How to Declutter and Organize Your Clothing in One Day

Are you constantly trying to find a certain pair of pants or your favourite top?  You get tired of looking and just settle for something else?  This can be so frustrating.  Who wants to start their day off not feeling their best?

Frequent decluttering and creating an organized space in your closet and dresser will significantly cut down on the time to find what you are looking for. Figure out what to donate and then begin sorting based on colour and type. Items not worn frequently should be stored in a different space.

Does this sound like your routine?

1) Throw all of your clothes onto your bed to rummage through
2) Run out of time before you have to leave for work
3) Pick whatever you can find instead of what you want to wear
4) Come home after a long day of work to a pile of clothing that still needs to be put away
5) Shove the clothes where ever they will fit

Your morning doesn’t have to be stressful and you don’t need to rip everything out of your drawers to find what you want to wear.

Keep reading below if you want to learn some simple ideas for  how to declutter and organize your clothing.

How to Tackle All of Your Clothing

To begin organizing your clothing, I DO NOT recommend pulling EVERYTHING out of your closet and drawers all at once, just to be left feeling overwhelmed and then giving up.

Take one space and one type of clothing at a time.

It is okay if it takes you multiple days or even multiple weeks to get everything sorted and put away.  The goal is to finally get it the way you want it and be able to keep it that way.  So, you don’t want to rush through everything just to say you did it.

declutter and organize your clothing

Start With Your Closet

Start by pulling out either all of your shirts, pants, skirts, dresses, whichever you prefer.  Time to declutter and organize your clothing! Make sure you are taking the hangers out as well!

It is up to you how quickly you want to go through everything.  I do recommend getting through one type of clothing all in one day, so it can be checked off.  Then you can take a break. 

You could make a checklist so that you literally have something to check off, if you enjoy checklists as much as I do! 🙂  I have created a free closet checklist printable for you to use!

If you want to write out your own quick checklist for your closet, list out each type of clothing that you will be going through and check them off as you finish that type.  You could even add purses, ties, hats, scarves/pashminas, and shoes if you store those in your closet.

Decide What Clothes to Donate or Throw Away

Let’s use pants as an example.  This includes jeans, dress pants, leggings, etc… Once they are all out of the closet, begin going through each piece.

If they don’t fit you, just donate them!

If they are too small, it is very possible that you will fit in them again, but it’s not worth holding onto “just in case”.  They are taking up space in your closet that could be used for something you actually wear. 

If you do lose weight, that’s amazing! Now you can reward yourself by going out and buying new pants!

If they are too big, donate those as well.  You don’t want to be walking into work and have your pants fall down!

Put all of the pants that you want to donate into a bag with “To Donate” written on the side.

Repeat this process for each type of clothing.

For shirts, if you have any that are too big but you are having a hard time deciding if you want to donate it, just keep them for now.  Shirts are a little bit more forgiving when they are bigger, so can still be worn.

If there are any items of clothing that have holes or stains in them, toss them right into the garbage.  Unless you are constantly painting the house or riding an ATV through the mud, you don’t need to have clothes that are falling apart. This does not include intentionally ripped jeans. 🙂

Put Your Favourite Clothing Away

All of the clothes that you have decided to keep should be hung up nicely on the hangers, with the hangers backwards.

Each time you wear and wash any of the clothes, you should hang them back up with the hanger the correct way.

In 6-12 months when you go through your clothes again, you will know what you haven’t worn in awhile because the hangers will still be backwards.

This makes it easy to remove the clothes from the hangers and throw them right into a donation bag.  No need to think at all whether you should keep the clothes if you haven’t worn them in 6-12 months.

Tip: Buy felt hangers! You won’t regret it, I promise. Once you have the clothes on the hangers, they won’t budge at all. No more silky shirts sliding off the metal or plastic hangers and landing in a ball on the floor, leaving it full of wrinkles!

The felt hangers used in the picture below are these. They are quite bright and I worried that the colour may transfer onto my clothes, but that hasn’t been an issue.

For my kids, I purchased these beige felt hangers. They are made for kids, so they are smaller than the pink ones. They work well for kids of any age though.

declutter and organize clothing in closet

Storing Items That Are Not Worn As Often

Your scarves and pashminas can be hung on one of the felt hangers. The felt will grip them and not allow them to move around or fall off.  Storing them on the same hanger will make them much easier to find.

If you have clothes or other items that you don’t wear as often, they can be stored under your bed.  Underbed storage is amazing because it is space that is otherwise wasted and can fit a lot of clothing!

Dresses and skirts may not be worn as often, so instead of thinking about how long it has been since you have worn it, think about whether you would actually wear it again.

If you have to dress up for work and wear dresses often, then put those dresses back up with the hanger backwards.

Did you wear one of the dresses to a Christmas party?  Let’s be honest ladies.  If many people have already seen you in the dress at a previous party, you’re unlikely to wear it again. 

Choosing to donate the dress will give you the satisfaction that another lady gets to wear the beautiful dress in “like new” condition and at a discounted price.

If it was a really fancy, expensive dress and you don’t want to donate it because of what you spent on it, you could sell it on many different online platforms or a garage sale to make a bit of money back.

