As fall is just around the corner, it is time to start transitioning out or our summer clothes and into our fall and winter ones. Now is the perfect time to clean out and reorganize our closets.
The first step is to take everything out of the closet and make four piles: the Now Pile, for things used or worn often; the Someday Pile, for clothes you might fit into again or might use if an occasion arises; the Never Pile, for things you absolutely never reach for; and the Seasonal Pile, for things used seasonally. Be honest and remember your goal: a clean, well-organized, easy-to-use closet.
Donate all the garments that no longer fit you and the clothes you don’t wear but hang on to because you paid a fortune for them. Take them to a consignment shop or sell them on an online store. Check your local thrift store to make sure they are accepting donations and how many you can take at a time.
The next step is a tough one. Move everything from the Someday Pile into the Never Pile. This is the hardest step. But you can do it.
For most people, the Never Pile is often much bigger than expected. It’s normal for the Never Pile to amount to 40% or more of the items in your closets, that’s a lot of closet space wasted.
At this point, the purge is not quite finished. Once we see how much space we can free up by eliminating unwanted, unnecessary and unused stuff, we’re often motivated to go further. It’s time to look for “never” and “someday” items hiding in the Now Pile.
Act quickly, while motivation and resolve remains strong, place everything from the Never Pile in large trash bags for donation, resale or sharing. Be strong. Keep moving forward and trust your first instincts. Next, get the bags out of your way by temporarily relocating them to the garage, guest room, basement or attic.
Pack up seasonal stuff in clear plastic bins with big, easy-to-read labels that let you know what’s inside. Store them out of sight in an easily accessible place.
When storing seasonal clothes, wash and dry-clean out-of-season clothes before you put them in storage, because antiperspirant, cologne and makeup residue attracts insects. Make sure items are dry before you store them. Dampness leads to mildew and a musty smell. Never store clothes in plastic bags like those from dry cleaners. Store them in cotton zip-up bags. No mothballs. No exceptions.
Dust or vacuum before you put anything back in the closet. Dust mites destroy fabric, and they are horrible for people with allergies.
After the closet is empty and clean, you’re heading for the home stretch. Don’t repeat old mistakes. Wooden, plastic, padded or flocked hangers are best for maintaining the shape of a garment. Make sure you shop for hangers with a nice, elongated hook and contoured shoulders. The longer hooks will help keep your collars in shape. The contoured shoulders mirror human shoulders and will help keep the garment in shape. Keep in mind, too, that slim hangers create more space on the rod.
Choose clip or clamp-style hangers with felt or foam cushioning to hold skirts and pants in plush fabrics such as corduroy, velour or velvet. Tube style, open-ended hangers are a great choice for pants.
When it comes to determining what goes where, group “like” things together for ease and simplicity. Long-sleeved shirts, short-sleeved shirts and sleeveless shirts all belong in the shirt section. Bottoms such as skirts and pants also get their own section. You can also group clothes according to color, function, work or occasion.
One More Thing
After a week or so of appreciating how much quicker and easier it is to live with a well-organized closet full of things you actually use, it’s time to deal with the sequestered bags from the Never Pile. But it’s important to remember this: Do. Not. Open. Not even a peek.
Can you remember what’s inside them? The answer is probably no. These items have served you well, but it’s time to move on. Resist the urge to open the bags one last time. Drop them off at a thrift store, recycling them or sell them online. Let them have a new life with people who will use them. Then move on.
Enjoy your newly organized waredrobe!