January is a terrific time to get organized! With the holidays behind us, it’s a great time to purge your closet. Let me show you How to Declutter Your Closet so you can love all the stuff left after the clean-up. This is a project that takes a fair amount of time, like much of a weekend, so that you don’t run out of steam midway through.
Once I’ve put away the Christmas decorations, most of my house looks bare. At least until I replace the holiday decorations with my early spring stuff.
This bareness, however, is not true of my clothes closet.
In this post...
How to Declutter Your Closet
Part 1: Getting Ready to Purge as well as Declutter Your Closet.
As a fashion blogger, I LOVE SHOPPING. So I have way too many clothes at any one time. But, I think most women have too many items in their closets. I think this happens for a number of reasons. I think we tend to keep items around “in case” we need them for the future. Or we think we spent “good money” on an item, that we never reach for. Or we think we should keep that item for when we lose those 10 pounds. Or we remember that item from a particularly happy event and therefore can’t part with it.
I bring up these reasons to help you understand why you might be hanging onto items that would better serve you by being given away.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard of Marie Kondo’s organizing book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. With Marie’s techniques, you learn how to go through your stuff thoughtfully, removing all items that don’t “spark joy”. What I think Marie means is to touch EVERY item in your closet and see if you LOVE IT and ACTUALLY WANT TO WEAR IT!
Here are the actual steps to take to get ready to Purge Your Closet (Closet Cleaning Tips) as well as Declutter Your Closet:
1. Before cleaning the closet, I take the time to fix my hair and make-up I put on a good bra, and nude cami, so that when I go to try on an item that I haven’t worn recently, I give it a better chance of making it back into my closet as something I now love.
2. Remove EVERYTHING from the closet. This step is CRITICAL. You need to get a fresh start in the space. I take all the clothes, shoes, boots, and accessories, and move them all to my adjacent bedroom. Now I know I am committed to the task.
3. Quickly clean the shelves, racks, and cubbies with Windex and paper towels so that putting things away will be easier and the end result will be better. I vacuum the carpet and even wipe the shoe smudges off the walls with my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
4. Turn off my phone so I don’t get interrupted, and I then put on some uplifting music with my Air Pods. This keeps me focused and uplifted.
5. Get a pad of paper and a pen so that as you clean and come up with a cute outfit, you can write it down. And as you think about items you need for your future shopping, make that list now.
Part 2: Declutter Your Closet by Sorting the Clothes and How to Purge Your Closet Stuff
Here are the steps to sort and declutter all the items in your closet as well as how to purge your closet stuff.
1. Now you’re ready to sort your clothes into piles. The quickest way to do this is to go over to the big pile of clothes on your bed and pull out anything that you currently love and wear. You know these items fit as you routinely wear them. Take all these items and quickly hang them back in your closet. (You will organize all this in a bit). Any favorite well-fitting shoes, handbags, boots, booties, belts, etc. should also be returned to your empty closet at this time.
2. Try on everything else that you haven’t worn in the past few months as you need to determine if the item fits, is your current style, or is something you love. If you try it on and decide it’s something you love, put it back in your closet. If not see step 3 below.
3. Get four garbage bags and label them “to toss”, “to repair”, “to give away” and “not sure”. As you try each item on, sort each piece into one of these categories.
The “to toss” pile is anything that is too damaged to be worn; either irreparably stained, torn, or otherwise damaged. This bag will go in the trash.
The “to repair” pile includes items that need alteration, dry cleaning, button replacement, etc. This bag needs to be dealt with by dropping the items off at the dry cleaners or tailors.
The “giveaway” pile is everything you know in your heart would be better shared with someone else. Items to include here are any items that don’t feel comfortable when you put them on. Things that are too tight or unflattering to your current figure. The reality is that our bodies change over the years and we should embrace that as fashion stylist Stacy London would say, “Dress the body you have, not the body you wish you had”.
