How to Clean Out Your Closet (and Keep it that Way!)

We’ve all seen pictures of beautiful closets that are completely organized and look like a place where you you’d just like to hang out. In the real world, most closets don’t even come close to looking that way! It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life and somehow, let our closets slide into chaos.

Not anymore…a simple closet clean-out will have you feeling accomplished and primed and ready for a fresh start to the season. Here are a few tips to getting your closet in tip top shape.

Before you begin, get everything out and give your closet a thorough cleaning…dust, mop, vacuum, etc. You want to start with a clean slate. Very important, consider your hangers. A closet with uniform hangers is easier to manage because everything hangs nicely and it’s more visually appealing. Plus, it incentivizes you to keep everything organized. We like wooden hangers or the slim velvet hangers all in the same color.

Now, let’s clean it out and organize!

  1. Make four piles. One for things you wear often, one for things you don’t, one for items you love and can’t let go of, and one for things that can definitely go. Include shoes, bags, scarves, jewelry and any other accessories you might have in each of those piles.
  2. For the pile of clothes that can definitely go, divide into a donation pile and a consignment pile.
  3. Take all the clothes you regularly wear, hang them on your new hangers, and put them in your closet with them hanging backwards, i.e. the hanging and open part of the hanger is facing out.

Hang like items together…pants, skirts, tops, etc. Group by color if you like.

  1. Now take the items you don’t wear often and ask yourself “Have I worn this in the last 12 months?’ If the answer is no, put it in the donate or consign pile. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t fit and you might wear it when you lose 10 lbs., the bottom line is if you haven’t worn it in 12 months, you probably never will. And now it’s just taking up space. If you really have a hard time letting it go, put it on a hanger and hang it backwards in your closet to reassess later.
  2. Fold everything nicely (try using a board https://tinyurl.com/y7tuy5wn or a thick piece of cardboard). Put back in closet.
  3. Organize and arrange shoes and bags.

Going forward, every time you take something out of your closet to wear, hang it back the right way. Soon, your whole closet should have all the hangers going the right way because you’re wearing everything in it! Re-evaluate at the beginning and end of each season, If any backwards hanging items remain, consign or donate them. If they are sentimental, move them elsewhere or store them. With consistent care and re-evaluation, your closet should stay organized for good!

For the items you’d like to consign, be sure they are in great condition, clean, pressed, on hangers with no rips, tears, stains, fading, pilling or unraveling. All items should be no more than two years old and of the current season. If items are vintage and are in excellent condition, bring them in and we will assess whether we can sell it or not. Consigning is a great way to keep your closet streamlined and extra $$ in your wallet. Plus, it’s good for the environment…did you know that when you recycle a single gently used T-shirt and a pair of jeans, you help save a full pound of chemical fertilizer and pesticide from being released into the soil, water and atmosphere?

Lastly, for the items to be donated, make sure they are all in good condition, and no underwear or socks! Some good places to donate are:

East Cooper Community Outreach: http://eccocharleston.org/basic-needs/
Goodwill: https://palmettogoodwill.org/donate/
My Sister’s House: http://mysistershouse.org/donate/
Salvation Army: https://www.salvationarmycarolinas.org/support/contribute/donate-goods
Lowcountry Dress for Success: https://charlestoncounty.dressforsuccess.org/get-involved/donate/