7 Big Benefits of Cleaning Out Your Closet

7 Big Benefits of Cleaning Out Your Closet

Experts reveal how decluttering your wardrobe improves not just your space but your life.

By Leah Maxwell

If you’ve been bitten by the spring cleaning bug but don’t know where to begin, consider starting with something you use every day: your bedroom closet. Now is the perfect time to not only say goodbye to your winter fashions but also to take stock of your entire wardrobe and figure out what’s working and what needs to go. Here are seven unbeatable benefits of cleaning out your closet.

1. It’s a chance to say goodbye to negativity, and to love who you are in your clothes. For anyone saving items of clothing for a “better version” of herself, heed this advice from Marcie Lovett, a professional organizer, productivity consultant, and author of The Clutter Book: When You Can’t Let Go. “Keeping clothes that are too small in the hopes that you’ll fit into them ‘someday’ is like punishing yourself for being who you are,” she says. “If they’re several years old, it’s time to let them go. If you do lose weight, you want to wear clothes that remind you of your successes, not your struggles.”

Along that same line, she notes: “If you have clothes you don’t wear because they remind you of an unpleasant event, give them away. You don’t want to be reminded of bad memories every time you see a particular piece of clothing.” Lovett encourages people to think about it like this: “Clothes that don’t fit or flatter you are taking up space that could be used for something you enjoy wearing.” It’s that simple.

2. Your clothes will make you feel good about where you are NOW. You’ll feel better about both yourself and your clothes if you fill your closet with outfits that serve you in your current life. “Let go of clothes that don't reflect who you are now,” says Lovett. “If you’re retired, and you wear a suit twice a year, keep one and donate the rest. If you played tennis in college and haven’t swung a racket in 10 years, you probably aren't going to wear those little skirts again.”

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3. You’ll free up space for new, better things. Obviously the biggest difference you’ll see when you clean out your closet is that you now have physical space for new items. Architect, author, and certified feng shui consultant Anjie Cho adds a more psychological perspective, saying: “Having a full closet tells the universe that your life is full and that you don’t need anything new in your life. If you can make some physical space, you create a vacuum for the universe to fill with something amazing and better.”

4. A streamlined closet saves time. “Every six minutes, people lose 15 seconds searching for items they can’t find,” says organizing expert and author of Behind the Clutter June Saruwatari. “You can save minutes (or even hours cumulatively) when you have an organized, clean, and streamlined closet. You’ll feel better not having to ‘fight’ your stuff to get what you need. Your closet will no longer be a battlefield. You’ll know that everything in your closet is something that honors the truth of who you are, and you will feel like a million bucks, from the inside out.”

5. Decluttering and reorganizing your closet can save you money. “Sorting and grouping your clothes saves money [because] you won’t buy another pair of black pants when you already have five,” says Lovett. “Keep a list of items you’d like to add to your wardrobe so that you buy things you really want instead of buying things impulsively.” Saruwatari adds that a closet that’s not overstuffed also protects your clothes from accidental damage that comes from “cramming, jamming, and smashing your clothes together,” which means less money spent replacing what you already have.


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6. Decluttering your closet can make you money. “Resale is a great way to make fast money by cleaning out your closet,” says Shelly Lowen. She says she has made around $20,000 reselling her clothes over the past 25 years. Lowen prefers reselling over consignment, because she likes being able to get cash right away instead of waiting to see if her items are purchased. “It quickens the pace of closet recycling: I take in my clothes, sell them on the spot, then buy some new items immediately.” Clothes can be resold or put on consignment in brick-and-mortar stores or online, whatever works for you.

7. Your unwanted clothes may improve someone else’s life. If you have a hard time letting go of clothes you no longer need, consider how they can benefit others. Pass items along to friends and relatives on a case-by-case basis or host a clothing swap with a group, donating any unwanted pieces to a charity or thrift store. “Someone else can benefit from the clothes that don’t bring value to your life,” says Lovett. So there’s no good reason to hold on to things you know you’ll never wear.

How do you motivate yourself to clean out your closet?

Leah Maxwell is a book editor, freelance writer, cereal addict, wife, and mom to two young boys. She has been blogging at A Girl and a Boy since 2003.

Image ©iStock.com/dstaerk

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