It can be an emotional, frustrating task to organize your wardrobe. Every item holds memories of a special time–that gorgeous sequined dress you wore on New Year’s Eve, the flowing kimono you took on vacation but haven’t worked into your wardrobe, favorite pairs of jeans with fallen hems from an epic beach weekend, those uncomfortable stilettos you scored at half price but launch you into a spiral of sartorial suffering, and all of the adorable things you bought, hoping they’d someday fit. Sorting through the pretty things you once loved enough to bring home isn’t an easy task, especially when it means giving up the precious time you’d rather spend on more relaxing activities.
But what about all of the time you spend sorting through piles of imperfect cardigans, ill-fitting pants, and uncomfortable shoes, lamenting how little you have to wear? What about the frustrating mornings when the mad dash to get ready for work could be simplified by knowing exactly where your favorite business casual clothes are? When your closet space fails to properly host your expanding, ever-changing wardrobe, it’s time to suck it up and do the unthinkable: clean out your closet. As fellow fashion enthusiasts, we feel your pain and have assembled a no-fuss, no-frustration guide to overhauling your wardrobe.
Step One: Put Pen to Paper
Simply scheduling a day to accomplish this task will do wonders for your frame of mind. Set aside an entire Saturday–from 9am to 5pm–completely devoted to cleaning out your closet and dressers. Don’t make alternate plans, don’t allow your self to squeeze in “just one quick errand” before hand and don’t allow yourself to reschedule. Treat it like a workday, including an hour long break for lunch. By cleaning out closets piecemeal, nothing truly gets accomplished. Sure, you might sort through your blazers or winter sweaters, but it won’t go very far in making a meaningful, lasting impact on the usability of your closet. So pick a date, get it on your calendar, and go into it knowing that you’re making an investment in your future productivity, happiness, and stress-free styling.
Step Two: The Main Sort
Pull everything off hangers, out of drawers, and out of closets–we know, this sounds scary, but we promise that it’s going to make the cull much more simple. Being sorting the items into piles based on like item: tank tops, t-shirts, sweaters, cardigans, jackets, blazers, jeans, trousers, shorts, mini skirts, maxi skirts, casual dresses, business casual dresses, party dresses, evening wear, bras, underwear, shaping garments, tights, and scarves. By seeing the bulk of what you own, it will much easier to decide which pieces to keep. Imagine a pile of your jeans–picture the two pairs you always reach for next to the brand-new ones you haven’t worn yet, the three faded pairs you haven’t worn in years, the uncomfortable pair, the pair without pockets. How much more obvious will it be that you can get rid of half that pile? Allow each item to stand against others like it, and then ask yourself the following questions in Step Three.
Step Three: Question Everything
Pick up each item and ask yourself the following questions:
-Does this fit?
-Do I feel confident in it?
-If I saw this in a store today, would I buy it?
-Is it in good repair, and if not, can I commit to having it repaired within a week?
-Does this accurately represent my current style?
-Have I worn it in the last twelve months, and do I have plans to wear it in the next three months?
If the answer is “yes,” then place it into a keep pile. Don’t worry about hanging it or folding it back into a drawer yet–we’ll get to that later!
If the answer to any of these is “no,” then be prepared to sort it into one of the piles descried in Step Four.
Step Four: Donate, Trash, Sell
Gather three large plastic tubs and mark them Donate, Trash, and Sell. If an item is in good repair and might have resale value, sort it into the Sell tub with the agreement that you will make a visit to a resell shop in the next 10 days. If you fail to take them in, donate the items–do not return them to your closet “for later,” because that later date probably isn’t going to come. If an item is in wearable condition but probably won’t make it to a resale shop, sort it to donate. And if items are beyond repair or unhygienic, trash them and move on.
Step Five: Organize!
Now that you have your final pile of keepers, get them back in order. We like hanging dresses, tops, blouses, business clothes, and anything that would crinkle up in a drawer. Hang it in whatever order makes most sense to you, but we strongly advocate for grouping like items and sorting by color, starting with the shorter items on the far left side of your closet and moving the longer items toward the right. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it makes it much easier to find exactly what you’re looking for.
And isn’t that the point?