If you haven’t gone through your clothes closet in a while, there’s a fair to middling chance that you’ll find pieces in the depths of the space that you haven’t worn in over a decade. Just because it’s old doesn’t meant that they should automatically be tossed.
Fashions do come back but, realistically, your high school boyfriend’s football jacket that you wore everyday until he broke up with you and then you kept out of spite is probably never coming out of the closet. Ever. And to quote that domestic diva we all know: “That’s a good thing!”
The beauty of a good closet cleanout is that it makes it easier to stay on top of clutter. If you start with a gorgeous, organized space for all of your clothes, shoes and accessories, you can start each day off with a bang! What could be better than that?
So where do you start?
The key to a good sort is to pull everything out of your closet. Every single item. Then you can make logical groupings of items.
What should you toss, fix/clean, store or keep?
Set up piles based on the four headers: toss, fix/clean, store and keep.
- Look at each item and decide if it stained or damaged, beyond repair. If so, toss it. If it just needs a hem repaired or a button replaced, put it in the fix/clean pile. Even if you don’t keep it, a quick repair makes it possible for you to donate the item. If it’s still in good shape, decide whether you will want to store it—for example, with other seasonal clothes—or put it back in your closet.
- Does the item still fit? We’d all like to think that we fit into our favourite pre-pregnancy jeans, but life doesn’t always go as planned. Holding onto clothes in the hope that they will fit again one day is probably a pointless effort. Give those jeans away so that someone else can get some use of them!
- Is the item totally and completely out of style? Back to the football jacket mentioned earlier, it’s definitely time to consider whether the clothes and accessories you are saving still have some use or whether wearing them will leave looking like you’re hopelessly clinging to 1981.
- Does the item hold some special memories? It’s totally forgivable that you might want to keep your purple sequin prom dress, but this is the kind of piece that needs to go into storage in the basement or wherever you put alternating season items.
- Speaking of out of season items, if you don’t have a place to put your puffy coat in July, it’s time to find one. Your everyday closet should really only contain things you wear… every day.
Now it’s time to act on the piles. Throw out the irretrievably damaged pieces, put others that don’t fit in a donation pile, fix the ones that can be fixed and return the rest to an appropriate closet.
Organizing what’s going back in the closet
Do you find yourself wearing the same small number of pieces, day after day? And when you go through your closet, you discover some treasures that you forgot you had? You can avoid that by setting up some logical groupings of your clothes and accessories, in your closet. Call it creating an efficient closet space!
Groupings for your closet could include one or more of these:
- Front and center should be the pieces you do tend to wear most often. If you’re a stay at home mom, that could be your jeans and favourite tops. If your an entrepreneurial whiz, that could be your power suits. Whatever pieces you need to have on hand more often than not get priority positioning.
- Place other clothes in logical groupings:
- Like with like is an obvious choice: sweaters, short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, skirts, casual pants, dress pants, dresses…
- Another option is to create combos: up to seven pieces that you can mix and match to create new looks. That skirt with that short sleeved blouse and that sweater or that long sleeved shirt with those wide trousers and that sweater… You see where I’m going here?
- Functional groupings like workout wear with other workout wear, formal dresses with the jackets, pashminas and pumps that go with them. You can create grab and go outfits for any occasion. Just make sure you create outfits for occasions that you’re actually likely to have!
- Colour coordination: put clothes in your closet based on their colour. That way, when you want a sunny yellow top to go with those black pants, you know exactly where to look for it.
Organizing the extras
If you don’t have a custom closet with shelving and drawers, you can always improvise. Easy to install shelving or even a dresser, space permitting, can create the perfect way to keep handle of the little pieces: scarves, ties, sunglasses, costume jewelry, wristlets…
Then for the bigger pieces, like shoes and handbags, add hooks and shoe racks to keep them neat, tidy and visible. Trust me on the visibility thing. I know someone who bought a pair of shoes they really liked. Twice. Why? Because she forgot she had already bought them, months before. Stored in the depths of her closet, they were out of sight and out of mind!
You’ll only need to revisit the organization of your closet once or twice a year, if you’ve done it right. With the change of seasons is another good time to look through and see if there’s anything worth getting rid of, donating, or storing away for another year. If you have any tried and true tips for getting your closet in shape, share them!