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The Best Trick to Purge Your Closet + 6 Questions to Help You Purge

The Best Trick to Purge Your Closet + 6 Questions to Help You Purge

**Be sure to sign up at the bottom of this post to get a FREE printable guide with these 6 questions to help you purge your closet and create a wardrobe you love!**

Decluttering my closet and creating a simplified wardrobe has been one of my favourite decluttering projects yet. Simply because it’s had such a hugely positive impact on my life.

It’s so much more pleasant to get ready for the day when you aren’t sifting through clothes that don’t fit, you don’t love or don’t feel good in. Instead, when everything in your wardrobe is something you feel good in and look good in, getting dressed becomes so much easier. And a lot more fun!

Throughout the process of purging my clothes and simplifying my wardrobe, I’ve tried many different techniques and strategies to simplify. But through it all, I’ve found one thing that makes deciding what to keep and what to get rid of so much easier.

And that’s what I’m sharing today. You’ll learn the best trick to purge your closet. Plus 6 questions you can ask yourself as you declutter to make deciding what to keep and what to get rid of even easier!

First, a little background:

I first began simplifying my wardrobe when I was a stay-at-home mom with a baby and a preschooler.

In some ways, this made it easier to deal with my clothing. I didn’t need separate work clothes. Instead, I could wear what was comfortable and what I liked.

However, one of the big struggles for me, and I know a lot of other stay-at-home moms too, is getting stuck in a rut of stay-at-home mom style. There are endless amounts of jokes and parodies about moms in yoga pants and dirty t-shirts for a reason!

It’s easy to fall into a style rut as a mom, especially with babies and young children. You’re tired and maybe rarely getting a full night of sleep. Just getting a few minutes to shower can be a luxury. You spend your days changing diapers, being spit-up on, feeding babies and kids, wiping sticky hands and snotty noses, etc. And it’s easy for one day to start blending into the next.

And it’s easy to quit paying attention to what you’re wearing. As long as the majority of the people in your house look somewhat presentable, it’s a win!

You stop wearing anything too nice because it’ll probably get a stain within 5 minutes of putting it on. And definitely don’t feel like wearing something uncomfortable!

Look Good, Feel Good

But I am a firm believer in the idea of “look good, feel good”. When I look dumpy and frumpy in my clothes, that’s the way I feel. But if I am wearing an outfit I look good in, I feel better too.

When my daughter was around a year old, I wasn’t feeling happy with the way I was dressing. I decided I wanted to get out of that rut and start dressing nicer.

So what did I do? Started amassing a new wardrobe of clothes of course! I still wanted to feel comfortable, but I also wanted to feel good about the way I looked. I thought the only way to do that was to have more options in my closet to choose from.

Fast forward a couple of years. I had a closet full of clothes, some I felt good in, some I didn’t. And deciding what to wear in the morning was not always a fun process. I had to weed through a bunch of stuff I didn’t love, or wasn’t comfortable, only to end up wearing the same handful of outfits most days.

The Best Trick to Purge Your Closet + 6 Questions to Help You Purge
Photo by Crew on Unsplash

Purging But Not Making Progress

I had already started decluttering and minimizing the stuff in our house. But I had never made much headway in my closet.

When I first started decluttering, I did a massive purge of my closet, getting rid of multiple big garbage bags full of clothes. I honestly felt embarrassed about how much clothing I owned. But even after I was done, my closet still felt just as full as ever!

A lot of the stuff was still new or barely worn, so I felt guilty about getting rid of it.

In my quest to feel more stylish, I often purchased cheap or ill-fitting clothing, just because it was on sale, or it fit my idea of what I should have in my closet. I also thought the more options the better to make sure I wasn’t falling into a “mom style rut” again.

The Idea of a Capsule Wardrobe

Then I discovered the concept of capsule wardrobes.

The idea of a capsule wardrobe is you have fewer items of clothes but you love and feel great in them all. And they are easy to mix and match with each other too. Giving you plenty of outfit options, without needing a huge collection of clothes.

Some people limit themselves to a certain number of items in their capsule wardrobe. Other people focus on things like creating an ethical capsule wardrobe or a handmade capsule wardrobe. But the basic idea is always the same. You have fewer clothes but choose them wisely so you can wear and love everything in your wardrobe. Making it easy to get dressed and choose what to wear each day.

What really stood out for me was that you had fewer items, but loved them all. Everything in your closet was one of your favourites and you got rid of everything else. I knew this was how I wanted my wardrobe to be. Only my favourites, nothing else.

