Ok, it’s a new year, and aside from the traditional New Year’s Resolutions that involve giving up cake or going to the gym, we all need to make another resolution as well…
…One to get a tidy closet asap!
Yes folks, even my own closet has suffered a bit of overstuffing in my manic shopping moments for clients. One of the methods I use to achieve a tidy closet (and the easiest for clients to do themselves) is a simple three step approach (seriously at the moment I can’t even close the double doors…think Katherine Heigl in ’27 Dresses’ and I think you get the picture).
I like this method because it’s easy, efficient, and forces you to be brutally honest with yourself.
Step 1: Make Room for Three Piles – “Keep”, “Store”, and “Donate”
On a large space on either your bed or the floor, make room for three separate piles of clothing. You can use a piece a paper to label the three pile as “keep”, “store”, and “donate”.
“Keep” – This pile is for clothes/items that you currently wear or have worn within the last 12 months. Nothing else goes in this pile.
“Store” – This pile includes clothes/items that are not currently in season (i.e. a Spring jacket in January). This pile should also only include clothing that you’ve worn in the past 12 months.
“Donate” – This pile will include all items that you aren’t keeping or storing. That means anything completely out of style, too big or too small, items you just don’t like, etc.
Step 2: Pull Each Item from the Closet & Place in Appropriate Pile
Start with one side of your closet and work top to bottom. Don’t get scared or overwhelmed because cleaning out your closet is going to take a bit of time.
This means if you have shelves at the top of your closet, a bar to hang clothing in the middle of your closet (underneath the shelves), and boxes at the bottom of the closet, work through a small section in that manner.
Start by pulling down everything on the shelves within a section. Next, move down to the bar where clothes are hanging (within that section) and place each item in the correct pile. Lastly, pull out the box(es) on the floor of that section and place all contents in the appropriate pile.
To keep from getting overwhelmed, I recommend working in three to five foot wide sections.
*Personal Stylist Tip: Take 5-10 minute breaks regularly or whenever you need one. I suggest every 90 minutes or so to take a break to keep yourself motivated and focused on the task of getting an organized, tidy closet! Be aware that cleaning out of your closet may take more than one day. Just think, your closet didn’t become a disaster overnight so it’s reasonable to expect that cleaning out your closet may take more than a single day to accomplish.
Step 3: Drop-Off or Schedule a Pick-Up for “Donate” Pile within 24-48 hours!
If you’re like most people, once you’ve pulled everything out of your closet, you’ll want to go through the “donate” pile again.
Don’t do it!
Go with your first instinct. Be confident that you made the right choice when you first saw the piece of clothing, shoe or accessory.
I suggest bagging up everything in the “donate” pile and donating the items to an organization who helps others. Just as a word of caution, please have enough respect for the intended recipient to only give clothes that are clean and wearable. There are two easy options to do this:
Option #1: Drop the clothing off yourself (in this case, to keep a neat closet you need to put the “donate” bag(s) in your trunk immediately – before doing anything else). You will want to scout out locations near you of local charities that accept clothing donations. To keep on track with achieving a tidy closet, I strongly advise you to drop items from the “donate” pile within 48 hours so they won’t mysteriously make there way back into your closet. Some organizations where you can drop-off clothing donations include:
*Personal Stylist Tip: To make this easier on my clients, I actually take the donate pile with me when I leave after performing a Closet Audit or Closet Edits. Therefore if you are a little overwhelmed with cleaning out your closet, contact me today and we can setup an appointment!
Option #2: You can arrange for your donations to be picked up by organizations such as Goodwill, Veterans Associations, etc. Here are some places that usually pick up donations within 24 hours. See if they have it in your area and then schedule the appointment (note, you don’t have to be home when they pick up your donations):
- The Salvation Army
- Vietnam Veterans of America
- Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Organization
- Donation Town (you get to choose the charity your clothing donation goes to!)
I also should mention here, that aside from helping others, clothing donations (or other items) are also a tax write-off!
Step 4: Get “Keep” & “Store” Items Cleaned & Repaired
Moving forward in our quest for an organized closet, the next step is to go through the remaining piles, the “keep” and the “store” piles. You want to pick out any items that need to be dry cleaned/laundered or repaired.
Common repairs include:
- zippers that need to be repaired,
- fixing broken or loose buttons
- sagging, ripped or hanging hemlines tightened up
- reattaching lining in pants, skirts & dresses
Common dry cleaning services to take advantage of:
- dry cleaning of suits, coats, etc.
- pressing collared or formal shirts
Once you determine what items need to be cleaned or repaired, make a list of what needs to be done.
*Personal Stylist Tip: For easy identification, place a safety pin or Post-It flag on the area of repair items. (Note: only do this if it won’t damage the fabric).
Gather up all these items, place them in a bag, and put them in the backseat of your car. Make it to the dry cleaners in the next day or so to ensure you get your clothes mended and laundered asap.
Step 5: Store Items in “Store” Pile
This is one of the easiest steps when cleaning out your closet!
Start by folding or putting all remaining items in the “store” pile on hangers. Anything that’s being folded should be placed in the proper storage container or bag. For items that will be hung on hangers, I suggest you buy clear garment bags and group clothing (like all pants, all tops, all dresses, etc.) and put them in the same garment bag.
Placing a rubber band around a group of hangers will make this task infinitely easier.
Once completed, take all items to the location in your home where they will be stored. If possible, this should NOT be your everyday closet.
Step 6: Put Away Items in “Keep” Pile
Ahh, the last and most rewarding step on your journey to an organized, tidy closet!
Now you can hang, fold, and properly put away all items in your “keep” pile.
You want to ensure all items are wrinkle-free when ever you put them in your closet.
A hand steamer works quickly and easily here.
So now that you have the information, what will you be doing to tidy up your closets this year?