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The UnPacking List #4: How to Clean Out Your Closet

how to clean out your closet

When was the last time you cleaned out your closet? Like reallllyyy cleaned it out?

I teamed up with Emily Weiblen again to talk all things decluttering your closet. Why? Because I am a firm believer that if you learn to live with a smaller wardrobe at home, it will be easier (and less stressful!) to pack lighter on future trips!

How do you keep track of what you actually wear? How do you part with sentimental items? And how do you keep it all tight and tidy once you’ve purged?

We cover it all in this chat! Plus, we do our best to tie it back to travel, I promise!

What You’ll Learn:

  • The reasons most of us tend to clutter our closets
  • Ways you can keep track of what you actually wear
  • Creative ways to get rid of sentimental clothing items
  • Tactics for decluttering your closet for the first time
  • How to keep it organized and minimal over time

Links of Interest:

Take Action

What’s the biggest discovery you’ve made about yourself while cleaning out your closet? Let us know in the comments!

And don’t forget to…

Written by Brooke

I run the show at Her Packing List and love packing ultralight. In fact, I once traveled for 3 entire weeks with just the contents of a well-packed 12L handbag. When I'm not obsessing over luggage weight, I'm producing episodes of The UnPacking List or just snuggling with my pet rabbit, Sherlock Bunz.

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Gear We Use


Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.

Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.

Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking! – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions


  1. Theresa Crow says

    Just listened to this Podcast–the first ever Podcast to which I have ever listened! This has motivated me to clean out my closet which I plan to start during lunch today while I am working from home. It will take me a few days of lunch times to get this done, but getting motivated to do it and starting it is more than half the battle for me. So thank you for the tips which have provided the motivation I needed.

    • Theresa Crow says

      Update: I did it! The only thing on the floor of the closet are the items that I want to be there as well as lots of lint that I need to vacuum up, but the hard part is done. Now, I need to tackle my dresser and all of the various very casual t shirts that I have in different sizes. One reason I have so many is that we have had season tickets for both pro and college football games for 15+ years so I have many of those. I need to lay all of those out and keep only the ones that I actually wear.. So that is a project for another lunch time. Time to get rid of the multiple sizes as well.. When that is done, I will be ready whenever the places that take donations are open again so that I can drop them off. Thanks for providing the motivation for this!

        • Theresa Crow says

          I still have not vacuumed the floor yet, but at least it can be seen (even with all the lint on it) so that is progress and I am proud of it. I have also done my dresser and the linen closet which held all my lounge/sleepwear and t-shirts for various college and professional teams, extremely casual Ts, clothes worn for painting projects, etc. Between the closets and dresser, I loaded up 5 HUGE trash bags (4 to donate and 1 to pitch) of items. Going through scarves now–I have many from when I was in high school (40+ years ago which are still in demand due to the designer) so I really need to sort through those, but that can be done sitting down at night. My linen closet now has sheets, towels, luggage and C-Pap supplies on the shelves! I am very pleased with my progress and will probably move to other areas of the house. Thank you for the motivation to do this!

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