For whatever reason, it’s always easier to buy new clothes than part with the old ones. But at a certain point, even the largest closet needs an overhaul, especially when downsizing for seniors moving or if you are trying to complete your downsizing home checklist. If you find your closet doors aren’t quite closing, it might be time to downsize your wardrobe. Decluttering can be a therapeutic way to simplify your life and create extra space for, say, a shoe rack (or some new outfits!).

Need to know how to purge your closet? This guide will help set you up for a successful closet purge. So say goodbye to that old clothing clutter, unworn or unwanted items, and ten-year-old sweater and say hello to an organized closet/storage space.

Be Practical

When it comes to clothes, the word “practical” doesn’t need to mean “boring.” Practicality in the wardrobe is all about keeping clothes that you’ll wear. As you sort through a sea of sweaters and button-ups, think about the value that each piece in your closet brings. Your cluttered closet could be getting in the way of finding a personal style that you love. 

There are three main criteria to keep in mind when deliberating on what to keep:


To maximize space in your closet, prioritize clothes that you can wear with as many other pieces as possible. A blazer that matches everything in your wardrobe can be worn far more often than a pair of pants that doesn’t. Try thinking in terms of a capsule wardrobe by keeping versatile essentials that you can style in multiple ways.


The notion of wearability here refers to how often you’ll wear a garment. Fancy evening dresses, tuxedos, and other “special occasion” pieces tend to sit on the hanger for long periods of time. When you find something you’ll wear once a year at most, consider clearing it out to make room for more practical fashion options.


This may be the most important factor on this list. Ask yourself how much you like any given piece of clothing; if the answer is “a lot,” that’s great! Keep it in your closet. If your response is less enthusiastic, it might be time to pack that garment away. 

Be Ruthless

This advice can be hard to hear, but when purging your closet, it pays to be on the aggressive side. At the end of the day, you don’t want to keep things you don’t need! If you begin cleaning and find yourself saying, “well, maybe I’ll keep it for now” one too many times, start over and be more assertive.

After all, the idea is to make a significant dent. Whether that’s cutting your wardrobe in half or removing 20% of your clothes, you have to be ruthless. 

Be Methodical

It’s one thing to commit to a closet purge, but it’s another to actually do it. For some, creating a system can help catapult the whole process into motion. 

Here are some helpful tips for a systematic approach to decluttering:

  • Make a list – Go through and catalog each piece of clothing you own. A spreadsheet can be extra useful, as it allows you to color-code by season and check off items you’ve packed away. Having a visual representation of your wardrobe makes it harder to forget about individual pieces.
  • Schedule your closet cleanout – Figure out what works best for you in terms of timing, then mark it on your calendar. Maybe you want to do a little refresh every three months. Maybe you’d rather finish in a weekend. Either way, solidifying a time to organize will encourage you to complete the task.

Change With the Seasons

Unless you’re living in the Arctic Circle, chances are you won’t need your heavy down parka every day. Likewise, those breezy tank tops don’t see much use in the winter months.

By tailoring the contents of your closet to the season, you can keep clutter at bay. Pack and store your jackets and coats during the summer to make room for swimsuits and short-sleeve shirts.

Displaying only weather-appropriate options will also speed up your morning routine—no more digging through winter coats to find your favorite pair of shorts!

Install Closet Organizers

Once you’ve downsized and decluttered, you’re in the perfect position to install closet organization. Before you hang everything back up, consider a purchase that will help maintain the order you’ve now created.

Whether you go for a full system or a simple hanging organizer, your newly purged closet will be more approachable and accessible. There’s an organizing solution available for every budget. Simplifying your closet means spending less time searching for clothes and more time creating that hot new look.

Consider these space savers to keep your items organized:

  • Belt/Tie hangers or racks
  • Multiple pant hangers
  • A Closet Doubler (It creates a second row to hang clothes on)
  • Boxes, cubbies, shelves or hanging organizers for shoes
  • Clear bins w/ drawer front pulls (Make sure to label them)
  • Baskets (Wicker baskets look nicer than boxes)
  • Hooks (Attached to the walls for accessories)
  • Make sure you have your closet measurements with you when you go to purchase space savers, so you know if they will fit.
  • Try using shelf dividers to keep folded clothes and accessories neat.
  • Suitcases make great storage containers for out of season clothes, blankets, etc.
  • Remember the space behind the door works well for a hanging rack.
  • Throw out the wire dry-cleaning hangers and invest in matching hangers for a more organized, coordinated look.
  • For linen closets, you can store folded sets of bed linens within one of the set’s pillow cases.

Rent a Self-Storage Unit from Price Self Storage

Not every home has space for unused clothing, which is why many people take advantage of self-storage facilities. Personal storage can be used temporarily for out-of-season items, or more permanently for treasured garments and pieces that don’t currently fit.

Renting a self-storage unit allows you to access your closet’s former contents whenever you need, so if a cold snap strikes in August, you won’t be far from your warmer layers. And here at Price Self Storage, we offer flexible leases, zero down payments, and various unit sizes. 

If you follow the tips from this “how to downsize your closet” guide, you should have no trouble deciding what to keep at home and what to store away for later. Good luck with the closet purge!

InStyle. What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?