Closet Clean Out: Three Easy Steps to Organization

Closet shame…it’s real ya’ll and doing a closet clean out is one of the biggest reasons women tell me prevents them from feeling good about their wardrobes.

Want to know a secret? I used to suffer from a serious case of closet shame! A few years back one of the biggest GYPO reader requests was for me to do a closet tour. Problem was I didn’t want anyone to see inside my closet. It was a wreck from top to bottom and had become a repository for all sorts of things that didn’t belong there. Add to that the fact that I still had my old wardrobe from my corporate past life, literally collecting dust. I knew it was time for a drastic change but I wasn’t sure where to start. The prospect was all just a tad bit overwhelming. Are you feelin’ me?

I decided there was only one way to eat this elephant and that was one bite at a time. So I developed this closet clean out process that works like a charm every time. I’ve even taught classes on it and use it every single season to keep my closet in tip-top shape. The best part? After you go through the process once, it’s a cinch to keep up with it!

Alright, let’s get right to it!

closet clean out three easy steps to your organized dream closet

GYPO Three Step Closet Clean Out Process

Step One

Find three medium to large boxes and label them CASH, STASH, and TRASH. If you don’t have boxes on hand, trash bags will do.

In each box, you will categorize the following:

CASH: These are items that can be sold or donated. They are in good condition, but you haven’t worn them in a year or more and will probably never wear them again.

TRASH: Anything stained, worn out, or damaged beyond repair.

STASH: This is clothing purgatory. Put anything in here that you haven’t worn in two seasons but don’t want to part with. This will go into storage, at least for now. Let’s call this the “maybe” box.

Step Two

Pull every item out of your closet one by one, including shoes, handbags and scarves or other accessories. Find a category for each item and place it in its respective box. All items that you decide to keep can be put in a pile on your bed for now.


That’s the million-dollar question, right? Use the following as a litmus test:

  • Have I worn it in the past year?
  • Is it a classic piece that will stay in style?
  • Is it still in good condition?
  • Can I pair it up in more than one way?
  • Do I feel good when I wear this?
  • Does it fit?
  • Would I buy this again?

If you answered “no” to one or more of the questions above, it’s probably not a keeper. Remember it’s not a HECK YES, it’s a NO. You can always put it in the STASH box and store it for now. If you’re still thinking about it within the next six months, pull it out of the box and use it. If not, tape up the box and donate it.

Step Three

Once you’re done categorizing what you have, it’s time to organize what’s left in your KEEP pile.

Most people have a preferred method of organizing their clothing. Mine is hanging it in groups of like items (short-sleeved shirts, cardigans, blouses, denim, dress pants, skirts, dresses, etc.) Others prefer to sort by color. It really doesn’t matter as long as it makes sense to you and you know where to find everything.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have velvet covered hangers yet, run, don’t walk to replace and upgrade your hangers TODAY! I recommend and use this affordable set.

Once you’ve completed the above steps, you’ll be in a GREAT position to rebuild your wardrobe. Pay attention to items that you need to replace or upgrade and also any gaps in your wardrobe. These are the items you will want to have on your shopping list.

Free Closet Clean Out Download!

Take my instructions into your closet with you, and download my free Closet Clean Out printable.

It’s Your Turn: Carve out an afternoon for your own closet cleanout. Report back and let me know how it goes (and how GREAT it feels)!