You know it’s time to take action when you frantically search your closet for your favorite top before you finally realize — 10 minutes later — it’s wedged in between the cluster of turtlenecks you never wear. A packed closet that doesn’t showcase the items that are the most flattering and wearable is a closet that needs help now. Learn how to take control, and bring some much-needed clarity to your overflowing clothes collection.

1. Remove Every Item That’s Damaged
Go through every item in your closet and take out everything that’s stained, ripped or otherwise unserviceable. You’re not going to wear these items to work or during weekend activities, so why let them take up valuable real estate in your closet? 

Although stained and ripped clothing isn’t something that donation centers will consider reselling to clientele, they might be interested in it to resell to rag makers. Check with them to see if they will accept your well-used items. 

2. Find a New Spot for Out-of-Season Items
Let’s face it. You’re not going to wear a cozy argyle sweater in the summer, just like you’re not going to slip into that breezy halter top in the winter. So, when clothing is out of season, find it a temporary resting place so it’s not cluttering your closet. 

By curating a seasonal closet, you’ll be able to find items much more easily and even put together outfits visually because you’ll actually be able to see everything in your wardrobe. Storage ideas include folding out-of-season items neatly and placing them in a plastic bin with a lid or sealing them in a set of vacuum storage bags. 

3. Remove Items That Don’t Fit
If you’ve been waiting for the day that you’ll be able to actually wear that cute pair of jeans that are two sizes too small, stop waiting. That day may never come unless you’re actively trying to lose weight. Instead, ruthlessly remove too-small — or too big — items from your closet. 

One solution for items that don’t fit is to consider whether you have a friend or family member that might be able to wear them and pass them along. 

4. Remove Multiples of Items
Do you really need six black t-shirts? And, really, how many blue jean jackets can you wear throughout the year? 

It’s time for the survival of the fittest — the fittest being the one item that fits you the best out of a sea of the same. It’s simple: Try all of the multiples on, pick your favorite, and ditch the ones that don’t make the cut. 

5. Pull Out All Other Items and Consider if You Really Need Them
Anything that’s survived this far that you haven’t assessed yet needs your attention, and this is where it can get difficult. Try asking yourself some questions like when did you last wear an item, whether it requires special upkeep and whether it’s something that looks better on the hanger than on you. 
Chances are, if you haven’t worn something in over a year, you won’t miss it. 

6. Get Some Feedback
If deciding what to keep and what to remove is a stumbling block and you find yourself unable to make decisions, get a trusted friend or family member to come over. Try things on and discuss. Before you know it, it will be crystal clear what clothing items should stay and which should go. 

7. Consider Consignment
If you have some items that have never had the tags removed or clothing that’s like new, you might want to consider a consignment arrangement. Companies like ThredUp will send you a postpaid, roomy free clean-out bag that you can load up with your unwanted garments and send in. 

Once your items are accepted, they’ll be listed on the site for bargain hunters to view, and you’ll be able to see how much you stand to earn when each of your items sells. Don’t expect to make a fortune, however. Consignment items will typically deliver only a very small percentage of the sales price. 

8. Consider Donations
If you don’t want to fool around with consignment, you can donate your clothes to one or more of the many available charities. This is a quick way to rid yourself of your unwanted clothing, plus, if you get a receipt, you can choose to deduct the value of your donations on your itemized tax return. 

Other Ideas
While you’re decluttering, take a look at other areas of your household for junk you don’t want. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to have a separate closet dedicated to your out-of-season clothing or a garage you can actually park in? If you gather up enough unwanted items, a service, such as will come and pick up your stuff for a fee, which will leave you with lots of lovely space you can put to better use.