Declutter: How to tidy up your life (and closet) today

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Artificial Photography 119298 1 | Declutter: How To Tidy Up Your Life (And Closet) Today


Out with the old, in with the new.

I’ve been in major spring cleaning mood.

Going through my closet, eradicating anything I haven’t worn in the past year.

There’s this awesome resale shop in Austin called Buffalo Exchange too where I often take old Lulu and Anthro clothes to see if I can make a buck or two from the little (other man’s) treasures just collecting dust.

This past week: $100 bucks.


I felt good! Really good.

Not just about the money though—but minimalism.

Seriously, out with the old…and in with less—a lot less.

In my former days of my eating disorder, I was a hoarder.

A hoarder of anything and everything that would “instantly gratify” or fill the void and hunger I had—physically, emotionally and mentally.

At the grocery store, I’d buy three bottles of Balsamic vinegar and jars of almond butter at once. Target: stock up on two of everything—so “I didn’t have to go back.”

With clothes—in sight, in mind. Shopping was impulsive, and once the can of worms was open, I was obsessed—spending (and wasting) money on clothes upon clothes upon clothes (much of which STILL have tags on them to this day).

These habits were merely a reflection of my emptiness inside—looking for my happiness, pleasure, and even control, in tangible things—stuff. And more stuff.

Today, I am cleaning house.

Have you ever found yourself looking to materials—clothes, cars, food—or jobs, accolades, awards, successes “tangible” things to stock up on or achieve? Only to find that within months, days…even hours…you are still unsatisfied?

  • You finally bought that top you had been wanting and thinking about—and now the rush of wanting it is gone. You have it…and now the only thing you’re left with is buyer’s remorse?
  • Or you wanted that cookie so badly that you ended up eating six cookies…and now all you have is a stomach ache?
  • You wanted that job . you knew life would be perfect if you got it. Now you have it. And you’re bored out of your mind.

What are you trying to fill?

A new mantra for your spring: Minimalism.

Less is more.

Obviously, yes, you need clothes. You need a job. You need food.

But instead of chasing soooooo hard after these things—or stressing yourself out about them—what if instead you focused on the art of having less, doing less, and being content right where you are?

Easier said than done.


But an easy (tangible) place to start?

Your closet.

Wardrobe makeover!!

Here are a few tips for getting rid of clothes, minimalizing your wardrobe and investing in quality pieces that truly matter.

  1. Take inventory. No sense in keeping things tidy right now. Get ready to get dirty. Take all your clothes out—the spring and summer clothes, even the winter and fall stuff, to see what ya got. You’ll be amazed at what you find…and even what you may have forgotten about or not been able to see in the black hole of you closet.
  2. 1-Year “Return Policy.” If you haven’t worn it in one year, it’s an instant: “Out.” Toss it. Get rid of it. No holding back. This is your first sweep. In doing this, I actually found several items STILL with tags on them (and some of ‘em, I was even able to return to the store! Crazy).
  3. Resale shop. Time to (try) to make some money, money, money. Head to your nearest resale or consignment shop with your best duds in tow to see what you can get. Anything is better than nothing. If your stuff is in good enough shape to sell on your own as well, consider posting some of your items to Facebook, eBay or any other forum online. You could also host a clothing swap with your best gal pals.
  4. GiveawayWhatever didn’t sell or whatever you didn’t take to the shop, it’s now time to donate. Turn into Goodwill, Salvation Army or even your cute next door 11-year-old neighbor. One girl’s trash is another girl’s treasure.
  5. Turn your hangers backwards. Now that you’ve decided what’s sticking around for a little while, as you put all your clothes back in your closet, turn your hangars backwards on the hangar bar. This is a self-experiement for yourself. Whenever you pull out an item and wear it, you can flip the hangar back to ‘normal’—this will serve as a visual to see what it is you actually are wearing (and what you never wear), helping make your next clean sweep that much easier.
  6. New inspiration. Now is the time for the brand new you—wardrobe and all. What is your style really going to be? Perhaps you have been tired of your clothes for awhile now—or find that you’ve had no real vision or inspiration for the pieces you do wear (typically buying for just the sake of buying, or because you love sales, or because it had a brand name). Get inspired by looking through a magazine like Lucky Magazine for some fashionista tips if need be, but more than anything, think about what it is you want? You don’t have to lock yourself into ONE thing necessarily, but what is it you want your wardrobe to convey about you? And what are those key pieces you are actually missing from your wardrobe (i.e. a universal black tee, an undershirt tank, even a really good bra)? Think too about pieces you can wear multiple ways—the types of pieces that go with many

 Ahhh…sigh…you can breathe better already now can’t you?

I sure can.

Here are Thrive’s top 15 inspired pieces for a minimalistic spring/summer closet to get your mind flowing…

  1. Basic tees (I like ones with pockets): White, black, navy, deep pink, yellow, green—my favorite colors to wear.
  2. A few blouses that dress up an outfit (My colors of choice: white, sunshine yellow and royal blue)
  3. A button-up chambray shirt
  4. Distressed pair of denim—casual, comfortable, cool.
  5. A nicer pair of jeans to “dress up”
  6. Black leggings (I LOVE these by Hue)
  7. White jeans that fit like a glove
  8. Modest-length shorts (white or jean) and a few plain tanks for hot summer days
  9. A pair of neutral pumps (wedges please—no heels for me)
  10. A pair of gold sandals that go with everything
  11. A pair of ‘kick it’ tenni shoes (Vans is my new love)
  12. “Lifestyle” workout wear: Black pants, some neutral tanks and really really good (and comfortable) sports bras (I love Outdoor Voices right now)
  13. A seamless undershirt tank
  14. A pair of ‘stunning’ stud earrings and simple necklace
  15. A casual, comfy Maxi dress or skirt to dress up or down


All I need.


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