5 easy steps to cleaning out your closet


Cleaning out your closet is two things: exhausting and exhilarating.

It's like running {insert the long distance of your choosing – from 500 meters to 15 miles}, you have to get through that first "I want to quit" panic to get to all the good feelings. When my closet is clean and paired down, I want to sit down in it and simply marvel at the organization.

I know we're still smack in the middle of winter but spring doesn't seem so far away. This means the urge to swap out your seasonal clothes and organize your closet may strike soon. And when it does, I want you to be ready so I've compiled some tips for you to make the most out of what you have and get rid of the clutter.

Side note: Getting rid of clutter is seriously my #1 New Year's Resolution so get ready for lots of talk on the subject in 2017.

So Here's the Aspirational, Mostly Unattainable #ClosetGoals Photo
via Who What Wear

Step 1: CLEAR YOUR CALENDAR.

You can't clear out the clutter if you don't make time on your calendar. My suggestion is to pick a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when you can dedicate at least two full hours to the process. Download an audio book, cue up a mindless TV show (my recommendation – Ladies of London) or pop on a great podcast or playlist. Then make sure you're free of outside distractions (in my case that means getting the kids out of the house). Once you've got the place to yourself, you're ready to get started.

Step 2: Prepare to Organize

There's nothing worse than starting a project and realizing halfway through that you don't have what you need to accomplish the task at hand. In this case, that means you're going to want to take stock of your inventory and determine what you need to get it all in order.

My biggest recommendation is to make sure you have color coordinated hangers. I am a crazy OCD freak of nature but I like to pick different color hangers for each type of item. Shirts, pants, skirts and jackets all have their own assigned color hanger in my closet. Yes, I may be crazy bananas but it brings order to my otherwise chaotic universe.

I also recommend getting dividers for bigger drawers – so you can separate socks, underwear, belts (I like to roll mine up and keep them in a drawer), sports bras, or whatever else you want to keep in line. If you use under the bed storage or can store things on the floor in your closet, I like to use baskets with lids (so things don't get dusty) to keep different types of items.

If you're going big and cleaning out jewelry, accessories or make-up, make sure you have the containers you need there as well. I love the clear acrylic cases and organizers that make it easy to see everything. This is especially clutch when it comes to things you may forget you have a million of like sunglasses, necklaces or scarves (pick your poison).

Having everything on hand in advance makes the process much easier. My tip is always to err on the overbuying side of things since you can return anything you don't use. And if you don't want to hit up the store, just be like me and order it all online.

Step 3: Dump it all out

I like to go section by section, or drawer by drawer, dumping out the entire contents and going through things one by one. I'm on the Marie Kondo bandwagon of ditching things that don't spark joy but sometimes there are other deciding factors that come into play when figuring out whether to keep or ditch things.

For example, I have a Theory suit I splurged on a few years back that is a closet staple. I love it but I wouldn't say it "sparks joy" when I look at it. Mostly because if I have to put it on, it probably means I'm going to something super serious for work. I also don't wear it frequently but when I need to wear a suit, I am always happy I have it so it stays in the closet. We all have our own version of the Theory suit so keep that in mind when making decisions.

So while the "spark joy" method sounds great in theory, I think this flowchart is a more realistic way to help determine whether something is worth keeping.

Step 4: Be Realistic

This is a simple one but when you're answering the above questions, be real with yourself. If it's damaged, do you really love it enough to take it to the tailor? I'm the type of person who says I will get something fixed and then it will sit for a month in a bag waiting for me to actually drop it off. I've realized of late that it has to be something I truly can't live without for me to follow through so when it's iffy, I just get rid of it.

Same goes for the way things fit or a change in lifestyle. Yes, that skirt looked amazing three years ago but it's not quite as flattering these days. And yes, I do think it's badass that you can still rock that tight little dress you wore to a wedding in 2009 but the times and your age have both changed. If it's not a timeless look or something that has true sentimental meaning, it's time to let it go.

Instead just sell some of the things you're less than enthusiastic about or no longer fit you or your lifestyle. Then take those funds to go out and treat yourself to something new and even more amazing.

I also think you should be realistic about your organizing. Sorry to reference Marie Kondo again but she suggests you roll all your shirts (and socks and just about everything else) so you can see everything when you open your drawers. I love this tip but I also know it is not for everyone. Pick a way to store things that suits your style and more importantly, that you know you can keep up with.

Step 5: FINISH – Then donate, sell or swap

This is the most important step – Don't quit halfway through. It is truly tempting to pat yourself on the back after tackling a few drawers or one side of the closet but let yourself off the hook.

When you're feeling overwhelmed, take a break and then return to the madness with a game plan. I like to start in one corner of a mess (or a messy room) and work my way out of it. It feels less overwhelming to tackle things from that perspective than to look at the giant pile of crap. Or you can take a deep breath, turn on your favorite jam and then try to do as much as you can while that song is on. If you break things down into little chunks, it's much easier.

While you're in the weeds, it feels like you'll never be done but once you get through it, you'll feel SO accomplished (or maybe that's just me). Crack open a bottle of wine or bubbly and toast to yourself. Then gather up those bags of things that didn't make the cut and make a clear game plan for getting rid of them.

While resting on your laurels (and sipping on your cocktail of choice), search for a great consignment shop or throw a few items up on Poshmark. Then make plans to drop them off ASAP. The more time things sit, the more anxiety they can create.

Or drop an email to friends and plan a Closet Swap Party (you won't regret it, they are the best).

And if you want to make a big impact with the things you no longer want or need, donate gently worn business or business casual clothes as well as accessories (including purses and jewelry) to Dress for Success or a similar organization in your area.

The post Clean out your Closet in Five Easy Steps appeared first on * Lou What Wear *.

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