Clean Out the Closet and Ban these Items Immediately

Trista - February 19, 2020

Is your closet full of stuff, but only half (or less!) of the space in it goes to things you use? Maybe your wardrobe feels like a metaphor for your life – lots of stuff in there, not a lot of it useful. If only you could turn the unused items into something valuable and beneficial. If so, you probably really, really need to clean out your closet. You will be surprised at how much cleaning out your wardrobe helps you simplify your life and focus on the more essential things.

Maybe your closet is pretty well-organized, but you want to do better. You try to clear things out once a year but are unsure what you need to keep and what needs to go. Or maybe you know that many things need to go, but you don’t want just to throw them away and aren’t sure what to do with them. If you are in any of those positions, keep reading for some excellent tips and tricks on cleaning out your closet. You’ll get here a good idea of what needs to stay, what needs to go, and what you can do with the things you don’t want to keep.

You can save an amazing amount of space by folding your clothes in the best manner possible. Pexels

Fold Your Clothes Properly 

It is one of the best ways to keep your clothes organized and a great indicator of when your wardrobe is getting a bit too full (aka Spring Clean time). There are lots of great folding hacks that you should try out. You can even use even contraptions to fold your t-shirts, sweaters, and pretty much anything perfect. By doing this, you’ll open up more space in your wardrobe, and you’ll be able to see all your items more clearly. It will take more time than just shoving things into your drawer.

Photo Credit: Mind Matters

But we promise that it is worth it! By folding your clothes correctly, you’re saving yourself time when it comes to ironing these items as well. You won’t have any of those unsightly creases that you have to get out before you head out the door quickly. That also helps you keep your clothes in better condition as they’re looked after properly. You’ll even start to notice when you aren’t wearing things because they will have been at the bottom of that pile for quite a while. The same goes for hanging items. Make sure you hang them properly and on appropriate hangers. 

Things will get messier before they get cleaner, just like with any deep cleaning. Photo Credit: Sunter Homes

You Should Empty Your Whole Closet

When it comes to doing a proper spring clean, one of our top tips is to empty your entire closet! That means taking everything out instead of just organizing within the cupboard space – which is a huge frustration. Take out absolutely everything, don’t worry about sorting through it just yet. Move all the clothes you take out of your wardrobe and place them onto your bed – this is also great motivation to get this task done because you have space to take a nap and make sure you get it done before bedtime.

Photo Credit: Closet Curves

If you have clothing tucked away in boxes, drawers and elsewhere in your home, place all of these items onto your bed as well. It’s going to look like a huge mess, but you’ll get to the bottom of it, and it will be the best thing you’ve done. You can also add other items like shoes and accessories to the pile. However, remember not to let your hats get squashed. Once you’ve done this, wash and wipe your closet, it can get dusty in there. That isn’t suitable for you or your clothing! Now, you can begin to sort through items and take a good look at everything you have. 

Your panty drawer can become incredibly cluttered. Pexels

Cleaning Out Your Bra Drawer 

Now, let’s get down to business – we are talking about that drawer just full of worn-out bra’s! Gentlemen, if you are reading this, you can skip on by. We are talking about those stretched-out and discolored T-shirt bras that you bought all those years ago, but you still keep going back to them like an ex-boyfriend. It’s time to let go and treat yourself to some brand new bras. Bras go through much wear and tear being worn every day. You don’t need a vast collection. Just the staples will do. Which items do these include?

Photo Credit: Third Love

You’re going to need a black, white, and skin-tone matching bra. These can be undercover for all types of clothes. White bras are the worst to keep clean so make sure you are replacing these often. You should make sure these are the first to go when clearing out your underwear drawer. You also need to make sure you have one or two strapless bras that you might need for certain types of outfits. Once you’ve checked all these off your list, you can throw away everything else and replace certain items that you’ve thrown away. To keep your bras looking as good as possible for as long as possible, don’t ever put them in the dryer — hang-dry only!

You can repurpose the t-shirts you really want to keep, but get them out of your wardrobe. Pexels

The Old Concert T-Shirts, Free Hats, And More!

When concerts and events were still a thing we went to, we gathered up a lot of concert t-shirts and even free t-shirts too! You might also have hats and tote bags that were given to you for free. They’re most likely covered with logos or local advertisements, and you’ve worn them to death, or they’re still just in your closet for no good reason at all. So, you need to start sorting through that pile as well when cleaning out your wardrobe. Ask yourself if you really would wear this again, and do you need it for the memories?

Photo Credit: Bella Organizing

It might have been nice at one point to have a collection of these items. Why? Because they remind you of all the adventures throughout your life. However, you don’t want them to cause chaos and create a mess for the rest of your life – do you? That will open up so much space in your wardrobe, and you won’t miss them because you haven’t worn them. And when you need to relive the memories, you can put on some music or scroll through your camera roll. All while enjoying your freshly cleaned closet!

You can re-gift some of your favorites to friends — or the thrift shop. Pexels

It’s Time To Make Your Holiday Box

We wish we were wearing our tropical vacation clothes all year round; it just isn’t realistic for most of us! It means that the beautiful floaty (and slightly transparent) dresses take up essential wardrobe space along with the kaftans and way too many sandals. If you just had to take these out of your cupboard, you’d be amazed at how much space is left in there – give it a try and get back to us! So, what’s the solution here? Because we don’t want to get rid of these items, they’re still essentials when traveling.

Photo Credit: Makistock/Shutterstock

It’s time to create your holiday box! That is the box you can pull out any time you have a lovely vacation planned for you and your family. This box can be filled with all your holiday essentials: bikinis, sun hats, and all the floaty dresses your heart desires. If you store this on a shelf or in an attic, make sure that you label it clearly so you don’t have to open every single box when searching for these items. You’ll be so excited each time you get to open up this box, and you’ll already be packed for your holiday!

Utilize storage bins so you can keep your closet for clothing items only. Pexels

Stash Small Items Away In Bins 

Not everything should or can be hung up in your wardrobe. That is where our previously mentioned folding of clothes comes in handy. However, you’ll need somewhere to put these items. By learning how to fold correctly, you’ll save space, and you’ll be able to store more items on shelves as well as in clothing bins. It will clear up hanging space for things that need to hang like dresses, coats, and even playsuits. If you have shelf space, you should consider adding bins onto this shelf to put certain items into. That is ideal for smaller items that get lost in drawers.

