Are you tired of a cluttered and chaotic closet that leaves you feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Do you spend too much time searching for clothes in the morning or feel like you have tons of things you never wear? If so, you’re not alone, and our guide will help you take control of your closet and get organized.
A clean and organized closet not only saves you time and reduces stress, but can also help you save money, simplify your life, and make better use of your wardrobe. We know a big clean-out can feel daunting, which is why in this article we’ll guide you through the best way to organize your closet—from decluttering and sorting to utilizing storage solutions and maintaining a well-organized space.
Decluttering Your Closet
The first step in organizing your closet is to assess what you have and declutter. When you let go of items that no longer serve you, you’ll create more space for the items you truly love and use. Here are some closet-cleaning tips to help you free up space.
Set Aside Time to Take Out Everything
The first step when it comes to cleaning out your closet is to schedule some dedicated time where you can organize without interruption. Having this specific block of time will help you stay focused and committed to the task and make it less likely that you’ll abandon your efforts.
When the day you’ve picked arrives, start by completely emptying your closet and taking out all clothes, accessories, shoes, and other items. This will allow you to see everything you have and make more informed decisions about what to keep and what to pass on.
Sort Clothes to Determine What You’ll Keep
Once you have everything out, sort your clothes and other items into categories: keep, donate, sell, and trash. The following tips will offer some guidance on how to decide what to keep and what to get rid of, but in general, err on the side of parting with something if you’re unsure. If you’re on the fence, chances are you won’t miss it and will appreciate the tradeoff of having more closet space.
As for things you’re ready to let go of, assess their condition and how “on trend” it is in order to determine whether you’ll donate, sell, or throw them away. Consider also your capacity or desire to try to sell things, either through a consignment shop, online, or to friends. Some people find selling their old things to be a fun way to make some extra money, while others would rather keep it simple and donate everything they don’t want that’s still in good condition.
Use the One-Year Rule and Five-Year Rule
One way to determine which items to let go of is to utilize the “one-year rule”. With this framework, you get rid of any clothing you haven’t worn at least once in the past year. It’s a good litmus test for assessing which clothes you actually wear and which sit unused in your closet.
However, sometimes you have sentimental or special occasion pieces you don’t wear every year, but that you don’t want to part with and you anticipate wearing again in the future. In those cases, consider the “five-year rule”, where you let go of anything you haven’t worn in the past five years.
Get Rid of Clothes that Don’t Fit, Flatter, or Feel Like You
Sometimes we keep clothes that don’t fit us or that we don’t feel good in, “just in case” this changes one day. Similarly, sometimes we purchase something because we thought it looked great on someone else, only to realize it doesn’t match our personal style or help us feel like ourselves when we wear it.
Try your best to be honest with yourself when sorting through your clothes, and let go of the things that seem great in theory but are never quite right when you actually wear them.
Consider a Capsule Wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe is a minimalist approach to organizing and curating your clothing collection. It typically consists of a small, carefully curated selection of versatile and timeless clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create a wide variety of outfits. Some examples of what you might include in a capsule wardrobe include basics like a blazer, T-shirt, button-up shirt, solid colored dress, well-fitting pair of jeans, coat, and a versatile pair of shoes.
Even if you don’t want to pare your closet down to a true capsule wardrobe, you can use the method as inspiration for downsizing your wardrobe and prioritizing having high-quality pieces that pair well with lots of other things.
Organizing Your Closet
Once you’ve decluttered your closet, it’s time to organize what’s left! Next up you’ll find some practical tips for organizing your closet and creating a system that works for you.
Do Some Seasonal Sorting
Seasonal sorting is a great way to keep your closet organized. With this approach, you keep only the clothes that are appropriate for the current season in your closet and store off-season items in a separate space. Label the storage containers or trash bags of clothes to make it easy to identify which seasonal items are where when you need them.
Maximize Vertical Space
If your closet is still feeling crowded even after you’ve cleared out some things, you can try to use the space more efficiently by maximizing vertical space. Install hooks or shelves on the inside of the closet door to hang accessories or shoes and use shelf dividers to stack items neatly and prevent them from toppling over.
Consider adding an additional rod for hanging shorter items like skirts or shirts underneath longer items like dresses or coats. You’ll feel so much better knowing everything has a place and isn’t smushed together!
Group Items Methodically
Organizing your closet isn’t just about making it look nice. Ideally, a well-organized closet makes choosing an outfit or finding what you need an easy and quick process. To achieve this, organize your closet in a way that keeps your frequently worn items within reach. Place your most commonly worn clothes at eye level or in the middle of your closet where they’re easy to grab. Less frequently worn items, like special occasion wear, can be placed higher or lower in your closet.
You can also designate certain areas of your closet for specific categories of items such as tops, bottoms, dresses, and outerwear. Within each category, group similar items together (i.e. within the tops category, group all your T-shirts together, then your blouses, etc.). This will make it easier to see what you have and locate items quickly.
Maintaining an Organized Closet
You’ve organized everything, your closet looks great, and you’re feeling accomplished! Now comes the real secret, which is that the key to keeping your closet a clean and clutter-free space is regular maintenance. Read on for some tips for keeping your closet tidy after a big cleanout.
Avoid the “Floor of Your Closet” Trap
Most of us have fallen prey to letting dirty clothes pile up on the floor of our closet or on furniture in our bedroom, especially when we’re busy. To try to get ahead of this and keep your space tidy, make it a habit to put dirty clothes in a basket or hamper right away.
You can even have a couple of different clothes baskets in order to avoid the decision fatigue that comes when you undress at the end of the day and think to yourself: “Do I need to wash this or not?” Punt the decision to laundry day by keeping one basket for “definitely dirty” clothes and another for “kind of dirty” clothes.
Keep a Donate/Sell Bag Handy
As your taste and preferences change, you will inevitably come across more items in your closet that you’re ready to part with after the initial purge. To easily facilitate this, place a bag or box in your closet designated for donations or items to sell. As you come across items that you no longer want or need, immediately place them in the bag or box. This will prevent them from cluttering up your closet and make it easy to donate or sell them whenever the bag or box is full.
Regularly Reassess Your Closet
Once you’ve done it once, how often should you clean out your closet? The answer will vary depending on your purchasing habits and how easy you find it to maintain the organizational system you’ve set up. In general, it’s a good idea to do regular seasonal check-ins to rotate things out and to do a bigger clean-out at least once per year. This will help keep an accumulation of new items from getting out of hand and ensure that you’re able to enjoy an organized closet for years to come.
Cleaning Out Your Closet Can Change Your Life
Cleaning out your closet is more than just a physical task—it’s an opportunity to transform your life. By decluttering and organizing your closet, you’re taking a step towards creating a more orderly living space, reducing stress, and gaining a sense of accomplishment and control over your surroundings. Even though it can feel overwhelming at first, with some patience, perseverance, and our tips to guide you, you’re sure to experience the positive changes a clean closet can bring into your life. You’ve got this!