When you’re trying to organize your life, sometimes it’s good to go back to the basics and start with an easy task.
Now I know what you’re thinking… “Organizing my closet isn’t easy, Christina! In fact, I need advice on how to do it! That’s why I’m reading this darn post!“
Don’t you worry, I totally get that. I know it’s kinda overwhelming. So that’s why I’m going to break down the entire process of cleaning out and organizing your closet into 4 super simple steps that anyone can do!
Before I get into the four simple closet de-cluttering steps, let’s review why it’s important to have an organized closet!
It’s a place you begin the day in every day. If you start off the day with a frustrating experience because you can’t find what you need, then that doesn’t bode well for the rest of your day, does it?
When you closet is organized it’ll take you less time to get ready, meaning you can sleep in longer. Heck yes!
And getting your closet organized probably won’t take as long as you think it will. Ok, you’re convinced, so let’s have at it!
Step 1: De-clutter
The very first step in any organizing project is to winnow out items you no longer want or need. De-cluttering clothing can be especially difficult because if you’re like me, your size changes from time to time. To accommodate weight fluctuations, you probably have a few different sizes in your closet or wardrobe.
I’m NOT going to tell you to get rid of anything that doesn’t fit you right now because I know that it’s not necessarily practical. But that comes with some caveats that I’ll get into in a bit…
Yes you will have to go through everything. But not all at once.
If this step is overwhelming, just tackle one portion of your closet. Like hit the dresses first, take a break and then come back and make decisions about tops.
Breaking up the de-cluttering process like this is a smart sanity-saver!
How to De-Clutter Clothing and Shoes
Here are some hard and fast rules about the de-cluttering process! I’m gonna get rather brutal, so get ready.
Get rid of anything you don’t like. Period. I don’t care how long you’ve had it. If you don’t like it, you’re not going to wear it and keeping it in your closet is just making it harder to find what you actually will wear.
In fact, if you don’t like the print, fit or if it was last worn to an event that gives you a bad memory, get rid of it!
If you don’t remember how it fits or if it’s even comfortable, try it on. If you don’t look and feel like a million bucks in it, put it in the Go Pile.
Tags still on an item and it was purchased more than 6 months ago? There’s a good reason why you haven’t worn it yet, even if you don’t realize it. Put it in the Go Pile.
If you graduated from high school or college more than 10 years ago and still have clothing from then you were in school, consider letting them go, even if it still fits. I can almost guarantee that they are not in style and unless they’re your stay at home, comfy clothes, they probably should all go. You don’t need an entire closet full of this type of clothing, so keep a few, not a whole bunch.
If you have duplicates, pare down what you keep. How many black pants will you wear? Certainly not 10 pairs. Some are probably worn out, or faded. Keep the ones in better shape. Put the rest in the Go Pile.
Take a really, really close look at each item you’re keeping. Is it in good shape or is the color faded and the neckline stretched out? Is there a stain or spot that is obvious? Are the seams becoming threadbare? If it’s not in really good condition, then it’s time to add it to the Go Pile.
Even if something is in good condition, you like the fabric and fit, ask if you’ll actually wear it (soon, not someday?). You really need to be honest with yourself here because maybe the item is no longer useful to you.
For example, when I was working as an attorney, I had a closet full of beautiful suits from Casual Corner. I spent a lot of money on them and had suiting pieces that mixed and matched so nicely. I loved how I looked and felt in them.
But I’m no longer an attorney. I don’t plan to ever return to that world, so it wouldn’t make sense for me to hang onto the suits. And that’s why I got rid of them years ago.
Consider where you are in life. Do the clothes make sense for you in your life as it is now or will be in the next few years?
Step 2: Bag and Tag
Now that you have gotten out what you no longer want, bag or box up the clothing you’re letting go of, label the bag as donations so there’s no confusion, and schedule a donation pickup at donatestuff.com.
Snap a picture of what you’re letting go of and post on Instagram to make your friends jealous. Don’t forget to tag me @streamlinedlvg!
Don’t want to wait for the truck to come? Find a local donation center and get it all out today!
Step 3: Load up your Closet
Now look at what’s left and start to group like items together. Load all of your shirts in.
How you do it is up to you. Some clients like to see a rainbow in their closet. I prefer to group by type and then style.
Years ago, I made the switch to identical hangers and I can’t tell you what an incredible difference it made in keeping my closet looking fantastically organized. When hangers are the same, everything hangs at the same level and looks more beautiful.
I load in my shirts from casual to dressy, arranged by sleeve length, but keep them all in one section. Pants (and everything else) are arranged similarly.
Make sure to use the vertical space in your closet. Add a shelf over the hanging rod for folded items or baskets of smaller items.
Keep folded items from toppling over and in check with these easy to install shelf dividers.
Flip those hangers!
As you load in your closet, make sure to flip the hangers on the rod backwards, so the point of the hanger hook faces you. When you wear something, you turn the hanger back the regular way. This is a tried and true time hack for figuring out what you’re actually wearing.
In 6 months or so, take a look at your hanger situation. Have most items been flipped back? If not, take another look at the unflipped items and consider whether you’d still like to keep them. A word of advice: If you haven’t worn them in the 6 months, I bet you probably won’t ever wear them.
There really is a difference in what you think you’ll wear and what you actually put on.
I can hear you objecting, so let me just say that you don’t have to get rid of the unflipped clothing items. But be honest with yourself about why you’re not wearing them.
Sure, maybe some of them are out of season, but that’s not the reason for most of them. This trick will make you super aware of what you’re actually wearing and can help you make better decisions when it comes to buying new clothes. When you buy clothes you like, you’re more apt to wear them!
Reality is that you’re going to buy new clothing and you may not have the time to let go of something right then, so leave some wiggle room for wardrobe growth.
A little bit of room makes it easy to get to clothing in your closet. Having a disorganized, jam-packed closet will make getting ready difficult and unpleasant.
Step 4: De-clutter on the regular
Get a bag or basket for donations and store it in your closet. When you come across an article of clothing you no longer want, add it to the bag! When the bag’s full, head back on over to DonateStuff.com and schedule a donation pick up.
So there you have it, 4 simple steps to a brilliantly organized closet. Isn’t this an easy way to approach getting your closet into order? Forget getting overwhelmed by the thought of organizing your closet. Follow these tips to get it done and checked off your To Do list!
Watch these Videos for more Closet Organizing Tips!
In this first video, I talk about the importance of which hangers to use for an organized closet as well as a little about why you shouldn’t hang onto different sized clothes.
In this second video, I dive into which clothing to hang onto and then how to sort clothing in your closet.
In this last video, I give you a peek inside my somewhat cluttered closet. You’ll see how I re-organized it using the many of the rules spelled out in this post.
Keeping piles straight during the decluttering phase of the organizing process can be a pain!
Don’t accidentally donate something because your piled get mixed up.
Make it clear to see what your piles are with these printable Decluttering and Sorting Cards!
Snag a get and get going!
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