Photo Credit: Mihail Zhelezniak/Shutterstock

Create a bin for your gym socks, your boot socks, and your comfy socks – there’s no need to create a mixed-up sock drawer when you have the shelving space. Make your life easier with this simple organizational hack. You’ll also be able to keep track much easier of what needs to be thrown away. You can also use these bins for other small items such as underwear and scarves. You don’t need to hang your scarves unless you have the cupboard space, of course. While there are certain items we like on display, others function better in bins or on shelves. 

Try to declutter more often and it will save you a deep cleaning in the long run. Pexels

The Weekly Cupboard Decluttering 

Imagine instead of dreading the cupboard clean out every season. You just kept up with it throughout the year? That would be one of the best changes you could make to your lifestyle. Decluttering your cupboard can sometimes also have a significant effect on your mind. What if you tried to commit to a weekly clutter sweep of your wardrobe and drawers? You would only spend 10 to 15 minutes doing this, but it could save you hours on end when it comes to that big clear-out every few months. What would this entail?

Photo Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock

You would organize the piles of clothes that you’ve knocked over or pulled a t-shirt from under in a hurry to get ready. You would also note the items you aren’t wearing or that you’ve noticed are damaged. We’ve all had that time when we’ve put on a pair of jeans, and they’ve ripped. If that happens, get rid of them, don’t store them in your cupboard. By doing this cupboard declutter each week, you’ll easily be able to keep this space of your life in order, and it will be much more convenient. Once you get into the habit of it, you’ll never look back!

Depending on your location, you might have a little bit of everything from swimsuits to sweaters. Pexels

Do A Seasonal Clothing Evaluation 

If the weekly thing just isn’t going to work for you – please promise us that you will evaluate your clothes each season! That also doesn’t just mean season as in spring, summer, autumn, or winter – it’s also the season of your life. At one point or another, we need to update our wardrobe according to our age and lifestyle. If you are no longer wearing high heels, say goodbye to them. You might also have recently gotten a new job, which means you need to reevaluate your work attire. It’s time to purge your wardrobe!

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If you do happen to come across clothes that need alterations due to weight loss or weight gain, and if they are worth it, set these aside into a pile you are GOING to take to the tailor. Next to wardrobe tidy-up, add “take clothes to the tailor” on your calendar. If you want to keep those clothes, get them sorted. Make a deal with yourself that if you don’t take them within the next two weeks, they are being added to the donation pile. By setting yourself a timeline, you’ll see if you want those items in your wardrobe or not. 

Another way to organize your closet is by color-coordinating your wardrobe. Photo Credit: Make Space

Organize Your Wardrobe By Color 

You might think we are crazy for suggesting this as a way to clear out your closet. However, it has a perfect reason behind it (well, a few good reasons). There are lots of benefits to having a color-coded wardrobe, especially if you are a bit OCD. First up, it helps you to identify quickly the duplicate items you own. You might not even realize just how many black dresses you own that all virtually look the same until they hang up next to each other in your wardrobe.

Photo Credit: All About Space/Shutterstock

It will help you identify similarities quickly, and you’ll be able to be educated when making your piles of what to keep and what not to keep. It’s ok to have lots of different items in the same color, we all know what color works for us, but you don’t need five items of the same thing. The color coordination also helps your wardrobe to look neat and tidy. That will hopefully incentivize you to keep this space neat and clean. It also might deter you from adding unnecessary new items to the mix. It also helps you get ready easier – you’ll know exactly where each color is. 

Certain items can fit nicely right outside your closet on a handy shelf. Pexels

Installing A Wall Shelf Next To Your Wardrobe 

Ok, so you’ve done the wardrobe cleanout, and you still find yourself needing some extra space. We’re suggesting that you add a wall shelf somewhere near your closet or near where you get ready. Not only will this provide some extra storage space but also an additional decor aspect to the room. With it being a decor idea, you should be careful not to pack all of your clothes here – it’s for decorative and functional purposes. It could be the perfect place to display special items from your wardrobe and keep them from being damaged. Does this idea sound useful to you?

Photo Credit: Sammy On State

You could have a beautiful wall shelf unit that holds your three favorite handbags, which means you can just grab and go. If they are beautiful handbags, it also adds a decorative feel to the space. That means you are now curating your wardrobe. By having open shelving, you’ll hopefully be less inclined to make a mess of this area by stacking up jumpers and sweatpants. It is exclusively for items like hats, a particular pair of designer shoes (propped up on a few designer coffee table books), and for your favorite pair of sunnies. 

Keeping your closet organized can be a hassle. Shutterstock.

You Are Trying To Simplify Your Life

The most overarching reason you may have to clean out your closet is simply that you want to simplify your life. Let’s face it, most of us just have way too much stuff, and it gets in the way of the things that we want out of life. Getting rid of the things that you don’t need is an essential step to simplifying your life to focus on the things that matter. You can give your old items away to charities, sell them for a small profit, or find other ways to recycle them.

Photo Credit: The Spruce

We should get into the habit of doing this type of cleansing more frequently. So many of our clothes just get forgotten about when they could be worn by someone else. Less is more, and this is true when it comes to clothes. You’ll have less clutter in your home, your wardrobes will be much easier to keep organized, and you’ll have less washing to do! Think about your wardrobe as a capsule collection. Keep pieces that work with each other and that you can easily create lovely new combinations with. You’ll be surprised at how little you need when it comes to clothing.

Marie Kondo has definitely helped many people in keeping their closets clean. Shutterstock.

You’ve Gotten On The Marie Kondo Train

Marie Kondo’s book and ensuing series about tidying up and organizing your life have gotten millions of people excited about cleaning out their closets. She showed people that getting rid of junk is about more than simplifying your life; it’s about enjoying what you have. When her book and TV show became hits, thrift stores became inundated with used goods as people began to clean out their old junk en masse. Marie focuses on encouraging people to hold onto the things they genuinely cherish, bringing them joy. Everything that doesn’t improve their lives in some way gets the boot.

