Clean out your closet
One of the most critical elements to a clean, spiffy home is your closet. Many women find themselves struggling to fit any new items in their already-overflowing closet, while simultaneously trying to decide what to wear in the morning because they feel like they have nothing that speaks to them. With the proper closet organization, however, you will discover plenty of space for all of the great purchases you’re making this year. Here are some tips for overhauling your closet with fun and ease:
Crank the tunes
Choose one of your favorite CDs to listen to while you organize. Knowing you’re going to hear some of your favorite tunes will get you pumped to start the cleaning process.
Try things on
Separate your closet’s contents into different piles: things you know you love and wear regularly, and everything else. Everything that falls into that other pile needs to be tried on before you make any more progress. If the piece doesn’t fit, get rid of it. Don’t think, “This will fit again one day,” if it’s too small, or “I might be this size again” if it’s too big. If either of those situations arise, you can purchase more clothes. In the meantime, save precious closet space for the things that fit now. It’ll be worth it when you have a clean closet!
Is this a staple?
There are plenty of pieces of clothing that all women – especially professional women – need. A few of these must-haves include comfortable, slimming jeans, solid color skirts, flattering blouses, and dress pants. Consider the outfits that you wear most frequently as well. If these pieces have seen better days you may want to replace them, too. While your closet may have stylish, trendy pieces, be sure that your staples are in good condition. Look for holes, nicks and rips. Any clothing that is too old or not in good condition can go straight into a trash bag to be taken to the curb.
Will I ever wear this again?
This is an especially important question to ask when it comes to formal wear and other outfits that are typically only worn once in a while. Anything that hasn’t been worn in over two years should be donated unless it has sentimental value. You may have a dress that looked absolutely fabulous on you in the ’90s, but now it just looks dated. This should be tossed as well. The same goes for handbags (which take up lots of space). There are many places to donate formal wear, since these types of outfits are typically very expensive, making it tough for women in need to be able to afford them.
Do I feel confident in this?
Take a last look at your remaining clothes before you put them back in the closet. Does this piece of clothing make you feel good when you wear it? Do you feel like you turn heads when you walk into a room wearing it? Or do you find yourself constantly adjusting the neckline or the hem? If you don’t feel like your best self in an outfit, there’s no need for it to take extra space up in your closet. Who knows, if you donate this piece of clothing, it may become that “it” outfit for another woman! Finally, while going through your closet make a list of things that you need to replace. This way you’ll know just what you need the next time you go shopping.
After the Clothing Purge
- After you’ve made room in your closet, you get to throw your new items into the mix. Don’t just hang them up in the back: showcase them nicely and neatly. That way, you won’t get lost when trying to find a certain blouse or sweater.
- Adding new items is the time to start mentally putting together outfits. That way you’ll be throwing on your new clothes in no time. (Hint: Don’t be afraid to make some returns if you got you a sweater that isn’t your taste).
- Update your storage options: throw out old shoe boxes and wire hangers. Invest in a shoe rack and enough plastic or wood hangers to take care of your entire wardrobe. It’s easier to find items when they are all hanging on the same style hanger, and plastic and wood hangers are easier on your clothing than wire hangers.
- Reorganize the clothing you’ve kept. If you like pairing different styles and colors in your outfits, then try color coordination. That way, you’ll be able to more easily grab various shades to craft the perfect outfit, with all the hues right in front of your face.
- If dressing based on trends is more your speed, organizing your clothes by season means you’ll be saving yourself from the time and headaches of shoving through summer dresses and clothes to get to winter sweaters.
- If you like wearing pre-conceived outfits then be sure to showcase your favorite items. Hang up your daily outfits in the front of your closet so every morning stays on schedule.
See? Your morning routine just got so much easier! So what’s next?
Ideally, after a closet cleaning, you’ll be able to donate enough stuff to ensure everything you keep can fit in your closet. However, that might not always be possible. If this is the case, consider clearing off-season items out of the closet and housing it in a box or bin under your bed. This will make your closet easier to manage. Then, in the summer, switch which items are in the bin and which are in the closet.
If you have a lot of items that you’d like to hang on to but have no use for, consider making a dress-up bin for your kids or grandkids. Old bridesmaid dresses and other one-time-only items make great play clothes for kids.
What to do with the things you get rid of
You can always bring these pieces to your local thrift store or sell them to a secondhand shop. The money from those items may just buy you a little something special for all your hard work.
There are also plenty of organizations that would be happy to take them off your hands and ensure someone else gets to enjoy them. For example, Dress for Success is a nonprofit organization that provides women with interview suits and career development advice. It’s a great place for you to bring your long skirt suits that you no longer have a need for or that lucky one-button blazer that got you your last job. Dress for Success’ mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women in work and in life.
“Dress for Success provides women with clothes and career advice.”
Monroe and Main has donated thousands of items to this organization through their local centers in Racine, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois helping women in these areas become self-sufficient and successful though making good impressions at interviews. Both Dress For Success and Monroe and Main strive to provide women with the confidence and tools to create their own style.
And there it is: cleaning out your closet is truly a win-win for everyone. If you want an easy-to-follow summary of closet organization, here’s a handy infographic with simple, helpful tips: