How to Quickly Clean Out Your Closet in 2022

The pandemic of 2020 accelerated a trend toward “smart casual” clothing. As a result, a lot of fancy clothes are still collecting dust two years later.

If you haven’t updated your wardrobe to stay current, then now is the time to clean out the closet. Use these 8 steps for an efficient closet purge in 2022.

Steps to Quickly Purge Your Closet

  • Plan for 1 hour of work
  • Remove everything from closet
  • Clean and remove dust
  • Sort clothing into different piles
  • Create a pile of essential items you’ll keep
  • Pack up the clothes you do not need
  • Return the kept items to your closet
  • Find a place for your discarded clothes

 Plan for 1 hour of work

Add closet clean-out to your Saturday to-do list. Block out 1 hour for the task and give yourself enough time to be thorough. Get some boxes and bags ready.

Remove everything from closet

Make space on the bed and floor, Then take out all contents of the closet and dressers.

Clean and dust inside the closet

Remove dust from inside the closet. Sweep or vacuum inside. Repair any imperfect shelves or racks. Collect the hangers and discard any that are broken or bent.

Create a “keeper pile” of essential items

This is when you’ll need to be decisive. Keep items that are 1) useful 2) fit well, 3) in good condition 4) your style, and 5) current / on trend. Remember: if you wouldn’t buy it today, then it’s likely not worth keeping. (But keep things that are impossible to replace.)

Pack up the items you don’t need/want

Hopefully you prepared with boxes and bags for the discarded items. Look at your discard pile and sort the items into valuable (designer brand, excellent condition) and not valuable. Make a box for donations and consignments. Look up one charity and one resale shop – where your discarded items can go, promptly.

Return and reorganize the kept items in your closet

This is the fun part! Return your best items to the closet, hang them up with care, and step back to admire your edited wardrobe. If it’s looking sparse, it might be a good time to make a shopping list, with categories of items that are useful for you now in 2022.

Heading image courtesy of Markus Spiske on Unsplash

What to discard – questions to ask

As you sort through your wardrobe, it can be difficult to make decisions about what to keep. Ask yourself these questions as you work:

1. When did I wear this last?

When you can’t recall wearing an item, it’s likely not going into your rotation. Purge it if you can’t remember wearing it or you wore it more than 2 years ago.

2. What does this garment allow me to do?

Clothes can help us navigate many professional and social events. Over time, some garments prove themselves more useful than others. For example, a tuxedo (that fits) is usually worth keeping around for events. Those cheetah print loafers you bought on a whim? Maybe not. Purge the garment if it doesn’t work in your daily life, nor in special occasions.

3. Is this my style?

At a certain age, you know yourself and how to express that with your clothing. Things like gifts and mistaken purchases however, can pile up and clutter your space, adding unwanted complexity to the process of getting dressed each day.

Granted, some of your older garments may have a nostalgia associated with a previous time in your life.  As the popular author Marie Kondo says: “thank the item for the role it has already played in your life,” and then let it go.

4. Does it still fit?

Body sizes fluctuate. Don’t hang on to stuff you cannot wear. And don’t buy garments that are too small hoping they will motivate you to lose weight. If it doesn’t fit, purge it.

5.  Can I return it?

If you don’t wear it and the tags are still attached, check your return policy. In the race to provide excellent service, retailers are extending return policies longer than ever before. Zappo’s and REI are two retailers currently advertising a 365-day return policy.

6. Do I have duplicates?

When they know something fits, a lot of guys will buy duplicates. It’s easy to go overboard and find yourself with duplicates. Purge them if you end up with more than you need.

7. Is this garment beyond repair?

Character is one thing. We all love faded jeans and the subtle color changes that occur in quality leather. These are part of the garment’s patina. And obviously, coffee stains are not patina. Purge the garment if its flaws are unflattering.