Have you ever stared into your closet and get a feeling of dread at all the clothes stuffed in there? I have, and it’s just so overwhelming to go through it and figure out what to keep and what to get rid of. Decluttering is mentally draining and it’s easy to quickly reach a point of mental exhaustion when you begin a decluttering project.
I have a good technique that not only prevents the mental exhaustion when decluttering closets but can flip it around and energize you and make it fun. I call it Tag Team Closet Decluttering.
I recommend starting with your favorite adult beverage. Maybe a glass of wine or a bottle of beer. I like to soften the mood and work in a relaxed state rather than one full of tension. If you don’t drink, no problem, you can skip this part and instead pay attention to any tension that arrises and take a couple of deep breaths.
Next, put on some music. Decluttering always goes better with music. This is some boring job your boss gave you, it’s something you are doing for yourself. Make it fun and crank up your favorite tunes.
Now it’s time to start the tag team. As the name “tag team” implies, you are going to need two people for this. It can be a spouse, significant other, one of your kids, a roommate, or a friend. To simplify the description, I’m going to refer to person #2 as “friend”. You can replace that term with whatever fits in your situation.
You will act as decision maker. Friend will provide all the physical labor. Here’s the process:
Tag Team Closet Decluttering
- Team enters closet (in the case of a walk-in) or opens doors in all other cases.
- Friend scoops up five hangers full of clothes onto hand, essentially hanging them on the hand.
- Friend holds up one item with other hand, displaying it for you to review.
- You make a decision – Keep, Donate, Toss, or Maybe.
- If the decision is Keep, friend places item back on the rack.
- If the decision is Donate, Toss, or Maybe the friend places the item in a corresponding pile on the floor. (You’ll have three piles, one for each category. Maybe items are things that you need to try on, or you need more time to consider.)
- Repeat this process until you’ve processed all the clothes in the closet.
- Bag up the Donate and Toss piles.
- Process the maybe pile by making decisions and/or trying things on.
- If you are still unsure, place the item back on the rack, but hang the hanger in the reverse direction, so the open end of the hook is facing you. If you use any of these items over the next few weeks, put them back in the normal hanging direction. At the end of a few weeks you’ll be able to quickly see which items have not been worn by looking for the hangers that are hanging backwards.
Tips for Tag Team Closet Decluttering Success
- Speed is key. Make decisions quickly and if you can’t decide then put it in the maybe pile.
- Try to get through the entire closet in one sitting, even if that means keeping more than you had hoped. You can always do another round later.
- Use a length of time as a gauge. I like to use 6 months, so anything I haven’t worn in the past six months gets donated. You may up that to a year if you have a lot of seasonal stuff.
- Returning empty hangers to the rack will give you a good count of how many items you get rid of.
Tag Team Closet Decluttering without a Teammate
If you don’t have any friends willing to help you with the crazy idea of living with less, then you will have to call on an inanimate object in place of the friend. I find the bed works good. Grab a handful of items from the closet and place on bed. Review the first item on top of the pile and process as Keep, Donate, Toss, or Maybe.
Whatever you do, you absolutely must remove the items from the rack. If you sort through items while they remain on the rack, you will not make any progress. Everything will be a “Keep”. If you (or the friend) makes the effort to remove the items from the shelf, you will be more likely to make good decisions.
I did this exercise with my wife a couple weeks ago, and she was able to move nineteen items to from the rack to the donate pile. When we started she said there wasn’t anything that could go, but once I started holding things up for her she was able to quickly make decisions on some things that could get donated.
Do you have a favorite technique for Closet Decluttering? If so, please share in the comments below. If you decide to try the Tag Team technique, I’d love to hear how it goes.