How to put your closet on a diet

If you’re like most people, you have a handful of favorites in your wardrobe. These are items that are constantly in the wash or at the dry cleaners because you wear them that often: the perfect pair of black dress pants, the blouse in that flattering style and shade that makes you look five years younger and 10 pounds lighter. But what about the clothes that sit on hangers or folded at the bottom of the drawer? These rarely or never-worn clothing items are taking up valuable space in your closet. Spring is near — it’s time to put your closet on a diet.

Woman organizing closet

Breaking up with clothing is hard to do

Despite the wasted space in our closets, we often can’t bear to sell or donate the clothing we don’t wear (we and feel even worse about the clothing that still has tags on it) — we just keep thinking of how much we spent. This stuff doesn’t fit, flatter or work with your lifestyle. These are the purchases we regret, realizing that the money spent would have been put to better use in our savings account, or at least purchasing something that would get more wear. Well, what’s done is done, and it’s time to move on! Best yet, you can save time during your morning routine and save money by getting your closet in tip-top shape.

Tips for donating your clothing >>

Closet organization: 6 Steps to put your closet on a diet


Divide clothing into four piles

Project Runway‘s Tim Gunn advises starting by taking everything out of your closet and making four piles: trash, donate, repair and soul-stirring. Take care of the first two piles and take the clothing needing repair to a tailor. (Another idea is to make a fifth pile to take to a clothing swap. You can look for one in your area or host your own.)

How to extend the life of your clothing >>

2Find the gaps

Now that you know what you have, make a list of what you need. Do you have eight pairs of boyfriend jeans but not a single dressy pair in a dark wash? Do you have shoes in every color of the rainbow and lack a professional pair of pumps in basic black?

How to save money on clothes and still stay fashionable >>

3Think about your lifestyle

What is the dress code at work? What do you typically do on the weekends? A single 23-year-old will have different social events than a married 35-year-old mother of two.

Timeless styles that look great at any age >>

4Create a style board

Clip pictures from magazines to help you identify your personal style. It’s easy to get sidetracked and forget that bulky turtlenecks look awful on your busty, petite frame or that skinny jeans do your thighs no favors. Look at the pile of clothing you kept, focusing on the clothes you wear on constant rotation. What similarities do you see in the styles and colors?

Make your style a priority this year >>

5When shopping, be merciless

Buy clothes that look good and fit well right now. Too often we buy things that are slightly off for one reason or another. Good enough is not good enough. You should love what you see in the dressing room mirror, or it will be destined to hang out on the hanger with all of the non-soul-stirring clothing.

What your clothes say about you at work >>

6Don’t settle because something is on sale

It’s better to have a streamlined closet with pieces you love than to have one bursting at the sliding doors with nothing to wear.

How to organize your clothes >>

For more tips on cleaning out your closet and building a functional wardrobe, including style advice from designers and savvy fashion bloggers, check out How to Stop Buying Clothes You Never Wear at

More closet organization tips


Comments are closed.