Do you dream of owning a spacious closet where everything is neatly stacked and color-coded? Do you wish you could see all your clothing and shoes without having to rummage through piles or overflowing drawers? While not all of us own celebrity-sized closets, it is possible to make any closet feel more open and user-friendly. We're going to show you how to clean out your closet and let go.
It can be hard to say goodbye to belongings because of nostalgia, guilt or the possibility of reusing an item. We totally get it. For example, maybe you've kept the mermaid costume you wore five years ago in case you ever get invited to an ocean-themed party. Or maybe you feel guilty for never wearing the hand-embroidered vest your mother-in-law gave you eight birthdays ago, so you continue to let it take up closet space.
We've all been there before, and we are here to tell you it's OK — you are allowed to create an organized closet filled only with clothing you love to wear. You are still an amazing sister, friend, daughter, etc., without holding onto gifts or sentimental items. It's tough, but we are going to get through this together.
Before we get started, how do you know if your closet is in need of a good cleaning? Here are a few quick ways to tell it's time for a closet overhaul:
- Clothing still has price tags on it
- You can't hang clothes in your closet because it is too full
- You can't find anything to wear, despite having a full closet
- You're always running out of hangers
Does any of the above remind you of your closet? If so, you can rest assured — help is on the way. We're going to share tips for getting rid of clothes that make you feel anything less than fabulous, and we're going to help you transform your closet into a haven of personal style, comfort and joy.
There is no exact list of rules for cleaning out your closet, because everyone has different tastes and preferences. However, there is one rule we suggest following — only keep the things that make you feel great. In other words, if a garment does not feel comfortable or flattering, move on without a second thought. There is no reason not to wear your favorite clothing every day.
So, let's get started creating a closet that will change the way you approach your morning routine. You're going to feel inspired and excited to get dressed once you let go of the past and that dusty prom dress that's been taking up too much space for too long.
1. Plan Ahead
Cleaning out your closet can be a pretty big task, especially if it's been a while since you've tackled the garment monster. We suggest dedicating an entire day to closet-cleaning so you can do a thorough job without feeling pressured. However, if you regularly tidy up your closet, you can probably clean out your closet more quickly. In general, it could take two or more hours to empty the closet, sort through clothing and put everything back in an organized way. Follow these steps for a smooth process and realize the more prepared you are, the quicker it'll go. You'll wake up to a lovely, uncluttered closet the next day.
- Mark your calendar: Pick a day you can devote entirely to your closet. That means not scheduling closet-cleaning day on your niece's birthday or when you also plan to clean out the fridge. That way you can focus solely on your closet, and you'll be happy you did. If you're asking for a friend's help, make sure the day you choose works for them, too.
- Get a playlist ready: Work is always more fun with music. Create a playlist that includes a mix of motivating and relaxing music. You'll want to feel inspired and energized when you're making toss-or-keep decisions. When it's time for organizing, calming music will help you wind down and concentrate.
- Ask for help:Cleaning out a closet can feel like an emotional rollercoaster, especially if a lot has happened or changed since your last closet purge. Ask a trusted friend or family member to help you work through old memories as you free up closet space and make room for the new. They can also help you stick to your goals when nostalgia takes hold, or bring you back to reality when you consider if you will ever wear your ex's leather jacket again.
- Keep snacks and drinks handy:Lifting piles of clothes, tossing them onto the bed, bending, squatting, digging — closet cleaning can feel like an archaeological dig at times, so you'll need snacks and drinks on hand to recharge and stay energized.
- Have boxes or bags ready: Stock up on boxes and bags ahead of time to make the removal process much more efficient. You'll be less hesitant to hold onto old clothing with an empty box nearby. When it comes time to donate or trash unwanted items, you'll be set.
- Buy new hangers: If there's one item you should splurge on before closet-cleaning day, let it be new hangers. Toss or give away mismatched hangers and treat yourself to new matching hangers in the same color or style for a fresh, tidy look you'll look forward to every day. Choose no-slip hangers, if possible, because they take up less space and keep clothes in place.
- Visualize an organized closet:Imagine how you want your closet to look. Have items like shoe racks or shelving units ready for use before cleaning out your closet. With extra places to keep things, your closet will be much easier to organize when it's time to put things back.
2. Empty Everything
Empty the entire closet, which means removing all shoes, purses, clothing and accessories. Pile everything onto the bed so you can sort through items in one area.
