Our #1 Trick to Purge Clothing

With the start of a new year often comes unrealistic goals to organize every nook and cranny in your home. While we love getting organized, you won’t find us doing complete overhauls of our closets, drawers, and cabinets every January.

organize-clothingThat’s because we get rid of unwanted items all year round and purge continuously. We call it the “grocery bag method.” Not incredibly glamorous, but boy is it effective.

Our #1 Purging Trick

Here’s how it works. I always have a paper grocery bag in my closet. This bag is specifically for items that I no longer want and instead will donate.

closet-clothing-organizedThe “Rules”

Whenever I bring a new item into my closet, I find something in my closet that I don’t love and put it in this bag. If something new is coming in…something old is going out. NO EXCEPTIONS!

clothing-donateI also fill up this bag whenever I try on a piece of clothing and don’t end up wearing it that day because it’s just kinda blah. You know what I mean, right? Those pieces that you put on when getting dressed for the day, but you end up not wearing because it doesn’t fit/has a stain/is ripped/or just isn’t that cute anymore. This happens to me all the time.

In the past, I would hang those unwanted pieces right back up to be dealt with at a later date (usually months later when I scheduled time to purge my closet). I’d then try the items on all over again, only to decide (for a second time) that I no longer wanted it in my wardrobe. This method was inefficient and time-consuming.

how-to-purge-clothingNow with the paper bag method, these items are discarded immediately… making my closet a bit lighter, and my morning clothing decision a bit easier.

My paper bag fills up slowly and steadily, but it always contains items that I know for certain I no longer want.


Purge, Donate, Repeat

Once it’s full, I put the paper bag in the trunk of our car and the next time I drive by the donation site…I simply drop it off. Then I add a new paper bag to our closet for my next round of donations.

full-bag-of-donationI know it sounds simple, but the paper bag method has been a game changer for me. Instead of scheduling an overwhelming and daunting day to purge my closet, I slowly discard items every single week. bed-in-master-bedroom

If you’re looking to slim down your home or closet, this method just might work for you. Give the paper bag a try and let me know your thoughts on this simple trick to get organized! casey_sig


  • Summer Hogan

    Such a great idea! I do the same thing but instead of a bag it’s a pile on the floor lol! Note to self: put a bag in the closet!

    • Haha Floor or bag… at least you’re purging! Happy Friday!

  • Marit

    I love this! I keep an old hamper in my closet for the same reason and end up putting accessories in there too.

    • Genius! Yours probably looks a lot better than my paper bag!

  • Erin

    Paper bag or a bag of any sorts is such a great idea!!!! I know i have plans to purge in March, after crazy snowboard season is over. I literally feel as if i have no time whatsoever now. but this gives me the idea of to just at least start my pile!

    • Exactly! Baby steps all the way, so it isn’t a daunting & overwhelming task!

  • Trang

    Oh wow. You are my hero. Purging is THE hardest thing for me when it comes to clothes. I always have this nagging feeling that if I get rid of it, I’ll most certainly need it the following week/month. I can’t seem to let things go! I’ve read all kinds of inspiring books like “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo. I’ve tried to go through pieces of clothing and asking if it brought me joy and oddly enough, a lot of my clothes to bring me joy. I know that is not reality, but it’s SO VERY hard to let go. When I was growing up, my dad tried to get me to also adopt the ‘buy a new item of clothing, get rid of an item’, but it did not work. I really need help, I know. I do have a bag in my closet room for donations, but it takes a really long time for me to fill it.

    • You crack me up Trang! I totally feel ya! It can be soooo difficult. But every little bit counts, right?!

      I haven’t read Marie Kondo’s book yet. I’m afraid I’ll get rid of everything I own…haha!

  • Whitney Regeth

    Love this idea! I have a hard time letting go of items and then becomes overwhelming. This makes so much sense!

    • Happy to help Whitney! Let the purging begin!

  • Veronica Susan

    If you have a lot of hanging clothes, I’ve come up with a decent system. I hang all of my clothes up with the hanger facing the “wrong way” (meaning it’s hooked behind the rod instead of over the front). Then, as a wear each item and wash it, I’ll rehang it the correct way. This allows me to see what I’ve already worn and what has been hanging for months and never touched! I was able to get rid of at least a 1/4 of my clothes last season with this system!

    • I’ve heard of this method and love it! What a great idea. Plus it forces you to really wear your wardrobe instead of reaching for the same things all the time!

  • Meghan Kearney

    I do this in my son’s closet but didn’t think to do it in my own! duh moment!!!

    • Yay! So happy you can now make it happen for your closet!