So you want to clean your closet but have no idea where to start? Recently walked into your closet only to immediately walk back out because “it wasn’t worth it”? My closet seemed to always be turning into a clothes-strewn mess, but I finally spent an evening getting out of my wardrobe nightmare (not the malfunction kind, just the kind where I am trying to cram 40 shirts into an already crammed cubbyhole) and I plan on keeping it pretty neat from now on. I knew it was time to declutter when I could no longer find one pair of jeans that fit out of 15 pairs I owned.
I was ready for a clean, organized closet. Here’s how I did it:
Step 1: Assess the Situation
The first thing you have to do is figure out where you are. Here is my closet before cleaning and organizing. WARNING: Graphic photos below! Not for the OCD neat freak at heart.
Step 2: Empty the Entire Closet
Step 3: Cry
Oh my God. What have you done?! Do you realize how long it’s going to take to put everything back? It’s 9 PM on a Friday night! OK, breathe. You can do this. You just have to start somewhere. Let’s start somewhere easy and simple, like shoes.
Step 4: Start Putting Things Back in Separate Sections
It’s doesn’t matter how you want to organize things, just as long you know the system and you’ll stick with it. No coming home and stuffing clothes into any random spot. Here are some different ways to organize your clothes, shoes and accessories:
- By colors of the rainbow (like Andrea)
- By category (blazers, jackets, tops, pants, skirts)
- By mood (how does this shirt make you feel?)
- By price (Saks clothes in the front, Goodwill clothes towards the end)
- By size/quantity/ease of use of pockets (cargo pants in the front, leather leggings towards the end)
- By rating of 1-5 how likely this outfit will be be seen in the next Miley Cyrus video (cutoff shorts and dirty tank tops in the front, everything else towards the end)
I just went with the boring old category organization route. I used the cubbyholes for stuff I use a lot, like purses, belts and workout clothes. I also replaced all of my multi-colored hangers with uniform white hangers. Yes, I stuffed all the extra hangers onto my boyfriend’s side of the closet. Who’s gonna stop me?!
Step 5: Donate, Toss and Recycle What’s No Longer Being Used
As you put things into their newly designated permanent homes (that you will never, ever defile by placing the wrong thing in a section again), you should also be separating the stuff you no longer wear or use. Was it hard for me to say goodbye to tees that reminded me of college and size 25 designer jeans I can no longer fit one leg into? Not really. I’m so over stuff and I was happy to get rid of five garbage bags of it to Goodwill! I thought about selling some of the fancy stuff on eBay, but I would rather have someone find it for cheap at a Goodwill store. It feels like a little bit of good karma to get rid of years of accumulated stuff and send it down an unknown, but hopefully happy path.
Enough talk! Who’s ready to see some pictures??
The “After” Pictures
I still have a lot of clothes. But now I can see what I have and I’ve once again found a bunch of stuff I’d thought I’d lost months ago, which I’m excited to wear again. It feels great to walk into a closet and see things I can wear. I miss the fun of getting new clothes, but having a new closet is making a lot of the temptation to buy new things fade away.
Have you done a declutter or cleanout recently? Please feel free to share a link to your organizing and cleaning posts below! If you have other tips on how to keep your closets organized, please let me know!