10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Spring Cleaning Your Closet

To be honest, we have a love-hate relationship with spring. We love this season brings us sunshine, colorful blooms, picnics, and brunching outdoors. However, we hate that it simultaneously calls for spring cleaning. To make your life a bit easier, we’ve compiled some important questions to ask yourself while purging your closet. (Prior to this, you may not have considered consignment options or the proper ways to store sentimental pieces.) If you answer these questions we guarantee your annual clothing clear-out will be more efficient and successful.

1. Exactly how much do I need to get rid of?

Pile of untidy clothes

Decide how much to toss before you begin. | iStock.com/luanateutzi

When it comes to cleaning your closet, it’s best to set a specific goal for how much you need to clear out. If you approach the task with the flexible mentality of “I’ll decide how much to toss when the time comes,” chances are you won’t get much done. Instead, set a precise amount, such as 20%, and stick to it. If you hold yourself to a percentage and get rid of one item for every five you see, you’ll be amazed at how much you end up cleaning out.

2. Can these items be donated?

donation box

Don’t actually throw things away if they can be used by someone else. | iStock.com/sirastock

One of the most difficult parts of getting rid of items in your closet is knowing your hard-earned money will be going to waste. However, the items you choose to let go of needn’t end up in the trash. Consider donating all clothes to a local charity, women’s shelter, or school. Knowing your items will be going to a better home will make it easier to pull more pieces off your shelves.

3. Do I already own something similar?

Dressing closet with pink clothes

That a lot of the same color. | iStock.com/luanateutzi

While rummaging through your piles of clothes, it’s important to continually ask yourself: Is this item unique, or do I already have something similar? It’s highly likely that you tend to buy duplicates of the pieces that suit your taste. If you start to notice obvious patterns, make small stacks of repetitive items, then start narrowing down those white T-shirts or black dresses until there’s only one or two pieces in each category.

4. How can I better organize this section?

clothes hanging on rail in white wardrobe

Can you organize your closet better? | iStock.com/KhongkitWiriyachan

Cleaning out your closet isn’t just about throwing things away. If you already have a reasonable amount of clothing, organization is the best thing to focus your energy on. Though it will make a mess, the most efficient thing you can do is empty everything out from the drawers, shelves, rods, and racks. That’s right, leave your closet completely bare and spread the contents out on your bedroom floor or bed. Then, decide how you’re going to organize it all. We suggest buying matching hangers, a few organization tubs, and sorting the pieces by color and length.

5. How often do I realistically wear this?

womens clothing

Think about how often you wear certain items. | iStock.com/TanyaRu

Realize that 90% of the contents in your closet should be daily essentials, and only 10% should be special occasion pieces. If you see that half of your closet is made up of fancy dresses and 5-inch stilettos that rarely (if ever) get any use, it’s time to make some immediate changes. Stick with pieces that you wear often, and start cutting out the ones that still have tags hanging on them.

6. Is this still in fashion?

a dress and heels

Ask yourself if something looks dated. | iStock.com/SomeMeans

It’s natural to want to save items that still fit and are in decent condition. But it’s important to keep your wardrobe up to date. Just because your size hasn’t changed doesn’t mean the times haven’t. If you’ve been hoarding outdated pieces for decades, prepare to say farewell. Those ’60s prints you love so much sadly need to be retired. 

7. Do I even have the matching pair?

Stack of shoes

Make sure you don’t have any solo shoes hanging around. | iStock.com/luanateutzi

This question seems fairly obvious, but you’d be surprised at how common it is to lose half of a pair. Whether they be shoes, socks, slippers, or cufflinks, take the time to make sure all the pairs in your closet have their other half. If single shoes have gone astray, there’s no point in keeping the ones that are left. 

8. Can this item be sold?

Winner winning online

You might actually be able to make some cash. | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem

Spring cleaning your closet can actually be exciting if you consider consignment options and online retail sites. Sift through the pieces you want to get rid of, and set aside anything that is still in excellent condition. If you have any designer pieces or fashionable vintage, consider a high-end consignment website like Vestiaire Collective, The RealReal, or Rebelle. For more mainstream brands, look into Poshmark and Tradesy.

9. What condition is this honestly in?

Torn blue jeans

Tattered clothes need to go. | iStock.com/zwawol

We all have those items in our closet that are tattered, ill-fitting, or falling apart, yet still taking up space. We tell ourselves that we’ll get around to repairing the holes or visiting a tailor, but in reality, some items are beyond saving. Take a hard look at the state of your clothing, and get rid of anything that needs to just be replaced, rather than repaired.

10. Am I holding onto this for sentimental reasons?

Wardrobe with glamour dresses

If it has special value, keep it someplace other than your closet. | iStock.com/AndreaMeling

It’s totally normal to look at certain items of clothing with fondness when they’re linked to special memories. Perhaps you still have your dad’s favorite robe, the dress you wore on your first date with your husband, or your grandmother’s vintage handbag. They’re not items you’d ever throw or give away, but our advice is to keep these prized possessions elsewhere. They’ll be safer stored in airtight containers, and this helps make room for newer pieces.