You may not believe it, but I can pretty much guarantee your wardrobe could do with a good clean out.

If you find you’re squeezing old clothes together to make way for new ones, or haven’t thrown away an item for the past six months, you definitely need to take a serious look at what’s on those hangars.

How to clean out your wardrobe

1. Remove everything: Even the garments you intend to keep. Clear out your racks and wipe down your wardrobe with a clean cloth; you’d be amazed at how much dirt, grime and dust accumulates on rails – it can’t possibly be having a great effect on your finest silk ties, can it?!

2. Sort into three piles. They should be mentally marked as ‘keep’, ‘potentially keep’ and ‘throw away’. Items automatically assigned to the last category, and therefore heading straight to the recycling bank, are:

  • Torn garments or anything with a hole.
  • Stuff you never intend to wear ever again.
  • Attire ‘way too big’ or ‘way too small’ for you.
  • Novelty socks, ties, sweaters and t-shirts.
  • Any item you’ve not worn for over 12 months.

3. Repeat the previous step with your remaining garments. It’s too easy to be overwhelmed by sentiment. Be ruthless; don’t let the memories of good times stop you from saying goodbye to out-dated garments.

Your ex-partner may have brought you a truly horrendous shirt on holiday and perhaps it holds vivid memories of “better days”. Now ask yourself – am I being pragmatic or nostalgic? Firstly, you split up for a reason, and secondly, you probably have a hundred digital photos of them stored on your hard drive – a far better ‘space saving’ memento any day!

4. Eliminate the ‘potentials’. You should have less than a dozen items in this pile (if you’ve been truly ruthless). Take each item and hang it up on its own. Now ask yourself one question, “If I went into a store tomorrow morning and saw this hanging on the rail, would I pay full sticker price for it?” Yes you keep, no you don’t.

5. Sort and categorize. You’re almost ready to re-hang your apparel, but first take the time to sort and categorize everything. Store ‘clothing combos’ next to each other in order to save time later. You don’t need to be too specific; there’s a significant difference between organized and meticulous.

6. Make a list of what’s missing. Chances are your wardrobe appears a little naked. You need to slowly restock and replenish what you no longer possess. That doesn’t mean you need to go out and grab half a dozen polo shirts and several pairs of skinny jeans right this second though!

Instead, take an objective itinerary as you start to put your remaining clothing back on the rails. Make it your priority to budget for at least one quality item a month for the next six months; you’d be amazed at how quickly your closet will refill, and this time each piece will be a genuine treasure – not just an idle collection of impulse buys.

Top Tip: Type out and print the “missing items” list, then give a copy to all your friends and relatives – you’ll never receive an unwanted Birthday or Christmas gift ever again! Don’t forget to list your size and relevant measurement too…

About The Author

Johnathan Bell is the founder, owner and main author of Guy Style Guide, a website dedicated to everyday male fashion, style and grooming. The primary mission? To guide clueless men through the tricky mindfield that is the growing world of male couture. Find him on , Twitter and Tumblr.

One Response

  1. Amorous

    After reading this article, I took it upon myself to have a much needed minimization of my wardrobe. Truly, It’s something every man has to do at some point.