Photo Credit: People

In going to a thrift store or a charity, those discarded goods can improve others’ lives. You can probably look in your wardrobe right now and find so many items that just don’t bring you joy anymore. It could be the jacket you wore when you and your S/O broke up for good. Get rid of that energy right now! What about those socks in your drawer that have holes in them that you get annoyed with every time you pull them out and rediscover the spot. Say goodbye today! Fill your life with joy, and this extends to your clothing as well. 

Staying organized means you spend less time looking for what you want. Shutterstock.

You Want To Be More Organized

Pretty much all of us could stand to be more organized. Knowing where things are and getting to them is one way to make our day-to-day lives much more manageable. But for many of us, we put things “away” in the closet and forget that they are there or that we even have them. So we buy another button-up denim shirt, not even realizing that we already have four. Or we purchase a new purse, completely forgetting that we have one that looks almost the same. Being more organized can help simplify your life in many ways.

Photo Credit: Womans Day

Cleaning out your closet is an essential step to getting there. You’ve probably at one point or another done a cleanout of your closest and found items that you’ve forgotten about, and it feels like Christmas morning. Don’t let this happen. Get organized and start enjoying your clothes instead of neglecting them. There are so many incredible ways to manage your wardrobe to make it work for you, and there are lots of affordable wardrobe additions to help you achieve this in your life. By merely adding a shoe rack or a compartment for socks, your life will be changed!

No one enjoys the hurried rush of getting ready in the mornings. Shutterstock.

You Need More Time In The Morning

How much time do you waste each morning digging through clothes that have been sitting for months? How hard of a time do you have to figure out what to wear? Yes, even though you have at least 40 shirts and as many pants and skirts. If you are wasting too much time trying to deal with an untidy closet in the morning, then now is the time to clean that closet out. Doing so will help you reclaim those precious few minutes between when you have to get out of bed and when you need to be somewhere.

Photo Credit: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

If you don’t want to condense your items, you need to organize them to give you more time in the morning. You know precisely what your go-to items are, so make sure these are always accessible to you. If you throw on gym leggings and a sweatshirt first thing, have a drawer with these items. Keep your favorite ones on top, of course. Furthermore, you should get rid of the ones you never wear but keep saying you will need one day. You can then open the drawer, reach in, get dressed, and you’re ready to go!

Minimalism requires that there be no clutter. Shutterstock.

You Are A Minimalist

Minimalism is becoming an increasingly popular way of life at the moment. Minimalists don’t waste time or money on things that they don’t think are necessary – can you do this? Instead of 12 purses to choose from, they have one that they like. Instead of four denim skirts, they have one. Minimalists tend to be much happier than those who are trying to keep up with the Joneses. If you are trying to embrace a more minimalist lifestyle, you need to clean out your closet and send packing the stuff you don’t need. The result will be worth the effort.

Photo Credit: Damian Lugowski/Shutterstock

It will take a lot of effort to reach this point, and it will be so hard to resist all the sales that tend to happen all year long. But, once you get the point of calling yourself a minimalist, your life will feel so much lighter. You’ll then be able to only purchase what you need, like when your one pair of jeans start to get worn out. It doesn’t mean that you have to empty your closest down to three items. It just means you are being more mindful about excess and not going down that path.

Creating a plan from scratch gives you the right mindset to get organized. Shutterstock.

You Need To Go In With A Plan

If you haven’t cleaned your closet out in years and have just let stuff accumulate, let me be the first to tell you that you need a plan. Otherwise, you might quickly get overwhelmed and settle in for an all-day Netflix marathon instead of getting your closet cleaned out. You also don’t want to be overwhelmed with the fear of throwing out something you need. Having a plan in place before you start cleaning out your closet will help you set criteria for what you should keep and get rid of. The whole process will be much smoother.

Photo Credit: Life Hack

You don’t need to do your entire closet in one day, either. Instead, take it step-by-step so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the process. Plan out that one day, you’ll conquer the hanging side of your wardrobe. A few days later, you can clear out your underwear and sock drawer. On the weekend, you might dive into your pajamas and sportswear. By dividing it up into sections, you won’t have clothes strewn all over the room, making a mess. Stick to your plan of action and enjoy the process of simplifying your closet. You can even pop on some of your favorite music to motivate you.

There are just some things you’re going to have to throw away. Shutterstock.

There Are Some Things You Should Plan To Keep

Marie Kondo’s standard for deciding what you should keep is finding the things that give you joy. On a more pragmatic level, though, how do you determine what you need to hold onto and what can be given away, recycled, or tossed? Have criteria in place beforehand for deciding what items are worth keeping. Does this clothing piece fit? Have I worn it in the past year? Is this Nokia brick-type phone from the 90s going to add to my life in any way? Probably not; it should go. The important thing is that you have criteria so that you don’t become overwhelmed.

Photo Credit: Dean Drobot/Shutterstock

It goes along well with helping you get through the task and gives you a sense of what should stay and what should go. You can also create a system that you use throughout the year to simplify your complete cleanout. Once you have worn something, turn it inside out; whatever hasn’t been turned inside out by the end of a set period are items you should be giving away. That is just one of the many ways to help you keep track of what you have worn and what you haven’t. This way, you’ll know what you should keep!

It can be a tough decision to get rid of clothes, but you’ll feel better for it in the end. Shutterstock.

Plan In Advance How To Get Rid Of Things

You may have a thrift store in your neighborhood that welcomes second-hand clothes that are in good condition. You may also have neighbors or friends who wear the same clothes or shoe size as you and who would appreciate being able to go through your discarded items. Knowing that the things you will be getting rid of will be going to a good home can help make the process much less stressful. You’ll know that your items won’t be going into the trash can. Instead, send them to a thrift store or someone you know directly.

Photo Credit: Mariia Korneeva/Shutterstock

You don’t want to end up having loads of bags of clothing lying around your home and not know what to do with them. You might even decide that you want to sell some of your clothes online. It is an excellent idea for clothing that is still in pristine condition or may never have been worn. If you just have bags lying around your home, you’ll find yourself stuffing them back in your closet before you know it. You can even think about hosting a clothing swap with some of your friends. It will be a fun way to get together and get some new clothes!

Getting it done first thing in the morning is an excellent motivation for the rest of your day. Shutterstock.

