Wardrobe cleanout: How to declutter your wardrobe & keep it organised

You’re getting ready to leave the house. You open your wardrobe and hundreds of pieces of clothing stare back at you. You blink once, twice—wow, you don’t even remember the last time you wore half of them. 

You’re not alone. A lot of women feel overwhelmed by their own wardrobe. In fact, Levi’s research found that, on average, only 55% of clothes Australians own are being worn regularly. More than half of the respondents acknowledged that 10% of clothes they purchased in the past 12 months were only worn once, or don’t end up being worn at all. 

Decluttering your wardrobe can be really helpful as it:
a) gives you more space
b) helps you get ready faster
c) allows your unworn pieces to have a second life and, best of all,
d) can make you $$$ if you sell them with SwapUp *wink wink*

From Marie Kondo to Aloïs Guinut, here are our top 5 tips to declutter your wardrobe and keep it organised (if you still have trouble, you could always contact decluttering wizards like Julie from the declutteringco):


Step 1: Separate items into three piles

In her book Why French Women Wear Vintage, Aloïs came up with this genius way of categorising your wardrobe:

  • The Dependables → what you wear on a regular basis
    These are the clothes you wear daily or at least monthly while in-season. For some, they can be the favourite jeans, shirts, tops and coats. For others, they might be vintage dresses, statement scarves or playful hats. Each to their own.
  • The Crushes → what you love but never wear
    Sometimes, you simply forget about owning something super awesome. This is a chance to explore your wardrobe and bring out the Crushes.
  • The Unwanted → what you don’t love anymore.
    It’s totally normal to outgrow a piece of clothing. Maybe you’ve changed size, lived in a different climate or just adopted a different style. Regardless, we do hope you’ve reached the #30wearschallenge before reaching this stage.

The Dependables and Crushes are the ones you want to keep; the Unwanted should probably go. 

“But, but, it’s not that easy” you say? Check our next steps.


Step 2: Try them on

When was the last time you wore that leather skirt? Are you sure you don’t like it, or maybe you just didn’t know what to pair it with? Shop your own wardrobe and create new styles. If after trying them on you’re still not convinced you’d wear them anywhere (even at home), they’re probably not your Crush and it’s time to let them go.

Check our article about stylists to follow for some inspirations.

Step 3: Compare items to see which ones you like

It might feel daunting to dissect your whole wardrobe, but it’s important to declutter in one go. The best way to identify what does or doesn’t bring you joy is to compare. 

When you compare an item with a bunch of other things, your feelings become clear. Marie recommends that you try picking your top three items when you sort a category, say, tops. Then once you find out what you like and “hone in” your intuition, you can move ahead with other items. 


Step 4: Don’t have the Maybes

It’s easy to fall into this trap. You can’t decide if something is a Dependable, Unwanted or Crush, so you just set them aside as Maybes. 

Let us tell you now, it’s a bad idea. After trying them on, we recommend that you stick to one category and live with it. If you can’t do it yet, sleep on it and try again tomorrow. Keeping something that’s just your Maybes simply means stalling, because sooner or later you will have to make a decision again.


Step 5: Say no to extra storage

This one's self-explanatory. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to hoard more by buying more storage. It may be enticing to just buy your way out of clutter, but really, it will catch up with you when you realise you’re just shifting stuff. The judgement day aka moving day will be more painful when you realise you just have boxes of stuff you’re not sure you really need.


Once done, you should wash the unworn clothes before choosing to sell or donate them. Feel free to check out our article on how to sell your second hand clothes, too.

Pro-tip: Selling clothes on consignment with SwapUp is probably the easiest, laziest way to sell. 

You just need to put your like-new clothes into your packaging (up to 5 kg), drop them off at Australia Post. Once arrived at our facility, we’ll sort, photograph, list, promote, sell and ship your items to their new homes. You’ll earn a percentage of the sale price, which you can choose to donate, cash out or use as shopping credit at SwapUp’s online thrift store. How easy is that?!

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