Declutter your closet in 15 mins

A luxury closet

Declutter faster than an episode of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo!

If that statement doesn’t get your joy sparking, I’m not sure what will!

You might be thinking it sounds way too good to be true. Please trust me on this one...

If you struggle with decluttering, this is oozing with “change your world” potential and I don’t want you to miss out on that.

Just be warned... Once you get a taste for these results, you might become obsessed with them.  Seriously, these time-saving methods are just that good!

In this guide, I’ll show you:

  • How to choose which clothes to keep and which to let go of. Even those with a “potential future use”. 
  • 3 Methods for decluttering your closet that you can use right away. With steps that explain exactly how to do it. 
  • Plus, each method is based on how much time you have to spend: 15 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour.

Why the big hurry?

Well, these days, most of us have little time to spare. Take my friend, Nikki, for example. She’s looking to purge her closet and wants it to be done before she goes on vacation… which is next week. 

Luckily for her, urgency can be a great motivator. Striving towards a due date can help you stay focused. When Nikki asked if I knew of methods (besides Marie Kondo’s) for quickly eliminating clothes. I got really excited since it’s a favourite topic of mine and I know some methods designed specifically for when you’re lacking time. 

 Before we get into the nitty-gritty, you should know that you'll need some supplies. Check that you have the following on hand before you get started.

Needed Supplies: 

  • Timer 
  • Marker 
  •  2 garbage bags 
  • 2 labels to put on the bags
    You can use anything really, like post-it notes, blank name tags or paper and tape. 
  • Your consignment store's criteria.
    You can normally find this on their website. Here's examples of the criteria from Plato's Closet and Twice as Nice 

    If you don't want to sell your unwanted clothes, skip printing off the consignment store list and just use one bag and label. 
The links below will take you straight to the method and steps that are best for you. 

 How much time do you have? 

Download the checklists

Want to follow the steps with a handy checklist? Sign up here to download the digital guide. It’s free.

Keep scrollin' to see the instructions.

Only have 15 minutes?

Method: Bag Racing

Pro: Fast and efficient. A good way to kick start the decluttering process.

Con: This is a quick fix. It’ll help declutter your closet but won’t organize it. Some clutter might be left over, but you’ll have made some progress.

    Step 1: Race to declutter

    Set your timer for 10 minutes. With one garbage bag in hand, go through your closet. Pull out any unwanted clothes and put them in the bag. Challenge yourself to fill it before the alarm goes off. Keep looking for items to purge until the time is up.

    Step 2: Set a timer for 5 minutes

    Not selling? Skip down to step 4.

    Step 3: Sort them out

    Empty the bag onto your bed. Sort the clothes into "donate" and "sell" piles using the criteria set by the consignment store. Work fast, you only have 5 minutes so don't overthink it.

    Step 4: Label and take clutter away

    Label the bag(s) "donate" and if you’re selling, "sell". Then put them in your car so you can drop the clothes off next time you're out. Now, you’re done!

    Have a solid 30 minutes?

    Method: Bag Racing: Bonus Round

    Same method as above but with an extra round of steps for a more thorough session.

    Pro:  Fast, efficient and the bonus round helps you catch any clutter you might have missed.

    Con: While it takes a bit longer, it’s still a quick fix. It’ll declutter your closet but won’t organize it.

    Step 1: Set your timer for 10 minutes

    Grab a bag and set your timer for 10 minutes.

    Step 2: Fill the bag

    Go through your closet and pull out unwanted clothes putting them in the bag. Challenge yourself to fill it completely. Keep looking for items to purge until the time is up.

    Step 3: Bonus Round

    Repeat steps 1 and 2 again, only this time being more ruthless. Asking yourself: 

     “Am I keeping this because I love it and wear it?” 

     “Would I buy this again if I had the chance?" 

     For clothes that you answered “no”, put them into the bag with the rest of the unwanted clothing.

    Step 4: Set your timer for 10 minutes

    Not selling? Skip this step and  to step 6.

    Step 5: Sort it out

    Sort out the clothes from the bag into "donate" and "sell", based on the criteria set by the consignment store. Work fast, you only have 5 minutes so don't overthink it.