Set Aside A Morning To Get The Job Done

Your closet hasn’t gotten cleaned out yet because you haven’t taken the time to sit down and do the deed. Suppose you work a 9-5 during the week, set aside a Saturday morning to work in your closet and get it cleaned out. If you operate a different schedule, find a time that works best for you. Do whatever you need to do to get yourself in the mood. Cook yourself a lovely brunch, turn on some music, and maybe even prepare a mimosa to sip. Just make sure that you take the time and energy to get the job done!

Photo Credit: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

You really should add this project to your calendar/schedule so that you don’t fill up this time with other activities. Then you can make excuses! It might be the last thing you want to do on the weekend, but this is probably the best time to do it. Get up, have your coffee and then get to work! You can even have something planned afterward to make sure you are motivated for the task at hand. Plan something like a delicious lunch or even pick a movie to watch once your closet is sorted out.

Excuses will only keep the clutter around. Shutterstock.

Stop Making Excuses

Maybe you have a tiny closet and are worried that cleaning it out means you won’t have room for everything you have been keeping in there. Perhaps you are too busy or, let’s face it, aren’t even interested in cleaning out your closet. These excuses may sound useful to you but think about all of the time you waste in the mornings because your closet is so unorganized. Or think about the people who will appreciate having the things that you will donate. The important thing is to stop making excuses and get the job done.

Photo Credit: Cookie Studio/Shutterstock

Excuses are much easier to make than actually sorting out your wardrobe. It’s also hard to let things go, and that’s often a reason we keep pushing this task to the bottom of our to-do list. Excuses aren’t going to get you anywhere, though. The moment you make a start is to realize why you should have done this long ago! Like we mentioned above, set yourself an incentive for doing this to help you stop making excuses. You could even treat yourself to a new item for your wardrobe once you have cleaned it all out. 

Something as durable as a denim shirt is a good thing to keep. Shutterstock.

Hold Onto The Classics

Button-up denim shirts will never go out of style. The acid-wash pattern from the 80s might, but for the most part, button-up denim shirts are a classic that you should hold onto. So are plain button-up shirts with a collar (as long as the pattern is not too ostentatious) and simple, solid-color sweaters. Don’t stress yourself worrying about whether these items will come back into style. They never went out! Classic clothes are not fads, so hold onto these items. Also, hold onto simple blazers (as long as they don’t have shoulder pads), dress trousers, and plain t-shirts.

Photo Credit: Who is Danny/Shutterstock

When you are cleaning out your wardrobe, you can write a list of all the items that you think are classic and that you’ve worn over the years, regardless of trends that come and go. Make sure you keep at least one of these items because they’re not going out of style, and they’re probably your go-to items as well. A good pair of blue denim jeans are a staple for your wardrobe. A white button-up shirt can be worn for work or casually, and of course, you need one good pair of shoes for going out! Classics are the best way to keep your closet situation under control.

Don’t keep clothing that doesn’t fit you anymore. Shutterstock.

But Only If They Still Fit

Don’t hold onto vintage items when they don’t fit! Doing so will defeat the purpose of trying to clean out your closet. If they are too small, stop telling yourself that you will lose the extra weight. Get rid of them now, and if you do end up losing the excess weight, reward yourself by buying new (or new-to-you) clothes. If they are too big, don’t convince yourself that you will get them fitted unless you actually will. And let’s face it – if you haven’t taken that shirt to the tailor even though you have been telling yourself to for the past two years.

Photo Credit: G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock

Let’s be real and say that you probably aren’t going to. Get rid of it. It’s ok to allow yourself one pair of pants that are slightly bigger for the winter months and a couple of smaller jeans for the summer but don’t keep all the items that only fit occasionally. Keep the things that fit well and that have served you over the years. If your weight does fluctuate, consider buying items that cater to this concept. Try things such as stretch jeans, floaty dresses, and slightly oversized shirts. These items are always in fashion, too, so you can’t go wrong either way. 

Warm layers are always good to hold onto. Shutterstock.

Hold Onto Warm Underlayers

If you live in a cold area, don’t get rid of clothes that can be used to layer up and help you stay warm. Long-sleeve t-shirts, leggings, thin turtlenecks, and sweater tights are all things to hold onto, as they can add texture to any outfit and help you get through the cold months in style. Keep in mind that these pieces never go out of style. Sweater tights may remind you of Catholic school, but paired with the right outfit, and they will prove to be a convenient way to get through the chilly winter months.

Photo Credit: WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock

And turtlenecks always have another life in them (unless they are full of holes – then those must go in the bin right now!). If you don’t have space for these items in your main wardrobe, store them in a drawer that is specifically reserved for these warm layers. If you live in an area that goes through the seasons, remember to pack them away correctly during the warmer months to take up unnecessary space. You can swap these out with your shorts and bikinis when summer comes around and put them back in the drawer when it’s winter.

But if you never wear them, they’re better off going to someone else. Shutterstock.

Unless You Never Wear Them

The exception, of course, is if you never wear warm underlayers. Maybe you live in a warm climate and do not need a drawer full of turtlenecks, sweater tights, and leggings. Perhaps you do live in a cold area, but you just never seem to wear those garments that you have been holding onto. In those cases, get rid of them. If they are in good condition, donate them to a charity (such as a homeless shelter, where people will be grateful for the warm clothes) or a thrift store. If those clothes won’t warm your body, here’s what you need to do.

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Then maybe the fact that they will help someone else will warm your heart. It’s always good to keep a few of these items, but you can undoubtedly condense your collection if you hardly ever find yourself wearing them. Keep it to two warm tops, one pair of warm leggings, and you’re good to go. You can always layer up with additional jumpers and jackets if it calls for it. If not, you’ve just saved yourself a bunch of space in your wardrobe, but don’t go filling this up with unnecessary and unworn clothing items again! That would be counterproductive when it comes to cupboard organization.

Having one durable purse is all you need. Shutterstock.

You Need One Really Good Purse

Do you have a go-to purse that you would use every single day if you could? Hold onto it! Don’t get rid of it just because you are cleaning out. The point of cleaning out your closet is to make room for what you do need and make sure that they are accessible. Make sure that the purse you keep is one that is functional for *most* of what you need it for. There is no perfect purse, but there is a great purse that can do almost everything. If you have such a bag, make sure that you keep it!

