How to Clean Out a Closet & Make Some Money Too!

Let’s face it. Most of us tend to struggle when we want to clean out a closet. If you’re like me in Brooklyn, you don’t have a closet at all!

That’s right. Most pre war buildings do not have closets, so we are forced to get dressers, wardrobes, or all of the clothing seems to just pile on a chair in the corner of the room and rotate with the hamper.

Before living in Brooklyn, I lived out on Long Island in a little beach town bungalow that only had one closet in the entire house!

Since that was reserved for the winter coats, board games and the vacuum, I learned long ago how to clean out a closet and keep my wardrobe lean, efficient and easy to manage. (Goodbye enormous bags of laundry and entire days spent at the laundromat.)

Below I have listed 5 simple ways to clean out a closet and have a mean, clean, refreshed wardrobe!

1. When was the last time you wore it?

If you haven’t worn a clothing item in six months, and it isn’t seasonal, put it in the donate pile!

If you can’t remember the last time you wore something, try this trick. At the beginning of the month, take all the clothes in your closet and turn around the hangers to the end of the hook is facing the outside of the closet instead of the inside.

As you wear the clothing at put it back in the closet the normal way, you will begin to see which pieces you always seem to skip over. Six months after you do the flip, you know which clothes to part with.

2. Would you buy it now?

 When going through your closet, imagine that you are going shopping. Take each piece and ask yourself if you would buy that piece today, what it would go with in your current wardrobe, and if it actually fits.

If  it doesn’t meet those three requirements, then into the donation pile it goes!

Try to also think about if the clothing is trendy or timeless. This was a major factor when I wanted to clean out a closet.

Now, many of my pieces are things that are made of good quality and will pretty much never go out of style. This also saves money because you aren’t constantly buying clothing to stay on trend!

clean out a closet bags

3. What about the bags?

Many of us ladies are bag lovers. Some of us like tiny clutches while others like a Marry Poppins style purse that can fit the whole world in them.

If you have a variety of bags, you can put the smaller bags in the larger ones in sort of a Russian doll tactic.

If you love big bags, you can use a tension rod and these hooks to hang your bags in the lower half of your closet. This way bags stay off the floor which prevents them from getting dusty and leaves room for your shoes at the bottom of your closet.

4. Are you maximizing space?

In most closets around America, the usual closet looks like the clearance rack at Kohl’s; so packed with clothing you can’t even move the hangers to see what you actually have.

What if I told you that you could quadruple your hanging space even before you get rid of anything?

When I found these magic hangers, I was mad that I didn’t invent them first because the concept is so simple. It basically takes five pieces of clothing and instead of hanging directly next to each other, it cascades them downward, leaving more space on the rack for you to smoothly search through your wardrobe.

Since I don’t have any closets, this hanger maximizes the space in my wardrobe. Best $13 bucks I ever spent!

clean out a closet shoes

5. The lady who lived in her shoes

Ladies love their shoes! Unfortunately, when shoes build up in can become difficult to find a place to store them and keep them organized. I used to have a roommate that was obsessed with Steve Madden shoes, and she kept each pair in the original box stacked up so high it took up an entire wall!

At one point she admitted to me she had so many pairs that there were some that she never even wore, and she was always having issues finding the pair she was looking for.

After finding her one day in tears sitting in a mountain of shoes, we came up with the rule that she should only have two pairs of each kind of shoe. Two pairs of sneakers, two pairs of boots, two pairs of sandals, etc.

After narrowing down her collection from sixty to sixteen pairs, we took a picture with my polaroid camera of each pair and taped it to the front of each box so she could easily see which pair was where and stacked them in the bottom of her closet.

She ended up selling the extra pairs on Poshmark and made over $2k! Who said organizing can’t make you richer?

If you don’t have shoe boxes to store your shoes, there are a few other options. You can get plastic rolling storage bins that easily roll under your bed and out of sight. Or if you have room in the bottom of your closet you can get these cute white stackable shoe shelves.

My boyfriend uses the shelves for his dress shoes and sneakers and I use the rollable bins for both shoes and for seasonal clothing. (Since I only have a wardrobe, I put my winter clothing in the bins during summer and vice versa).

clean out a closet make money

Getting Rid of Clothing

After you clean out a closet you should send all of your unneeded clothing to greener pastures. If they are in good enough condition you can sell them online at places like:

  • Poshmark
  • eBay
  • Mercari
  • ASOS Marketplace
  • The RealReal
  • Refashioner
  • ThredUP
  • SnobSwap

If you cannot sell the clothing. Don’t throw them away! Did you know that some clothing takes up to 40 years to decompose in a landfill? Why not give it a second chance at places like:

  • Goodwill
  • Salvation Army
  • Vietnam Veterans of America
  • St. Vincent de Paul
  • Project G.L.A.M.
  • Room to Grow
  • Soles4Souls
  • The Arc

There you have it! After doing these five things, I pretty much quadrupled the space in my wardrobe and after selling most of the leftover clothing and shoes, I made almost $3k!

If you want to make even more money by getting rid of clutter, check out my article on Minimalist Lifestyle Tasks That Will Change Your Life. What are some closet organization ideas that you guys use?

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