Is it time to clean out your closet?
Organizing an out-of-control closet can be a daunting task. If you’ve been living with closet chaos, you’ll need to dedicate significant time to work through the process, especially if you hold onto your clothes for years or in some cases, decades – yikes! But in my experience, I’ve learned that most women’s closets are in pretty good shape. They just need to go through everything with a dedicated eye, make quick decisions and organize their items into like categories. It’s amazing what an organized space can do for your mood and how you navigate your entire day. To clean out your closet quickly, all you need are some new hangers and 60 minutes of focus.
What you’ll need:
- rolling rack (this is the one I use)
- trash bags
- your dry cleaning bag
- a few empty laundry baskets
- vacuum, multi cleaner, rags
- notebook and pen
- plastic storage container
- velvet/flocked hangers (we use these in our studio)
- wine (optional, but helpful)
My rolling rack gets a lot of use. I keep it under my bed and pull it out whenever I pick up a big dry cleaning haul. I use it when I pack for trips and find it extra helpful when tidying up my closet. I also like to have a few trash bags and my dry cleaning bag on hand so that I can work quickly. If you plan on storing your out-of-season pieces elsewhere, be sure to have your bins ready as well. Also, having an extra laundry basket to collect items that do not belong in your closet is helpful. Be sure to have a space for all of your piles, including: trash (trash bags), storage (bins), donate (basket), sell (basket), and mend. Finally, have a notebook and pen handy so that you can jot down a quick shopping list as you notice items you need or pieces you have to replace. (Total time: 5 minutes)
Take 15 minutes to pull any pieces that are out of season and place them on the rolling rack. Next, take another 15 minutes and pull out anything that is dated, damaged, or that you just don’t like anymore and sort into your piles accordingly. This will leave you with in-season pieces you like and seasonless basics hanging in your closet. (Total time: 30 minutes)
Care for your closet the same way you care for the other rooms in your home. Wipe down the shelves and vacuum the floor, clean out the light fixture and sanitize the doorknob and any other surfaces. You will be shocked and maybe a little grossed out by the amount of hidden dirt in your closet space. (Total time: 5 minutes)
Keep your space visually tidy by using the same hanger. We love velvet or flocked hangers. They save space and look chic. It’s amazing what happens when your space is perfectly organized. You’ll be calmer and see more outfit options instantly. (Total time: 5 minutes)
Pack up any out-of-season items. Plastic containers with some cedar are an excellent and inexpensive solution. If you have items in plastic dry cleaning bags, take a second to remove them and put them on new hangers. Plastic bags hold moisture and can damage your items if you let them stay in them for too long.
Properly put back the items you are keeping in your closet, neatly.
Note: Because I travel frequently to varying climates, I keep all of my clothes in my closet. At the beginning of each new season, I move the previous season to the back and the new season to the front. Doing so saves me loads of time and allows me to pack quickly. To see how I organize my closet, check out this video. It’s old; I need to do a new one. (Total time: 10 minutes)
Before you finish, gather up any trash and dispose of it. If something needs to be dry cleaned or mended, add it to the proper pile and put it in your car. Organize donations and pack them up neatly. Drop them off as soon as possible. Whatever you do, do not leave items hanging around or they will never get actioned. (Total time: 5 minutes)
That’s it! In one hour you will have turned your wardrobe around. Here are a few extra tips:
- As tempting as it may be, avoid buying new storage solutions until you are finished. You’ll save money and avoid unnecessary clutter.
- Keep your accessories in clear view. I use 3M hooks and hang them on the wall along a shelf inside my closet. The same goes for scarves; instead of throwing them in a box, hang them on a hook or scarf hanger. You’ll use them more if you can see them.
- Put items back in like categories. I organize closets by category, going sleeveless, short sleeve, long sleeve, etc., and then by color within each category. This way, my eye goes almost instinctively to what I need.
- I keep a small basket at the bottom of my closet for pieces I want to donate. Often I’ll try something on and realize I don’t like it anymore, so I’ll drop it in the basket. Once it’s filled up, I sort it the items and send what I can sell to ThredUp and donate the rest.
- A friendly reminder from my accountant: be sure to keep track of your donations for your end of year taxes!
Want even more help getting organized and defining your style?
Registration is now open for our latest 30 Day Style Challenge, beginning on Friday, September 15th! I’ve completely revamped it, added new features and will test out some new technology. It’s open to all and totally free. It’s been a fun way to grow our readership and build our community. To register, follow this link.