Photo Credit: Nick Starichenko/Shutterstock

It doesn’t even need to be a designer one. Nevertheless, if it is, that’s awesome! That is essential for your wardrobe, so don’t go throwing it out, please! You might even find that you NEED two purses – one for work and one for going out. Look after these items because when cared for properly, they can last a very long time. Don’t let them become clutter in your wardrobe where they might get damaged. By freeing up space in your closet, these items can have their own space where they’re easily accessed and not scratched.

Some heels never go out of fashion. Shutterstock.

Keep Those Classic Pumps

Shoes are one thing that doesn’t go out of style. If you have a pair of classic pumps, you should probably hold onto them. The same goes for boots, running shoes, and your favorite pair of Keds. Most shoes that you put some thought into buying will last for an extended period. But you probably don’t need four different pairs of pumps in every color of the rainbow, nor do you need six pairs of running shoes (mostly if you don’t wear them!). If you have excess shoes, give them away if they still have life in them.

Photo Credit: lara-sh/Shutterstock

If they are scuffed beyond repair, there are plenty of ways to recycle shoes. Once again, you can never go wrong with keeping classic items in your wardrobe – especially good quality ones. When it comes to closet clothing, it’s always quality over quantity. When items are quality and classic, you won’t find yourself rebuying the same thing over and over and just ending up with piles of white t-shirts or piles of trainers that you see discoloration or breaking once you’ve worn them a few times. That is a rule you should stick to once you have organized your wardrobe – only classics and quality items are allowed here!

… but maybe some do. Don’t keep shoes that don’t go with any of your outfits. Shutterstock.

Unless They Have A Two-Inch Platform And Tie Dye

If you wanted to look just like Baby Spice as she appeared in the movie Spice World and bought an outfit complete with two-inch platform tennis shoes and an acid-wash denim skirt, well, you may want to purge those items. Many shoes are classics, but certainly not all of them! If you have lime-green stilettos that you wear (and some people can make them look good, don’t get us wrong!), then by all means, hold onto them. But if wearing them makes you feel like a Ninja Turtle in heels, then they probably need to go. Our styles change!

Photo Credit: Ali Express

We tend to ignore that our style over the year changes, and we always want to hang onto items that we once loved but will never actually wear again. Those Steve Madden platform heels seemed like a great idea 5-10 years ago, but not anymore. You’re probably enjoying your cool trainers or sandals way more than those shoes. You can’t keep a shrine to them in your wardrobe forever. One day, you will have to let go. If they are sentimental for some reason, maybe they were the shoes you got engaged in, we’ll give you a pass, and you can keep them. 

Keep the shoes that are flexible and comfortable enough to be worn with anything. Shutterstock.

Shoes Can Transform An Outfit

The easiest way to take an outfit straight from work to a girls’ night out is to jazz it up with the perfect pair of shoes. If you doubt what shoes you should keep and what shoes you should get rid of, then do the outfit test: Do these shoes spice up a boring work outfit? The second part of that test, of course, is, Will I wear these shoes with this outfit? If the answer is yes, then you may want to consider keeping those shoes. If the answer is no, then they need to go.

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You also can’t let yourself say yes to every single pair of shoes you own because then this was a useless exercise in the first place. Once you’ve asked yourself if they will transform your outfit, consider other things like comfort. Would you be happy to wear these for a full day? We know “beauty is pain,” but there’s only a certain amount we can tolerate – especially after a year of living in sweats and our slippers. If you have a whole pile of shoes, pick your top three and say goodbye to the rest of them before you find them a new home with someone else.

When organizing, you need three piles: keep, throw away, and maybe. Shutterstock.

When In Doubt, Have A “Maybe” Pile

A “maybe” pile is for the items you are not sure that you should get rid of, but you also aren’t convinced that you should keep them. Once you have gone through and decided which items you will get rid of and which things you will save, you can go through your maybe pile. So for the sweater that your favorite aunt knitted you in college, you haven’t worn it in years, but it does have sentimental value. Put it into the maybe pile and decide whether or not you will keep it in a few hours.

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There will be lots of maybes, so sorting them into their own pile is a great idea. It gives you more time to think it over. And, maybe once you’ve got all your “yes’s” hanging up in your wardrobe, you’ll be able to let go of some of the maybes more easily. You can also keep the Maybes stored away if they are sentimental items that you just don’t wear. Everyone is allowed a box of memories so that you can add some clothes to that as well. You can also keep a maybe section in your wardrobe, and if you still don’t wear any of those items for six months, they are gone!

You can’t keep everything, so make your decisions wisely. Shutterstock.

For Every Item You Keep, Get Rid Of Something

A good rule of thumb when cleaning out your closet is that something else needs to go for every item you keep. This rule of thumb works particularly well if your closet is bursting at the seams, but you just aren’t quite sure what to do about the problem. The easiest way to apply this rule is to hold up two items. Which one do you want to keep, and which one do you want to get rid of? If you cannot answer that question yet, place one item down and pick another thing up to compare the first one to.

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If you are still having trouble, put the items in question in your maybe pile. That is such a fantastic way to show you that you have “favorites” in your wardrobe, and the others are just never going to match up no matter how much you want them to. We all have those purchases that looked great online or in-store and didn’t meet our expectations after getting the item home. The same thing goes for selling clothes – let’s say you have a designer handbag that you want. Once you’ve sold enough clothes to cover the cost, treat yourself to that new bag.

Sentimental attachments can make it hard to get rid of some clothing. Shutterstock.

But There Are Some Things You Really Need To Get Rid Of

Sentimental value or not, some things have been piling up in your closet that just needs to go. Even if you think that you will wear them one day or give them to your children. Alternatively, you will repair them, or you will lose the weight to wear them again. Either way, they need to go. Throughout cleaning out your closet, remind yourself that you are doing yourself a favor by getting your life more organized. Even when you don’t want to get rid of things, tell yourself that you are taking unnecessary items out of your life.

