7 Closet Cleanout Steps that Manifest Change

Use your closet cleanout to manifest change.

A closet cleanout is more than just a closet cleanout.

If you are inclined to believe that we are all energy and we create our reality through our thoughts and actions, (see one of my favorite authors, Pam Grout, for details), then you’ll quickly understand that your closet has a lot to do with the current state of your life.

Your closet is where you decide how you will show up in the world. These choices create your reality.

We’re all practiced at moving and changing energy in physical form: we can walk across a room, cook a meal, or drive a car. But, we’re less practiced in shifting whatever the energy is that manifests change. Lucky for us, some physical movements bring the added benefit of moving manifestation energy too. A close cleanout is one of them.

By editing your closet to contain only the clothes and items that reflect the change you want to manifest, you signal to your subconscious and the universe that things are changing around here. The message becomes crystal clear when your physical world becomes aligned to the reality you would like to create.

A closet cleanout can manifest change in your life. Here’s how.

1. Start with the end in mind.

What change are you manifesting? Maybe you want a new job, to be healthier or would like to be more social, for example, after a global pandemic. All of these changes include showing up in the world in a different way.

If you would like a new job, your closet should contain clothes that are appropriate for the position you want. If you want a corner office in a corporation, your closet should have a suit or two and be ready for business. If you want to find a work-from-home spot, Zoom-friendly tops and comfy leggings should be in easy reach. If you aspire to a bigger social life, be sure to have a few cocktail dresses.

Your closet cleanout should put the clothes and accessories that support your vision front and center. When you open the closet door, your vision should be clear.

2. What’s your closet cleanout style?

Professional organizers love to empty everything from a closet and then sort each item before putting them back in the closet. Think Marie Kondo. If this is you, great! You’ll make a huge progress in a single session.

But, looking at a pile of clothes that needs sorting and rehanging makes me want to take a nap. I love the take-everything-out-let’s-get-this-party-started energy of emptying a closet, but once the chaos is all around me, I fold under the pressure.

For me, I take the “a little bit, a lot” approach to a closet cleanout. My method is doing a a little bit of cleanout a lot of the time. I might go through my sweaters on a Saturday morning, and the shoes can wait for another day. To me, it’s easiest to chose a category that will make the most difference right in the moment and tackle it. This approach creates flexibility, and you’ll never be left staring at a huge mess, wondering what the hell you were thinking.

In this way, a closet cleanout becomes a habit. Maybe you scan your closet for unnecessary items while you brush your teeth or while your shower heats up. By weaving the practice of cleaning “a little bit, a lot,” a closet cleanout becomes part of your daily process, instead of another item on your “to-do” list.

3. Assess the damage.

You’ve come to this moment with a pattern of belief and behavior that created the closet in front of you. No judgment; it just is. You also have come to this moment with a vision of the change you’re trying to manifest. You’ll need to assess the gap between the two realities and make a plan to close the gap.

Start by making a list of all the categories of your closet that need some love:

  • Work clothes
  • Weekend clothes
  • Workout clothes
  • Night out clothes
  • Shoes
  • Jewelry and scraves
  • Purses
  • Coats

The catagories are yours to define. Maybe this list works better for you:

  • Tops
  • Pants
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • Jackets
  • Sweaters
  • Coats
  • Shoes
  • Accessories

You might need to add a category to your closet. If you’re manifesting a healthier lifestyle, then get your workout clothes in one place, and maybe add to the collection. Simple living isn’t only about subtraction; adding the right things to your life is also living simply.

Once you assess the state of your current closet and decide the categories that make sense for your life, you’ve got a road map for starting. Think about which category would move the progress needle for your life, and focus on it first.

4. The right tools for the job.

I was pretty far into my minimalist journey before I committed to matching hangers. For decades, I hung onto wire hangers and, really, any crappy hanger that came into my life. It was a low-grade mess that my brain didn’t even register until I upgraded to matching hangers.

You don’t need to splurge on wood hangers (although they would be nice). Matching plastic hangers from Target will bring visual consistency to your closet and that small touch makes a big difference.

The same goes for the right size shoe rack or even a small dresser for your closet. If you’ve got the containers that make sense for your space before you start, it will make the organization process easier as you tackle.

While having new hangers and some smart storage at hand is the optimal way to start a clean out, don’t let the lack of these things slow you down. Don’t worry if new closet infrastructure is not possible right now. The joy of tossing out what doesn’t serve you, like love, is free.

5. Decision time.

Darling, you’ve got to let me know. Should I stay or should I go?

The Clash, Combat Rock

The moment of truth is here. Some items in your closet should not be there. Some of the items in your closet today do not belong in the life you are trying to manifest.

As you decide what stays, ask yourself if your manifested self uses this item. Does it fit in the life you want?

The decision process inherently requires you to practice micro visualizations of your desired goal. Each time you pick up an item, you visualize the change you want to manifest to decide whether the item belongs. This micro visualization adds energy to the process and amplifies your intention to the universe.

The jeans that you’re saving for when you lose 20 pounds are not serving you. Too-small jeans embody the message that you are not who you should be and, in this moment, you are lacking. Wrong energy.

Instead, keep the jeans that fit great right now and make you look and feel good. Because, when you become healthier and maybe change sizes, this is how your jeans will feel – really good. Even if the cleanout process leaves you with only one pair, that’s ok.

Keep the dress that’s just the right color. Keep the interview suit that makes you feel professional and confident. Keep the items that make you feel the way you want your new life to feel. One of the pillars of simple living and minimalism is that we all need less than we realize. A few beautiful items that are perfect for the purpose they serve create our realities.

Be committed to your vision and kick to the curb anything that doesn’t belong in the life you want to create.

6. What do I do with all this stuff?

There’s a good chance you’ve got a lot – A LOT – of stuff to get rid of. Because I clean out a little a lot, I keep a bag in my closet to collect items that need to go. Once the bag is full, I put it in the trunk of my car until I happen to drive past Goodwill or another type of donation station, and out it goes There’s no special trip – it’s just part of my routine.

Thredup and Poshmark are cool options to for moving items with useful life to a better place and letting you make some money doing so. If donating items seems like the right thing for you, here’s a great list of where you can pass on unused items.

7. Trust the cleanout process.

In theory, the time between your intention and the manifested result can be instantaneous, but that’s not been my experience. Shifting your energy to align with a new reality can take time, and your job it to trust the process.

Trusting the process means finding contentment in doing your part of the creation. You play a role and the universe plays a role, and all you can “control” are your thoughts an actions. The universe has its own time table.

A closet cleanout is an action that is in your control. Each micro visualization that comes with the decision process signals subconscious and the universe that you’re ready for change. Enjoy the process of a closet cleanout and trust that you are manifesting change at the same time.

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