A clean, empty closet is like a blank canvas, and you will feel eager to keep it uncluttered. You'll also make decisions quickly when your belongings are in front of you waiting for the verdict.
Lastly, how will get to sleep if your bed is covered in clothes? You'll be motivated to get the job done so you can flop onto your bed at the end of the day and take a sigh of relief.
After your closet is empty, give it a good cleaning. We often forget to clean our closets, so now is the perfect opportunity to dust, vacuum and wipe down surfaces.
Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and let it sit for 15 minutes to eliminate any odors. Meanwhile, wipe down hangers and shelves with an all-purpose spray and microfiber cloth. Vacuum the floor, baseboards and corners, and you'll be excited to fill your clean, fresh closet with your favorite feel-good clothes and accessories.
3. Take Breaks
After you empty your closet, take a short break or walk if necessary before beginning the task of sorting and letting go of clothes. Gather your thoughts and be your own cheerleader, or talk with a friend. Remind yourself you can do this. Think of how uncluttered your closet will look as a result, and how nice it will be to easily find clothes and piece together your favorite outfits.
If you start to feel overwhelmed while sorting clothes, don't hesitate to take a break. It's hard work revisiting the past while going through items you may not have touched in a while. Old clothing represents different events and relationships in our lives. Work through your emotions, take a deep breath and strive to create a closet that represents who you are in the present.
4. Make Piles
When it's time to jump into the toughest part — getting rid of clothes — you'll need to sort items into different piles. Create one pile for clothes you'll keep, one for clothes that are "on the bubble," a pile for clothing you definitely want to get rid of, a pile for seasonal clothing you wish to store and a pile for clothing you plan to throw in the trash. Here's a look at each pile in more detail:
Put clothing you wear often and that makes you feel fantastic in the keeper pile. You'll recognize your favorite clothing right away. If you have to contemplate whether you like a piece of clothing or not, it's probably time to toss it. Closet space is valuable, and it's not worth holding onto pieces you feel indifferent about.
You likely own garments you are attached to, even though you don't wear them often— or ever. Perhaps you hold onto expensive pieces, gifts or items you think you're supposed to like wearing, but don't feel comfortable in. Put clothing you feel uncertain about in the maybe pile.
Ask yourself why you hold onto certain pieces. If you decide a piece of clothing no longer feels comfortable, get rid of it. It doesn't matter how much it cost or who gave it to you, and try not to feel guilty. In the end, a piece of clothing that does not make you feel good is not worth taking up space or bringing you down.
Place clothing that no longer fits your life, personality or comfort level in this pile. Plan to donate or sell these items. If you own several pieces of the same color or freebies you got from special events, don't hesitate to throw these in the donate pile.
In general, toss a piece of clothing if:
- You don't wear it
- It does not make you feel great
- It needs repairs or alterations, but it's been months, and you still haven't fixed it
- You keep it for nostalgic purposes only
Your closet should serve one purpose — to store clothing you wear. There is no room for nostalgia in a closet. If you struggle to let go of a piece due to nostalgia, consider storing it in a tote box with other sentimental items.
If the weather is warm, place winter clothing in a storage pile, or vice versa. By storing seasonal items, you can add a lot of space to your closet. You might also choose to store some "maybes" if you can't make up your mind. When you revisit maybes down the road, you can evaluate how much you missed the pieces. If you still feel the need to hold on to them, keep them. If you realize you can live without them after all, let them go.
Before storing clothes, make sure they are clean— body oils attract moths. Store clothing in an area that is cool, dry and well-ventilated, andavoid placing items in direct sunlight, as this can cause fading. Also, don't store clothing in cardboard boxes, if possible, because the glue in cardboard attracts insects. Instead, keep clothing in a plastic box with a lid or store things in an unused suitcase.
If you use mothballs, do not place them directly on clothing, and make sure to wash clothing or air pieces out a day before wearing them.
Trash damaged, stained or heavily worn clothing. You can use old T-shirts for cleaning rags, but don't feel too bad about tossing your once-adored faded concert tee into the garbage pile. Remember, you can always replace clothing, and you deserve the best.
5. Ask Yourself Questions
When it's time to sort through the "maybes" pile, you'll need to ask yourself some questions to help you decide what to choose and what to lose. First, try the clothing on and consider how you feel. Next, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I love this piece?
- Do I feel comfortable?
- Would I buy this outfit in the store today?
- Can I see myself wearing this within the next year?
- Have I worn it in the past year?
