Remember those high-waisted jeans you wore when Kelly was dating Brandon, or Dylan, or Brandon and Dylan? Fashion may have come full circle since the 90s, but you’re never going to wear those jeans again because a) they don’t fit, and b) it’s time to move on. Let’s leave the acid washed shorts to those who were born after Ferris Bueller took a day off.
There’s never a right or wrong time to purge our closets, but the beginning of summer is perfect thanks to warmer temperatures and a desire to clean all the things that grabs hold! We need to be brutal when we purge and only keep clothing that reflects who we are now, not who we were as 18 year-olds.
Organizing Your Closet 101
Set Aside the Time
You want to do a proper job of it and not have to start again in four weeks, so set aside a few hours to go through your bedroom closet.
Clear the Space
If a month’s worth of clean laundry is piled on the bed, and the suitcase from your last ski trip is collecting dust in your bedroom, anything you pull out from the closet will add to the chaos. It’s chaos we’re trying to avoid. Before you can get a clear picture of how much you have to sort through, you need a blank canvas.
Start with Accessories
If your closet is anything like everyone else’s closets, shoes, bags and scarves get seconds when it comes to space. We make room for our clothes and then our accessories are shoved into whatever crannies are left. Take out your shoes and examine each pair. Are they in good shape? Do they need repair? Do you still wear them? Are they dead? Divide into four piles: Keep, Repair, Donate, Trash.
Do the same with your scarves and bags. Set aside anything that’s staying, and box and label the items from the three remaining piles. Move the boxes to the hall and out of your way, so they can be dealt with immediately.
One Step At a Time
When we open our closets and see the mess that time forgot, it’s hard to imagine anything short of a miracle will make it right. Tackle one shelf at a time. Once you’ve sorted everything that’s shelved, move onto the hangers. Take a good look at each item of clothing, and be cold.
Forget that you had your first kiss while wearing that (hideous) paisley shirt. Seriously? You are more than a misplaced pair of shoulder pads. You’re a woman with her life together everywhere else, so get it together in the closets. Apply a six-month or one-year guideline to clothes. Donate anything that is still in good shape and you haven’t worn within that timeframe. Give away clothes that don’t fit; they’re taking up valuable space that could be used for clothes that make you feel amazing because they fit and reflect you, not a false ideal.
Assign each item of clothing to the same four piles you used for the accessories. If you have limited closet space, move non-seasonal items to a guest room or basement closet, or consider boxing them up until it’s time to pull out the woollies.
Spit and Polish
Now that your closet is empty, get in there with the vacuum cleaner and dusting cloths. There’s no need to provide housing for dust mites and other things that make me itchy just thinking about them.
Fold and Tidy
Don’t throw things back in the way they were. Fold everything with military precision, or at least with as much precision as necessary so that you won’t be mortified if your mother-in-law takes a peek. She will, you know?
If you don’t have a designer shoe closet, store shoes in old shoeboxes along the bottom of the closet. It’s easier to stack boxes than loose footwear. Attach hooks to the inside of closet doors for draping scarves and hang bags on dedicated hangers. And when it comes to hangers, THROW OUT THE METAL ONES! Only use wooden or plastic hangers.
That wasn’t so hard! And now you can actually see what you own, what outfits you can throw together for work or play, and what you need to complete your wardrobe. Take the clothes and accessories you boxed for donations to local and national non-profits at Value Village where they’ll make someone else’s closet happy.
Thank You to Value Village for sponsoring this post and allowing Life In Pleasantville to share organizational tips and get our closets in order.