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It will allow you to focus on what is most important. You can also test it out if you have storage space in your home – put these items away in a box for six months to a year. If you haven’t thought about them, reached for them, or needed them, then it’s time to get rid of them. We tend to attach memories to things. However, even without things, the memories are always there. Sure, you might have kept track of significant milestones for your baby. Nevertheless, getting rid of old clothes doesn’t take away these precious memories.

Seasonal clothes and clothes from a decade ago should definitely be given up. Shutterstock.

Move Things That Are Out Of Season

That means you need to keep your winter clothes tucked away during the summer months and your summer clothes on standby during the winter. You don’t need your warm, cozy boots taking up closet space during the summer, right next to your swimsuit cover-up. Twice a year, go through your closet and take the out-of-season items down. Put them into a container that is out of the way. Move them under your bed or somewhere else that is accessible but not in the way. When you are cleaning out your closet, separate the summer and winter clothes from having more closet space to work with.

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When it comes to this idea, you should invest in some good plastic storage container boxes. It will make the process much easier. You’ll also be able to rest easy knowing that your clothes are not going to get damaged or dusty and will be ready to wear next season. The worst thing you can do is clutter your wardrobe with items that will not be worn for a few months. The packing away process might seem like much effort, but having a seasonal wardrobe is the best way to keep that area of your life organized. Forget organizing by color; the season is the way to go!

There’s no point in keeping clothes you’re never going to wear. Shutterstock.

Get Rid Of The Things You Don’t Wear

If you haven’t worn an item for a year, then odds are you aren’t going to wear it. Yes, it’s cute. Yes, it has sentimental value. No, you probably aren’t going to take it off the hanger. Go on and get rid of it now so that someone else can enjoy it. Put a small sticker on the tag for every item you want to keep as you cleaning out your closet. When you wear that item, take the label off and throw it away. In one year, if any of them still have a sticker.

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They need to get donated so that someone else can wear them. That is a similar concept to the one we suggested earlier about turning your clothes inside out once you’ve worn them. It’s so important to keep track of what you have worn and what you haven’t. When you come to the time to sort out your wardrobe, you’ll cut the time in half that you spend on this. Get ahead of the problem with ideas like this. You can use this for all your clothing items, from shoes to socks and coats to bikinis.

Fashion sense changes over time, so keep the ones that are more your current style. Shutterstock.

Anything That Doesn’t Jive With Your Style

We all have our style, whether that style is simple and every day or jazzy and sparkly, or however you prefer to describe yours! If you have a flashy, sparkly style but have a plain brown dress hanging in the back of your closet, it probably needs to go. If you have a basic fashion, there is nothing wrong with that. But having a few pieces in your wardrobe that push you out of your comfort zone can be a great asset – as long as you wear them. If you have anything in your closet that is not compatible with your style, go on, and ditch it.

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Our style does change over the years, but you find yourself at a point where you’ve established what you like to wear and what you don’t. It’s the same with our taste buds. That probably isn’t going to change, and you can always treat yourself to a few trend pieces to compliment your style if you want to. Knowing your style will also help narrow down your closet and the clothes you have in it. When we are still discovering our fashion, this can be a lot harder to do because we don’t know what works and what doesn’t.

Move out your bulky clothes during the spring, so you have more room. Shutterstock.

Bulky Items That Are Taking Up Too Much Space

Some bulky items are necessary, like winter coats and heavy boots, especially if you live in a cold climate. But they probably just take up much space in your closet, so they need to get moved somewhere else. Coats are usually best stored near your home’s entryway so that they are easily accessible when you want to go in and out. Consider keeping heavy boots there, as well. Not only will doing so save space in your closet, but it may also protect your floors from mud getting tracked in. There are lots of ways to keep bulky items in more convenient areas of your home.

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Even something as simple as a coat rack by your front door could solve this problem. You, of course, can’t hang up your entire winter coat collection here, but you can hang a few of your favorites, and the others can be stored in your winter wardrobe. You can also add decorative storage boxes by this front door space to keep items like gloves, beanies, and other winter necessities. These can often clutter up your sock drawer, and it just becomes complete and utter chaos. Think logically about how you use your clothes and base their storage space on this.

Luggage doesn’t have to stay in your closet, so put it somewhere else. Shutterstock.

Suitcases Need To Go Somewhere Else

Unless you do a lot of traveling, so much that you need your suitcase to be readily accessible, your luggage should not be in your closet. It is taking up space that could get your clothes, shoes, and accessories better organized. Find a better place to store your suitcase. Maybe it can go under your bed, in the garage, or a hallway closet. Perhaps there is a crawl space where you can put it. Keep your wardrobe for only items you need to get yourself dressed and find a different area for all of the other things in your life.

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There is always a better spot for your suitcase than in your wardrobe. That is unless you are a serious minimalist and there is so much free space inside your closet. If you have a few suitcases of different sizes, it’s always a good idea to try and put them inside each other to further reduce the amount of space they are taking up. You could even use a suitcase to store your seasonal clothing if you don’t have another area for these clothing items. Under-the-bed storage is generally everyone’s go-to spot after the closet. However, anything is better than cluttering up your precious clothing storage space!

Put your jewelry on display so that you can see all of your choices at once. Shutterstock.

Move Your Jewelry Out Of Your Closet

If your jewelry is in your closet, it is probably getting hidden by more oversized items, like your dresses and trousers. To make your jewelry more accessible, take it out of the closet and put it on display. That way, you can always see what you have and wear it when you want. Consider a tree stand for your necklaces and bracelets. Or go thrift shopping for a vanity that doubles as a giant jewelry box! Whatever you decide to do, turn your jewelry into a work of art so that even the way you store it adds flair and pizzazz to your room.

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If your jewelry is in your closet, you’re not going to wear it as often as you’d like. That is a space where it is easily lost and forgotten about. Rather have a jewelry drawer where you can easily see your options and create some incredibly great outfits with your accessories. You might also consider making storage space for your jewelry in your bathroom, as this may be where you get ready in the mornings. Create proper jewelry storage based on your needs and how you get ready in the mornings – it’s life-changing!

Put the winter gear somewhere else so that it’s not taking up closet space. Shutterstock.