Finding My Style

I would never describe myself as someone who is super stylish, but I was slowly figuring out how to dress in a way that made me look and feel good. My style was evolving and improving and I was figuring out what my own personal style is.

I discovered the idea of “uniform dressing” and found my “mom uniform”, the outfit formulas that help me look and feel my best. Letting me feel comfortable but still feel put together.

But even though the idea of a capsule wardrobe appealed to me, I was still having a hard time taking the leap and ruthlessly purging my closet.

I continued to slowly weed out my wardrobe, getting rid of a few things here or there. But not seeing the big change I was looking for and was struggling to get rid of the excess.

My closet still felt too full. I knew I had stuff in there that I didn’t wear. But I couldn’t quite figure out how to identify the stuff I didn’t love so I could only keep the clothes I love and feel great in.

The Best Trick to Purge your Closet

One day I heard a tip that changed everything and made purging my closet so much easier. And the best trick to purge your closet is this: try each item on, then decide if you look and feel great in it.

When you’re decluttering your wardrobe, rather than just looking at each piece of clothing on the hanger, try every item on.

I decided I’d give it a try, even though I didn’t think it would make much of a difference.

Boy was I wrong! Let me tell you, trying everything on was a game changer! Trying each item on and honestly assessing how it looks and feels is the best trick to purge your closet and get rid of things you don’t love or wear.

Yes, it takes longer to declutter your wardrobe when you try everything on. But it is the best way to weed out the clothes you don’t love, don’t feel great in or just don’t like wearing.

**Be sure to sign up at the bottom of this post to get a FREE printable guide to help you purge your closet and create a wardrobe you love!**

6 Questions to Help You Purge When Trying Everything On

As you’re trying on each item of clothing you own, ask yourself some key questions to help decide if it’s worth keeping or not.

I went through this process over the course of several days (because my kids didn’t have the patience for me to do it all at once!). I tried on everything I owned. Paying special attention to the things I didn’t wear very often.

And I can tell you, trying each item on and asking these 6 questions is the best way to simplify your wardrobe and only keep the things you love and feel great in.

As you try on each item, ask yourself:

1. Does it fit well today?

Try only keeping clothes that fit you well, today. Anything too big or too small, or not fitting your size and shape right now, doesn’t belong in your closet.

If you are in a position where your weight might change, you may want to keep some clothes in different sizes. However, I suggest being very selective about what you keep. Keep only your absolute favourite pieces that you will love to wear again.

If you’re planning to lose weight, for example, you’ll probably want to treat yourself to a few new pieces to celebrate. Don’t hold on to anything you don’t love or is just ok. Only keep what you know you’ll love.

2. Is it damaged, stained or needing repair?

Anything damaged beyond repair or stained needs to go. Damaged or stained items won’t make you look or feel your best.

If you have items that need repair, like hemming or replacing a button, give yourself a deadline to do the repair or have it repaired for you. Put a reminder in your phone, and if the item isn’t repaired by the deadline, get rid of it.

Often it’s easy to have good intentions to get repairs done, but they never happen. If you really loved and wore the item regularly, repairing it would be a priority. If you can’t be bothered to repair it, that’s a good sign that you can let the item go. And if it can sit awaiting repair for months, you haven’t missed wearing it anyway!

3. Do you feel good in it? Is it comfortable?

Aim to only keep things that feel good and feel comfortable as soon as you put them on.

If you notice you start adjusting an item as soon as you put it on, it’s probably not something you feel great in. Notice if you are pulling down the hem, pulling up the neckline, adjusting the fit, etc. Things that require constant adjustment need to go!

Also pay attention to how you feel in the fit and in the material. Only keep things that you are comfortable with the fit and feel good in the material.

For whatever reason, if an item doesn’t feel great when you put it on, don’t keep it because you will likely rarely choose to wear it anyway.

4. Do you look good in it? Do the color and style flatter you?

As you try each item on, look at yourself objectively in the mirror. Let go of what you thought you knew about the way an item looks on you, and really assess how each item looks on you.

Sometimes it can be surprising to see something you thought you like, but really doesn’t look that great. Some items might look out of style, have lost their shape or just don’t fit your body or tastes anymore.

Pay attention to the color as well. Start paying attention to what colors work best for you and which ones don’t.

It can also be helpful to take pictures of yourself in your clothes to get a more objective view. Or invite a friend over who you can trust to be completely honest with you to help decide which items flatter you and which don’t.

