How to Clear Out Clothes While Packing for a Trip

If you hate decluttering your clothes, use travel to stimulate removal of clothes that you no longer wear, fit into or like. Going on a trip focuses your mind on how you like to look and what you feel comfortable in, and is an ideal time to sort and toss clothes that just don't work for you anymore.


  1. Image titled Pack a Suitcase for an Airline Trip Step 1
    Get your suitcase or other carrying bag out. Place it on a suitable surface, such as the bed, floor, a table or similar. It is best if you have the suitcase near the clothes, to allow you to use it for one of the piles you're going to create.
  2. Image titled Organize Your Clothes Step 3
    Make space for the piles you're about to create. The piles that you're going to make will consist of:
    • Clothes to take on the trip
    • Clothes to donate (to friends, family, the charity store, etc.)
    • Clothes you're not sure about yet (the undecided pile)
    • Seasonal pile divisions (this is optional but can be useful if you've allowed a mess of different season clothes to mount up or if you're in one season and traveling to a different season)
    • Mending pile
    • Keep but in need of washing pile (or take on trip but need washing)
    • Clothes to keep that are clean and don't need mending.
  3. Image titled Pack a Suitcase for a 7 Day Holiday Abroad Step 2
    Use packing your suitcase as the motivation to begin sorting. Which clothes do you want to take with you? Drop those into the suitcase. Don't worry about how many for now, you'll start sorting that shortly.
  4. Image titled Make Your Room Look More Grown Up Step 8
    Place all the other clothes from your wardrobe, the floor, chairs, wherever else, into the piles as above. Try things on, make it a real event because you're going away, so let yourself spend spend a bit of time doing this. You'll come home to a tidy bedroom and you'll know you've tried on everything you'd like to wear for the trip too!
  5. Image titled Organize Your Clothes Step 6
    Put all the clothing for donating into bags or boxes. If you have time before traveling, drop them off to friends, family or the charity store before your trip. If there isn't time, label it for dealing with on your return and put to one side.
    • If your tax system allows you to get a donation credit for clothing, be sure to get the receipt.
  6. Image titled Make Your Room Look More Grown Up Step 13
    Put the undecided pile into a basket or box. You can come back to these after your trip. You will definitely have a new perspective after being away and it'll be easier to decide on these uncertain items with a fresh mind. You might even come home with replacement clothing, making it easier to donate some of the undecideds.
  7. Image titled Organize Your Clothes Step 16
    Put away the clothes you're keeping. Do this by season, if possible. If you like to color code, do this now as well. As you put back items, keep asking yourself whether you truly wish to keep each item.
  8. Image titled Pack a Suitcase for a 7 Day Holiday Abroad Step 5
    Begin packing. Start by halving the pile that has mounted up on your suitcase. Be ruthless, remembering that it's simple enough to make many outfits from just a few combinations of simple basics. Once you've halved the amount of clothes originally selected for travel, see whether it's appropriate to halve it again, then again. This will depend on how many clothes you added to this pile to begin with. Then pack.
  9. Image titled Use a Washing Machine Step 9
    Wash the clothes in need of washing. Put them away nice and clean for after you return from the trip, or add them to the suitcase, as appropriate.
  10. Image titled Organize Your Clothes Step 4
    Place the clothes in need of mending into a bag or box in readiness for mending on your return. If you need the mending to be done before you leave, get on with it now.
  11. Image titled Organize Your Clothes Step 5
    Check your uncertain pile. Does anything leap out at you to go in the donation pile? If so, pull it out before putting this pile to one side.
  12. Image titled Pack a Suitcase for an Airline Trip Step 6
    Go on your trip. Rest easy knowing that you've packed what you really wanted to travel with and you will come back to some wonderfully sorted clothes.


  • Do this in between meals, when you're neither too full nor too hungry. Decluttering is a bore at the best of times and you don't want to feel either too sleepy or starving, as you will be easily distracted.

Things You'll Need

  • Ample space
  • Suitcase, backpack or other bag for the trip
  • Bags or boxes for donations
  • Mending pile box or basket
  • Labels and marker (if needed)

Article Info

Categories: Travel Packing | Time Management & Personal Organization