Use color as a method to declutter your clothes for an easier, more cohesive closet.
It’s a new year and perfect time to tackle decluttering and creating a fresh start in your closet and home spaces. There are lots of good methods out there for decluttering clothes, but I’m going to present a completely different option that is fashion specific.
In this episode you’ll learn how to approach decluttering by focusing only on COLOR as your goalpost. You’ll learn the four stages of decluttering by color, so you can use this method to get rid of clothing that doesn’t suit you and doesn’t make you look your best.
I pray that God meets you where you are and helps you to embrace your beauty and femininity.
Does the idea of decluttering your clothes leave you in a tangled mess of panic? It does me sometimes. What if we thought about decluttering our clothes from a totally different perspective and used the idea of color to figure out what clothes we can let go of in our closet?
Decluttering clothes can be really complicated. It can bring up a lot of thoughts about the what ifs. It can make us regret things we didn’t do that we thought we were going to do. Our clothes can be very heavily laden with the thoughts from our past, or thoughts about our future. This can be something that’s really difficult for a lot of people when it comes to decluttering their things.
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I’m really excited to share with you a different method. One that looks at your clothing a little bit more objectively so that you can remove yourself from the difficult emotions and thoughts that often come along with cleaning out your closet.
I remember the first time I discovered color analysis and found out that some colors look better than others. I went into my closet and I had a ton of lavender. It’s a beautiful color; I really, really love it.
I still love it and I still occasionally find myself drawn to it when I’m shopping even though I know better, and know that it does not love me the same way that I love it.
I always knew that something was off with this color because every time I would put on the things that I owned, I usually ended up taking them back off because they felt wrong somehow. So the very first thing I did after color analysis and creating a color palette, was get rid of everything I had that was lavender. It was quite a few items, but it felt so great not seeing that color in my closet anymore that I knew looked bad on me.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about and need help getting started, download the free color palette here. You’ll also find a quick crash course in color analysis and creating a color palette so you can get an idea of what colors you want to feature in your own wardrobe.
We’re going to assume that you know your best colors and you have an idea of your worst colors as we move through this process. You could go to your wardrobe and pull out every single color that you have that doesn’t work, but I’m going to take you through some baby steps to get it done a little bit easier and with a little less shock to your system.
When you’re tackling a big closet declutter by color, there are four stages that you need to consider and progress through to get it done in a way that makes sense and doesn’t leave you with nothing to wear.
Table of Contents
Decluttering Clothes by Color: Really Bad Colors
In the first stage you’re going to get rid of the really, really bad colors. You know what these are. You know that these are the items that don’t do anything for you. They might make you look like you’re seasick, or they make you look gray or yellow.
They just seem off. They probably make you FEEL bad.
These are really, really bad colors.
If you’re working from color seasons, these are likely the colors that are completely opposite you on the spectrum of color analysis. For example, a deep winter would get rid of light spring colors, or a soft autumn would get rid of bright winter colors.
Go ahead, box these suckers up and get them out of your life, because I can guarantee you that colors this bad for you are not ever going to be really good.
Wave goodbye to those terrible colors, and I bet your closet probably already looks a lot more cohesive with just this one simple step.
Declutter Clothes by Color: Unflattering Neutrals
The next step can feel a little bit painful, depending on how much of your closet is comprised of neutrals and how much you rely on them to build out the rest of your wardrobe.
This one may be the hardest part, because I’m going to ask you to get rid of most of your neutrals that don’t feel good or look good.
Neutral colors in basic pieces of clothing are really the staple in the workhorse of any wardrobe, and you may have defaulted, like many of us have, to buying a lot of black because it’s easy. It matches everything, and it’s always readily available.
However, black may not be your best color.
However, I actually never tell clients to get rid of black because I recognize that it is really easy to integrate into a wardrobe because of the reasons previously listed.
For right now, focus on the other neutrals in your wardrobe. By neutral, I mean any color in the brown, gray, blue, or white family that serves as a blank canvas for other colors.
Maybe you have a lot of gray in your wardrobe and you discover that brighter colors look better on you. That’s going to mean that gray is not one of your best neutrals.
Or consider a different color like tan, which has been really popular recently with black paired together. If you’re a cool season and have cool undertones, tan is probably a really bad neutral for you. This is one that you can look at getting rid of in your own closet.