    Step 6: Label and take the clutter away

    Mark as “donate” and if you're selling, “sell” and put them into your car. All that’s left is for you to take your clothes to a donation centre and the consignment store as soon as you can. You’re done, way to go! 

    Got an hour?

    Marie Kondo’s KonMari method works really well to declutter your closet and your home for that matter.  But, we're on a timeline here and can't take out ALL the clothes at once, like she says to.

    Instead, let’s hack her method by taking out one category of clothes at a time and put them on the bed to sort.

    Doing this gives you the option of breaking out the project into 15 - 20 min shifts throughout a weekend if you don’t have a full hour to work.

    Method: Kondo Hacking

    Pros:

    • With your clothes out of the closet, your decision is flipped from “What will I take away?” to “What will I add back in?” It’s a more positive feeling since it focuses on gaining rather than losing.

    • Seeing the empty space helps you picture the potential of the closet with fewer things.

    • This method has an added benefit. It will help you declutter and organize your closet.

    • You’ll also have a simple way to track which clothes you wear and which you don’t.

    Cons:

    • More time consuming and labour intensive than the other 2 methods.

    • There's a risk that seeing all your clothes on your bed will make you feel overwhelmed.

    Step 1: Start with a clothing category 

    You can start with any group since the order doesn’t affect the end result. Just pick one and start. Depending on how many pieces of clothes you have, you might want to start with a specific piece of clothes like “pants”, instead of a broader group like “lower body”. Here’s a list of categories to help you get started:

    Upper half:

    • Sweaters
    • Cardigans
    • Sweatshirts
    • Hoodies
    • Long Sleeve
    • Short Sleeve
    • Tanks

    Lower half:

    • Skirts
    • Shorts
    • Jeans
    • Leggings
    • Pants

    Upper half:

    • Dresses
    • Suits
    • Jumpsuits
    • Rompers

    Step 2: 'Buy' back only the very best

    With a group of clothes now on your bed, it’s time to put on your imagination cap. Yep, you read that right. Pretend you don’t own the clothes on your bed anymore. Which ones would you choose to “buy” back? Choose only the very best that you wear and you know look amazing on you.

    Step 3: Put them back, backwards

    Put the best back into your closet, hangers facing backwards. Moving forward, only put the clothes you've worn with the hanger facing forward. After a few months, you'll see the ones you haven’t been wearing. 

    To organize your closet as you go, keep the group of clothes together when you put them back in your closet. This will organize them by type, feel free to take it a step further and do it by colour too!

    Step 4: Toss 'em like their hot

    Move the remaining clothes off the bed and into the garbage bag. You'll sort through them later to figure out which you’ll sell or donate. Right now, focus on keeping the ones you love.

    Step 5: Rinse and repeat

    Don't worry, water's not required! Follow steps 1 through 4 again. Do this for all the categories in your closet.

    Step 6: Give it a once-over 

    OK! You can take off your imagination cap now. With the best clothes in your closet, double check no stowaway clothes made it in. To see if any other pieces of clothes should go in the bag, look at each one and ask yourself: 

     "Why am I keeping this? Do I love it and wear it?” 

     "Do I like how I look in this?" 

     “Would I buy this again if I had the chance?" 

    Once you’ve done that for each piece, you’ll have finished decluttering and sorting your closet. Amazing! You’re almost done. 

    Now to deal with the unwanted clothes, if you’re not selling, skip to step 8.

    Step 7: It's sortin' time

    Sort through the unwanted clothes and put them into two piles, “sell” and “donate”. Use the consignment store’s criteria to help you do this.

    Step 8: Pack 'er up

    Put the clothes into the garbage bags and label them as “donate” and, if you’re selling, “sell.” Put them by the door or into your car. All that’s left is for you to take your clothes to a donation centre and the consignment store as soon as you can.

    So, whether you have 15 minutes or 1 hour to put towards decluttering, these methods will help you get a spacious closet in no time.

    Please share and leave me a comment if you liked this post or found it helpful, so I can make more like it for you.


    Kathleen MacAinsh
    Organizing Expert

    Grab these handy-dandy checklists!

    I made you a digital checklist of each method. You can print it off and bring it with you as you declutter to keep you on track. 

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