Organizing Your Closet

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Keeping your clothes-closet organized and uncluttered is a challenge for a lot of women. Clothes are personal and can evoke memories, and create a mood (and of course keep you from running around naked!).

When was the last time you grabbed an article of clothing from your closet, put it on, looked in the mirror and thought, “Nah, not loving it”, put it back in the closet and put something else on? Yesterday? Today?? And, have you put that same article of clothing on more than a couple of times and ended up taking it off and putting it back in the closet?

Or what about something you really do like? You put it on, then realize it’s missing a button or has a stain, you take it off (thinking to yourself, I really need to fix that), hang it back in the closet and then forget about it until the next time you repeat the whole process?

If you can relate, perhaps it’s time to do an overhaul on your closet. Not only will you make room for clothes that do make you look and feel good, it will save you time and energy when you’re not changing clothes three or four times trying to find “something to wear”.

Let’s face it, ladies: if you have a closet bursting with clothes and yet you claim to have “nothing to wear”… you’ve (I’ve) got a problem.

Here’s some tips, ideas and suggestions on tackling your closet and getting it whipped in to shape.

Before you start the de-cluttering process you want to be prepared so it will go faster.

Have boxes or bags handy into which you can put discards (consider donating these items to a nonprofit organization-they can always use clothes), repairs (including items that need to be ironed,cleaned, or mended), clothes you want to sell in a garage sale or consignment store, and items that don’t even belong in your closet.

Invest in some good hangers and have them ready before you start. Using wire hangers can put unwanted creases in your pants and disfigure the shoulders of tops. If you can’t afford to purchase hangers right now use clothes pins (cheap at dollar stores) and hang your pants and skirts on them. If a top is sleeveless, a wire hanger isn’t going to hurt it.

Set Aside Time

Chances are your closet didn’t become a mess overnight so it’s going to take some time to get it organized. How long it takes depends on how many clothes you own and how often you weed through it. Your time schedule and personality will also determine how long it takes. But if you “schedule” it into your day, week, or month, you can get it done.

Getting Started

How “ruthless” you are when looking at your clothes and deciding what are keepers is going to depend on a couple of things:

  1. Do you have other clothes to wear? Maybe you gained weight, maybe you lost weight, maybe you haven’t shopped since 1995. If the answer is “no”, check out the steals and deals at some of the local thrift stores.

  2. Are you really going to wear it? Perhaps you have an article of clothing you bought a year (or more) ago with the tags still hanging on it: you obviously haven’t “needed” it or loved it enough that you’ve actually put it on! It’s too old to return and so why is it still hanging in your closet taking up room?? Would you feel “guilty” if you got rid of it? If so, get past the guilt, donate it to someone who actually wants to wear it and make room for something you’ll actually wear! If you’re holding onto something because it “brings back memories” but the reality is you’ll never wear it again, toss it or put it in a keepsake container and get it out of your closet! The goal here is not “closet scrapbooking”. Make room for a new outfit that you can create some new memories in.

  3. Vintage don’t mean nasty, girl. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt. There’s a big difference between “retro” and just plain old clothes that will never be back in fashion again.

Be ruthless, know you’ll feel better without all those clothes you don’t wear being gone. Plus, you’ll be able to pull an outfit together faster if you’re better organized and have clothes you love to choose from. Even better, enlist a friend to help you decide if you’re not for sure or need help to weed through your items.

Pick a Category and Start Weeding Through!

I like to start by hanging my clothes by categories and organized by color. The last time I organized, I pulled all my pants out of the closet and tried on every single pair (I do have a lot of clothes, so this did take me some time). And then I really looked at myself in the mirror to make sure they not only fit me but looked good. Here’s what I ask myself when trying to decide if something’s a “keeper”:

  1. Does this fit me well? If it hasn’t fit in a year, toss it. If you’re TRULY planning on a major weight change this year, box it up and store it if you want but still: get it out of your closet-it doesn’t fit you NOW.

  2. Do I wear this on a regular basis? Have I even worn it in the past year? If not, toss it. (Again, don’t “toss” it in the trash, “toss” it in the donation pile).

  3. Am I comfortable when I wear this? If a sweater’s scratchy or a collar bothers you, or if you’re always pulling on a hem, you’re probably not comfortable when wearing it. And that’s why you avoid it…toss it.

  4. Does it make you feel good when you wear it? You know, there are clothes you put on and you feel/look great. They boost your entire day because you’re feeling confident. If not, toss it.

  5. If it needs to be “repaired”, can I do it myself? How much would it cost to get a button sewn on, or a skirt hemmed, or to have something taken in, or to get anything dry-cleaned? These days we have to be honest: do I love it enough to spend the time or money to “fix” it? If not, toss it.

Then I did the same with my blouses, skirts, dresses, jackets, etc. After I’ve cleared out all the clothes just taking up space that I don’t want or wear, I hang everything back up by category, color, and sleeve length. Some people like to organize by “work clothes”, “dressy”, “casual”, and so on. The truth is, whatever system works for you and makes it easier to pull an outfit together is the “right” system.

If you are limited in your space, you could always pull seasonal clothes that are out-of-season from your closet and store them under the bed, on higher shelves or in a storage area in/outside the home. Here in Colorado I find that I use sweaters, jackets and even my sweats year round (unlike when I lived in Texas). If you have empty space high above in a closet, adding some shelves will give you extra room to keep folded sweaters, tanks, shorts or your out of season items.

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