- Why have I not worn it?
- What is it about this piece of clothing I cannot let go of?
Consider your answers and decide if the garment belongs in your new clean closet next to your must-keeps. If you choose to let something go, donate it to a local thrift shop or friend or family member. You may be able to sell some of your clothing items. Think about working with My Sister's Closet Spanish Fork consignment shop if you have pieces that are:
- In like-new condition
- No longer fit or define who you are
There's no need to feel bad about getting rid of clothing you only wore once or maybe never at all, whether it was a gift or cost a lot of money. It's more important you feel good about yourself in your clothes.
If you choose to donate or sell your clothes, you're allowing someone else to enjoy something that sat untouched in your closet. It's a win-win situation.
Still can't let go of the maybes? Here's how to deal with the dilemma:
- Force yourself to wear maybes. If a piece of clothing didn't make you feel comfortable and energized when you wore it a few times, toss it.
- Face all hangers one way and flip the hanger the opposite way when you do wear something. After three months, see what you wore and what you didn't wear. Donate or sell the pieces you did not use.
After you make it through the sorting process, pat yourself on the back. You're ready to complete your beautiful closet and the daily reminder that you rock. So, here are tips to follow when it's time to put your well-loved garments into your clean, spacious closet for an organized look you'll feel great about everytime you open the closet door.
- Don't overstuff the closet: You want to be able to see all the clothes you own so you can wear them. If you find your closet is still cramped after cleaning it out, quickly run through the pieces again and pick out non-favorites without giving it too much thought. Consider if you can donate them or store them elsewhere.Try not to letyour closet be more than 75 percent full. You want to be able to slide clothes back and forth on the hanging rod.
- Fold sweaters: One way to free up closet space is to fold heavy sweaters and stack them on shelves or in drawers. Sweaters tend to lose their shape on a hanger anyway, so it's a good idea to fold them even if you have extra space.
- Use garment organizers: Consider adding cute garment organizers to the closet rod. You might separate work clothes into one area and workout clothes in another. It all depends on what works best for you.
- Face everything in the same direction:No matter how you choose to categorize clothes, make sure they are all facing the same direction, because they will fit better and look neater in the closet. You'll have an easier time, and a more pleasant experience, finding what you're looking for.
- Categorize in ways that save time: How do you choose your clothes when it's time to get dressed? Do you consider the weather, the occasion or the type of clothing you wish to wear? Let your approach to clothing dictate how you want to arrange clothes. You'll save time when you organize in a way that works for you. Or, you might organize clothing first by type, then by color.
- Use floor space and wall space:All closet space becomes usable with a little imagination. Add a towel bar for your scarf collection, or fold T-shirts and stack them on shelves, using shelf dividers to keep piles neat. Hang shoes on the door with a shoe rack, and install hooks for purses. Don't be afraid to get creative, like using office organizers to hold accessories. However, the key to an organized closet is not to have more clothes than you can fit in there.
- Add a personal touch: Although most of us don't lounge for hours inside our closets, you can still add a personal touch to make your closet a one-of-a-kind fun space. Hang a mirror or colorful print to add a cheerful vibe and inspire a positive mood.
- Keep only a certain amount of hangers:If you stock up on hangers as if they were about to disappear from existence, we understand, and we've been there before. However, to keep your closet in shape, it's a good idea to get rid of excess hangers. Once you rid your closet of clutter and old clothes, keep only enough hangers to use for the clothes you have. When you buy a new outfit, get rid of an outfit you no longer wear.
7. Allow Yourself to Feel Good
Banish clothing-related guilt and allow yourself to wear only what you love. You deserve to feel good in your outfit every day, wherever you go. Have fun with your clothes, and don't get too attached to anything. Life is always changing, and your clothing should reflect who you are in the present, not who you were or who you might be. Celebrate yourself as you are now, and enjoy your personal style.
If your closet feels sparse, or if you don't like most of your clothes, it may be time for a new wardrobe. Finding a new wardrobe can be an exciting experience, especially if you choose clothing that feels great and fits your personality. Whatever you do, don't let yourself feel guilty about replacing clothes. After your closet is made over, hug yourself — you did it!
Sell or Buy at My Sister's Closet Boutique
Imagine an organized closet filled with clothing you love.My Sister's Closet Boutique might have the perfect piece you're looking for to complete your new wardrobe.Stop in and enjoy an afternoon shopping with the girls at one of our locations, or have fun browsing and shopping our online store today.