We all dream of a beautifully organized closet space.
Now, imagine this: sections divided into colors and seasons, neatly folded cardigans, and matching wooden hangers.
A tidy closet is possible in any home but a large part of the cleanup means getting rid of old clothes that you no longer wear. We rounded up several tips and tricks to help you through the elimination process so that you can get your closet back in tip-top shape.
Right after getting married, I realized that a part of my “you give and you take” philosophy had to be applied on our closet space. Right now we’re living in a one-bedroom apartment with a fairly decent-sized walk-in, but my (almost) selfish abundance of clothes was taking up too much room.
What can I say? I love to shop.
Fashion, for me, is a direct form of self-expression. I’ll never hesitate to pick up various pieces (and not to worry folks, I purchase within my means) in order to make my own, rightful statement. Also, working in retail during my college years made good-quality clothing a rather accessible treat. (Did you say “discounts?” Then yes, I will gladly take your job offer!)
Up until now, I almost had this “hoarding attitude” when it came to my wardrobe. To my peers, this behavior seemed to be totally out of character: I tend to be the complete opposite in the other rooms of our home , so people were generally surprised when they found I still had a cardigan from junior year… of high school. Let’s take my kitchen as an example: I go through the pantry and refrigerator on a weekly basis in order to get rid of unused and spoiled food. Sometimes, my mother gets upset at how “slippery” my grip can be when it comes to items that I deem officially “useless.”
My closet was a mess.
After our nuptials, I realized that our walk-in was a mess. Yes, plain and simple: there was no order to our closet. It was quite a shame because I knew that deep inside, lurked a really valuable space. If used correctly, it could unmistakably offer a neat, organized, and presentable structure.
So I went at it.
With the way it was built, I knew that I could easily split it 50/50: one side for him and (cringe) one side for myself.
I’m not here to tell you how to re-organize yours because I’m a firm believer that not all closets are created equal. You’ll have to analyze your space in order to determine how to split sections, what furniture (like a dresser, hamper, or bins) can go inside, if you want to install additional shelving units, etc. I have, however, compiled a list of tips and tricks that can allow you to de-clutter your load.
How to declutter your closet (even if you’re a fashionista)
1. Don’t wait until you fit in it again.
Before my big clean-up, I was guilty of holding onto a number of items that were just too small. I handle my clothing with the utmost care, so I easily had purchases from my college years that were still in mint condition.
Now that I’m approaching my thirties, I (naturally) have been through some body changes. Shirts that once hung loose on my smaller seventeen-year-old frame don’t quite fit my body the same way now. There’s just no going back to the short-shorts I used to once flaunt (and at this age, I don’t think I should be flaunting them anymore.
Many fashion experts say to “let go” of items that you’re only holding onto because you’re thinking of squeezing into them again. Instead, look and feel your best by sporting clothes that fit your current body. It doesn’t matter what number is on the label: you will look even more amazing in clothes that are actually your size.
2. Top it with a bow.
If you have some pieces that you’re really uncertain you should keep, there’s a long(ish)-term trick that will help you decide if it really is a key staple in your wardrobe. Start by tying a bow with a string or ribbon on every one of your hangers. Throughout the year, whenever you pull a piece out for wearing, remove the string from its hanger. In one year, take a look at all the clothes that still have a string tied on — you’ll see what you haven’t worn and it’ll paint a clearer picture of the garments you just no longer need.
When I did this, I came to the realization that I was holding onto clothes for various reasons: “But it was so expensive and it’s designer… how can I just give it up?!” “I wore this one our first date, it has so much sentimental value!” Also, I switched careers in the past year and totally flipped over to another industry, so there are just some “work clothes” that I knew would never be used again. It’s always easier to justify de-cluttering when you actually see what’s being put to good use.
This “string trick” is hard evidence of what hasn’t been worn in a set amount of time.
3. Who would really appreciate it now?
I’m all about donating, and what’s great about our neighborhood is that there are plenty of drop-off boxes for toys and clothing. It makes it really easy to give to those in need.
When I finally decided on what should stay and what should go, I made myself different piles (well actually, more like extra-large garbage bags) and decided what would be going where.
I had one bag dedicated to donations and another bag for my nieces. My nieces are probably my #1 fans (which is extremely humbling) and they always talk about how “auntie’s clothes are so cool!” (it melts my heart every single time). I found several age-appropriate pieces and they were ecstatic when I presented them with their fashionable hand-me-downs.
4. Can this be used as something else?
Sometimes, articles of clothing can be put to use in other areas of the house. Wouldn’t that pattern on that dress look great as a chair cushion? Cut-up pieces of denim are ideal for at-home waxing sessions (i.e.: make your own hot wax and use the denim as your waxing strips). That super-soft t-shirt would be great for cleaning up your glass-top stove. The sky is the limit for alternate uses to clothes. I usually scour the Internet (and Pinterest!) for daily inspiration.
Ahhh… organized closet bliss.
Now that our closet is organized, I feel like a lot of our home processes run so much smoother. For example, choosing an outfit in the morning has become a quicker decision now that I can see everything (even from a distance!). No longer do I have to shuffle around untidy piles, wondering if I still owned “that white t-shirt” or if it was just in the wash. Also, laundry has become a lot more pleasant since everything has a place and putting away clothes doesn’t mean having to stuff everything in a jam-packed dresser set.
Have you recently been through a big closet clean-up? If you’re thinking of doing one, try one of these tricks and let us know if it worked for you.
Lisa Favre is the food blogger behind Marble Crumbs — a food blog catered to telling stories about meals, snacks, drinks, and everything in between. Lover of brownies, french fries, and all things delicious, Lisa believes that sharing bites from her plate is just as important as sharing the tale that goes behind them.