How to Clean Out Your Closet – A New Year, A New Closet, A New You

December 27, 2010


Organized Closet
Photo credit: Bob Hiemstra via Real Simple

There is a feng shui concept that says clutter of any sort blocks positive energy from swirling about the space.  My father has always said, “As goes your home, so goes your life.”  Our lives and space get away from us from time to time – that’s okay.  Life gets messy.  But in this final stretch of the year and as we look forward to the coming one, it’s nice to prepare for opportunities, clean slates and lasso a little motivation along the way.

After your open your eyes and decide whether or not the day is worth facing, the next biggest decision you make begins in your closet.  What will be my suit of armor today?  What will keep me warm?  What will make his jaw drop?

It’s a big decision.  You need clarity.

It’s time to create that clarity.  It’s time to let inspiration tackle you.  It’s time to clean out and organize your closet.

With a vengeance.  YES.

1. Approach one section at a time – and take everything in that section out of the closet.  You’ll see why in a moment.

a. You need two piles: TRASH and DONATE.  Be pleased that your ruthless quest for clarity and inspiration will be someone’s much needed gift through a charity. Send these items off with good wishes for the next owner – karma travels.
b. If you haven’t worn it in a year it needs to leave.  You’ve had all four seasons to make it work.
c. If it has a hole or stain or is pilled it cannot inspire you or even be functional. 
d. It is unlikely that the most worn, loved and classic pieces make up more than 20% of your closet.  Try everything on again – make sure you keep ONLY things that fit.

“Don’t bother saving anything that just doesn’t fit you anymore. Ill-fitting clothes are absolutely DEADLY for the self-esteem.” – Nina Garcia, Marie Claire

e. Keep only those things that are truly a reflection of who you are – not who you think you should be.   Create an authentic closet.

2. Clean that section.  Wipe down the shelf, rod or built-in storage to remove dust.  Vacuum the floor.  Wipe the baseboards.  A spritz of Febreze is great – you want a fresh space.

3. It’s hardware time.  Ditch the wire hangers – they are bad for your clothes and seriously reduce the lifespan of them.  Invest in some slimline wooden, plastic or even covered hangers.  I like to keep a uniform look when possible – even if it’s only by section.  For instance, my heavy coats of any heft are on wooden hangers, blouses or shirts on slimline covered ones, etc.

4. Hang and fold everything properly.  You don’t want to grab something to wear only to find it’s wrinkled.  That’s frustrating and a huge bummer.

5. Install the organizers.  Hang the hooks, belt racks, shoe trees – whatever you need to prepare your space.  Perhaps an inspiration board?  Be sure to clean up any dust from that.

6. Load your clothes back in!  There are theories about how to group your clothes: by type, by color… it’s really a personal choice.  Do what makes sense for you.  I prefer a combination of both:  All pants hung together, but separated by color.

Here are some resources to help:

Wooden hangers from Bed, Bath and Beyond

Slimline flocked hangers from Bed, Bath and Beyond

The Golden Rules of Closet Efficiency by Martha Stewart

The day to come and life itself are stressful enough – let’s not let the closet add to that. Take a deep, lingering breath and choose your look. Who knows what adventure waits for you!

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