CINCINNATI - There must be hundreds of articles about how to de-clutter your closet. There are even books dedicated to the subject. While these materials are insightful, I’ve found my own method for keeping my tiny closet uncluttered and easy to maintain. I went through this very process a year ago. It works!
Understanding that everyone has a different lifestyle, no two closets will ever be the same. Some professionals require suits, others uniforms. Others may just have a lot of clothes because they have a love for fashion. That’s okay, too.
Cleaning out your closet is really a matter of asking yourself a series of questions about the clothes you own. I started by taking everything I own out of the closet. Everything.
Label laundry bins into four categories, then put each piece of clothing in the appropriate bin.
- Donate or Consign: Consider items you haven’t worn in years, and doubt that you’ll wear it in the next year. This includes sentimental items (those belong in a keepsake box if you must hold on to them) and items that may still have the tags on from two years ago. Just give it up. You’ll be happy you did when you have all that extra room in your closet.
- Toss or Recycle: Articles of clothing that may have too much wear or stains would go into this bin. I like to turn these clothes into rags that I use for just about everything from washing my car to cleaning up spills.
- Keep: An obvious decision, this bin is for the items that you wear often, love and want to keep around.
- Hem or Repair: For jeans that are too long, a blouse with a repairable hole or something with a missing button would fall under this category.
While sorting your clothes and shoes, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions along the way:
"What do I wear most?”
If you work from home, then you probably don’t need to have a lot of elegant dresses. If you wear a uniform, then you probably don’t need a plethora of jeans for the weekends.
“How do I de-clutter when you live in climate like Cincinnati, where it can be 70 degrees one day and snowing the next?”
Again, depending on what you mostly wear due to your lifestyle, this answer will vary greatly. If you work outside year-round, then you may have more coats than the typical person. Generally speaking, it might be nice to have a heavy winter coat, a jacket that can keep you warm during chilly spring mornings and perhaps a rain jacket. Having a variety will prepare you for the weather that can sometimes be pretty unpredictable in the tri-state.
“Do I really need five pairs of jeans that look exactly the same?”
If it’s for your occupation, maybe. But if you just have five pairs of jeans that are the same for no good reason, try to eliminate your least favorites out of the bunch. This way of thinking can be applied to just about everything you own. “How many old t-shirts do you really need? Do you wear them all?” These are things to keep in mind during the sorting process.
The "keep" pile
Once you have sorted through your entire wardrobe, revisit the ”keep” pile one more time with the above questions in mind. When you feel comfortable with the items you’d like to keep, put them back in your closet. From there, try and build outfits around the “keepers” with classic pieces. A few blazers, nude heels and white button down shirts can go with just about anything, while still pulling off a polished look.
Something else: Only put items back in your closet that are ready to wear. Meaning, they fit your current body size as of today.
The clothing you chose to keep should flatter your body or it’s something you feel good about wearing, even if it is your favorite pair of sweatpants. As long as you’re still wearing them on a regular basis, then by all means, keep them.
There’s no need to really have an entire room as a closet. While it may be nice, I’m perfectly content with my little closet. (Pictured below)
Here’s why I like my set-up and what I use to help keep me organized:
I’m able to fit everything in this small closet aside from coats and jackets. (They go in a separate coat closet along with the rest of the family’s). I have only one small dresser drawer that holds everything from long underwear, slips, to socks and gloves.The rest is in this very closet pictured.
Having less means everything has it’s own place. I even have room on the top shelf to store my sheets! Dresses are hung together, shirts are hung by color and type (tank tops have their own section while t-shirts and dress shirts all have their designated place); but every top is hung.
Lastly, using inexpensive organizational products helped me maximize the space. The white shelf holds all my pants, shorts, work out pants, sneakers and slippers. The shoe rack that hangs over the door holds all my fancier shoes, heels and sandals.
Here are some of my favorite affordable products that help me stay organized:
The first time you attempt to de-clutter may be overwhelming. Take small steps and even if it’s just five items you get rid of the first time, that’s more space and five less things taking up room.
You can do it!
And if you really want to read books about organizing your closet....
- "I Have Nothing to Wear!: A Painless 12-step Program to Declutter Your Life so You Never Have to Say This Again!"
- "How To Organize A Closet: Closet Organization Ideas and Closet Storage Solutions "