Give away anything that still has its tag on it as you really don’t love it. Give away shoes that hurt, sweaters that itch, and anything that isn’t a flattering color for you now. And if you’ve retired, strongly consider giving away all those work clothes that no longer fit your lifestyle.
The “not sure” pile consists of things you like but don’t know how to style. Ask a stylish friend (or DM a favorite blogger, ahem) for suggestions so they can become items you love. Also in this pile are things that you like but rarely reach for. Don’t keep giving them valuable real estate in your closet. Put this “giveaway” bag in the basement or another slightly out-of-the-way spot. If you find yourself missing an item, go retrieve it. After a few months, give the rest of the “not sure” bag to someone who will appreciate it.
4. The last pile is out-of-season clothes. It is so helpful to keep the current season’s clothes as the only items in your closet. If you have another closet somewhere else in your home, put the out-of-season stuff there. If not, put the items under the bed or on the very top shelf of your closet in these types of storage bags or these. This way you can concentrate and create outfits just from the current season’s items.
I find that some items are used all year round such as tank tops, camis, some tee shirts, belts, etc. So those items stay in my closet all the time.
Part 3: How to Color Organize Your Closet
Once I have culled through all my items and am left with just things I love to wear, it is really fun to organize the items. I find it best to group like items together. I will show you some photos of how I color organize my closet. I have sections for jeans, pants, button-down shirts, dresses, skirts, tee shirts (I group these with camis and tank tops), shoes, boots, purses, belts, scarves, hats, and jewelry.
Hangers: I like velvet hangers for many items in my closet. I like the fact that they are uniform and that they keep most clothes from sliding off. I also like and routinely use clear plastic hangers. I like them for heavier items as the velvet hangers are a bit flimsy. I also like the clear plastic hangers with clips on them for my pants and jeans as I like to hang them from their waist. So buy all three types of hangers and I keep an assortment in my guest closets as well.
Purses: I LOVE these acrylic dividers that I use to separate my purses. This helps the bags stay upright and not get creased. Here is another type of purse organizer that you might like.
Hats: Here is a hanging clothes organizer that I use for my hats. Sweaters could fit here too. Here is another type of organizer got baseball and golf hats.
Belts: For my belts, I use tie racks. They really help to keep the belts untangled.
Jewelry: I also use the same tie racks for my necklaces.
Bracelets, Earrings, and Rings: For bracelets, I use these brass candle holders. For my earrings, I use these tiered stands (similar, here). For rings, I use Waterford ring dishes.
Pro-tip: Here is how to color organize your closet. Once I have the items in their appropriate section of the closet, I go back through each section and arrange the items by color. This is especially helpful for solid-colored items such as tanks, tees, camis, and scarves. Then when I go to put together an outfit, I can go right to the spot where the item is located and can quickly get dressed.
Pro-tip: Whenever I take an item out of the closet, I move its hanger to the “empty hanger” section of my closet. This way I always have hangers for doing laundry, and I don’t have lost empty hangers taking up space in my pretty closet.
Conclusion to How to Declutter Your Closet:
So are you motivated now to take on the project of cleaning your closet and purging it of stuff you don’t want? I hope so! Let me know YOUR thoughts as well as your tips and tricks for organizing.
PS Here are a few more fun posts to kick off the new year:
Organizing My Messy Closet Using A Hallmark Movie!
How to Shop Your Closet, Really!
Delicious Italian Wedding Soup!
Delicious Squash SoupSpectacular Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!
Dr. Julie’s Fun Friday Finds – Guest Room Essentials
Words to live by!!!!
You are amazing! I am often recreating my closet to find more efficient ways. You gave me some new ideas. Thank you!
Thanks Phyllis! Happy New Year!
For the outfit plans written on the pad, I would take a photo of that outfit laid out on the bed or else a selfie wearing it to display on a spare Ben top or wall.
Great idea Eva!
Thanks, Col! Happy New Year!
Thank you for your great advice and photos. Definitely will be using your tips and how to’s.
Great Anne! Thanks for commenting!