How to Minimize Clutter – Step 2: Clothing

Houzz Visual Match
This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series How to Minimize Clutter

Clothing is the first category we will look at now that you’ve decided to get started! We have many more categories ahead of us so it’s important to stay motivated and positive while going through this process. I’m here to help you get through all the steps so don’t give up!

“The words tidying and cleaning are often used synonymously, but they are two completely different things. … Tidying deals with objects; cleaning deals with dirt. …Tidying up means confronting yourself. … Cleaning means confronting nature.” (page 14 of Spark Joy)

If you ever need some inspiration, you can always drop a line to me here at Tiny House Community by visiting the forums and asking (or discussing) any problems or questions that may arise. Don’t forget you also have a bunch of friends in our community! All you need to do is ask.


Clothing is the first of the 5 categories because it is the simplest to get started on. To break down this category even further, we will separate out individual items as outlined below. It is important to go through every piece of clothing before going on to the next step.

Remember to do this all in one go! Set aside time for yourself to get this done such as an afternoon or morning. As you get further into the process, you will be faster at identifying what sparks joy and what does not. Getting started is the hardest part!


  1. – Tops
  2. – Bottoms
  3. – Dresses & Skirts (Formals for men)
  4. – Clothes that hang
  5. – Socks & Stockings/Hose
  6. – Undergarment
  7. – Bags (Including purses)
  8. – Clothing Accessories (Belts, Hats, Gloves, Ties, Hair Accessories, Plus anything else you would consider under this category!)
  9. – Shoes


Begin your tidying campaign with gathering every piece of clothing you own from every corner of your house. Place it in a centralized location where you have the room to sort. Put the articles of clothing in separate piles as sorted above.

Be committed enough to discard anything you’ve overlooked or forgotten about, except those things in the laundry currently. Making this decision is very important to your journey ahead!

When I began my tidying process, I used tubs to sort (keep, trash, donate) because it kept things together. You can also use trash bags to do the same thing. Just remember to label it! Once a tub was full, I was able to tackle that immediately rather than waiting and having a ton of stuff to fold! I bagged donate items, took the trash out, or folded and put away keep items.


Once you begin, ensure that you’re choosing to keep items because they spark joy. If you aren’t sure if something sparks joy, hold it (hug it) against you and pay attention to how you feel when you hold it.

I remember feeling slightly silly hugging a t-shirt because I wasn’t sure if it really sparked joy inside of me. It was a t-shirt, I wear it to cover myself, what else do I need?

Well, as I hugged my shirts when I wasn’t sure about its joy status, I began to discover the shirts that did make me smile. I felt as though my heart would skip about gently as I thought about why I wear the shirt (more than to simply have clothing on). Some of the reasons I found were simple in nature: I enjoyed the design, it was super comfortable (for my “cleaning the house” shirts), or that I remembered the person who gave it to me.


KonMari method suggests an upward feel in your closet. As illustrated here, treating your closet as an addition to your room instead of just storage can spark joy just by opening your closet doors. This type of organization can also give you extra room to place a small bookshelf or dresser inside your closet as well. Be creative! Nothing is final on design. You can always change or add things later if you aren’t sure what to do now.


After getting through my tops completely, I found it easier to get through the other items. My “joy senses” became more honed. Then I came to a standstill with a couple of items.


Oh boy. I have quite a few costume and formal dresses that I no longer fit into from my youth and kept them for sentimental reasons. (Note: These don’t get put into the sentimental category!)

However, I realized that they do spark joy, even if I can’t wear them. (There were also a few items I kept from my maternity wear because they also sparked joy.) This is when I discovered exactly what it means to feel joy when just looking at something I own.

For the items I owned that no longer fit after having a baby (but bring joy), I am able to hold onto those items to encourage me to get back into shape. If they can’t do that within about 6 months, guess where they’ll go? Yep, you got it. Out!


I want to hear about your progress! Did you have a hard time getting started? Maybe it was a breeze for you! Whatever happens, I’d love to hear about it!

I’m always available via private message, or email, or even drop a line in the forums to hear what other people are doing.

Have a happy and inspiring tidying marathon! See you in the next step.

Series Navigation<< How to Minimize Clutter – Step 1: Get Started and Stay Motivated
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About Stephanie 672 Articles
Stephanie is a stay-home mom of an adorable little girl. Although slightly new to the tiny house movement, she researches a ton of information constantly to keep up with the latest ideas and trends in the tiny world. She runs a home-based business creating websites for small businesses and helping Tiny House Community stay current with content.

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