How to Clean & Organize Your Closet
I know the hardships of organizing closets, dressers and the clothes that go inside them.
Being a self-proclaimed fashionista definitely has perks. The mountain of clothes, shoes and accessories is probably the only downside.
From trying on multiple outfits in the morning to changing clothes when I get home…believe me when I say that going unchecked, my room can become a disaster zone. I mean, it’s bad enough having a pile of dirty laundry in my room, but when I’m having a super busy week, you probably wouldn't even be able to see the carpet!
Well, lucky for me (and you!), I just so happen to be an organizing guru. I know the hardships organizing closets and dresser drawers. Minimal space is not a problem, because if you’re a fashionista (like myself), then you’ll find a way to make it work.
So, if you’re ready to finally know where all of your clothes are without digging through piles (or tripping over them), then follow along because I’ll help you get organized. Lets get busy!
1. Find and Schedule the Time
Coming from personal experience, you’re going to want to set aside at least half a day for organizing your closet and dresser. It really depends on how sidetracked you get, how messy your room is and how many things are going to need organized.
If you have never organized your closet or dresser before, then I would say that you may need to set aside more time than usual. This is only because it takes more effort to set up a “system” for organizing, than it does to maintain one.
The time invested in the beginning will definitely be worth it. Your clothes, shoes and accessories will thank you in the end.
2. Dump Your Clothes and Shoes Out
This is the part I like the best. If you have "little helpers" they'll like it too.
Dump all your clothes on the bed and lay your shoes out on the floor. You might be surprised by the amount in front of you, but don’t let it discourage you.
My advice is to get a cup of coffee and turn on some fun music to get in a good state of mind.
3. Categorize Your Clothing
The goal right now is to have four "easy to manage" piles.
- Clothes you plan on keeping.
- Clothes you're not quite sure if you want to keep.
- Items you want to donate to charity or a thrift store.
- Clothing for the rag-bag and destined to be thrown away because they are damaged and not worth keeping or donating.
I would advise that you try on EVERYTHING. It's so easy to make excuses as to why you should keep something, but if you seriously haven't worn something in the last six months or don't see yourself wearing something in the next six months, you don't don't need it.
4. Categorize Your Shoes
Repeat the above process. The only difference is now you’re working on your shoes. Your piles might be:
- Dress shoes
- Work shoes
- Tennis shoes
5. Don't be a Hoarder: When in Doubt – Toss it Out
If you’re anything like me, then at this point your “keep” piles are larger than all the other piles combined.
Here’s a great mantra: “when in doubt, toss it out”. Repeat that to yourself while you try on the items in your keep pile for a final time. This will help weed out things that should be donated, sold or thrown in the trash from the true keepers.
When you try on everything again, pay special attention to WHY you believe each item in a keeper.
I recently went through my closet and donated a pair of jeans that I haven’t been able fit into in years (I held out hope for so long), sold a pair of shoes that I spent way too much money on but hadn't been able to wear ONCE because I never had anywhere to wear them. I stored away some clothes that were out of season and stored them under my bed to create more room.
6. Sort the "Keeper" Pile
A lot of people recommend arranging your clothes by color, but it’s not something that I do. Maybe I’m too busy (or lazy), but I don’t see the point. I've tried it before and I never stuck to it.
There are two ways I’d recommend dividing your clothes, shoes and accessories. Choose whichever works best for your lifestyle.
- The first way is based on the occasion: business, casual, evening/special occasion, etc.
- The other is based on the “wear frequency”: frequent, occasional and not-very-often.
Now that your “keepers” are categorized, you’re going to have to find a way to arrange your closet in a way that makes sense. For example:
- I keep my jackets and sweaters out of the way and make sure that my everyday clothing is right in front of me – easy to find and ready to wear.
- My nicer dresses and blouses are in the same area as my jackets and sweaters.
- I have a shoe rack that has all of the shoes I wear frequently on display – I find it’s much easier to make an outfit if I know what I have to work with.
- You can hang your pants if you have enough closet space. If you don’t have the space to hang your jeans, then you can fold them and put them on a shelf.
7. Organizing Your Shoes
Follow the steps you just did for arranging your clothes, only working on your shoes.
Place business shoes on the floor, rack, or shoe organizer under the business clothes section, casual shoes by the casual wear section of your closet and so on.
8. Organizing Your Purses
For women who have a supply of purses, these can be stored on the top shelf of the closet in the open or in a covered clear, plastic container.
These can also be stored in clear plastic containers that fit under the bed.
9. Organizing Your Dresser
Now you can get started putting things back in your dresser drawers.
A dresser with five drawers is perfect. If you have a dresser with fewer drawers, you can combine items or use storage containers for under the bed or in the closet.
Drawers can be organized in the following way:
- Under garments and socks in one drawer.
- Long sleeved shirts in one drawer.
- Short sleeved shirts in one drawer.
- Tank tops in another drawer.
- If you are pressed for space, short sleeved shirts and tank tops can be combined in the same drawer by putting short sleeved shirts on one side and tank tops on the other side of the drawer.
- Shorts in the last drawer.
10. Space Saving Products
Try not to go overboard when it comes to the accessories. They can make you more disorganized than you were to start with (trust me on this).
- Wall hooks are great if you have scarves and belts.
- Stack-able clear, plastic containers with lids are useful to hold miscellaneous items or for storing winter and summer clothes.
- Space saver bags and plastic containers that fit under the bed are really useful to tuck away seasonal clothes.
- Tie racks aren't just for ties... Scarves, belts fit on them too.
- Garment bags are useful to keep the clothes you wear for special occasions crisp and clean.
- Shoe organizers are great to keep your pairs together. You can also keep the boxes the shoes came in, if the shoes wont be worn frequently and you don't want them to get dusty. I save my shoe boxes to put other things in to keep them organized. Special hosiery, first aid equipment, etc. Basically just to help keep like things together.
- Put a decorative containers or a jewelry box for the top of the dresser for jewelry, loose change, and keys. If you want to get creative and re-purpose items, an old cupcake tin works great for this and looks good too.
- Use a space saving clothes hanger for hanging multiple shirts together.
Enjoy Your Organized Closet
Breathe a sigh of relief and give yourself a pat on the back because you just accomplished something that most people never find the time to. Your closet may look empty - but don’t worry. Now you have the items you need and will actually wear, plus you can easily find them.
I suggest rewarding yourself with a new outfit to celebrate your new found organizational skills!
Having a system for organizing your closet heavily depends on consistently putting things in their right place. However, I’m sure you won’t need to be reminded twice. After all, why would you ever want to go back to those mountains of clothes?
Image courtesy of Rubbermaid.