7 items to get rid of in your closet right now – according to pro organizers

We're better off without these garments and storage solutions cluttering up our closets

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(Image credit: Future PLC)

Nothing feels better than a neatly organized closet – it's the clearing out and decluttering that's the hard work. To make things easier, we consulted professional organizers and gathered a list of items to get rid of in your closet this very second.

There are all kinds of clever closet organizers and closet organization ideas out there to help us streamline our clothes and shoe collections, but frequent decluttering will be most transformative.

So, what can we clear out right away? From items saved for 'some day' to clothes storage ideas that aren't as practical as they first appear, here are the things you can get rid of now, freeing up space for the items you love wearing, and for new purchases...

Items to get rid of in your closet right now

Whenever we are organizing a bedroom, it's always helpful to remember the mantra that most of us wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. So there are definitely items that are taking up space unnecessarily.

Another way to make clearing out and organizing clothes easier is to turn all the hangers backward at the beginning of each new year. 'Once you wear anything put the hanger back to normal. At the end of the year, you can see everything you don't wear. At that point, if you don't have a reason to save it, donate it,' says professional organizer Juliana Meidl. Cutting things down will free up space, making getting dressed far easier and we find it makes us appreciate the clothes we already have (and had forgotten about).

dressing room with built in storage and armchair

(Image credit: Future PLC)

1. Plastic clothes hangers

'Plastic clothing hangers don't hold weight well and look cheap,' says Melissa Fiorentino, a professional stylist and trends forecaster at Editor's Faves. At Homes & Gardens, we recommend these clothes hangers, at Amazon, which are inexpensive, available in a range of colors, and will keep garments in shape.

2. Garments that no longer fit

wardrobe and wooden chair

(Image credit: Future PLC)

There is a tendency to keep jeans and dresses that no longer fit us because they are too small with the hope that one day they will fit again. Juliana Meidl, founder of Detroit home organizers Serenity At Home says that as she and her team go through those clothes with clients, she asks them to 'really look at those items and decide if they get back to the smaller size is it something they will still want to wear.' 

Often, when looking at it from that perspective we are willing to let those clothes go. Brenda Scott from Tidy My Space agrees: 'Most people after going through a body transformation, want to shop for something fresh and new. Rewarding themselves for all of the hard work it took to get there.

So either donate or sell the items that you're holding onto for that "someday,"' says Brenda.

Juliana Meidl

Juliana Meidl has been a professional home organizer for many years, having found that they key to a serene home was perfect organization that works for the family. 

3. Items you haven't worn in two years

If you haven't worn it in the past two years, it's time to let go of it, argues Melissa Fiorentino. She says lots of us hold onto trendy items that we never wear or pieces that don't fit our lifestyle or the weather where we live.

As for items that we need to fix, she says 'it's a good idea not to throw away items with minor issues like small rips, missing buttons, or lose zippers, but it also doesn't help to hoard these at the back of your closet and forget about them.'

It can be hard to declutter sentimental items of clothing, so follow Brenda's advice and either take a photo of it and let it go or put it in pride of place. 'If you're concerned that the memories will fade over time without the item, then take a picture of the item and let the article go. I would even suggest framing a really special concert T-shirt,' she says. 

'Maybe it was the concert where you were proposed to or the graphics are impressive or it's a collector's item. Make it a piece of art instead of hiding in your closet.'

brenda scott home organizing
Brenda Scott

Brenda is passionate about home organizing, decluttering, and creating a safe home. At Tidy My Space, she helps people to keep their homes tidy when life gets busy. Brenda shares useful tips and gives practical help with sorting and editing her clients' spaces, leading them to feel less stressed and bringing the luxury of time to be spent with family, friends, or on themselves.

4. Too many duplicates

blue wardrobe and drawers with wall of orange wallpaper

(Image credit: Jo Fiorella, photography by Joy Coakley)

There's absolutely nothing wrong with having the same classic T-shirt in every color or two of the same pair of jeans that just fit you perfectly, but professional organizers think we have a habit of holding onto too many items that are very similar to each other.

'When you go through and really look at everything you have in a closet often clothing can be purged because you don't need to keep 15 black shirts,' says Juliana Meidl.

5. Expensive items you keep meaning to sell

I'm certainly guilty of holding onto items of clothing that I have not ended up wearing because of the fact they were expensive. It feels like a waste to get rid of them – I could sell those jeans or dresses online but will I ever actually get around to taking photos, listing them, packaging them up, and sending them? Probably not. If that resonates with you, consider donating them to a charity.

millie hurst news writer
Millie Hurst

Millie Hurst the section editor of Homes & Gardens, oversees the Solved section, which provides readers with practical advice for their homes. Millie has written about and tried out countless cleaning and DIY hacks in the six years since she became a journalist, and has worked in both London and New York. She is currently completing a diploma in interior design with the Interior Design Institute.

6. Damaged clothing

If you have items that are damaged or stained and have been holding onto them but haven't had the time to repair them, consider clearing them out. 'Anything with stains or holes should be gotten rid of, of course!' says Leslie Kilgour, professional organizer and founder of Get It Straight Organizing. 'You can always use these items as cleaning rags or donate them to a pet shelter,' she says. It can feel hard to part with things that were expensive initially, but they're taking up valuable space in your home that could be used for something you use day to day.

7. Plastic over-the-wall storage

Melissa Fiorentino says that over-the-door organizers made of plastic tend to be flimsy and too small to meaningfully store anything. Fabric over-the-door shoe bags, at The Container Store are a more aesthetically pleasing alternative.


What are two essential items to have in your closet?

'A good pair of jeans that fit you, make you look great and can be styled up or down, and a classic little black dress that can be styled many different ways. Go for quality and classic not "fast fashion" or "on trend,' home organizer Brenda Scott advises.

Leslie Kilgour, professional organizer and founder of Get It Straight Organizing says that well as a crisp white shirt White is the basis for so many outfits, so you can pair a crisp white shirt with your beloved pair of pants, and dress it up or down depending on your jacket and accessories! 

Millie Hurst
Section Editor

Millie Hurst is a freelance lifestyle writer with over six years of experience in digital journalism. Having previously worked as Solved Section Editor at Homes & Gardens and Senior SEO Editor at News UK in London and New York, Millie has written for an array of homes brands including Livingetc and Real Homes and was formerly Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home. She has written and edited countless features on home organization, decluttering and interior design and always hopes to inspire readers with new ways to enjoy their homes. She lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and loves to weave nature-inspired decor and nods to time spent in Italy into her own home.