5. When was the last time you wore it?

If you can’t remember the last time you wore an item, it’s time to let it go. If you haven’t worn it in the last year, it’s probably time to go too.

Aim to only keep the clothes you love and wear regularly.

Sometimes you might have something that’s still in good condition, still fits, still feels good and still looks good, but you never choose to wear it. It might be something you loved and wore a lot but got tired of wearing. And that’s ok! You got good use out of the item. Not it’s time to donate it so someone else can wear and love it too.

If it’s not something you wear often, or look forward to wearing regularly, it doesn’t deserve a space in your closet.

6. Would you be happy to wear it for the rest of the day?

This is the final test, to catch anything that slipped through the previous questions.

You might be attached to an item for whatever reason (cost, what it says about you, sentimental reasons, etc.). And sometimes it’s hard to admit that it’s time to let those things go.

Asking yourself if you would be happy in it for the rest of the day really makes you think and decide if an item passes the test and deserves a spot in your closet.

I encourage you to put this to the test too! Put anything you haven’t worn or aren’t sure if you like front and center in your closet. Then plan to wear those items first, before reaching for your other clothes.

After wearing an item for a day, you’ll definitely know if you like wearing it or if it’s time to let it go. And sometimes the only way to realize an item doesn’t fit well or feel good on is by wearing it for a whole day and trying it out.

If you think you want to keep an item, but can’t wait to take it off by the end of the day for whatever reason, obviously it doesn’t belong in your closet!

The Results

I couldn’t believe how many things I tried on and didn’t even like! Trying on each piece of clothing in my wardrobe changed everything for me. I no longer just passed over things that I thought I liked and looked good in, but actually never wore. It forced me to think about each item. And I got rid of a ton of clothes.

If you’re in the process of cleaning out your closet, I highly recommend trying every, single thing on. Then see if it passes the test of the 6 questions above.

It is an eye-opening experience, and a great way to weed out the clothes you don’t need in your closet.

Creating a Capsule Wardrobe

Purging your closet is a great way to simplify your wardrobe and make getting dressed quick, easy and stress-free. From there, you might want to try out the idea of creating your own capsule wardrobe. After making my first capsule wardrobe I don’t think I’ll ever go back!

I absolutely LOVE having a capsule wardrobe. It makes deciding what to wear each day a breeze. And feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, knowing I’m no longer holding on to clothes I don’t wear or even like! Sometimes I go and stand in my closet just to gaze lovingly at all the empty space!

Getting rid of the things that you don’t truly love or wear is the first step to creating a simple, intentional wardrobe. One that flatters your body and your life. And makes getting dressed in the morning fun!

Start by trying on each item of clothing you own. Then use these 6 questions to discover if you REALLY love it.

Do you usually try on each thing in your closet when purging your clothes? Try it and let me know how it goes! Did it surprise you how much you were ready to let go of?

**Be sure to sign up below to get a FREE printable guide to help you purge your closet and create a wardrobe you love!**

The Best Trick to Purge Your Closet + 6 Questions to Help You Purge
Photo by Shanna Camilleri on Unsplash

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Julie Ann

Tuesday 7th of September 2021

Decluttering our closet is always a challenge. Your advice is very helpful and one of the best! Thank you!

Simple Lionheart Life

Wednesday 8th of September 2021

I'm so glad you found it helpful! Thanks for reading :)

Jessalynn Jones

Sunday 11th of July 2021

I really appreciated this post Melissa. Like you I’ve already simplified most everything else but cleaning out my closet has always been a challenge. I like to sew and I like lots of pretty colors so it’s been extra hard for me to let go of my creations. This summer I’ve been systematically wearing my clothes and if I can’t stand to wear something for a whole day or activity then it goes. I haven’t had time or mental space to Declutter in one go but at least I know that by the end of the summer I will know what no longer fits or makes me happy.

Simple Lionheart Life

Tuesday 13th of July 2021

I think making a point to wear everything you own and really assessing how you feel while you're wearing it is a great idea. It really helped me get rid of the things I thought I liked but didn't actually feel good in when I wore them. And you're right, it's a great way to keeping working on simplifying your wardrobe, without needing to spend a lot of extra time focusing on decluttering. Thanks for reading and sharing your insights and experience!


