Tough Commandments of Closet Cleaning
Make room for a new wardrobe
Spring is the perfect time to clean out your closet to make room for a new wardrobe. But if you’re like most of us, it can be difficult to determine what to keep and what to give away.
Remember that it’s important to purge. Every year, many people make the same New Year's resolutions to get organized, save money and lose weight. De-cluttering can bring a sense of renewal for the new year, and the beauty of it is that those items can be donated to a worthwhile charity to become someone else's favorite things.
1. Five questions to ask
Megan Brandle, personal stylist for Best Kept Self, shared her tips on closet cleaning. She said to ask yourself these questions about every item in your wardrobe and items you are considering purchasing and the answer has to be yes to keep or buy.
- Does it fit? (Or will it fit after a bit of altering?)
- Is it in good condition?
- Does it represent your style?
- Does it practical for your lifestyle?
- Do you love it?
“If you don’t answer yes to all these questions, there is really no point keeping it or wasting money buying it, unless it is sentimental or for painting or camping,” Brandle said. “You have to be very cut and dry with this. If the clothes in your closet are not perfect for you in every way, how do you expect to look your best? How do you expect to get ready or pack for a trip without getting stressed or annoyed? The goal is for your wardrobe to work for you and not against you. Less is truly more when your wardrobe is perfect for you. I know you hear the, ‘If you haven’t worn it in X years, toss it’ and while that can work sometimes, I think it isn’t fair all the time.”
Bradle said, “It is better to really assess each piece and make sure it earns its place in the closet. This can be a difficult process for most women. You are so attached to your wardrobe and you are so close to it. But you need to come at it with a fresh set of eyes to assess it. Fit is a huge issue when letting things go. A lot of women deal with weight fluctuation and that makes it very difficult to have a streamlined wardrobe. I suggest keeping the sizes you are not wearing at the moment but will not get rid of in a bin or another closet. Then only things that should be hanging in your closet are the things that are actually options for you to wear right then. You brain should not have to filter out things you can’t even wear when getting ready. Again we want an easy, stress free and streamlined wardrobe.”
2. Keep tabs on what you wear
Keep tabs on what you actually wear to make it easy to see what you can part with. Every time you wear an item, turn the hanger to face the back of your closet. After a few months, all the hangers facing forwards represent unworn clothes. If they’re not being worn, they’re taking up precious space, said Rob Rebholz, co-founder and managing director of SpaceWays.
3. Know your goal
Start with a plan. Know what your goals and ambitions are, whether it’s finding more space, purchasing a new wardrobe, or downsizing. Whatever is your motivation, be clear about it and straighten your closet with your ultimate objective in mind, said Chantay Bridges, a Los Angeles-based coach, Realtor, speaker and writer.
4. Get inspired
“Look at similar styled closets online. You will be surprised at the ideals you can get. Like storing baskets on a top shelf, adding a dresser inside that gives it a custom look, organizing according to season, the ideals are endless,” Bridges said.
5. Make the most of your space
“Using every inch of storage is important to organizing the home. Take the space you have and make it functional. In the closet, install floor to ceiling shelving. Use the depth of the shelf with organizational tools, such as baskets. Be sure to label everything. Store items that are not used as much on the top shelf,” said Amanda LeBlanc, a professional organizer and designer with The Amandas.
6. Create a space you love
“Not only should a space be functional, but it should be beautiful. Paint the walls a funky color or use wallpaper to dress up your closet. Add a unique chandelier. Consistency and creativity is key. If you love a space, you will keep it neat,” LeBlanc said.
7. Group and categorize
LeBlanc said, “No matter the space in your home, it is important to group like items and categorize them to neatly fit in the space. This not only helps to organize, but shows you how much of one thing you have so that you can purge or better plan. For example, in the closet group items by color- if you have multiple black long sleeve tops, you can afford to get rid of a few. Keep the newest and nicest. If it is faded, torn or doesn’t fit, donate or trash it.”
8. Do it all at once
Take every piece of clothing you own out of all of your closets, all of your drawers and even out of storage. This helps you see what you actually have. Often you have no idea you have six of the same T-shirts because you can't see them all at once. By taking everything out you can actually take stock in what you really have, said Alison Kero, owner of ACK! Organizing.
9. Keep only what you love
“I recommend touching everything you own as you decide what to do with it. It helps you to really decide how you feel about a garment. If that garment, and I don't care what it is, doesn't fill you with joy and happiness when you touch it, let it go. A garment you don't love anymore only has one purpose anyway - to show you that it no longer represents who you are in this moment,” Kero said.
If you follow these nine guidelines, you’ll be on the path to an organized and simplified closet in no time.