Wednesday, April 2, 2014

If you feel like you have nothing to wear (don’t we all!), the solution may be as simple as cleaning out your closet. It’s said that we wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time, so it’s only natural that we’d stress over our style with so many unused items clogging up our wardrobe. Give yourself a fresh start this spring cleaning season by weeding out the items you never wear, coordinating the items you do, and making your closet space an inspiring haven filled with your absolute favorite items. To help you with this process, we’re sharing our favorite tips for cleaning out your closet and curating the right wardrobe for you.

Image via Live Simply

Before You Begin:
1. Find a friend or family member to help you sort through your stuff if you’re not the best at letting things go. It’s easy to get overly sentimental about your belongings partway through the closet clean-out process, so having someone there to help you be realistic could make all the difference.

2. Spend a little time thinking about your wardrobe and style. What are your main issues with your current collection? Are you expressing yourself through your clothing the way you’d like? Decide what you want your style to reflect so that when it’s time to clean, you’ll know which items you’ll be looking to keep and which items won’t line up with your desired aesthetics.

3. Invest in some new hangers. Flimsy plastic or wire hangers won’t help you preserve your favorite pieces, and some hangers have slippery surfaces that cause your favorite dresses to end up on the floor. Buy a set of wooden, velvet, or cushioned hangers to give your closet a lush, uniform look, or decorate your current hangers for a pretty makeover.

4. Decide on storage space for items you’ll want to keep around, but shouldn’t have hanging in your closet at the moment (heavy coats, sentimental items, etc). Perhaps you can hang them in an extra closet, pack them in boxes to put in the attic, or store them in an empty set of drawers.  

5. Come up with an organizational layout to arrange your clothes in once the items are pared down. One way to organize is to arrange by type of item; you can hang tops together, dresses together, sweaters together, and so on. From there you can arrange each section by type of sleeve, fanciness level, or color if you so desire. Plan to arrange your clothing by whatever pattern makes the most sense to you and will help you utilize your wardrobe on a day-to-day basis.

6. Get excited! The process of cleaning out your closet may sound exhausting, but think forward to how free you’ll feel once you get rid of the items that are weighing you down. If you need more motivation to clean, remember that having extra space in your closet means you can reward yourself to a few new items once the process is complete.  

Image via My Peep Toes

Time To Tackle:
1. If the whole process of cleaning out your closet seems too daunting, try breaking down the work into categories. You can focus on paring down pants one day, dresses another, and so on. If you opt for this plan, just make sure to schedule it out so that you make continuing the process a priority!

2. Begin by moving your absolute favorite, most-worn items into a special pile of items to keep. As you move these pieces, check for damage and consider tossing items that have been over-worn.

3. Create two other piles in addition to that christened “keep” pile -- one for items to donate/swap, and one for items to throw out (anything with holes, hopeless stains, etc).

4. As you move through each item in your closet, ask yourself these questions:
- Does this item fit me at my current weight?
- Is this item flattering?
- Is this item something I’ve worn in the last year?
- Does this item fit my style and the rest of the wardrobe?
- Do I feel good about myself when I wear this piece?
If you can’t answer “yes” to these questions, it’s time for the item to go!

5. If you’re not sure about an item, try it on. Most of the time there’s a good reason why you’re not wearing the items hiding in the back of your closet, and trying them on might remind you what that reason is.  

6. If you’re in the process of losing weight and want to keep the smaller items around, put them in a storage spot for the time being. That way, they won’t take up closet space for the time being and won’t discourage you from loving yourself at your current weight if your weight loss journey takes a little longer than expected.

7. Keep an eye out for nice items that don’t quite fit but could be easily altered. If you want to give these pieces a chance, place them in a bag to take to a tailor. If a month goes by and the bag is still sitting in a corner of your room, they become items to donate.

8. If you have heavy coats and boots that you won’t be wearing until fall arrives, store them in one of the spots you set aside to keep your focus on the season at hand.

9. Remember that your sentimental items (band shirts, prom dresses, etc) can also go into storage, as well as maternity clothing you might be using again in the future.

10. Don’t forget to sort through your shoes and accessories! Are you really going to use that old purse again? And it might be time to say goodbye to the scuffed heels.

11. As you put the items you’re keeping back in your closet, slip them onto your new hangers and arrange them according to the organizational layout you came up with. Ta-da!

Image via My Peep Toes

1. Take your pile of donatable items to a charity, or plan a clothing swap with friends. Either way, you’ll make sure that the items you’re getting rid of are being used by someone else.

2. Decorate! Add fun wallpaper to your closet, find a new way to display your jewelry, or invest in cute shelves or hanging organizers. Giving your wardrobe a personal touch will help you appreciate the clothing you have and remind you of the style you want to reflect each day.

3. Keep tabs on what you wear by switching the direction of your hanger once you've worn something that season. That way, you can get through all of your items (or most of them) before turning the hangers around to reset your wardrobe. If you spot pieces that aren’t being used, you can reassess what you’ve kept and toss even more. You can also use sticky notes for this method, or move used items to the back of the closet to help you single out which ones you never touch. This method will not only help you spot the unused items, but will reassure you that you’re not repeating your outfits too often if that’s a concern of yours.

4. Enjoy your pared down wardrobe for a few months without allowing yourself to buy anything new. After you've seen what you really have and what you might be lacking, treat yourself here and there. Make sure that you really love those new items you buy, and if not, return them before it's too late! You don't want to ruin your hard work by bulking up your closet with items that will never be worn.

5. Remember that cleaning out your closet is a chance to reinvent your style! As you add new items to your collection, seek out pieces that match the values and aesthetics you want to embody. Maybe it’s time to add fun prints to your collection of monochromatic items, or perhaps you want to polish your casual style with some sophisticated editions. Now is the time to make changes by gradually building the wardrobe of your dreams.

We hope you’ll be inspired to clean out your closet this spring! Having an organized wardrobe will not only make it easier to get dressed in the morning, but will improve your personal confidence and your gratitude towards your belongings. Do you have any tips for cleaning out your closet? We’d love to hear your spring cleaning tips!


Comments (2)
  • Thank you for this! I found this post extremely useful and thoughtful. There are days when I feel like burning down my entire closet and start again from scratch, as it is a real mess. I find it very hard to let go of certain pieces that I never wear, but I'll try to clean my closet thoroughly this season with the help of these tips :) However, I do like wire hangers, as they take up less space than wooden ones, which is really helpful if you have a small closet, as you get to fit more pieces in :)

    Posted on April 3, 2014

  • I've been doing a de-cluttering challenge for Lent over at my blog, and it has been SO refreshing and productive! Your closet is absolutely beautiful!

    Posted on April 3, 2014