A Guide to Getting Your Closet Ready for Spring
I own a lot of clothes. This is despite giving away a ton at the beginning of Fall. This probably because despite getting rid of a ton - I bought new stuff. And I have a tiny closet. And I would like to buy more. At least a few items for Spring (see my Spring wishlist here). But I literally have nowhere to put them. And sooo... I have decided it's time for me to be brutal with myself in regards to cleaning out my closet and getting rid of more stuff. Shoes, boots, sweaters, pants... My goal this time around (last fall I focused on getting rid of old and tattered items and things that didn't fit me anymore), is to focus on items that I don't love and that sit in my closet untouched and unloved. Below is my step-by-step guide for clearing out your closet and getting it ready for Spring
What You'll Need:
Plastic Garbage Bags
An open Saturday or Sunday (this will take awhile folks)
1. Do Your Laundry
There is literally no point in trying to clear out and organize your closet if half of your stuff is sitting in a hamper or a laundry basket. Do your laundry so that you have an accurate idea of what you're working with.
2. Categorize your items
Break your items down into categories. This will take the most amount of time but it will also make the entire process much easier. Create a pile for pants, a pile for jeans (you can combine these two if you don't a lot of either). Sweaters, tops, skirts and dresses. If you are clearing out shoes as well create a pile for those.
3. Pull and hang up your must-keep items
Now out of each category pull out the items you wear and love. They must be items that you have actually worn and know for sure you will continue to wear - your holy grails, if you will. Do not try to sneak in old pieces that haven't been worn in ages but that you plan on wearing sometime in the future. We are going to be honest with ourselves in this process, right? If it was a holy grail item you would wear it more often.
4. Take a break
Seriously. The last two steps probably took you a bit of time. We don't want to burn out in this process and wind up abandoning it. So allow yourself a fifteen minute break. Make a cup of tea or coffee, get a snack or surf Instagram. Whatever you want to do for those fifteen minutes. Make sure the break is no longer than fifteen minutes. This will help you in not getting caught in other things and abandoning the project altogether.
5. Pull out the items you haven't worn in awhile.
Now that everything that you wear on a regular basis is hung back up, what's left should be the items you haven't worn in awhile, items with the tags still on and items that are old or no longer fit. Pull out the items you haven't worn in ages. Is there a reason you haven't worn them? Is an item stained, or does it have a button missing? It the items need repair, take a post it or a piece of paper and write what needs to be fixed on the items. If you have a ton of items that need repair make a list. Now take these items and put them in a new pile all together (we will comeback to this pile later)
6. Items that don't fit
Now here is where we need to be brutally honest with ourselves. Are you still holding on to that pair of jeans that stopped fitting two years ago? We often tell ourselves that we want to keep these items for motivation or because we love them and simply can't part with them. Well one - if they were truly motivation you would be able to fit in them by now. Real talk. A pair of jeans is not going to motivate you to start working out 4 days a week, because those same pair of jeans haven't been able to do that for the last two years (or however long). And if you really love the item and it's still available for purchase - buy them in your current size! If not then it's simply time to let go. I haven't been a size 6 in literally years. I probably will never be a size 6 again. And I'm okay with that. So it's no point in holding on to something that is literally just taking up space. This goes for any item you are holding on to no longer fits. Take all of these items and place them in one of the bags you have for this project. Label the bag giveaway. And then give those items away! Don't leave the bag hanging around for days on end because it will eventually just migrate back into your closet. Find a place to donate clothing and do it.
7. Items that you have never worn
Another moment of brutal truth. If you are an impulse shopper you probably have a lot of items like this. I used to as well before I stopped buying items simply because they were on sale. Shopping with intention is something I am still learning and one of the things that I have learned is to really think about what I'm buying before I buy it. Have a conversation with yourself: "Where will I wear this? How will I wear this? Do I have other items in my closet to pair it with?" When I am online shopping I place all of the items I want in my shopping cart. And then I l leave them there. Until the end of the day or sometimes the next day. If I haven't thought about a single item since the time I placed them in the cart then I know it's not something I really want. If I can't stop thinking about an item then I go for it. We often get caught up in the rush of buying new things without really thinking about what role those items will actually play in our day to day lives. If any at all.
So....you have all your stuff staring back at you in the pile. Some still with the tags on, right? No judgment, we've all been there. Now having new items that you "plan" on wearing is fine. If you actually plan on wearing them and aren't using that as an excuse to hang on to stuff. Take anything that you "plan" on wearing and hang them in the front of your closet. Right where you will see them when you get dressed everyday. Give yourself one month to wear these items. If after a month you are still pushing them out of the way to get to your other items, it's time to say goodbye. And since they are unworn you can sell these items and make a little extra cash! You can post them on sites like eBay, Poshmark or ThredUp.
8. The Worn and Tattered
Your final original pile should be the items that are worn out, old and tattered. The items that can't be donated or sold because they are so tatty and you know you should just toss. So that's what you're going to do. Pick up that entire pile, place it in a garbage bag, and put it with the rest of the trash you take out that day. I did this last fall and I could not believe how many items I was holding on to that were dull, gray and stained and just...no. That stuff takes up a shit ton of space! You don't need them, and you don't even really want them anymore. And you will feel sooo good once you're finally rid of them. Trust me.
9. Circle back to the "repair" pile
You should now be left with your "repair" pile. Take another look at those items. Think about how long they have sat in your closet waiting for you to sew a button back on or take it to the dry cleaners, or shave the fluff balls off of them. Really think about that. Now ask yourself a few more questions: How much would it cost to repair each item? Did you wear the item often before it needed to be fixed? Was it a go-to piece that fit and that you loved and wore all the time? Is it an expensive item? Did you miss the item? If the answer to those questions are yes, then take those items and hang them back in your closet (with the post-it note still on them). How many items did you hang back up? All of them or just a few? Anything left remaining put in your donate bag (as long as it isn't heavily stained). Anything heavily stained that you no longer want put in the garbage bag with the items you are throwing away. Now give yourself a time frame to get all of those repairs done. One month. If by that time the items are still sitting in your closet with those post-it notes on them it's time to get rid of them.
10. Dance a jig of joy
If you made it to the end of this arduous and emotional journey you are a boss. Give yourself a high five, do a victory lap around the house, treat yourself to some chocolate. You've earned it. And NOW you can think honestly about your Spring wardrobe. You now know exactly what you have and what you need - if anything at all.
Rotate Your Clothing
I recently decided to start doing this when I purchased new pieces for my winter wardrobe. Rotating your clothing allows you to truly see what you own and forces you to wear pieces you normally skip over. It also will make it very clear to you what you don't need to hold on to. If you like to keep your wardrobe current this is a great way to manage your items. If you have a section for dresses put the newest dresses in the front. Wear each one before rotating them to the back of the line. And so on for pants, tops, etc. If you move an item to the back of the line without wearing it and do this multiple times, it's a safe bet you probably won't wear it at all.
Organizing one's closet can often feel like organizing one's LIFE. What we choose to spend our money on can bring into sharp relief the truth about how we feel about ourselves, our lives, and money in general. I hope you found this guide helpful.