When your closet is overflowing with clothing, it is time for a closet clean out. A closet clean out is where you take everything out of your closet and lay it on the bed. Think Marie Kondo style. All the clothing piled on the bed. And your entire closet space completely cleared out. 

Doing a closet clean out allows you to actually get rid of all the clothing that is no longer making you feel good. Plus, those clothes only attract your attention to them. Because you know you don’t wear them so that is all you see. Instead, only keep clothing that makes you feel good and you enjoy wearing! 

So you should only put back the clothing that you love. And when you do this, you will be creating a minimalist closet. 

Now I am not talking about having no clothing in your closet. I have heard that when people hear the word “minimalism”, they think it means to get rid of everything. But I don’t believe that to be true. You have a minimalist closet and it still be full of clothes. You just have to reframe the word minimal.

For the purpose of this guide, minimal means essentials. All the clothing that you love, wear, and treasure. If it falls into one of those categories, then it will stay in your minimalist closet. If it doesn’t, then you can part with it. So let me guide you through creating a minimalist closet.

closet organization

Categorizing Closets

Closet Clean Out

When you are doing a closet clean out, take all the items out of your space. Like everything. Lay them out on your bed or floor. Make sure to clean your closet before you move onto the next step.

This is the very first thing you must do to create a minimalist closet. When you take everything out, you are going to be more thoughtful about what you put back into the closet. Because you probably won’t want to do this again!

Asking Questions + Making Piles

Now that all the clothing is out of your entire closet, it is time to start asking questions and making piles. 

But what questions should you be asking? And what should the piles be?

Well, the questions you should be asking should include:

  • Do I wear this?
  • Does this fit me?
  • Have I worn this in the last 6 months?
  • Does this go with anything I have right now?
  • Does this item reflect who I am today?
  • Would I buy this in the store right now, as it currently is?

And you can get more questions to print out now!


As you are asking yourself these questions, you can sort your clothing into piles. Or you can hang them up in your closet.

If an item is a total keeper, hang it up in your closet. Don’t worry about making it perfect just yet. Just hang up in an area you may want it to go. We will get the space organized later. Right now, you want to focus on creating a minimalist closet by hanging up keep items.

If you know an item should go, put it in the donate or sell pile. This really depends on if you want to sell any pieces of clothing. Decide if you will sell an item or donate to a local organization.

Now there is a third pile you will want to create This is the “try on” pile. This pile is clothing you are unsure if you should keep or part with. So just throw that in a pile and keep going through your clothing.

closet organized by color with shirts on top and pants on bottom

Try On Outfits

Once all the clothing is sorting into piles or hung back in your closet, it is time to try on the “try on” pile. 

The “try on” pile is where you actually have to try on each piece of clothing. Make an outfit with that piece of clothing.

Let’s say you have a shirt you love but you never wear it. So you try it on and want to know if it will work with any skirts or pants you have in your closet. So grab some of your keep jeans to see if the shirt works with those jeans. Try on different outfits until you can safely say you have something you will wear. Or you can be confident in parting with that item.

This is why setting up your closet isn’t necessary right way. You want to try on things with your “try on” items.

minimalist closet closet clean out

Setting Up The Closet

After you have decided on which clothing to keep and what you can part with, we can tackle setting up a minimalist closet. 

When setting up your closet, you want to decide on how you want to use it. And what I mean by this is how do you get ready in the closet.

For some people, they want all their clothing color-coordinated. While others want to be able to pick outfits out based on when they wear them. Like all office outfits together. And all leisure ware together.

Once you decide which way you want to use your closet, you can set it up accordingly.

If you want to color coordinate your closet, start by grouping all your items into colors. I have more tips on color-coordinated closets here.

If you want to organize your closet by how you wear your clothing, then group those items together in different sections of your closets. Some closets have dividers, which makes it easy to create groupings. While others need some space in between. Below you can find more ways to organize your closet based on how your closet is set up:

How To Declutter A Closet

The Hanger Trick For Your Closet

10 Tips To Organizing A Closet

How To Organize Your Closet Without Spending Anything

Sell + Donate

After you set up your closet, it is time to sell and donate your unwanted items.

When it comes to selling items, set a time frame for how long this item will go on sale. Let’s say you put up clothing on PoshMark. Keep it up for 2 week. If the item doesn’t sell, take it down and donate. This will help eliminate piles of clutter from trying to sell things. I have seen people hold onto things that won’t sell because they feel that item should sell. But if it isn’t sold, why are you keeping it?

Then make a drop off or schedule a pick up for a local charity for your unwanted items. I have a full list of organizations you can look into here.

Keeping The Closet Minimal

Now that your closet is organized, you have to do some minimal tweaks to keep it that way.

One thing you should do is add a bag or bin to your closet for clothing you no longer like. Maybe you try on pants that don’t fit you. So you don’t want to keep them anymore. Add them to the bag in your closet. When the bag is full, bring it to the donation center. This will help eliminate the unwanted clothing items from piling up in your closet.

Another thing you can do is download the The Clothing Workbook. This workbook is a guide to walk you through keeping your closet tidy. 

step by step guide to organizing your clothes workbook with overlay

To create a minimal closet, start by doing a closet clean out. Remove all the clothing from the closet. Then sort the clothing into piles or hang back into your closet. Decide what to do with unwanted clothing. Either sell or donate. Try on clothing you are unsure if you should keep. Try making an outfit. Organize your closet in a way that helps you find clothing to wear easily. Maybe it is color-coding. Maybe it is by type of clothing. Keep your closet organized by adding a bag for unwanted items. And get the Clothing Workbook.