Best Way To Declutter Is To Start With Clothing

There are many books about simplifying and de-cluttering but Marie Kondo had very practical strategies that I have duplicated, (it’s important to give credit where credit is due), and she always says to start with clothing.

When I was fed up with overwhelming clutter I read a lot about how to simplifying to minimise the work and effort required in keeping up with housework. The number one re-occurring theme was, have less stuff to organise and it’s always going to be 100x easier.

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I was overwhelmed with life in general and there where a number of things I couldn’t fix, but my thinking was changing and the clutter and chaos in my home…I could definitely fix!


Clothing is often one of the biggest problem areas for a lot of people. Tidying up an entire wardrobe is a very rewarding task to achieve and it’s a fantastic place to start flexing your de-cluttering muscles.

It can feel like its going to take forever but it isn’t hard when you know how to get started.  When you have completed you will feel energised enough to do everyone’s clothing in the entire house!


I would suggest you attempt an entire wardrobe of clothing, all items both in and out of season.  Storage items need to be looked at also, after all, its the backlog of belongings that you are trying to eliminate.


  • Dresses, Skirts
  • Shorts, Tights, Leggings
  • Pants, Jeans, Trackpants
  • T-Shirts, Tops, Blouses
  • Cardigans, Jackets, Sweaters, Hoodies
  • Sports Gear, Leisure Wear
  • Underwear, Socks, Thermal items
  • Shoes, Sandles, Boots, Heels
  • Scarves, Gloves, Hats

STEP 1 Remove it all from the shelves, hangers, drawers, boxes etc.

STEP 2 Dump it all in one place, either the floor or your bed and begin looking at each item critically.

STEP 3 Choose whether you love it, dislike it, grown out of it or worn it out.  Don’t think TOO hard, just decide.

STEP 4 Each item will either be kept, given to charity or thrown in the rubbish. Put it in the appropriate pile for now. 

In some instances, such as kids clothing, if the items are still in a really good condition you will give them to a younger child or sell them on, these items will have a separate box/bag.

This is not the time to start a wardrobe makeover, that’s a different task for another day, focus now on one task and complete this first.

FOCUS; Focus One Course Until Successful

Don’t even get side-tracked by going to the shops to buy more storage boxes, this is not what you need…neatly folded items stacked nicely is fine for now.  Remember there is a reason you have all this clutter, its time to do things differently.


If you happen to share a room with someone who isn’t keen to declutter their things, its best to respect that.  They won’t mind if you tidy up.

Once you have fully completed your own wardrobe & clothing accessories you can move on to all the other wardrobes in your home.


Preferably you will tidy alongside the person that wears the clothing, it will always depend on their age and stage whether you require their help and/or permission. Below is a general guide;

0 – 5 years

Under 5’s won’t be helping you much. In fact, the less they help the better maybe! If you have a 4-5 year old that is more mature or particular about their clothing, they might like to be considered on what is kept, given or thrown away.

6 – 11 years

This age would do well to be involved and learning how to care for their things. You may do the majority of the work in this exercise, but they can decide for themselves if they want something or not. They can also be involved in putting everything away nicely when you’re done and deciding where things should go?

12-16 years

They will either be reluctant as anything or voluntarily do it all themselves. There will be a wide spectrum of interest and abilities at this age. It will depend on whether they are a neater person or a messy?

Again, you may have to be the main motivator and need to drive the process until it’s completed. Always remember, you are primarily doing this for you so try to make this as painless for them as you can. They may want to sit and read while you hold up clothing and all they say is Yes or No. This is pretty normal.

When you have sorted all their stuff you can tidy what remains as best you can but what you wanted all along, which is the clutter and rubbish will be yours to take. Leave the rest for them to put where they want it.

17 years +

It may be completely out of your hands whether the adults in your home are on board your de-cluttering mission or not. You can ask them to do it, you can offer to do it for them or you could do it together.

A younger adult 17 – 19years in your home would be expected to have a somewhat clean room so you can at least ask them to a thorough clean and throw out all their old clothes and shoes.


Your husband/partner or relative who lives with you is a different story. If they don’t want to, you can’t really make them.

Once again, all you can do is offer to help them declutter or assist, but you will always need their permission. You can’t dictate what they do with their clothing and other belongings. You can only lead by example and win them over with your tidiness in time.