The 5 Step Closet Declutter & Worksheet

Is your closet swimming with random shoes, clothing that is stashed on the floor because there's no more room on the rods, purses that are so smashed you'll never use them again? Then it might be time for you to declutter your closet. 

Decluttering your closet doesn't have to be overwhelming if you follow a system. Here are tips to declutter your closet, along with a step by step worksheet for you to reference as you work through your wardrobe! 

Set Up

You'll want to start the process by locating 5 bins or boxes. Label them Keep, Take Action, Toss, Donate and Put Away. We'll be explaining what we mean by these once we dive into the process.


Sometimes the best way to do a thorough job is by starting from scratch. Clear everything out of your closet and work backwards only putting back in what truly should be in there. This includes all boxes, clothes, shoes and storage containers.  You will find it is harder to put back things you aren't totally in love with than it is to take things out.

The Process of Decluttering the Closet

As you go through each item, use the questions on the the infographic. It will help keep you in check and give you some great accountability to what should stay and what needs to go.

Using the questions on the infographic, make a decision about every item BEFORE it gets put back into your closet. The flow chart will help you determine how to classify each item.

Take Action - These items need mending, dry cleaning, alterations or to be returned. It is important that this pile doesn't get too big before you take action. Once the pile grows too large, it become overwhelming and you just keep putting it off. Take action on these items within the next 7 days or consider donating them.

Toss - These items are so far gone that they just aren't wearable by anyone even if they get repaired. While they say that your trash is someone else's treasure, these items wouldn't even qualify for rags.

Donate - These are items that are still in relatively good condition but that you just don't love or they don't fit any more. And remember, you aren't likely to every be that size 4 again so go ahead and let the leopard print leather pants go. Also included in this list are those items that keep getting pushed to the back of the closet because they never get worn.

Put Away - Your main closet should only be used for items you need to access regularly. Seasonal clothes, costumes or nostalgic pieces you just can't let go of should be stored somewhere that you won't be accessing regularly.

Keep - These are the items you love and that go with everything. It is one of your regular go-to pieces. It consists of your staple pieces and some amazing accent pieces that liven up your regular wardrobe. Anything within this category should be clean and immediately ready to wear. These are the items that get to go back in after you've decluttered your closet.


You've just spent a lot of time working to declutter your closet. Before putting anything back in, think carefully of how things will be stored. Storage should be practical and easy-to-maintain. If you won't store shoes in shoe boxes, then don't invest in shoe boxes no matter how neat it makes things look. Also remember out-of-site-out-of-mind. If something isn't visible, it may never get used again.

  • Remember that your main closet is for regularly used items and should not be the storage place for things like seasonal items or suitcases. Find another place to store those things if at all possible.
  • Determine what your closet has the most of, hanging storage or drawers and shelves and plan your storage around that. Focus on ideas to store things on hangers or from rods when there is a lot of hanging storage and in drawers or shoe boxes when there isn't as much space on rods or walls. 
  • Invest in one or two types of hanger. Using hangers the close are sold on makes your closet feel more cluttered and can be distracting. 
  • Shoe boxes can be used for more than just shoes. Consider storing scarves, belts and other accessories in them as well. 
  • Use S hooks for hanging purses if shelf space is limited.

Keeping it Clean

Now that you've put all this work into decluttering your closet, it would be nice to keep it that way. These tips will help you maintain a clutter free closet so you can spend more time doing other things!

  • Add a Donations Box - Place a box in your closet for items that you discover no longer meet your requirements. Toss them in the box and take to Goodwill on a periodic basis.
  • Plan your weekly wardrobe on the weekend. One of the challenges of keeping our closets decluttered is the rush of trying on multiple outfits each morning and never putting anything away. Planning your entire week's wardrobe on the weekend allows you to have more time to put things away and not feel as rushed in the morning.
  • One In-One Out - Follow this rule for everything you bring into your closet. If you purchase a new pair of shoes, find a pair that you can donate, consign or toss. 

Decluttering your closet doesn't have to be totally overwhelming and, in fact, can be quite therapeutic. Enjoy the process and look forward to the gifts you are now bestowing on others through your donations. 

What is a favorite tip you have when it comes to decluttering your closet?