We can all relate to that feeling of guilt when searching through your closet for something to wear only to find unworn clothes with tags still attached or long-forgotten pieces you swore you’d wear all the time. For some, this cycle has been going on for years, and somehow, our bedroom closets still end up filled with clothes we don’t wear.
To help overcome this challenge, we’ve combined the wisdom of Courtney Carver, creator of bemorewithless.com with the award-winning author of The Life-Changing Magic of Cleaning Up, Marie Kondo to bring you a fool-proof guide on cleaning out your closet for good.
For our soon-to-be new homeowners, moving is the ideal time to go through this process. Capitalize on those purge-happy moods that always come up when you’re packing and leave all the items you don’t need behind for good.
Set yourself up for success and book a day to clean, maybe even the whole day if possible. Put it in your calendar and make sure you won’t be disturbed. Book a sitter, turn off your phone and give yourself plenty of time. Make the experience as relaxing as possible by setting up some good music or your favorite feel-good show and make sure you have water and snacks handy.
- Empty your closet – all of it. Get clothing out of storage and pile everything onto your bed including winter gear, scarves, shoes, jewelry and other accessories.
- Give your empty closet and storage bins a quick cleaning. Dust and spray some air freshener or open the windows and allow some fresh air to flow through the room.
- Reward yourself with a walk, a coffee or a snack. Get away from your closet for a bit.
- Begin to sort items quickly into the following four piles on the floor. Don’t overthink this process, put items in the first category that comes to your mind:
- Love:Items you love, that fit and you wear often.
- Maybe:Items you want to keep, although you’re not sure why.
- Donate:Items you no longer wear and don’t fit your style.
- Recycle:Items that are in poor condition.
- Box or bag up your items to donate and bring them to your car or garage. You may even want to take a break and bring these items to your nearest donation box. If you live in a condo there may be an area for donation in the building; bring them down. If you have items to recycle you can look at dropping them off somewhere local that will accept them by doing a quick search online.
- Take a second pass at your two remaining piles. Try on clothing you aren’t sure about and ask the following questions. Remove any items that you answer ‘no’ to both:
- Would I go to the store and buy this today?
- Will I wear this in the next 3-6 months?
- You’ll now be left with a (much smaller) pile of clothes you love and wear often. This is a good time to take inventory of the holes in your wardrobe. Maybe you need a good pair of boots or a plain white t-shirt. Core items allow you to make several different outfits and use items in your closet more frequently. Use Capsule Wardrobe inspiration on Pinterest to see where there may be gaps in your wardrobe.
- Put your remaining items back in your closet. Employ Marie Kondo’s method for clothing storage; this will ensure you can see all your items at once, eliminating the ‘I forgot I had this’ phenomenon. View her folding method here. Place hanging items in order by category; jackets, blazers, t-shirts, tanks should all live together. To keep your closet even more pleasing to the eye, buy hangers in a uniform, neutral color, like black or white.
Photo courtesy of: HipVan
Post Clean Up
A huge part of keeping your closet clean and only full of items you love is organization. Take time to refold items properly before putting them back, keep items in categories (you may even consider labeling drawers) and ask yourself probing questions about how you’d use the item before you purchase new clothes. You’re clothes and closet should bring your joy and make you feel good about yourself, and a well-organized closet is a big part of that.