There’s no better time than the beginning of a new year to take inventory of your closet and do what I like to call a Closet Cleanout, and that’s exactly what I did!
Every closet cleanout is a chore and massive undertaking. You’ve probably seen those memes that joke about how you start a cleanout when you’re feeling motivated only to lose steam halfway through and end up sleeping on a pile of clothes. I want to help you avoid that by setting you up for a successful closet cleanout today on the blog!
I go by Three T’s when it comes to cleaning out my closet (AKA the closet cleanout checklist):
Take It Out
Take everything out of your closet. Shirts, shoes, pants, jackets, dresses, scarves, etc. Leave no clothing item behind! Personally, I keep all seasons of clothes in my closet throughout the year because I like to see everything. If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind, which can result in duplicates you don’t need. Of course, if your closet space is limited and you have to make seasonal shifts, do what works best for you!
Try It On
It takes a lot of effort, but sometimes trying on each individual piece is the only way to gauge your reaction to it. By trying on each item, you will know if it still fits, how it makes you feel, and whether or not it belongs in your closet anymore. If something works but is in need of alterations, get it tailored! Don’t let it sit in your closet if it’s a great piece that would be perfect with a quick fix.
Trust Your Instinct
Go with your gut reaction. If it’s a “maybe” or you find yourself rationalizing the piece (ex: “It would look cute if I wore it with XYZ”), it’s time to move on! This goes for duplicates, too. You don’t need a million black sweaters especially if they’re all the same fit. Of course, if you want a fitted and oversized option in a particular item, those differences serve a true purpose and both deserve a spot in your closet. Use your best judgement here, but be rational.
As I said, the first step is emptying your entire closet so you can truly see what you have, and you can give your closet a good clean. Wipe down the shelves, hanging bars, etc. Doing this and starting with a clean slate will motivate your cleanout even more, trust me.
With your clothes in piles by category, start to work your way through the chaos. As you try on each piece, ask yourself the tough questions like “Do I love it?” “Does it still fit?” “Does it need to be altered?” “Is it damaged beyond repair?” “Do I have too much of the same thing?” “Does it spark joy?” If you’re spending more than a few seconds wondering whether or not you still love the piece, it’s a no. As I was doing this latest cleanout, I realized the process sped up when I started trusting my immediate instinct!
The most effective question you can ask yourself during a closet cleanout that will yield big results is “Did I wear this during its last season?” For example, its a winter clean out and we're approaching spring. If you didn't wear that dress during the last spring/summer, chances are you won't this year. So, if the answer is no, it’s time to retire that piece for good. A major caveat here is when it comes to “occasion” pieces. For example, you may own a stunning cocktail dress that you haven’t worn in over a year because you didn’t have an event to wear it. In that case, if it fits, you still love it, and you don't have anything you can replace it with, definitely keep it.
The No Pile
As your “no” pile grows, set it to the side so you can come back to it later and determine whether you want to resell the piece or donate it. While I’m satisfied with this year’s closet cleanout, I know I could’ve pared down more. I am infamous for having a hard time parting with any shoes, but I did the best I could! I sell most of my gently worn items on Poshmark if I'm not donating. For designer handbags, I've have sold on Instagram stories. I haven't used The Real Real or Fashionphile for selling, just because I'm fortunate to be able to do so on stories, otherwise I would definitely look into those platforms for resale.
The way a closet is organized can vary for person to person because it should be a method that works best for you. I've tried a few ways over the years, but my current method is what has stuck the longest. Category, style, color. You'll see in my images all the categories are broken out. Within the categories are specific styles, and then its organized by color; light, bright, to dark. Tops are the only category I don't follow this rule to a T. I have found tanks can get lost surrounded by long sleeve tops. So I have the tanks separated out and organized by color first. Then short sleeve and long sleeve follow. Within each of those styles, it gets organized by color. For my bottoms, its jeans, then trousers/non-denim, skirts, shorts, and then by color. But again this is just what works for me! You'll have to play around and figure out how you like items organized.
The Best Hack
The best closet organization hack I can give you is that getting dressed should be fun, inspiring, and make you feel confident. If you keep that line of thought top of mind throughout the closet cleanout process, I promise it will go smoother than ever. Don’t keep things that don’t fit, make you feel anything less than amazing, or haven’t been worn in years — life is too short and there are too many amazing pieces out there!
Some of the most helpful items I use to organize my closet are:
• These velvet hangers that prevent any slippage
• These wooden hangers for jeans and pants
• These stackable hangers so I can easily layer skirts and shorts
• For now, I hang my sweaters . It isn’t ideal because sweaters should be folded, but sweaters are also bulky and take up a lot of space. When I had the space, I used these dividers to keep my sweaters organized.
• I added these adhesive hooks so I can hang new items I want to wear that week, handbags, or just pieces as I'm styling my look for the day.
• These handbag pillows to keep their shape while on display.
• This mini vacuum for the shelves and drawers.
Shop the Post
The rug is a vintage find from a local store in Franklin, TN. The closet was a custom build-out I designed and had a contractor build. Paint color is Benjamin Moore White Dove. Drawer handles are discontinued from RH. The other side of the closet is my husband's (nothing fancy to see).
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