Many of us suffer from this problem: We’re constantly bored of the clothes we have, end up shopping for more, and now have a closet that is messy, overstuffed and totally disorganised. This is a serious problem – not only is this an eyesore, it makes it hard for us to get dressed in the morning, when everything is all over the place.

Beyond that, having to deal with such a mess constantly can also affect our mental well-being – after all, a clean, ordered and unfussy living space is essential to making our lives as easy as possible. Coupled with the onset of the minimalist movement, decluttering has become a hot topic, and with good reason. Here, we highlight the steps you can take to make your wardrobe functional again.


1. Lay it all out

Photo: 123rf

Ever heard of the phrase ‘start with a clean slate’? Well, it can be perfectly applied to this scenario. It is infinitely easier to start with purging and removing everything from your closet, rather than go through a haphazard method of deciding which items should go and which should stay. This will also allow you to view your wardrobe as a blank canvas, and give you an accurate assessment of how much space you actually have.

So, take out everything (leave it on the floor, or on your bed or even another room) and take some time to visualise how you want your wardrobe to actually look like.




2. Sort out the pile

Photo: Pexels

Now it’s time to turn your attention to the huge stack of clothes you’ve amassed. In general, you can try to categorise your items into three broad categories: keep, donate or store. The ones you keep are the items you’ll return to your wardrobe, the ones you donate are the ones you’re throwing away and the ones you store are items that might have sentimental value, is not in season etc. Here are examples of some questions you should ask yourself as you do this:

– Have I worn this in the last year? Chances are, if you haven’t, you’re not going to wear it anytime soon, so donating might be a good idea.

– Is this in season? This might not be as applicable in Singapore as we have summer all-year-round, but if you do happen to have items such as coats or thick sweaters that you only wear when travelling, consider putting them in storage rather than in your wardrobe.

– Does this still fit/flatter me? We might have a lot of items in our wardrobe that we wore frequently in the past, but not so much anymore. This could be due to an evolving fashion taste, weight changes or lifestyle changes. In any case, items that you no longer feel good in should be thrown away.


3. Make the most of your closet

Photo: 123rf

Once you’ve finished sorting through your clothes, it’s time to focus on your wardrobe again. It could also be beneficial at this point to see if there’s any way you can maximise the space in your wardrobe – would you be able to install an extra rod, hang some hooks or fit in a couple of extra racks?

A nifty trick is to get the right kind of hangers for your wardrobe. Cascading hooks work for tall wardrobes as it can maximise vertical space, shallow hangers are a great help for wardrobes with little depth and super thin hangers will allow you to hang up more items.




4. Time to organise

Photo: 123rf

According to your own lifestyle needs and preferences, take extra care to consider how you want to arrange your items. There are several different types of organisation methods that you can adopt:

– By clothing type. This works well for everyone and is perhaps the easiest. Simply put your tops in one section, bottoms in another, and follow suit for dresses, outerwear, innerwear and so on.

– By occasion. This can work if you have certain sets of clothes you reserve for specific occasions. For example, you can organise by work wear, leisure/casual wear, party wear, formal wear etc.

– By colour. This can work for some – a gradient method from dark to light might work, or simply group the same colour family together.




5. Don’t let it add up again

Photo: 123rf

This might sound easier said than done. The whole reason we had to declutter in the first place is that we were hoarding items we were no longer wearing. This process is tedious, and it is much more efficient and quick to be always conscious of what you’re adding to your wardrobe.

Of course, this starts with the shopping process itself – be mindful when you’re buying new items and only purchase those that you are sure you’ll wear often. Take a day every week to also go over your wardrobe and remove anything that you no longer wear or like.

If you’re not sure how to do this, try this easy trick: hang everything in your wardrobe with the hangers turned backwards, and turn the hanger around when you wear an item. After some time, you’ll realise which items are the ones you can consider removing.



A post shared by Apartment Therapy (@apartmenttherapy) on


Decluttering might sound like an insurmountable challenge, but it can be done as long as you do it in a systematic and organised way. If you need a bit of moral (and physical) support, it might also help to have a family member or a good friend do the task with you. Good luck!


This article was first published on Female.