How to Clean Out Your Closet Fast!


How to Clean Out Your Closet Fast

By: Nada Manley,

This is a post by Manners Mentor beauty and fashion editor, Nada Manley.

People say it to me all the time.

“I’m afraid for you to see my closet.”

People who say this clearly never have seen mine!

They are under the misconception that, as a stylist and an overhauler of other people’s closets, mine is perfect.

It is not.

Sift through the clothing in my closet, and you will find random Target purchases sharing precious real estate with my favorite Diane Von Furstenbergs.

You will find yesterday’s outfit in a heap on a stool, waiting for company from today’s just-worn items. They will be dealt with tomorrow, or maybe the day after that. Life moves quickly, and there’s not always time to be on top of it, day in and day out.

And you will find bathing suits in one bin and nightgowns in another, because I hate folding and avoid it whenever possible.

So, no, my closet isn’t perfect. It is neat-enough and current-enough and, most of all, it is functional.

I enjoy getting dressed in the morning, because I have options. Not too many, but enough. Enough to make outfits. Enough to mix it up a little. And it’s easier than it looks. And it begins with a purge.

But don’t worry. This isn’t the kind of marathon closet session that turns your wardrobe into a war zone for days.

This shouldn’t take you more than an hour, unless you’re something of a collector, in which case it might take you two.

Don’t worry. This will only hurt a little bit. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

How To Clean Out Your Closet Fast 

1. Eliminate the Has-Beens

These are the items that don’t fit, are stained/damaged, or are otherwise unusable. Toss them into your to-go pile. Better yet, designate a hamper next to your regular one for donations, consignments, alterations, etc. Use it.

2. Eliminate the Once-Wases

I will never again wear my Betsey Johnson babydoll dress. Or the yellow linen Juicy Couture scalloped short romper. Or the pants that never fit me when I was at my taut-est and tone-est. That ship has sailed. Ditto for maternity clothes (when you are sure you’re done!) and professional attire from your former career (they will date you). In they go.

Pro Tip: If you have an extra clothing rack, or even a valet rod, pull out small sections of clothing and sort through them quickly, using a yes-no-yes-no system to eliminate the unwanted items. I do this with clients and it’s very effective. Don’t overthink it. If your first instinct tells you to let an item go, then let it go.

3. Eliminate the Never-Will-Bes

Sometimes, I dream I am an excruciatingly hip French art student, reclining in a jardin in Paris, reading poetry and eating cheese. Sometimes, I even shop for her. And when I stumble on this evidence in my closet months later, I am forced to admit that, triste as it may be, that ship has sailed. Again. Don’t shop (or horde) for the life you think you may someday have. Shop for now. Later, shop for later. (Don’t worry. The art student and I have called a truce. And I got to keep the sweater.)

And that’s pretty much it. See, that wasn’t so bad. If you want, I can hold your hand through this process. (Not literally, of course, because that would be a little inconvenient, since we’d both be short a hand, but you get the idea.) Or you could do the above steps alone, and then call me. And then we can move on to the fun stuff.

Like filling in the gaps in your closet with an easy-to-pull-together Capsule Wardrobe. You know, by shopping.

And owning your unique style. (A fun quiz to determine your unique style!) So you can go shopping.

And discovering your own unique body type, and checking out the cheat sheet. For, you know, shopping.

Yes, I said shopping. Again.

See? I told you it would only hurt a little bit.

Note: This blog post first appeared on

Nada Manley

About Nada Manley

BeautyMommy Nada Manley is a Stylist to the Moms. Nada is a wife, a mom of two daughters (Lola and Eva), a stylist with The Stylist Online, a style journalist and fashion columnist (GateHouse Media, My Coast Magazine, NailPro), a published author (Secrets of the Beauty Insiders), a Christian, a closet consultant, a professional shopper and an obsessive tea drinker. BeautyMommy offers style solutions, beauty tips and shopping advice for busy moms, all delivered with a sense of humor.

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