The cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom, spring is coming!
I love a new season. Every spring I get so excited about the latest trends, that I start picking up a few new things that I think I “have to have”, before the weather has even turned.
Am I alone here?
When the itch for renewal starts to happen, that’s my cue to make some room!
Snowed in? Stuck inside from all the rain?
Take advantage of that forced indoor time, and jump into the closet, you’ll be happy you did!
Twice a year, I “gut” my closet, and give it a little facelift. I do this by removing EVERYTHING out of my closet, bring my seasonal clothing out of storage, and reset. I inspect every item that goes back in, pack up off-season clothing and donate or resell what is no longer working for me.
This process can be overwhelming, so planning is key. I pick a date on the calendar when I have a few hours free. I know I need about 4 uninterrupted hours to accomplish what needs to get done in my closet. On my date of choice, I set aside the time, turn off my phone and focus. I grab a cup of coffee, and start working.
I use these 4 simple steps as my guide:
#1 Make some room. Remove EVERYTHING from your closet.
#2 Sort into 5 piles: keep, store, donate, resell and garbage.
#3 Closet re-entry, evaluate each piece, keep only what you love. Organize by type of garment, then colorize.
#4 Accessories where you can see them.
Along with my uber-organized girlfriend, Amy, we helped our dear friend clean out her closet. The photos used in this post, are from her actual closet.
Here’s a look at before:
Step One: Clear the space
- Remove all of the clothes from your closet. Yes, EVERYTHING! I place handbags, shoes and accessories, in separate piles on the floor.
- Vacuum out the closet. Toss any garbage, shoeboxes, bags and clutter.
- If you’ve stored any off-season items, unpack, and add them to the pile.
- Using storage containers, pack up the off-season items by folding them into the totes. If its still dead of winter in your parts, keep your favorite winter pieces – and store the rest. Touch and inspect each item that is going into storage. Look for pilling, fading. Have you worn the piece at all this year?
Step Two: Sort the piles
- Now the hard part, deciding which clothes you will donate or resell. This is the hardest step, and the most important. If you want to have a truly organized closet, then your goal should be to get rid of as many items of clothing as possible.
- Keep all the clothes that you wear on a regular basis, and garments that you would miss if they weren’t in your closet. If you’ve worn a certain item in the last week, month, or even few months, you should hold on to it as long as it’s seasonally appropriate.
- You are left now with a pile of clothes that need to be sorted, this step is the MOST important part. With each garment left, I ask myself:
Have I worn this in the last year? If it has no sentimental value, it’s time to donate/resell it.
Is this item so worn, pilled or faded that neither I nor anyone else will ever wear it again, toss it!
Does it still fit? Stop waiting for the day that it will fit, and donate or consign it.
Off Season items, nicely folded and ready to be stored until next Fall.
Step Three: Closet re-entry
- Now it is time to put your clothes back in the closet. As you prepare your items for re-entry, evaluate each piece honestly. For each item you are unsure of, ask yourself the questions listed above. If you truly cannot make the call, set the item aside and ask a good friend to give you an honest opinion. It is possible that you are holding onto the item, for emotional reasons.
- Hang up your clothes and organize them. Try to hang up as many of your clothes as you can. This will make it easier for you to find your clothes, and conserve space. I like to use thin felt type black hangers. You can get these at Costco, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target. These hangers allow for more storage, and the items don’t slip off. Matching hangers make your closet look cleaner, and more orderly.
Felt Hangers via Bed Bath and Beyond
- I like to organize my clothes by type. I separate my knits, blouses/shirts, pants, skirts, day and special occasion dresses. Once all the items are back in the closet I colorize them so I can really get a sense of what I own.
- The items I wear the most are in the best location for easy access and visibility, making it easy to get dressed in the morning.
- In my own closet, denim and jackets, are front and center.
Step Four: Accessories
Accessories make an outfit, but if you can’t find them – then what’s the point?
What to do with those items that are still in great shape, that I don’t wear anymore?
You’ve done your sorting. Now, what to do with those items (some may still have tags on them), that are too nice to simply donate, but you know you won’t wear anymore.
There are lots of options these days – the best option is a personal one, and depends how much time you want to put into the whole process.
Keep in mind, these options come only from my own personal experience, and are my opinion only.
Consign at your local consignment shop. Make an apt, drop off your goods, and collect a commission when your items sell. Two of my favorite consigners in the area are; Repeter in Los Altos,and Millie Mango in Burlingame. Fillmore&5th, is good as well.