One dress that is perfectly acceptable to keep long term is your wedding dress. Get it cleaned and hang it in a garment bag or get it boxed up by a company who specializes in this.

declutter and donate unused clothes

Sort the Clothing Before Putting Away

Now that you have only what you want going back into your closet, they can be put away properly. They should already be in piles based on their clothing type, so they can be put back into the closet that way.

Depending on how your closet is laid out, you may have an area that has more open space to hang up longer dresses, so put them on that end.

If you have a closet rod up top and another one lower in the closet, hang the shirts/jackets from the top rod and the pants and skirts on the bottom rod.

Next is my favourite part, sorting the clothes!  They don’t have to be presented in the order of a rainbow (Roy G Biv), although I love the look of that!  However, they should be sorted by colour.  So all white tops should be together, all purple skirts should be together, etc….

Remember at the beginning of this post when I said you were constantly looking for a certain top or pair of pants?

This is where sorting by type and colour come in handy. You will know exactly where to find them!  If you can’t find them, then you may have some dirty laundry hanging around somewhere.  More on that in a future post!

declutter and organize clothing in closet

Where to Store Odds and Ends

For hats, shoes, ties and purses, there are endless options available to organize these items. It depends on your style and your space.

If you have a small closet, purses and hats could be stored on the top shelf, usually above where your shirts and suit jackets are hung up. For shoes, there are over the door shoe organizers that you could easily hang up.

If you have a bit more space, I would recommend buying cubby storage, which is easy to put together and can store a decent amount of items.

Depending on available funds, you could purchase PAX wardrobes from Ikea for organizing not only your smaller items but also all of your clothes.

declutter and organize clothing

Did you check everything off on your closet checklist?  Is there still extra room in your closet?

Evaluate Your Closet Space

The reason I asked if there is more space in the closet is because I like hanging up any bulky sweaters/sweatshirts as well.  When folded up, they take up a lot of space in a dresser and don’t leave much space for anything else.

In the closet they take up much less space and it’s easier to find your favourite sweater. 

There are also hangers that hold 4-5 pieces of clothing which then pull down to only one hook, so 4-5 sweaters would ideally only be the thickness of 1 sweater.

Onto Your Dressers!

Take all of your sweaters/sweatshirts out of your drawers and again decide what you will donate, what can be thrown away and what you want to keep. 

Anything you want to keep should be put in the closet, with the hangers facing the wrong direction, as you did with everything above.

Completely empty your dresser drawers onto your bed.  Sort them into piles such as, t-shirts, tank tops, tube tops, shorts, exercise clothing, etc..  As you are sorting, look for any ripped or stained pieces of clothing. Throw those out right away.

Find anything that no longer fits and put those into your donation bag.

Keep the items separated by clothing type, because you will be putting them back in the drawers that way.

declutter and organize your clothing

Sorting Through Smaller Items

Depending on how many pairs of socks and underwear you have, you may be able to fit all of them into one drawer.

Get rid of any underwear and socks that are not in perfect shape. They are not very expensive to replace.

Plus haven’t you heard the phrase that you should always wear your best underwear, because if you got hit by a bus, you wouldn’t want anybody to find you in your ripped up granny panties?  Remember that! 🙂

Buy a drawer organizer to keep your underwear and socks separate within the drawer.

If you have room, bras could be stored in a drawer as well.  There are drawer organizers for those too!  But there are also hangers that you can buy to hang on the back of your closet door which would help the bras keep their shape longer.

What Do You Have Left?

When you are done going through everything in your drawers, you should have everything out in front of you that will be going back into the drawers. 

Ideally, each different type of clothing (other than the socks and underwear) should fit into their own drawer.  Then you will know exactly which drawer to go to grab your favourite shirt or shorts.

Depending how many different types of clothing you have, you may have to combine two types together.  If you have to combine, try to put two different types of shirts, or all exercise related clothing, so you will still easily be able to go to that drawer and know you will find all related items.

Do You Have Any Other Dressers?

If you have more than one dresser in the room, follow the steps above to go through that dresser as well.  Is this extra dresser yours or your spouse’s?  If it’s yours, then go through both dressers before putting anything away. 

You may not have realized that you have 20 black shirts that are almost identical until you see them staring back at you!  Hopefully this will result in more clothes being donated and not as much taking up space in your dresser!

I store my socks and pajamas in the two drawers in my nightstand.  If you don’t currently have a nightstand, I would highly recommend buying a small unit (not necessarily a nightstand) that can hold smaller pieces of clothing. It saves valuable space in the main dresser.

If you are finding that you can’t fit your clothes into the dresser nicely,  remember that you completed the activity to declutter and organize the clothing in your closet, so evaluate if you could hang up more clothes.  I like to hang up my shorts because they wrinkle easily in a drawer.


That’s it! Your clothes are now organized and easy to find!  Now you just need to maintain this system so that your clothes remain organized and continue saving you time.

Make sure you take the time to go through your clothes every 6-12 months. Any clothes that still have the hanger the wrong way haven’t been worn in that time. 

Any clothes in your dresser that haven’t moved from the bottom or the back of a drawer also likely haven’t been worn in a while.  So donate all of those items and then check back again 6-12 months later.

I hope this post has helped you come up with some clothing organization solutions that will work for you long-term!