Do you ever feel like you have nothing to wear? My post will show you how to organize your closet so you love getting dressed!
For as long as I can remember, one of my favorite things to do when school starts is clean out my closet. It feels overwhelming at first, and I worry I will be left with nothing to wear, but what happens every time is the exact opposite. I feel like I have a whole new wardrobe! A cluttered closet can make you feel like you have less to wear, because you can’t see what you actually like to wear. If this sounds familiar, then let’s tackle your closet together.
Get all of your supplies and bins ready before you begin. Here’s what to gather and do:
- Washi tape or sticky notes and a sharpie.
- 4-5 bins: 1 large bin to hold donations, 1 optional Seasonal bin, 1 “Maybe bin” with a lid, 1 Recycle bin, 1 Garbage bin. Label the bins with washi tape or sticky notes, and place in a convenient location within the room.
- A broom or vacuum, and a damp rag or cleaning wipes.
- Make your bed, so you have a surface for sorting.
EMPTY YOUR CLOSET
Taking everything out helps you see how much space you really have, and will encourage you to put back only what you really want to keep. Keep items on hangers and lay them carefully on the bed.
A clean closet will motivate you to keep it organized. When something is full of shoe grit and dust bunnies, it isn’t very inspiring. Give it a quick vacuum or sweep, wipe down the walls and shelves.
SORT LIKE WITH LIKE
Sorting like with like will help you to see all the duplicates in your wardrobe. That’s powerful because you will start to see your closet from a view point of abundance rather than scarcity. Group the clothes on your bed in categories. Example: All the sweaters together, and within that, all the black sweaters. All the jeans together, and within that, all the dark wash jeans. If you like to swap in seasonals, then this is a good time to get out your seasonal bin add those items when sorting. As a bonus, when it’s empty, you can put your outgoing seasonals into it. Anything from last season you don’t want can go into your donation bin.
Purging quickly will give you the momentum to purge more emotional items later. You’ll realize you can let go of things. Go through each sorted category and pull the obvious items you don’t want. Put these in your donation box.
TAKE A BREAK
Leave the room and have a drink or a snack. You’ll need your best energy for the next step.
Now is the time to go through each pile of like with like and take out even more. This will feel like the hardest part. Your scarcity feelings might rear there ugly head, and so might your body insecurities. This is completely normal! I have felt both of these things, so I came up with two solutions: the time stamped Maybe Bin, and the Hanger Rule. Here’s what you will do:
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I like to wear this? Go through each category of clothing on your bed, and ask yourself if you like to wear it. Note that I didn’t say “want” to wear it. Like the shirt I wrote about in an earlier post, we sometimes save clothes we want to wear, but for good reasons we don’t actually like to wear. Put anything you don’t like to wear into your donation bin.
- Does it fit? I’ve gone through two pregnancies, so I’ve definitely kept clothes in my closet that don’t actually fit me. It’s demoralizing to look into your closet and see clothes you love, but can no longer fit into. In my experience, it doesn’t encourage weight loss. In fact, it may make you want to stress-eat every time you open your closet. Here’s what I want you to do: put all the clothes that don’t fit into your Maybe Bin, with a date labeled on it. Set a reminder on your phone to check back at the set date. Maybe this date will also correspond with the workout goals you’ve set. Or, you might realize you like yourself just the way you are, and you can let go of those clothes. Either way, they won’t stress you out anymore!
- Does it support my lifestyle? When you go through each category ask yourself if the clothing supports what you actually do. Maybe you no longer need access to a certain type of clothing on a daily basis. For example, when I decided to leave my teaching job to be home with my kids for a few years, I didn’t need all those pairs of dress pants, skirts, and button up shirts. I needed fun, casual clothes. The problem was, every time I opened my closet and saw my professional clothes I felt a sense of loss, even though I chose to be at home. I knew I didn’t need those clothes for my current lifestyle, but I thought I may want them in the future. So, I put my favorite professional items in my Maybe Bin. Now when I open my closet, all the options fit my lifestyle in this moment and I still have the professional items stored where I can find them.
- Do I want to allot a hanger to this? Here’s where the Hanger Rule comes in handy. Decide how many hangers you want to have in your closet— I’ve read about people who have 25, and some who have 40; pick the amount that feels right to you. Look at your piles and count how many hangers you are currently using. Which items are worth hanging back in your closet? Choose one type of hanger. If you have a small closet, use a lower profile hanger like the velvet Huggable Hangers. Absolutely give back those skinny, wire hangers to your dry cleaner.
HANG YOUR ITEMS
After all this purging, you should see a lot more space when you put your items back into the closet. Your clothes will have breathing room! Better still, you will be able to find what you’re looking for, know what you have, and be better able to wear more of your clothes. When you hang your items, hang them in categories you sorted them into above: dark wash jeans, light wash jeans, white jeans, etc. Tank tops, short sleeved tops, etc. Gaze and adore! Your closet no doubt looks like a million bucks, and it cost you nothing to organize it. You might even put together an outfit right now and hang it on the front of your door, so you’re ready for tomorrow.
KEEPING IT ORGANIZED
Pick a date every three months. This helps me pull seasonal items, and maintain a clean closet all year. These correspond to my clothes shopping dates, Christmas, and my birthday. In other words, times when I’m evaluating what I need/want and taking in new items. If you do this every three months the process won’t take long, and you won’t buy things you don’t need! Using the hanger rule I’ve put in place, if I get something new, then I take something out. This something can go into my maybe bin or to donation.
A PARTING WORD ABOUT THE MAYBE BIN
This bin should not become your second closet. It should be a bin that you check on a certain date (perhaps one of your four monthly closet organizing dates) and empty regularly. Also make sure you can close the lid. If you can’t, it’s time to take something out and donate it. I find that when I open my maybe box three months later, I’m surprised I kept a majority of the items.
TO CONSIGN OR NOT TO CONSIGN
I find that once I have let something go, I need to get it out of my house immediately. If it lingers until the right consignment buy back day then it ends up on my bedroom floor, in my garage, or in my car. For months. If you are highly disciplined, and/or have a consignment store nearby with daily hours for buy back, then go for it. If it’s inconvenient, you’re better off dropping it at the nearest donation site and calling it a day. The same goes for selling items on eBay or elsewhere. Besides, doesn’t giving things to charity usually feel better than getting $5 for an item you once loved?
I hope this leaves you with a closet that inspires! Send me a picture of your organized closet, or tell me how it’s changed your routine. I’d love to hear from you! Want to work with me to organize your closet? Get in touch! And, if you’d like to read some closet organizing humor, check out my post, “Why We Hold Onto Clothes We Don’t Wear.” It will motivate you and remind you how good it feels to let go!