Wednesday, May 23, 2012

how-to: a guide to organizing and cleaning out your closet

the trouble with shopping is...

well, i guess most of you probably know just as well as i do what the trouble with shopping is, right?
if you're like me you love to shop and you love a good bargain. a combination that can be quite dangerous if you're not careful.
over the last 10 years or so i accumulated quite the collection in my closet.
a collection of things that even made it through a move from one continent to another
(no kidding, i sent about 4 big boxes of stuff which surprisingly all made it) and another move from one house to another.

now you'd think that moving may be a good time to go through your things and throw away or donate what you no longer use or wear, since you're already boxing things up anyway. well, i have a slight problem with throwing things away. they usually accumulate in a corner somewhere until one day i finally sit down to go through them, sort, throw things away and most likely create another pile somewhere else. it's not that i have a real emotional connection with these things or that i really need them but i have a need to make sure i spent the time to inspect carefully and make a conscious decision to let things go.

of course over the years i have gotten rid of clothing, given it away and even removed old high school and college t-shirts from my husbands closet. still, i always felt overwhelmed when it came to cleaning out my own mess of a closet. one time the shelving on the one side of my walk-in closet actually came off the wall and with it a big jumbled mess of fabric and hangers. so that was the first time i truly realized i probably had way too many clothes and started to fill a bag for donations and another bag to sell. another big indicator for me was that i started feeling lost and frustrated in my own closet when it came to picking outfits. i never felt that i liked most of the things i owned or that i was truly in love with a lot of my purchases.

it has taken me a lot of time to admit to myself that i need to be a more thoughtful shopper. i know what i like but sometimes that means that i have to spend more time researching where to buy and how much money to spend. i love places that offer trendy clothing for only a few bucks but i have also come to realize that those items are the ones that i hardly ever wear or that quickly end up with seams unravelling or ripping.

so last week i  got down to business once again and really cleaned out.
this time i filled up three bags, took them to goodwill and threw away a good bit as well.
i have kept my system of color coordinating so things are easier to find and you know where to look.
i have to admit that i felt such relief once all of these things were gone. i now walk into my closet and i don't feel lost and frustrated anymore.
i still have to go through most of my pants and there are a ton of purses i haven't even touched yet but i made progress and that's all that counts.

here are some pointers and rules i followed on how to clean out your closet to make it more manageable:

  • if you haven't worn it in 3 months it needs to go
  • if it's not in season it should be stored in a container in your attic, basement, another closet or under your bed (space bags are your best friend)
  • if it has your high school/college name/team on it keep a couple of favorites and toss the rest (or make a memory quilt)
  • organize your closet by color and style. that way you will see exactly where you need to lighten the load
  • if it doesn't fit or you don't feel comfortable in it, donate it - don't keep it because you may one day lose those extra 5 pounds 
  • if it has holes or stains that you can't fix or remove, it needs to go
  • keep your favorite wardrobe staples such as the little black dress, blazer, a great fitting white t-shirt, skinny jeans etc. but be selective - you don't need 10 of the same!
  • donate or give things away to friends/family - it will make you feel good and brighten their day
  • sell items on auction platforms such as ebay to make a little bit of extra cash but make sure to only sell items that people want to buy
  • sell things at a yard sale or consignment store/sale in your area
  • leave enough room between clothes for you to move them easily, it'll help you when putting outfits together and shows you where there may be room for those items that are still missing in your closet 
  • buy things you truly love that are of high quality and will last you a long time
  • when buying into trends you are not 100% sure about be careful not to spend a ton of money 

so that's how i got my closet back under control. of course i still love to shop and always will :)
i would love to hear  from you on how you keep your closet under control. do you budget your shopping? do you clean out several times a year? what tips or directions do you follow? share them in the comments section, i would love to add to this list.

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  1. i have to clean our my closet. but first i need some of those space bags.

  2. I like to put clothes that are questionable in a bin for awhile. If I haven't gone to look for it in the closet (and it's in the bin) than apparently I don't need it anymore. OR sometimes I put it in the costume box in the attic if it is potentially worthy of a future party or something of that nature. LOL xoxo A-

  3. donate is always a good idea, I had my spring cleaning weeks ago, it's never easy!

  4. I love the quilt idea! My fiance has SO MANY t-shirts that...well...they need to go. Maybe he'll let me do that. :)

  5. Great tips, makes me want to organize my closet now!

  6. Great tips!! I could use them all!

  7. like your tips...I wait a yr before it has to go..

  8. Great tips, though I would suggest never "throwing away" any item of clothing. If it is stained or ripped (or otherwise not likely to have a re-wearable purpose through giving away) cut it up and use as rags. The landfills will thank you. Shoes, of course, are an exception, but there are plenty of re-uses for every material.

  9. Hello, LOVE your tips, when we were getting out of the army and going through my husbands closet, he had gotten a lot of cool t shirts that has either army slogans on it of cool pictures, and he had a bunch of them so I kept them and made a Tshirt quilt out of them it turned out to be a king size quilt. Its still not finished due to it being a big king size quilt and not enough room to quilt it and finish it.


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