Now would be a great time to go back and consult the color palette that you have created and look at which colors you’re featuring in your wardrobe moving forward and which colors you think you can get rid of in the neutral category.
But let’s go back to that black, because it’s a basic.
If it is a really bad color for you and you recognize that you probably need to rebuild your wardrobe featuring another dark neutral as your black substitute, I would encourage you to start from the top and work your way down. By that I mean replace those items one at a time, starting with things that are nearer to your face and slowly moving down the body.
You may find that replacing your tops, upper body completer pieces, and dresses is enough and that you want to keep black on the bottom half of your body in pants, skirts, leggings, and even shoes.
At this point, if you’ve gone through both of these first two stages, you’ve gotten rid of all the really bad colors in your wardrobe that make you look like you either need a good night’s sleep or a trip to the doctor.
You’ve taken out of your wardrobe all the neutrals that don’t flatter you and that don’t fit within the overall theme of your colors.
Please take your time. Replace your neutrals slowly. Make deliberate purchases. Choose your neutrals wisely because they are very, very important.
We’re moving into stage three now, which is really just about refining the colors in our wardrobe a little bit better.
Decluttering Clothes by Color: Off-season Colors
Color analysis comes from a system categorized into four main categories, and it has evolved a lot over the last few decades. Now you commonly see 12 and 16 season systems.
Stop for a minute and consider the four big seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter and figure out which one of those fit you best. Then, once you know that information and you’re familiar with the colors that belong in that season, I want you to get rid of everything else that’s not in that season.
This one sounds like it could be a really big step. However, in step one, you got rid of all the really bad colors, and this probably got rid of a large portion of these colors that we’re talking about here.
This is the time, however, to really refine what you’re looking for in terms of colors and their attributes and how they work together.
You may be focusing on all cool colors that are bright perhaps or all warm colors that are just a little bit muted. This will help you really hone in to the nature of colors and what works best for you and allow you to get rid of a lot more colors that don’t suit you.
Decluttering Clothes by Color: Sticking to the Palette
The final stage of decluttering by color is going to force you to focus on a cohesive color palette for your wardrobe. This means that you have focused down and you have chosen a set of colors, be it four colors, eight colors, or 12 colors that you really want to feature in your wardrobe.
You’re going to focus your energy on buying just those colors. Moving forward, you’re going to build your wardrobe around this concept.
Once you’ve decided to go all in on the concept of a color palette, you’re ready for stage four, which is to get rid of any color that’s not in that color palette.
This is definitely an advanced decluttering concept when it comes to color because you’re basically saying, “I know that there are probably 30 to 40 colors that really look good on me, could look good on me and are flattering, but I’m going to commit to those that I really love that work for me, that fit well into my wardrobe, and I’m going to let go of all the rest.”
Decision fatigue is a real thing, my friend, and you don’t want to be looking at 20 different colors to put together in your wardrobe. It just makes your life more complicated.
It’s going to take longer for you to get ready, longer to put together outfits because you have too many choices and you haven’t streamlined your wardrobe into a way that works and is cohesive and simplifies your life.
If you’ve gone through all of these stages, you should be left with a closet full of clothes that looks really beautiful in its simplicity.
It should look like something out of nature because all of your colors work so well together and look like something that the creator himself painted because, hey, secret, he did create you perfectly. Just like any beautiful scene in nature, he painted the colors of your palette just right. And you don’t need a closet full of 50 colors to look your best and have variety. All you really need are maybe 12 colors that you really love AND really love to wear.
Final Thoughts on How to Declutter your Clothes by Color
Decluttering clothing can be difficult if you get focused on what you might need or miss. Objective decluttering methods take away some of the decision making. Since color is relatively objective, you can use these stages to get rid of clothes that don’t make you look your best.
Go to your closet and look at your clothes. If they’re not organized by color, maybe start with that.
Once you’ve taken a good look at what’s in your closet, pick out one color that you absolutely know doesn’t suit you, doesn’t get you any compliments, and doesn’t make you feel good. Then, commit to getting rid of everything you own in that color.
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Declutter your clothes by color for an objective look at what you really want to keep.
Stacey is the owner and creator behind Radiantly Dressed. She is a certified image consultant and AICI member focusing on creating simplicity in wardrobes via color and style.