Hi. My name is Milano Imai and I am a shopaholic. With slight hoarder tendencies.

There. I openly admit my addiction.

There are no two ways about it. I LOVE to shop. I have been known to say, ‘Clothes are like a stamp collection and your wardrobe is the folder. Collect them all.’

shopping for clothes

I buy clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery, hats. Anything pretty, shiny, soft, silky, florally, lacey, leathery, sequined, coloured, monochrome, bedazzled… I pretty much like anything and everything.

It’s not like I’m totally living beyond my means. I just prefer to spend my money on stuff. If I chose to, I could be driving around in a really nice Mercedes, but instead I choose to drive around in a super old ugly car that sometimes gets parked two blocks away so no one sees me in it. Haha.

But with so much stuff, it’s hard to even know what I have.

So why do a closet cleanout?

Cleaning out your closet clutter makes you feel good. Something about being neat and organised just gives you a warm, happy feeling inside.

I used to hate going to my wardrobe that was stuffed to the brim. It would take me forever to find what I was looking for, I’d get frustrated when I couldn’t hang the clothes back in there and this resulted in my room being a constant mess with everything left all over the floor.

messy room clothes pile

So why clean out your closet?

  • You can see exactly what you have.
  • The pieces you are left with are your favourite pieces. You love wearing them.
  • Keeping it tidy is much easier with less stuff.
  • You can make faster outfit decisions.

They say you wear 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time. Totally true for me. I’ve worn my favourite dress 3 times this week already!

The 7 Step Clearing Out Process

Now I live the rule that twice a year I go through my wardrobe. I’m talking about the whole 8 double door choc-a-block lot. Here’s how I do it.

organisation of closet bedroom

clothes dresses skirts tops accessories shoes

This is my closet. As you can see I’ve got a lot of stuff.

A little note here: Before you decide to partake in the wardrobe cleanse- decide if you would like to purchase new hangers for when you put all your clothes back into your wardrobe. Buy them and have them ready to go. Having all matching ones makes it easier to fit more in, and also looks way better than having 50 different plastic and wooden hangers.

closet cleanse getting organised

Image credit: containerstore.com

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on hangers, just choose hangers that are thin. Check out E-bay or Bunnings, Gumtree etc. I once bought 500 wooden hangers from a lady on Facebook for $100! And yes, I use all 500. (see above-mentioned addiction admission)

coathangers for closet cleanout

I bought all these hangers for $100!

Step 1: Empty It

The first step is to pull everything out. But do this in sections.

If you do it all at once you’re left with a huge Mt Everest pile that will cause a mini (or big) anxiety attack. Especially when it’s still there after two days.

Allocate a section that will take no longer than a few hours. Sort and put the items on your bed- this way you can’t go to bed till you’ve finished it. Although, if you’re a hoarder, the thought of sleeping on top of your belongings like a mother hen hatching eggs may seem like fun to you.

Another tip is to make a little playlist of upbeat music you like, to keep you going.

sorting through clothes for cleanup

Here’s my clothes from one section of my closet.

Step 2: The Good Karma Pile and The Making Money Pile

Before you put each item back into your wardrobe- try it on in front of the mirror. If you no longer like the way it looks, put it in the Vinnie’s bag.

decide if you'll wear it again

Hmm, should I keep this?

If you are unsure, ask yourself the following:

  • Is this item in good condition? Anything that needs alterations or repairs (stained, ripped, zips broken) let it go. If you haven’t had it fixed by now, then chances are you’re not going to anytime soon.
  • Do I like the way this fits on me? Keeping clothes that are too small or too big are a waste of space. I know that women can fluctuate in weight, so if you are sure you can fit into those clothes in the near future (and you love them) then store them away in a storage tub labelled ‘Skinny Stuff.’ If you find anything that doesn’t do your body any favours, chuck it.
  • Is this how the new fashionable me looks? Clothes that are old, daggy and that you wouldn’t wear out to a social event- Vinnie’s bag.
  • Have I worn this item in the last 12 months? If not, well… you know what to do.

You should also set up a pile called the “I promise to sell it this week pile”. Anything that you have paid $50 or more for and you think will sell- try to. There are a number of places to sell your old clothes like E-bay, Gumtree and even Facebook.

give old clothes to charity op shops

Facebook groups are a fantastic place to sell your old clothes because if you have a brand item, usually there will be a Facebook group called ‘BRAND buy, swap and sell’. Last week I sold 6 items that had been lying around my closet for years that I didn’t think anyone would want and made $400!

buy swap sell get rid of old clothes

As for the Vinnie’s bag, you must drop it off the same day, or at least put it in the boot of your car before you change your mind.

Step 3: Rediscovering Forgotten Treasure

With any luck you’ll have one of these moments.

“OMG this is amazing, I forgot I even had that!!! Is this mine? When did I buy that?”

At this step, you get to rediscover all these beautiful clothes you forgot you had. It’s almost like you’ve just been on a shopping spree all over again- which is super fun, but can also make you feel reallllly guilty about the amount of money you’ve spent when you see the swinging price tag still attached….

wardrobe cleanse process

Step 4: Wear It

Make a mental note of items you would like to wear in the near future- so you can remember you have them. Sometimes I challenge myself to wear that item sometime over the next week.

If you really want to challenge yourself to get the wear out of your clothes, then have a go at my 14-day style challenge and see if you can incorporate all those beautiful clothes you forgot you had into it.

wardrobe closet challenge

I’ve even set up an extra rack in my wardrobe especially for items that don’t get much wear. Having them styled into a full outfit, pulled out and ready to go (especially if you have trouble deciding what to wear to work each day) is such a time saver.

Last week I arranged 4 work outfits from clothes I hardly wear and really enjoyed waking up and not having to think. I think this is called having a ‘capsule collection’ but… for clothes you don’t wear much. I think.

clean closet wardrobe

This is where I hang items that I want to wear this week.

Step 5: Organisation is Key

When you put everything back into your wardrobe- hang it neatly and re-order it.

A little trick is to hang all the hangers with the hook facing outwards. Every time you wear a piece of clothing, you put it back into your wardrobe with the hook facing the other way. That way in 6 months’ time you can see exactly what you do and don’t wear.

wardrobe organisation tricks coathanger

Looks like there’s one item that hasn’t been worn in a while.

Nothing makes outfit decisions easier than a visually appealing, easy to get to wardrobe.

Arrange your wardrobe in whatever way works for you- I like to have everything separated and categorised into tops, blouses, skirts, dresses, pants, shorts. You might like to categorise into seasons or occasions.

Here are 15 seriously cool organisational tricks that you should check out on this blog from HouseBeautiful.

saving space storage ideas

Image credit: housebeautiful.com

Personally, I have a wardrobe solely allocated to winter coats and jumpers, as they only get worn for a small portion of the year. You can also store away winter wear into suitcases and storage tubs.

Step 6: A Photo Album for Accessories

It’s important not to forget your accessories- especially when you’re into Fashions on the Field.

I went through all my clutches and took a photo of each one, then I put them in an album in my phone titled ‘accessories’. Original, I know.

wardrobe tidy organisation clutch bag storage

Screenshot of my accessories album on my phone.

Then I put them back in their protective bags and neatly into my drawers. The photos make it so much easier to remember what you have!

I went through Pinterest for some fun ways to store clutches- and these were by far my favourite:

organising accessories in your closet

Image credit: instyle.com (left), coveteur.com (right)