“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset and embark on a new lifestyle.”
Want to feel more productive and instantly rejuvenated? Just clean out your closet. Consider Marie Kondo’s philosophy: By choosing what “sparks joy,” you’re not only clarifying your values, but establishing how you want to live, work and connect with people.
1. WHAT TO GET RID OF
Men’s fashion trends may not move at the lightning-fast pace of women’s wear, but guys should still purge their closets at least once a year. The number-one item New York stylist Jessica Cadmus of The Wardrobe Whisperer discards from men’s closets? The button-down shirt. "Button downs rarely have a chance to go out of style before you need to remove them from your wardrobe,” she explained to Business Insider. "You can tell a shirt is done when you see visible signs of wear like rips and yellowing. Pay extra attention to the neckline and under the arms."
Online media site Best Life offers more suggestions on what to eliminate. “We've all been there: You open up your closet to pick out something to wear for the day, and feel like it's overflowing with clothes that don't fit, don't suit you or that you just don't want anymore.” Although certain pieces may evoke emotional attachment, “They're better off in a donation bin than weighing you down.”
Where to Make Room in Your Closet:
- The "investment piece" you no longer love
Splurged on a designer style years ago? While certain items may qualify for the resale market, keep this rule in mind: If it no longer fits, has gone out of fashion or isn’t in your style wheelhouse anymore, there's no point hanging on to it.
- The college hoodie
Everyone has items that convey a sense of nostalgia, but don’t let them become your everyday staples. Yet if you’re still wearing a college hoodie after you graduate and leave campus, it’s saying "I can't move on."
- The high school letterman jacket
Another sentimental style that may be hard to let go of. Nevertheless, if you’re still clinging to a remnant of your high school years, it’s high time to give it up.
- The old “lucky” T-shirt
Just because you happened to wear it when you got your dream job offer doesn't mean a fortuitous tee will last forever. If it's seen better days, ditch it to free up space in your closet. Upgrade it with newer, better-fitting and more style-conscious choices.
- The “I’ll fit into them again someday” jeans
Most of us are likely to become more aggravated than motivated when we open our closets and find "jeans of fitness past." Donate them and buy new ones that make you feel comfortable and confident with the body you have now.
- The outdated staples
Cyclical styles tend to take decades, not years, to return. Few people have the luxury of entire dressing rooms or storage spaces for “vintage” items (just in case they make a comeback). A closet filled with keepsakes does not equate to functionality, let alone practicality. If it's been a year since you've worn an item of clothing, get rid of it.
- The never-worn inherited styles
Clothing passed down from parents may have high sentimental value, but lacks style and practicality. Don’t feel obligated to keep your father’s old suit that you’ll never wear in your closet. Donate it so that someone else can appreciate it as much as Dad did.
- The irrelevant graphic tee
Still think your witty graphic tees look cool? Donate them in favor of plain and/or neutral T-shirts, which never go out of style.
- The sports/concert paraphernalia bought on a whim
No emotional connection to a team or event whose moment has passed? Say sayonara.
- The clothes you wouldn’t be caught dead in outside the house
Ashamed to wear your favorite comfort clothing in public? Ditch it and treat yourself to something new that's just as comfortable—you deserve more than a fraying sweatshirt.
- The event-specific outfit
Haven't worn the outfit from that wedding, big meeting, conference or any other event you recall fondly? Donate it to make room for something new and more practical, and wear it to make new memories.
- The color that doesn’t complement the rest of your closet
You know the sweater: It fits well, it’s made well, feels comfortable and even looks luxurious. But if the color doesn’t fit in with the rest of your wardrobe or complement your skin tone, you’ll never wear it. Let. It. Go.
2. WHAT TO KEEP AND/OR ADD TO YOUR CLOSET
- The Blazer
- The Button-Up Shirt
- Straight-Leg Jeans
- The White and Navy T-Shirt
- Year-Round Workout Shorts
Similarly, Men’s Health offers its own list of menswear must haves to establish “a complete closet”:
- The Chino Shorts
- The Denim Jacket
- The Knit Tie
- The Polo Shirt
- The Short-Sleeve Shirt
- The Suit
- The Oxford Shirt
- The Slim-Fit Dress Pant
3. HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR CLOSET
Now that you’ve narrowed down what to preserve versus what to purge, Men’s Health also offers guidelines on how to streamline your space. Better yet, it makes searching for a favorite shirt that much easier.
- Organize by category (i.e., office or off duty) and color.
- Place empty hangers on the side or in back of your closet for future use.
- Make sure all of your hangers look the same; this way, you can focus on the clothes.
- Store belts & ties neatly on an accessories rack.
- Add hooks in back or on the side to store hats and miscellaneous items.
4. WHERE TO DONATE UNWANTED CLOTHING
Provides men with the tools to achieve financial independence. By focusing on image presentation, it helps boost confidence for improved employment outcomes.
Works to enhance people’s dignity and quality of life by strengthening their communities, eliminating barriers to opportunities and helping them reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.
Provides free coats to people in need while promoting volunteerism and environmental sustainability.
By recycling used clothing, Planet Aid helps reduce CO2 emissions and other gasses contributing to global warming.
Donations to Salvation Army Family Stores help fund rehabilitation programs that heal addictions, change lives and restore families.