Also, Get Winter Gear Out

Winter hats and gloves are essential to have – so crucial that you can’t risk losing them in your closet! Take them out and find a place to store them, preferably by your front door. Keeping them close to your coat and boots can help make sure that they are always there when you need them. Consider using a basket that is designated just for hats and gloves. Keep that basket in a set place so that you won’t ever forget where your necessary winter gear is. And, of course, when the warmer months come, move that gear to an out-of-the-way place.

Photo Credit: Daryna Khomyk /Shutterstock

These small winter items like gloves and hats need their own space. Keep one or two beanies hanging at your front door so that you can just grab and go but also keep a separate storage box with other hat and glove options you might want to switch it up with. You might even consider storing these near a radiator if you have a heating system in your home so that they’re toasty and warm when you put them on. This division on clothing items reduces the mess that may happen in your wardrobe if you don’t.

Food should never be kept in your closet. Shutterstock.

Move Food Gifts To The Kitchen

Did you get a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day, or maybe a gourmet set of wine and cheese? Are those things sitting in your closet, away from the kitchen where little ones might grab them? Keeping food items in your closet can invite pests, such as mice and roaches. And those little guys can wreak havoc on your wardrobe! Instead of storing those gifts in the closet, move them to a top shelf in the kitchen. Or, better yet, go on and enjoy them now. Invite over some girlfriends or plan a romantic evening with your significant other. The menu is already taken care of.

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These are items you really shouldn’t store in your wardrobe – even though this is the first place we tend to put them just to clear the mess quickly. Food gifts are there for your enjoyment. If you don’t want them, you should just re-gift them! Or, have an evening where you enjoy all the gifts you’ve got so that nothing goes to waste. If your food gift contains items like crackers in a sealed packet, these can easily be stored in your pantry. The same goes for chocolate (even though this is hard to resist eating straight away).

Unopened gifts could be better for someone else. Shutterstock.

And Move All Unopened Gifts Out Of Your Closet

Do you still have unopened Christmas and birthday gifts that are just sitting in your closet, waiting for the day when you somehow, magically, need them? That scented candle that you never used, the porcelain teddy bear, and all the other useless knick-knacks? If you haven’t re-gifted them yet, you probably aren’t going to. Go on and get rid of them. If they are still brand new, consider inviting some friends over to parse through them and take their pick of what they want to keep. Otherwise, put all those unopened gifts into your “give away” pile and let a charity or thrift store take care of them.

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We never like to give away items that people have spent money buying for us, which is why giving away to charity or someone you know is such a good option. It will undoubtedly bring you much joy to do this. Your closet is for clothing items only – don’t allow yourself to keep unnecessary items in this space. It’s one of the worst things you could do – everything has its home, and this is not the home for unopened gifts or unwanted gifts! You also don’t want to store these gifts in your attic as they’ll just go to waste and collect dust.

Minimize pet hair on your clothes by getting your pet out of the closet. Shutterstock.

Get Your Pets Out Of Your Closet

If you have a large closet, then you may be tempted to keep a cat or dog bed in there, along with a scratching post and all of your furry friend’s favorite toys. But keeping your pets and their items in your closet invites their hair to get all of your clothes. Yikes! Instead of storing pet items alongside your clothes, designate a specific part of your house for those things. Keep the pet bed in a corner, where it is out of the way yet still accessible to your furry friend.

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Put the pet comb, toys, and other items into a box and store them away from your clothes. If you must allow your furry friend into your closet, then make sure you keep a lint roller at the ready – they’re cheap, and you can stock up on them to use if your pet has left fur on your clothes. You should also keep their bed and space away from clothes that are likely to pick up hair. Place their bed near your shoes (only if they aren’t keen on eating them, though) or near a set of drawers. You should also keep cupboard doors closed, so they don’t sneak inside when you don’t invite them!

You can choose to donate your wedding dress to someone else to wear. Shutterstock.

Move Your Wedding Dress Out

Nothing has more sentimental value than your wedding dress, but it doesn’t belong in your closet (unless you plan on getting married again soon!). Remember that your wardrobe is for clothing items that you need access to regularly. Your wedding dress doesn’t fit the bill. Get it professionally cleaned and ready for long-term storage. Then put it in a garment bag or a box, store it in a hall closet, under the bed, or somewhere else where you can get it if you need it. It will remain in better shape that way.

Photo Credit: Rostov Oleksandr/Shutterstock

It means that you will still be able to pass it on to the next generation in your family if that’s what you decide to do. Some companies will frame your wedding dress for you. If you have the space in your home for this, then that is great! Why? Because it’s a fantastic way to preserve such a unique item of clothing. It is much better than in your wardrobe! That could be hung in your closet if you have enough space to make a real feature out of one of the walls. If this isn’t an option, find another area to store it safely. It is something you should care about.

Electronics that don’t work anymore are just junk and should be thrown out. Shutterstock.

Say Goodbye To Old Electronics

Do you have your TV from college lurking in the back of your closet? What about a box of old cell phones and cell phone chargers that you know you will never use again? An old laptop that is either beyond repair or so out of date that it cannot ever fulfill a useful purpose still? These things all need to go. Some electronics stores, like Best Buy, allow you to bring in your old electronics so that they can be recycled. So put all of those old electronics into a box designated for a higher purpose: creating the next generation of technology.

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The best thing for old and out-of-use electronics is for you to recycle them – you are not going to use them again, no matter how much you wish you would! Let the 90s stay in the 90s, and let’s look forward to the future of technology. It is just taking up valuable wardrobe space, and you probably don’t even realize just how much until you’ve gotten rid of it. If you have “spare” electronics, create a drawer for this in a study, lounge area, or a sealed box in an attic or storage cupboard space.

If you have the same dress or skirt, or two similar items, get rid of the copy. Shutterstock.

Get Rid Of Any Duplicate Items

Do you have two button-up denim shirts in the same style from the same store that are identical? You don’t need both of them. Get rid of one. Let it also fulfill a higher purpose by benefiting someone at a homeless shelter or another charity. And for that matter, if you have many clothes in the same style but different colors, apply the “keep one, lose one” rule. Hold up two of the clothing items, and decide which one of the two you will keep. The other one needs to get donated. Honestly, you only need so many H&M button-up shirts!