ThredUp, is a great option for anyone who wants quick and easy. Here’s how it works: sign up for Thred up. Request a free closet cleanup bag. Once you get your bag, fill it with gently worn, like new or new items. The bag is pre-paid and addressed – you simply drop it off at the post office. Items not accepted for resale on the ThredUp site can be returned or donated through ThredUp. You never have to see them again. The commission you receive will be less, as ThredUp does all the work of you. But if what you want is the quick and easy approach, this may be for you. Sign up and get a $10.00 credit on your account, by clicking through here. You can read more on buying and selling on ThredUp, in this AskSuzanneBell post HERE
Get $10.00 off your first ThredUp purchase, by clicking my share link HERE
you can also get 40% off your first purchase with code 40NP
Sell It Yourself!
More work = More dollars to you.
I like Poshmark. Super easy to use (way easier than Ebay), due to their super user friendly user App. Poshmark does take a small fee, but for all they do – it’s well worth it. You simply list your item using the App. Once it sells, Poshmark sends you an email with a prepaid shipping label (part of the service fee they take, once your item sells), you attach it to a Priority Mail Box (which can be delivered to your home for free), and off it goes- they take it from there. I honestly got tired of dealing with fussy buyers on Ebay – so this option, is one I love.
Want to try it out?
Get $10.00 off your first purchase by typing my share code “JICFU”, when you down load the app.
Designing from my Closet blog, recently wrote a very informative post titled, “Tips for Selling on Poshmark”, if you want to learn more.
Extras: Just for fun
- Paint your closet a soft pretty color.
- Add mirrors or a tall mirror
- Hang jewelry and scarves where you can see them (see photos)
- Over-the-door shoe racks are a great way of saving space compared to on-ground shoe racks.
- If you have some space in your closet, perhaps put a dresser in the closet and store your folded items in it.
- One of my girlfriends gave me this fantastic tip: Hang your clothes with the opening of the hanging part of the hanger toward you. When you wear an item, put it back in normally. Later in the year, you can go through your closet and evaluate the hangers that are still backwards and decide then if you want to keep the items or donate/resell them.
- I like to keep one basket in my closet for extra hangers. I have a second basket for slippers and flip flops to giving me easy access to items I wear daily.
- Add a fun quote or work of art for daily inspiration:
Before | After
How do you approach your closet?
Do you have a strategy that works for you? Let’s hear about it!
Do you find the task overwhelming?
Thought and comments down below, do scroll down and share!
Great tips! I love accessories and seeing all my options is a must.
My current closet is tiny, so being organized is a must. But it’s about time to go through everything again…
Hi Andrea! In a way you are lucky to have a small closet, you are forced to stay on top of things! When I think if editing down, I remind myself how happy I am when I go on vacation with a small capsule wardrobe. It’s so great! What if everyday could be like that? As far as accessories, I used to store them out of site in a drawer – to save closet space. Problem was, out of sight out of mind, I rarely wore them. Now, I try to keep as many as I can front and center. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend! XO
Susan konne says
Great advice! I thought I was good at being good about cleaning out my closet ! You got me beat!! You really did a very thorough job of breaking down what can be an overwhelming task! One question; what do you recommend doing with thing that have sentimental value, but that you might not wear? Thank you for all the time you spend making our lives richer and more beautiful!
Hi Susan! Thanks for stopping by! I came across this same thing, when going through my own closet. I asked the advice of my uber organized friend Amy, and I loved what she had to say. Have one box, if possible stored in the attic or out of the closet for sentimental items – but only one per family member. The key with the box though, is to not forget about it. She recommends checking it once a year, and see if the item is still sentimental for you. If so, keep it and check on it again at a later date. Another issue many of us face is keeping items that no longer fit, but we really liked them. Or an item we paid a lot for, and can’t let it go. If you really can’t part with the piece, create a “purgatory” box. Put these items in the box. I have done this before. Then pull it down each time you rework your closet, look at each piece, do you still feel the same. You may find with a little time, you are no longer attached to the item and can now let it go. Jeans are a big problem for many of us. We hang on to them thinking they may fit again someday. But, will they? And when they do, are these the jeans we will be excited to wear or would a new pair be more fun? Keeping things that don’t fit for me are a reminder of what was, I’d rather be in the present – looking forward, in what fits my body now. Hope that helps! Have a fantastic weekend! XO