How to Reduce Your Clothes in 2 Weeks (with Almost No Effort)

Do you wish you had time to reduce your clothes? Is your closet stuffed with fashions you don’t even like?

I have good news. It only takes 2 weeks – and almost NO effort – to reduce your wardrobe down to the clothes you actually wear. I minimized my closet in October by participating in Project 333, a minimalist fashion experiment.

Here are a few reasons I love my simpler closet:

  • I buy higher quality clothing. I’m more mindful of what I buy, and since I shop less, I can spend more (if needed).
  • I know which items go together, instead of feeling overwhelmed by hundreds of options.
  • I feel confident wearing the same pretty dress more than once. I don’t feel pressured to buy something new for every event.
  • More space! I don’t wrangle with a stuffed closet or drawers anymore.

If you want to experience living with less, use my simple 2 week plan to get started.

Week 1.

Wear clothes from your closet. Have fun. Work on something amazing.


End of Week 1

Wash clothes. Dry them on a drying rack instead of in the dryer. Important: Do not put clothes away.


Week 2.

Wear clothes from closet. Important: Not the ones from the drying rack, if possible. Have fun. Work on something amazing.


End of Week 2.

Wash clothes. Again, do not put away. To be clear, you haven’t put clothes away for two weeks now. (Woo!)

Next step: Reduce your clothes.

1. Look at your remaining clothes. It should be easy to spot items you can let go. Remove clothing and accessories that:

  • You hate to wear.
  • Fit poorly.
  • Duplicate pieces.
  • You simply don’t need.

2. Put the clothes in a donation bag. This should be pretty painless, since you already have 14 days worth of clothing you love to wear on the drying rack. The items in the bag are not needed. At the end of two weeks, this is a fact.

3. Put the donation bag in your car to drop off at your convenience.

Things to consider

  • Off-season clothing. Leave off-season items in the closet. My sweaters and long pants may not get much use now, but come October, I’ll be wearing nothing but.
  • How long do you go between washing clothes? For me, no more than 10 days. That means if I have 10 wearable options for any given season, I’m more than set. Don’t minimize to the point of causing chaos. Keep extra clothes if you go longer between washes.
  • Your lifestyle. If you know the extra t-shirts will be used during weeks you workout more frequently, keep them. If you know there is a five-day business seminar coming up where you’ll need five business suits, keep them.

That’s all it takes.

Minimizing your stuff doesn’t have to consume all your free time. Keep it simple and don’t work too hard. In my opinion, there are more important things to do in life, like doing work that excites you and making memories with people you love. Reduce the clutter … but don’t let clutter reduce you.

Have you tried dressing with less?


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1 Brittnie August 16, 2011 at 6:29 am

I love this post!! Ironic too b/c on my to do list this week (um for the last 3 weeks!) is “clothes to donate,” and I keep avoiding this task. Typically I wear the same few outfits over and over but my closet is packed full of items I NEVER wear. Love your tips and excited to tackle this project! thanks!

2 Melissa August 23, 2011 at 8:23 am

Hi Brittnie,
I’d love to know how it goes! It isn’t too had to do once the clothing you like to wear is out of the closet. Keep me posted and thanks for stopping by.

3 Lisa August 16, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Great, simple tips for getting the masses to realize we will energize our lives with less! The proof is in the pudding-what we don’t wear in two weeks we probably only need 10% of (off-season and classics). Love this!

4 Melissa August 23, 2011 at 8:22 am

Thanks, Lisa! It really is a simple system that works.

5 Anna August 19, 2011 at 7:56 am

Hi Melissa,
Thank you for this post! I’m doing it! Since tuesday, I’m wearing my clothes, lay them aside at night and wear something else the next day. I’m very curious what I will have left after two weaks. I think I will want to buy some new clothes (and especially pants, since i just have 2 i can wear!) after this… But will throw/give away a lot too. I would love to have only clothes i really love and love to wear!

6 Melissa August 23, 2011 at 8:16 am

Hi Anna,
Great! I’d love to know how your experiment turns out. I ended up buying some new clothes too and donating items that don’t match my wardrobe. For instance, I had a pair of dark brown capris … you’d think they would match with everything, right? No. A pair of black capris would have matched 10x the amount of clothes. I donated the brown pair and now I’m in the market for a pair of convertible pants – roll up to capris or pants, depending on the season.
Good luck on your mission. Keep me posted!

7 Leslie August 21, 2011 at 6:03 am

This is great idea for the closet, which I need to try! Recently, I pulled out everything in my underwear drawer, and separated out the items I hardly ever wear for whatever reason…poor fit, uncomfortable, torn, old, etc. Why do we keep stuff like this? Anyway, the end result is this: whatever bra or panty I pull out of the drawer now is something that I love and fits and looks good. I did the same thing with my tee shirts and shorts. It’s refreshing and liberating to not have to dig around to find something good, and I have more room now in the bureau.

8 Melissa August 23, 2011 at 8:13 am

Hi Leslie,
Oh man, underwear drawers are the worst. Why don’t we replace old, ratty undies?? They are inexpensive and can make you feel like the sexy woman you already are. It’s so nice to have clothes you actually like to wear (though this can be a work in progress if you realize there are many that don’t fit).
Thanks for sharing!

9 Kristine August 23, 2011 at 9:10 am

I cleaned out my wardrobe a few months ago and it was great. My problem is I’d like to have a simple, cohesive wardrobe instead of a mishmash of different stuff. My clothes go together, but I’d like something more ‘systemized’ where a few pieces mix and match to many outfits. Does that make sense? I just don’t know how to put that together…

Any thoughts? It might make a wonderful follow up post :-)

10 Melissa August 29, 2011 at 7:57 am

It would! I think I will research this and write a post for the monthly update. Thanks for the idea and stay tuned. :-)

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