Decluttering Challenge: How to Clean Out Your Closet in 14 Days

A closet clean out challenge can feel hard but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s a new way to declutter your wardrobe.


It’s a new year, and that means it’s time for new things like decluttering. Today, I’m going to talk about how to declutter your closet in a whole new way and tell you how you can clean out your closet in two weeks.

Once upon a time, I had clothes in many different areas in my home. At this point, it’s only two areas. I have my main clothes and then I have the clothes that I need to declutter. I am excited to start working on those because there are some things I’ve held onto because I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to get rid of it. 

I thought I might wear it again and needed to wait and see because I was not ready to make that decision. Now, I am at the place where I am ready to make some decisions and to clear some space out.

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The Impact of Closet Clutter

Statistically speaking, most women own approximately 200 items of clothing. I don’t know if that number shocks you or makes you feel overwhelmed. Think about the fact that they’re including wearable clothing, pajamas and all those different things. 

That’s still a lot to manage and sort through. It’s a lot to think about when you’re getting dressed. It’s just a lot of clothes to have to choose from. This steals our time and energy. It forces us to make too many decisions in the first part of the day which depletes our energy from making important decisions later in the day. 

It’s called decision fatigue. Your closet being simplified and streamlined can have a huge impact on how your day starts. But decluttering clothes can be hard. I don’t know why I used to find this area difficult.  I tend to attach a lot of emotions to things, which makes it hard for me to declutter at times. 

Clothing Attachments

Honestly, I am still on a very big life and home decluttering journey. My family is filled with level one hoarders. Everybody wants to keep everything, and it’s really difficult to get rid of things. If they’re watching, it’s nearly impossible.

I followed the advice of many of the decluttering experts. They say to focus on your own stuff first. That’s what I’ve donewith my closet. It has empowered me in so many ways to change my mindset and the way I think about what I want to keep, why I want to keep it, and how much stuff I want to manage. 

It’s helped me to let go of a lot of those attachments that we have when it comes to our things. We get attached to our clothes for lots of different reasons. We can have emotional and sentimental attachments. We may remember an event we wore something to, and it may bring up nostalgia. 

We may feel guilty about the money that we spent when we see things sitting in our closet. This is a big one for me.  Thinking I spent good money on that item and really need to wear it. Somehow we never wear it. Every time we look at it, the guilt gets deeper and deeper and we feel worse about ourselves because we spent the money. 

Recently I bought a linen blazer from J Crew, which was not cheap. It still had the tags on it. I let it sit in my closet for about two years because I felt that financial guilt. I tried to sell it on Poshmark but it never really went. 

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I got so tired of looking at that thing in my closet that I threw that $100+ in the Goodwill bag and donated it. I’m done looking at it. The truth is that I feel that way about a lot of things that I’ve been holding onto, and I’m ready to throw them all in the Goodwill bag and just let them go. 

One of the other reasons that we often hold onto clothes is because they represent a fantasy version of ourselves. Whether that’s a past self or past life that we had, something that we did that brought us joy before we had kids or a career. 

We hold onto those clothes because they represent a person that we used to be. It’s hard to let go of that sometimes and move forward. You are the person that you are right now. The other side of that is sometimes we hold onto clothes that represent a fantasy self, a future self that we are hoping we could be.

Which was probably the blazer for me. So we don’t get rid of those things because we think we might need it in case we become this person. I would also encourage you to let go of that and focus on being yourself right now. Focus on the person that you are today because the person in the past is gone. 

God has made you a new person now, and the person in the future is not guaranteed. You don’t know the person that you’re going to become. 

A New Approach and Challenge

Beyond these mental and emotional thought attachments that we often have to clothing, decluttering can be an overwhelming process. I have read lots of different decluttering books. I have studied lots of different decluttering methods, and some of them are truly overwhelming. 

They ask you to take everything out of your closet and put it on the bed.  If you have small children that stuff’s never going back in the closet. You’re just going to have a pile on the bed that and more stuff you have to deal with. 

Some methods ask you to pull out your clothes and ask yourself if it sparks joy. But what if it sparks 5,000 other emotions you have to sift through? I don’t know what joy feels like in a piece of clothing. Some clothing doesn’t spark joy at all. My bras don’t spark joy. I have to wear them, but they’re not sparking joy.

Instead of taking on your wardrobe one big bite at a time, I would love to share with you the Lighten Up approach that we use here at Radially Dressed, a two-week Closet Cleanout Challenge. We go through our closet systematically in different sections. Looking at all the different areas of our wardrobe, 13 days of items, and then a catchup day. 

Tackling them one piece at a time. For example, one day you’ll tackle jewelry and the next day you’ll tackle all your bottoms. Doing it this way lets you focus on just one piece and not get overwhelmed. No mess in the process that you throw on your bed. Just being able to focus on all the pieces of your wardrobe separately so that you can clean them out a little bit of a time. 

The truth is, there may be areas that you don’t need to clean out. They may already be pretty minimal because some of us tend to go maximalist in one area and minimalist in another. So there are certain areas of our wardrobe we may not need to work on.

This way we make sure we hit all the areas and get some big traction over a short manageable period. There is a workbook to go along with this to help you tackle some of those thoughts we talked about before as you move along. 

You can track what you’re getting rid of and it makes it a little bit more fun to see your progress on a piece of paper in real-time. It’s a fun, fun challenge. 

The Magic Of Less Clothes

The truth is, I got into this whole process in 2015. My first intro into thinking about my clothes as a grownup was in the form of capsule wardrobes. I asked myself a while back, what was it about capsule wardrobes that appealed to me so much. What was the reason that I wanted to take this on? 

It’s because I just wanted simplicity. I didn’t know that I wanted to have less, I just knew I wanted to make easier decisions and feel confident. I was a somewhat new mom and didn’t know how to dress myself anymore. 

I wanted it to be easy. I wanted to have less. I wanted my clothes to work together in a way that was powerful and impactful without having to make a bunch of decisions about what to wear. It’s taken me eight years to understand the mindset of having less and embrace it. 

It took me quite a few journeys to get here because as I said, I come from a family with some hoarding tendencies. I think I picked up that great depression mindset from my grandparents of never getting rid of things because you might need them later and passed it on to my kids as well. 

My husband has it as well. His grandparents were the same way. It can be really hard to let go of things. But I have found so much freedom in just taking this one area in my life that I’m in full control over. I can’t control the toys all the time because they belong to other people. 

I can’t control my husband’s clothes – he has a lot – but I can control my own wardrobe. This is one area where I have complete control and beginning to declutter it, make it manageable, and clean out the things I’m not wearing.  

To focus on the clothes that I really do want to wear that make me happy and that suit me authentically in my own personal style has been such a game changer. I want that for you. I hope you join us in our decluttering challenge. 

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Instead of pulling everything out and asking what sparks joy, this systemized approach to a closet clean out challenge helps avoid overwhelm.

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