Spring Cleaning Playbook: Cleaning Out Your Closets

Spring Cleaning Playbook: Cleaning Out Your Closets

It’s time to get real with your wardrobe. The fact is, most of us only use about 20% of the clothing we own. So, eighty percent of your closet is clogged with stuff you don’t even wear or use. Toss it! You don't have to go the full Marie Kondo and pile everything you own on the bed. But, you should have a good hard look at everything you have in there at least once a year and decide if it justifies your wardrobe real estate or not.

TOP TIP: Try to make a habit of regularly grooming your wardrobe. It’ll make it easier to get dressed and help you to make smarter choices when buying. This is a big job. Perfect for the weekend!

TIME: 2-5 hours, depending on the size of your wardrobe. Don't fall into the trap of trying on clothes endlessly and wasting time. Be ruthless. If you haven't worn it all year (or longer) it's time to say goodbye. Toss or donate.

 YOU'LL NEED:

  • Proper Wooden Hangers: An investment in good quality hangers is the easiest and most permanent change you can make. They last a lifetime and are well worth it. Get more than you think you need.
  • Vacuum
  • Flour Sack cloths to wipe down shelves.
  • All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Garment Groom
  • Laundry Soap
  • Room & Linen Spray
  • Measuring Cup
  • Bags to toss/donate
  • Plastic bins or space saver bags to store seasonal clothes.
  • A row of pegs or valet hooks to hang outside your closet.
  • Storage bins for your seasonal clothing

 HOW TO DO IT:

1. Start with plucking out all the clothing, shoes, and accessories you want to toss or donate.

2. Stow Seasonal Clothing. Very few of us have the luxury of ample closet space. You need a winter coat (but not in December). I wash and rotate seasonal clothes twice a year (even shoes). Doing this not only gives you more hanging space but also removes visual clutter, which makes it much easier to get dressed.

3. Wipe it down. This is a good time to vacuum and clean every corner of your closet.

4. Use Real Hangers. I can’t stress this one enough. Nothing signals chaos more than mismatched, random hangers (or God-forbid, wire hangers from the dry-cleaner). I like real wooden hangers from The Container Store, but you can find similar ones from Target or Amazon. Just please don't get those cheap "huggable" hangers. They ruin the silhouette of your clothes and the fake velour they're wrapped in is a dust magnet. You can get tricky with specialty hangers, but I've found you only need two types: A classic wooden one with a trouser bar and a clip hanger for skirts. That's it.

5. Group Clothes in Categories. You probably already do this, but if you don’t, now is the time to start! Just hang like-with-like (e.g. pants in one section, shirts, and dresses in another), etc. This will go a long way to help keep your closet organized to make finding something to wear a lot easier!

6. Hang from Light to Dark. Working within your groups, hang clothing from light to dark.  For example, shirts>>>light to dark. Pants>>>light to dark. This does two things; it helps you find what you want to wear based on color and category. It sounds complicated, but it's seriously easy, once you get used to it.

7. TO THE LEFT, TO THE LEFT. The Empty Hanger Trick. This is the ONE SIMPLE TRICK THAT will help you to keep your closet tidy forever. I’ve never seen it mentioned anywhere by any organizing Guru (which is baffling because it’s so simple). Here it is: Once you pick a garment to wear, don’t put the empty hanger back where it was, hang it at the very end of your closet (I use the left side of my closet), and keep it there until you need to rehang something. This will ensure that you always have a hanger handy when you need one AND you aren’t taking up valuable real estate in your closet with empty hangers.

8. BE ORGANIZED (and skip the Dry-Cleaners). Most of us over-launder and dry-clean our clothing way too much. I'm not saying you need to wear second day-yoga pants (eww).  But I AM suggesting an easy setup for the stuff that's lightly worn. Get yourself a valet hook, a row of pegs, or even a curtain rod. I know it sounds weird but stay with me. The goal is to have a dedicated place to hang lightly worn clothes, so you don’t forget about them when they're back in the general population. For example: If I’ve worn something once and it's not dirty enough to wash, but not clean enough to rehang, I hang it in a dedicated place in my closet (or just outside on a hook) and wear it again on a Saturday. I only wash something once I’ve worn it at least twice (underwear and yoga pants excluded). And BTW: You can wash a lot of DRY-CLEAN ONLY clothes with mild laundry soap on a cold water setting, as long as you don’t use too much. Get a measuring cup and use it!

Lastly: Deal with your shoes. If your closet is small, reconsider where you store your shoes. Maybe inside your closet isn’t the answer. There are plenty of good-looking options at every budget for storing shoes that look good and take up less space in the wardrobe. We're obsessed with the gorgeous ones from the Australian brand, Sagitine.

 REWARD TIME! The refreshed and renewed space that used to be a cramped closet is now an efficient dressing room. Well, almost. Treat yourself to a gorgeous set of storage baskets, a brass Valet hook, or a row of Shaker pegs.

INSTANT GRATIFICATION: I suggest a nibble on a frozen Peppermint Patty while staring at your new organized closet. So refreshing!

Happy Sorting!

 xx, mlk