New Year, New Closet

The thought of a good closet clean-out to start the year off right always feels exciting, especially in 2022! But, as we all know, purging your closet is a tremendous job. It always begins well. However, with negative thoughts swirling around in your head and a mountain of clothes piled in front of you, it’s easy to stuff it all back into your closet and save your clean-out for another day, maybe… But please don’t do that! Cleaning Out Your Closet can change your life!

A good closet purge makes you feel good: Cleaning your closet gives you a sense of accomplishment and mastery over your wardrobe. It’s one step on the way to style confidence. It also opens wardrobe up to new possibilities -Just like anything in life, you can’t let anything new in until you get rid of the old. It’s the same with clothes. When you clean out your closet, you’ll save time getting dressed. Seeing what you have clearly, and knowing it fits and is in working condition makes it faster and easier to get dressed. As such, you will wear more of your clothes. Too many clothes create overwhelm, and we reach for the same old, same old. When you see what you have, it’s easier to switch it up.

Having a decluttered closet also has positive effects on your mental health. It will create more space for you and let you focus on other things besides worrying about what to wear every day. Also, since you can resell clothes that you do not wear, you can use your earnings to buy new clothes, shoes, or other things you might need.

How to have a Successful Closet Clean Out

To follow through and make your closet clean-out a success, you must get focused and have a plan. Before you begin, you need to think long and hard about the types of clothes and the overall style you need for your new year. You can determine your clothing needs from this, which makes things easier when you are in your closet looking at clothing and deciding what to keep and what to part with.

Here are some things to consider when you are planning a closet clean-out

a.      Time

It always takes longer than you think. Make sure to set aside at least half a day or a couple of hours a day to do one section at a time. For example, tops on Mondays and pants on Tuesdays. This rule, however, works for those who have a large number of clothes.

b.      Space

Be sure you have plenty of space to work in. You’re going to end up with a few large piles of clothing, and if you are stepping all over overstuff, it’s going to be a confusing mess.

c.       Tools

Having all your tools right by your side will keep you on track and not waste time. You’ll need sturdy hangers to hang your clothes, a full-length mirror to ensure that you can get a full view of yourself as you change your outfits, and a masking tape & marker for marking items that need fixing or packaging (for the clothes that you need to send away). You may also need dressmaker pins and fashion tape should you need to tweak or alter some clothes. Lastly, you may need some plastic bins or storage boxes to store clothes you want out of the closet but still within reach.

  Clearing out your closet

Everybody has their way of clearing their closet. Some like to pull everything out of their closet onto their bed. While this initially feels great, I find it causes a lot of stress after an hour or so when you realize how slowly you are getting through the mess. I recommend chunking it down. Pull out one section of clothing at a time onto a rolling rack. For example, start with your sweaters. Pull them out, put them on the rack, and start going through them one by one. Next, do your blouses and then your pants. If you can have a couple of rolling racks, all the better. As for shoes, jewelry, and accessories, leave those to the very end.

While you clear out your closet, it’s essential to go through every article of clothing and ask yourself the following six questions:

  • Is this damaged? (and worth fixing?)
  • Does this fit me? (Don’t hold onto things that don’t fit. It’s too depressing, and you will want new things if you plan to lose weight anyway)
  • Is it good quality? (Cheap clothes are flimsy, see-through, and look cheap)
  • Is this age-appropriate? (Most clothes are ageless. It’s all in the way you style them, but common sense dictates that things like thigh-high skirts and daisy dukes, cutesy tops, or something that it is trending for teens will not serve you well as a college student or a working-class adult)
  • Do I wear this? – (This is always tough. Do you wear it, why not? If you like it and it fits, but you have nothing to wear with it, then it’s not an automatic toss. If the opposite is true or doesn’t go with your lifestyle or needs, toss it)
  • Do I have duplicates – I wrote a whole post about this! If you have one too many, yes, definitely get rid of your least favorite.
  • Does this fit my current lifestyle? (Do you have a closet full of evening gowns but never go out anymore. Do you have business suits still staring at you now, but you are retired? If they are part of your old life, they need to make room for things in your new life)
  • Do I love this? Does it bring me joy? (If you don’t love, love, love it, you’ll probably never wear it, or if you do, you will feel unhappy. Give it to someone else who will give it the love it needs)
  • Would I repurchase it? (If you are stuck on how much you love it, then ask yourself this question, and you will know for sure)

Closer clean-out piles

As you weed through your clothes, you will need to create five distinct piles: Keep, Donate, Sell, Fix, and Trash. This will make it so much easier to get everything taken care of once you finish. Go through all your chunks of clothing, one by one, slowly emptying my closet and creating my KEEP pile on my bed. Once the closet is empty, clean and vacuum it as this will ensure that you are ready to put everything back in.

 Finishing up

1. Organize by Item and Color

Everyone has their way of organizing that feels right to them, and you can get pretty obsessive-compulsive about it. Divide your clothes into five sections tops, bottoms, dresses, jackets, and special occasions. Start with the whites on one side and work your way through colors to black within those categories. This method will help you choose the color you want for the day and the various preferable outfits. Having all your clothes together in your closet makes it easier to pick one without going through heaps of clothes.

Similarly, this method also helps you mix and match clothes better. You have green pants, and you can automatically go to the colors you know will look good with green and pick a top. Everything is in one place.

2. Get clothing tailored or fixed ASAP.

Now is the time to get any ill-fitting or damaged clothes you found during your clean-out tailored or repaired. Don’t delay; whether a sweater needs to be de-pilled, a skirt hemmed, or something needs head-to-toe tailoring, don’t delay, or it will just end up back in your closet.

Tailoring scissors, spool of thread and white measuring tape on fabric.

3. Sell or donate gently-used clothing

Drop off unwanted clothes at a donation center or, if the item is in good enough condition, you could try selling or consigning it. Churches and orphanages are great places to get rid of unwanted clothing and make some cash along the way.

4. Make a Shopping List to Fill in Gaps

If your closet clean-out made you realize you have a few missing vital items, create a shopping list to fill in the gaps. Just remember to ask yourself those same key questions you used when clearing out your wardrobe to avoid bringing in items that don’t meet your needs. If you’re not sure what to buy, start by creating outfits first and see what you might be missing.

5. Photograph Outfits

Once you’ve got your wardrobe sorted, planning outfits can make the process of getting dressed a lot simpler. Try laying out several outfits and mixing and matching pieces to create different looks for different occasions. Layout some looks for traveling, date night, dinner with friends, casual days, or other events that fit your lifestyle. Then when you don’t know what to wear, you can sift through the photos and come up with an idea. This step is not 100% necessary, but it will make it easier to match your outfits.