Posted on November 18th, 2021
As Summer transitions to Winter, its normal and natural to start rummaging for thicker sweaters and those fur-lined boots that are somewhere at the back of the closet. Yet, if you find yourself having to forage for long amongst piles of clothes and hanging items squeezed together tightly on rails, then it’s time for good a declutter and reorganization of your closet. In this blog, we sort through some of the best strategic thinking and organizational tips for a clean and stress-free closet. You’ll want to set aside a full day for this deep-clean task.
Take Everything Out
If you can’t see the wood for the trees in your closet, or rather the gym leggings for the cocktail dress, begin by removing everything from your closet. That means EVERYTHING! Empty every drawer, every hanging rail and every cupboard of the clothes and accessories that are part of your wardrobe.
Taking everything out has two purposes. Firstly, there’s no going back once you reach this stage! The only way forward is to declutter and to organize. Secondly, it allows you to touch, see and even smell, every item you own. Including some pieces that you had long forgotten about. Now is not the time to get sentimental or caught up in memories. The task in hand, for now, is to remove items and create a large pile of all your clothes and accessories. And the ideal place for this pile? Your bed. For the simple reason that this means you’ll need to finish this task before you retire for sleep tonight.
Dust and Clean to Adopt a Fresh Start Mindset
Now you are faced with a mountain of clutter on your bed, notice the empty spaces of your rails and cupboards. Perhaps you haven’t seen the innards of your closet for some time! There’s likely to be dust, loose fibers from clothes and even the odd spider in there. Take this time to dust and wipe down the inside and outside surfaces of all your hanging and cupboard spaces. As well as being practically useful in keeping your closet and clothes clean, it also serves as a symbolic act of a fresh start and a commitment to clean, tidy and organized living.
Sort, Sort, Sort
Now the pile. It’s time to tackle the inevitable if you want to sleep tonight! There are various ways or categories to sort through your items. Consider which of these work for you. Source some large cardboard boxes for the task and label each box according to your categories. Then, go through your pile, and place each items in the appropriate category box. Do not allow yourself to linger for too long. Notice your gut feeling and act on this.
So – possible categories to help you sort? See which of the following are useful categories to help you in your sorting process?
- Not worn in over 1 year.
- Too small / too big
- Poor condition – ripped, torn, broken.
- I feel good in this! And it fits!
- Has sentimental value
From this – you have options about what you:
- Re-use by finding a new owner for (by donating to a thrift store of welling on),
Before you get to the stage of returning the things you want to keep back into your closet, there is one more sort to do. Consider separating out the things you want to keep into a Spring / Summer collection and an Autumn / Winter collection. You can then neatly store the items that are no suitable for the current cooler weather and Winter climate. This means you will have more space in your closet. It also will act as a prompt for you to review and evaluate your wardrobe when the Spring comes, offering another chance for a quick clean and sort.
Allow Yourself to Change
There is more to this process than the simple, practical act of decluttering. Emotions are likely to be involved as you declutter and reorganize your closet. You may experience feeling of guilt, or even shame, that you have purchased so many items. A certain dress might trigger memories of a happy occasion with loved ones who are no longer alive. You may experience a rueful and wistful longing for the younger you than could once squeeze into the skintight pair of years you’ve hung onto over the years. It is important that you adopt an attitude of self-compassion as you do this work of sorting. Remember that you are allowed to change, and that your wardrobe does not define you. Think about what can help you feel soothed and supported if you do experience any difficult feelings as you clear your closet. It maybe you call a friend for emotional or practical support, take a walk, or remind yourself of the things that you are proud of about yourself. Above all, be kind to yourself as you do this work.
Folding vs Hanging?
As you begin to return the items you want to keep back into your closet, think about how you will arrange them. The items being returned to the rails and drawers will be items that fit your figure, as well as the current weather and temperature. They will also be items that you feel good in. So, take due care and attention to these items by folding carefully and hanging on appropriate hangers. There are lots of tips for how to fold and hand neatly, including plenty if YouTube tutorials demonstrating folding techniques made popular by tidying expert, Marie Kondo.
You’ll want to hang some items. Dresses, skirts, jackets and coats are all best hung. Consider hanging in a logical order – keeping different types of clothing together. You can also look to sort handing items by color.
Organizing Belts, Bags and Accessories
Consider ways to hang or display accessories that allows you to visually see the different items, and to return to your closet after use. Hooks are your friend here. Take time to install some hooks so you can hang belts and handbags up. Shoes can be stored in clear, see-through containers that keeps the dust-off shoes, but allows you to see inside the container to find the pair that matches your outfit.
Before too long, the disorganized pile that was once on your bed is now sorted and stored. You’ll have some items boxed and ready to put away in storage, ready for the Spring. Other items have been carefully and thoughtfully returned to your closet for wear. And there will be other boxes with items that have been assessed as the wrong size, or that you just don’t wear, or are in some state of disrepair. It’s at this point, you can now turn your attention to what you want to re-use by finding a new owner for or recycle.
This process is one of letting go. For some of us, that can feel difficult and may even prompt feelings of loss. Remember the importance of being kind to yourself. If a trip to the thrift store or listing things for sale online seems too much for today, then place the boxes somewhere you won’t forget about them. And take one final action before resting and relaxing: put a date in the diary over the next 14 days when you commit to letting go of the items in the boxes. Text a friend to ask them to hold you accountable to this date if needed. Hopefully, your new and improved clean, uncluttered closet will help you to feel positive about the benefits of your organized, streamlined clothes storage.