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You have enough to get you through the workweek. It might have seemed like a great idea at the time to stock up on an item that you loved, but the odds are that you’re still only wearing one of these items, and you aren’t ever going to wear the rest. If you have ten different white shirts, pick your top three. Keep one that is good for workwear, slightly more casual, and then keep one with the fun ruffles or broderie on it. You’re covered for all events now, and you can always get a new one when one gets old or torn. You can donate the rest.

Some fashion choices, like the bandage dress, are never going to come back in style. Shutterstock.

If You Hope It Will Come Back In Style, Ditch It

Do you still have a bandage dress from the 90s, and you can only hope that when it finally does come back into style, nobody will notice your midlife spread? What about parachute pants, acid-wash jeans, tie-dye shirts, and blazers with shoulder pads? If they already went out of style, there was probably a good reason. And even if shoulder pads do come back in, do you want to be caught wearing them? Ditch everything out of fashion, even if you loved that outfit so much when the look was in style.

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A fashion-savvy teenager will probably pick it up and know exactly how to give it a new life. We know that they say trends always come back around. However, the likelihood of you still being into trends when it does is very low! If neon comes back in and you’re 80 years old, will you miss that bright pink bandage dress you wore in the early 2000s? The answer is NO! You also shouldn’t justify it by saying you’re keeping them for your children. They’ll have their own sense of style and won’t want to wear your clothes from “back in the day.”

There’s no reason to keep clothing that you hate wearing or looking at. Shutterstock.

Anything That You Don’t Love Needs To Go

Here, take Marie Kondo’s advice and only hold onto the things that bring you joy. Suppose you are ready to start going through your maybe pile, consider whether you will use that item in the future. If you are hung on that question, then think whether you like that item and feel like owning it brings you joy and happiness. If you are blasé about that particular piece, then just let it go. Even though getting rid of things that you have been holding onto may be difficult at first, you won’t even miss them by next week.

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When you put on a piece of clothing, really think about how it makes you feel. If you’re thinking, “Oh, this might look good if…” then you don’t love it. If you ever have a question mark floating around in your mind, it means that it isn’t for you, and it should leave your wardrobe as soon as possible. Clothing is there to make us feel our best – if it’s not doing this, it’s not serving its purpose, and it’s taking up space. The “What Ifs” are the worst thing in fashion, and we need to learn how to get over this quickly!

Holey clothes should be thrown out. Shutterstock.

Anything With Holes Or Other Damage Needs To Go

Maybe you enjoy sewing and have been holding onto torn clothing because you have managed to convince yourself that you will fix those pieces one day. Well, one day has come and gone. If you haven’t repaired them yet, and you haven’t taken them to a tailor, then you probably aren’t going to. You don’t need to throw those items away, however. Some programs allow you to recycle textiles so that the fabrics can be made into new clothes. Stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army are experts at finding ways to breathe new life into old clothes, even if those old clothes are damaged.

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Socks are notorious for sticking around for much longer than they should. They are items we wear so frequently, so of course, they get worn down. It means we need to be replacing them rather than repairing them. Their wear and tear will happen, and they’re not the most expensive item of clothing to replace either. Good socks without holes will also prevent blisters or getting sore feet. You also should frequently clear out your underwear drawer and get rid of underwear that has been stretched out or has holes in them. This look just isn’t sexy!

A clothing swap is a great way to update your wardrobe at no cost to you. Shutterstock.

Consider Setting Up A Clothing Swap With Friends

If you have friends who wear the same size as you and might enjoy some of what you have decided to let go of, consider setting up a clothing swap where all of you exchange goodies. Besides having a lot of fun, you might find that you get something in return for all of those pieces that you love but just never wear. What’s more, you might inspire your friends to clean out their closets. The act of getting your life together by narrowing down your possessions and only keeping the things that you want just might prove itself to be contagious.

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That is the real-life version of the sisterhood of the traveling pants! Ask everyone to bring a certain number of items, and to make it fair, take it in turns to pick an item you want. You’ll also have the chance to try it on and then perhaps swap it out if it doesn’t suit you. We often eye out clothes that our friends wear, so this is the perfect time to get your hands onto something you’ve always loved of theirs! No clothes are going to waste. Besides, you’ll get a whole new wardrobe without having to spend anything at all (except on drinks and snacks for the party).

In fact, you could even make a quick buck selling off your clothes to consignment shops. Shutterstock.

Consider Consigning Your Clothes

If you have some excellent pieces that you never wear, don’t feel that you need to either keep them or give them away. Find a consignment shop nearby. Consignment shops are like upscale thrift stores that only take remarkably nice clothes. When they sell those clothes, they give a portion of the sales to the person who consigned them (that’s you!). So while you probably won’t recoup the entire cost of that Louis Vuitton bag or Prada dress, you can get something. In the end, you might make enough off of your old (but exceptionally fine) clothes to have a fun evening out.

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It is a great way to potentially get a little bit back from what you’ve spent on your clothes. It isn’t guaranteed, but it’s always a pleasant surprise when one of your items sells! That is a win-win way of cleaning out your wardrobe, you aren’t losing out completely, and you’re opening up space to see all of your beautiful items in your closet. You can also sell your clothing on online consignment stores or similar stores like DePop. It is beneficial during the pandemic when your nearby consignment store might not be open.

eBay is a good last resort for those clothes you don’t want that are still lingering around. Shutterstock.

Or Sell Them On eBay

Are you looking to make a bit of a profit off this process? Maybe you are considering that regarding what you decide to get rid of or keep. Consider auctioning items on eBay. Keep in mind that they need to be in perfect condition to sell; your reputation as an eBay seller depends on it. eBay buyers who are buying clothes love to get things in bulk quantities. So instead of listing every single scarf individually, sell them all together as a lot. You will save yourself much time and appeal to those buyers who wanted to buy all of your scarves anyway.

Photo Credit: 22Images Studio/Shutterstock

That is also an incentive to look after your clothes because you’re more likely to get something back from them when you decide to sell them! Once you’ve made a sale on eBay, you might even be able to treat yourself to something off the platform as well! You’ll eventually build up a sound system and reputation on the site. It can become a regular thing for you to do. You’ll always have your wardrobe up to scratch when it comes to space, quality, and keeping the items that you love the most.