The end of the summer is the perfect time of year to take stock of what you wore in the past season and what you passed over. If you didn’t wear it and wouldn’t buy it again, why put it back in your closet?
There’s no shame in recycling, donating or even discarding clothing you won’t wear again. In fact, clearing out your closet can make life simpler and more relaxed. Get started with my closet-decluttering tips—and know that I’m always here to help!
Six Steps to Taming Closet Clutter:
1. Gather Your Supplies
Nothing will save you more time than a little preparation. Gather a rag, a vacuum and bags for:
Give-to-a-friend (e.g. maternity or baby clothing)
Clear a space, like your bed and the floor around it, as your work area.
2. Remove Everything From Your Closet
Yes, everything. To make the task less overwhelming, do this one category at a time. Start with shoes, then move on to pants, then shirts, then dresses, then skirts, followed by jackets, etc. Tackling the closet in chunks will also help things stay more organized as you sort through them.
3. Clean the Empty Closet
Now that you’ve removed all your clothes, you’ll be able to see the items that don’t belong in your clothes closet: loose change, stray receipts, broken hangers, missing toys. Throw away broken items, gather change in a jar and wipe down and vacuum shelves and the floor.
4. Sort Through Your Clothing
Again, taking your clothing out one category at a time will make the task less overwhelming. For each item, ask yourself: Do I feel good wearing this? Would I buy it again? If either answer is no, put it in the appropriate bag and move on.
Anything that is gently used and in good condition can be donated. Brand-name items in great shape can be sold on consignment. Organizations like threadUP will even send you a free pre-paid donation bag to consign with them! It’s ok to get rid of something you spent money on. We all make mistake purchases.
Items that are ripped, stained, worn out, missing their match (I’m looking at you single socks!) or otherwise beyond repair should head to the trash or textile recycling.
5. Return Your Items to the Closet
Now that you’ve culled your wardrobe and cleaned the closet, organize your clothing in the closet by frequency of use, with frequently used and seasonally appropriate clothing up front and within reach, and infrequently used or out of season clothing in the back and top.
Consider what to hang and what to fold. Bins for folded clothes and accessories can decrease visual clutter on shelves; wall hooks and hanging shelves can add space vertically, shoe racks can add an extra level for shoes. Invest in a uniform set of hangers for an aesthetically pleasing finish. Short on space, try some streamlined hangers.
6. Clean Up
Take your bags for donations, consignment and recycling straight to the car, so they’re out of your sight and ready to go.
To prevent future clutter, you can keep a bag in the closet for outgoing donations and dry cleaning. Remember, the one-in/one-out rule helps prevent clutter from piling up!
The hour or two you spend decluttering your closet will make it easier to get dressed in the morning with a stress-free start to each day. For best results, repeat your closet cleaning at the end of winter, too!