Closets can be a huge headache or a great source of joy. Simplifying by downsizing and organizing can turn our closets from frustrating to functional.
How many times do we stand in front of our completely full closets and say “I can’t find a thing to wear!”?
The change of seasons gives us the perfect opportunity to take stock of our closets. When it’s time to move the winter things out (thankfully) and the summer things in (happily), take a few extra minutes to critically analyze each piece of clothing.
- Do I love it and feel great when I wear it? Does it project the image I want people to have of me? (Love it?)
- Did I use it this season or can I use it next season? (Use it?)
- Am I keeping it because I feel guilty about spending money on something I really don’t use? Unfortunately, keeping a bad purchase doesn’t make it a better purchase. (Guilty purchase?)
If your answer is “yes” to #1 and #2, and “no” to #3 about everything in your closet, then you’re in good shape. If you can’t, then it’s time to take a serious look at reducing the items in your closet.
Because apparel items are so personal, sometimes it’s hard for us to be critical about what we should keep or get rid of. For this project, enlist the help of an honest and trusted friend to help you.
Use the following roadmap to help you de-clutter your closet, giving yourself a bit of breathing room.
- Carve out enough time to go through the entire process.
- If possible, purchase enough of the same style of hangers (plastic, wood, flocked, etc.) as you possibly can. Having all your apparel hanging at the same level will make it easier for your eye to focus on the item, not the disarray. You may want to also invest in multi-tiered hangers if you have multiple pairs of pants that you know you will be keeping. Pants on multi-tiered hangers take up much less space than if they are hung individually. If you are also hanging skirts, each style of hanger also comes in a clip version for this purpose.
- Set up six boxes, bags, or staging areas:
- KEEP: For items you are planning on keeping in your closet.
- THROW: For items that are worn out, stained, etc.
- GIVE: For items to give to people you personally know.
- DONATE: For items in good repair that can be donated to a local charity.
- ALTERNATE SIZE: For items that you love and will fit into within the next 6 months. Date the box/bag with a review date.
- SEASONAL: For items you love, but won’t wear for several months.
- Take everything out of the closet. Yes, everything. Even if you know you are keeping it you will (hopefully) be moving it to the new, uniform hanger style.
- Sort your apparel by type: Work vs. Casual. Then fine-tune the sort by style or color: short sleeve vs. long sleeve, etc.; black, white, color, etc.
- Touch every piece of clothing and ask yourself the three questions mentioned earlier: Love it? Use it? Guilty purchase?
- Put the items you want to keep away on the new hangers and place them back in the closet in groupings that make sense to you: work; casual; sleeve length; color; etc.
- Process the THROW/GIVE/DONATE/ALTERNATE SIZE/SEASONAL boxes, moving them to their appropriate new home.
Being organized reduces stress and saves time and money. This is never more true than in our closets where we need to create space for all the aspects of our lives from work to recreation. Plus, our closet is one of the first areas we see in the morning. Getting the organization right here will set you off on the right foot for the rest of the day!