard the phrase “beauty is pain”?

What do you think about it?

I don’t know about you but I don’t believe we should suffer for fashion. 

Life is too short to sacrifice our well-being and health for the sake of beauty or fashion. 

So if you have shoes that hurt your feet or that give you blisters every time you walk with them, do yourself a favor and get rid of them.

Your feet deserve comfortable shoes. 

Similarly, if some of your clothes are painful to wear, declutter them.

One example here is coats that rub on your chin when you close them all the way to the top.

Those are so bad! 

11. Things you don’t like or are not your style

Over the years, our taste and style change.

Things we may have loved in the past may no longer be what we love wearing today.

And that’s okay. 

Just because something was your favorite piece of clothing in the past doesn’t mean you should keep it and wear it today.

Let someone else love it as much as you did. 

Also, if you bought something because you thought the color suited your skin tone but you no longer like that color, get rid of it. 

12. Things you’ve not worn in the last 12 months

If you have clothes, shoes, or accessories you’ve not worn in the last 12 months and that you don’t see yourself wearing in the next 12 months, declutter them.

You won’t miss them at all! 

Those items clutter our closets and make us feel guilty that we don’t wear them.

That is particularly true if those things were gifts or expensive to buy.

They could also be sentimental clothes such as prom or wedding dresses, or pieces we bought for our fantasy selves.

There is no point in keeping items we never wear.

Keeping them won’t bring the money we spent on them back.

And if they’re sentimental to you, consider taking a photo of them before passing them on. 

Read more: 14 life-changing minimalist rules to live by

Let go of anything you've not worn in the last 12 months.

13. Pieces that lost their mates

If you have clothes that can only be worn as a pair but you lost one of them, these are great things to get rid of in your closet.

It could be anything from socks and shoes to earrings and clothes you can only wear with pieces you no longer own. 

If you’ve just realized their mates are missing, keep them for a few weeks so you get the chance to find them.

However, let go of those lonely socks that lost their mates years ago. 

14. Tarnished or broken jewelry 

Jewelry is meant to be beautiful and in good condition so it can enhance our beauty and outfits.

If it’s tarnished or broken, see if you can fix it.

If you can’t, declutter it right now!

Also, consider letting go of pieces that leave a green or brown mark on your skin. 

You will realistically not wear those pieces anymore, so make space in your jewelry box.

That way, you’ll be able to find the pieces you truly love and wear regularly more easily. 

15. Accessories you don’t like wearing 

Some of the best things to get rid of in your closet are accessories you never wear. 

Whether these are scarves, belts, jewelry pieces, purses, or hats, accessories are so easy to accumulate!

But if we don’t like accessorizing our outfits with them, they are completely useless. 

See which ones you don’t like anymore or never wear and sell or give them away.

Some items, particularly your handbags and jewelry, might still be valuable so you could get some money back by selling them. 

Read more: 18 areas most people forget to declutter

16. Clothes you’ve been meaning to mend but never did 

If you’re like me and want to make your clothes last for as long as possible, you may like repairing them.

So see if you don’t have a pile of clothes in your closet that you’ve been meaning to mend for a while but haven’t gotten around to. 

If you have such clothes, schedule when exactly you’re going to repair them and actually stick to it.

Go to the tailor or mend them yourself, but don’t postpone that task any longer. 

And if you realistically don’t see yourself repairing your items, put them in those textile recycling bins. 

For the clothes you've been meaning to mend, either repair or recycle them.

17. Excess items in any given category

Last but not least for this closet declutter checklist: excess items in your wardrobe. 

No matter the category of clothing, if you have too many options, consider downsizing it. 

For instance, you probably don’t need 30 T-shirts or 10 different coats in your closet.

Also, don’t keep 5 different outfits for painting and doing dirty jobs around the house.

One or two is more than enough. 

If you have excess items, keep your favorites and those you wear the most, and get rid of duplicates and the ones you rarely wear.

Decluttering the excess in your wardrobe will make getting ready in the morning so much easier for you! 

It also means that you’ll get to wear your favorite pieces every day and that they won’t get lost among meaningless pieces anymore. 

Read more: Why you should quit fast fashion (& how to do it)

Final thoughts on this closet declutter checklist and things to get rid of in your closet

I hope you’ve found this closet declutter checklist helpful and that you could eliminate the clutter in your wardrobe.

Remember, these are just ideas of things to get rid of in your closet.

You don’t have to declutter all of them if you don’t want to. 

If you’re looking for more decluttering ideas and guidance, here are some articles you might be interested in: 

What are your best ideas for things to get rid of in your closet?

Please share them in the comments! 

Don’t forget to share this closet declutter checklist with your friends so they can have clutter-free closets too!

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