Wednesday 25th of March 2020

The six questions to ask yourself and the challenge to try on every piece of clothing in your closet is probably the best decluttering advice I have read in a long time. It reminds me that this was how I used to go through my wardrobe years ago, before I became sick and the challenge of decluttering became insurmountable. I am not deluding myself into thinking I will suddenly be able to devote great swathes of time and energy to this task because that is physically not possible but this article has given me hope for the one thing that will enable me to decide on what stays and what goes when I had no such criteria and the process was just mind blowing. If I manage 2 or 3 items per day or even every few days, by the end of the year I should have thoroughly done my first decent decluttering in a long time. And the key to making it work is trying everything on. I know this will take more effort physically but it’s like a light bulb moment for me in the ‘how do I decide between a dozen perfectly good items that are similar’ conundrum. Looking at your clothing and imagining what you will look like (hoping anyway!) is seriously not the same as putting it on and feeling whether the waistband pulls around your middle or whether you constantly pull this hem up or down etc. And nothing tells you whether you will look like you imagined you would like putting an item on. Thank you so much for reminding me of this vital clue. I now feel as though I can finally start. I have a model to work with that I just know will get the job done, even with my limitations (I won’t start, waste several hours and end up putting almost everything back). I can’t wait to get started now. Thank you so much.

Simple Lionheart Life

Friday 27th of March 2020

I'm so glad to hear this was helpful for you, Beverley! Trying everything on made such a difference for me when I was decluttering my wardrobe too. And you're exactly right about making slow and steady progress. If you can declutter a few things consistently, it will make a big difference! Thanks for reading and take care!


Wednesday 24th of April 2019

I’ve worked from home since 2006 and we have 2 cats, so my husband and I joke that I’ve finally attained my dream of becoming a stay-at-home-(cat)mom! Until a couple years ago, I went into the office periodically, and enjoyed the process of “dressing up”, but it was painful to choose the outfit because I had so many to choose from (from my in-the- office-daily life), but only 1 day to wear it (till my visit). I don’t have a problem banishing an item from my closet the moment I don’t feel comfortable in it, but I still have too much stuff that I never wear.

I’m trying to dress better even though I work from home (not in sweats and tees, though I am in leggings and a tee right now bc I had conference calls starting early this morning), and I’ve stopped shopping at places like Forever 21 or Old Navy for “filler” items. I can find higher end pieces at consignment shops for more “special” items, though it’s hit or miss for capsule basics. I think one of my big problems is with t-shirts: band tees, cute tees with fun designs, clever tees...I probably have 25 tees like this, but wear maybe 5 all the time. I don’t want to do the t-shirt quilt, because I’d rather make a regular quilt, and I really don’t need more than the 2 quilts I already have (minimizing my house stuff). I feel stuck about the t-shirts! I’m excited to try the capsule wardrobe concept, and maybe I can pack away the tees and if I don’t miss them after a couple months, I can set them free. You’re articles are totally inspiring me to declutter and minimize (something I’ve wanted to do for years)!

Simple Lionheart Life

Thursday 25th of April 2019

I'm so glad you are finding my articles helpful! That's great! I think your idea of packing away the t-shirts you aren't sure about is a great one. I often find some time and space away from my items helps give me more perspective on whether I should keep them or not. And I think simply noticing that you have more clothes than you wear or need is a great first step. It means you're already paying attention to what you're wearing and how often. That's great! Thanks for reading and good luck as you declutter!


Wednesday 28th of November 2018

I recently heard the term "Capsule Wardrobe" and I have read all the articles I could find on it, bought a couple of books, and pinned I don't know how many articles on the subject on my Pinterest page.....which is where I just found your articles on purging your closet. You summed up in just a few paragraphs everything I'd read and added some extremely valuable advice. I was a teacher for 35 years and retired five years ago. I still have some skirts and tops I loved and wore in my career. Your advice on focusing on who you are right now hit home with me Also, trying on everything in your wardrobe is so logical and common sense that I can't believe I haven't done it yet!With these two articles on purging a closet, I feel I have the inspiration and knowledge on how to get it done! Thank you so much for your free, timely articles. I am so looking forward to reading your other posts. Bless your for sharing!

Simple Lionheart Life

Thursday 29th of November 2018

Thank you so much for your comment, Ruth! It absolutely made my day! :) I'm so happy to hear this post really resonated with you and helped you make progress with your capsule wardrobe. Trying each item on really is a game changer! It made such a difference for me when I was decluttering my own wardrobe. Thank you for reading and thank you again for your comment. I hope you enjoy your simplified wardrobe :)

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