messy closet.

Downsizing as a Habit: Closets

by | Feb 14, 2023 | Organizing

What comes to mind when you hear the word downsizing? For many, it seems like a daunting exercise that usually happens in relation to another stressful event. Bigger downsizing projects, for example, often happen when we move out of homes that have been lived in for many years. This can be an incredibly overwhelming process; so, don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it!

However, downsizing can also be a habit. Continuously downsizing and organizing is a lifelong process, and there are small steps we can take to minimize clutter over time. (Even after we move and downsize!) When you settle into a new home, you might realize that you have tried to take too many belongings or have pieces of furniture that you don’t need. Your closets might be packed with clothes that you don’t wear. You might have paperwork from 1983 that is gathering dust in your office.

Downsizing Your Closet Tips

Here are a few tips for creating healthy downsizing habits for one space in your home – your closet! It’s estimated that most people only wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. Having clutter in your closet can make getting dressed an unnecessarily stressful or overwhelming process.

1. Create a system for identifying clothes you don’t wear as much.

Some organizers suggest turning all your hangers in one direction. Then, turn the item the other way when you wear it for the first time. After a year (or season), any clothes you haven’t worn will be easy to identify and can be donated.

Another system is to keep a box in your closet and put the clothes you don’t think you’ll wear in the box at the start of every season. At the end of the season they can be donated if you haven’t touched them. These systems can be mentally helpful because you don’t have to commit to getting rid of something immediately. If this becomes a seasonal habit, you will reduce clutter over time.

2. Arrange your clothes by color or category.

Arranging your clothes by color or category ensures your items are easy to find and will help you identify what you aren’t using as frequently.

3. Get rid of items that don’t fit right.

If you fluctuate sizes, it’s okay to keep clothes in multiple sizes – but only if you love them and would be excited to wear them again! We all have those items which shrink, stretch, or just never fit right. Donate those with no regrets!

4. Use the one-in, one-out rule.

If you buy a new item of clothing, consider finding another in that category that you don’t wear as much to donate. If this becomes a habit, it will help reduce closet clutter over time. Do you need 12 black pairs of pants? Probably not.


Downsizing doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you make it part of your everyday life! Consider using some of these habits to make downsizing your closet a routine.