One morning last week, I stood in my closet realizing I have way too many clothes, of which many I never wear. As a kick off to the New Year, “I would attempt to purge!”, I declared with vigor!! But I lasted about 10 minutes. {If that.}

Lesson learned; it is important to go into cleaning your closet with a plan, supplies, and perhaps reinforcement. After reading various blogs (I love Martha Stewart), going online, pulling out some “How to Organize” Books, the gist is this….it is not going to be easy.

how organize your clothes closet

Tips to Clean Out Your Clothes Closet

Step One is to carve out some time when you can really focus on it for an hour or two. Otherwise, you will have an un-purged closet…and a mess.

Step Two is to think about categorizing everything into three groups: Old (holes, rips, tears, from the 80s), Bad (too big, too small or just never laid right on your body), Dunno (should I or shouldn’t I keep it), and Fix It (where it can be tailored). Then go into the closet with garbage bags or boxes for each category (so make sure to bring 4-8 bags/boxes with you!)

Step Three is to make sure a full length mirror, and a computer or a pencil/pen/paper is on hand. The mirror will be necessary for you to try things on. The paper/pen will be for you to write down the item, and estimated value, if it goes into the donate pile. (Best to write it down before it goes into the bag!)

Step Four means it is time to get to work. Try everything on, and as you take it off your body, pick a pile. Don’t worry, you can edit later. Just pick either Old, Bad, Dunno or Fix.

For Old, I want you to think about the last time you wore it. If it has been more than 6 months (taking into account the season of course) then put it in the old pile. {NOOO!! You will not wear it. You say that every time!}

For Bad, quickly think if it can be fixed. Is the waist too big? It might be taken in. If the hems are too long, they could be shortened. If they are too short (more than an inch), however, it goes into the bad pile because there is not going to be enough material to make the hem longer. Do not keep clothes if they are too small. Yes, you might lose the weight, but if you do, you’ll want new stuff. So put it in the Bad pile. {No, seriously, put it there!} Everything else can go into the Fix It pile where you can take it to a Tailor to see if it can be tailored.

For Dunno, it is a first step, so don’t over think it on the first purge. After you have gone through your whole closet, come back to this pile, which I will get to in a minute. Just try to keep moving…

For Fix It, if you think it might be fixed, add it to the pile. Things in this pile are clothes that may need the waist taken in, the straps shortened, the pants hemmed. Anything else should be in one of the three other piles above. {Plus, you’ll be going through the Fix It pile again, so don’t get too attached.}

How to Clean Out Your Clothes Closet

You need to do this for all of your clothes and shoes (bonus points for going through your accessories too.) Once you are done purging, tagging items for donation, it is time to go through your Dunno Pile and Fix It Pile.

For the Dunno pile, you have Plan A or Plan B:

Plan A is is when you have a friend to come over and help you. They’ll give you their honest opinion. {Better yet, invite your Mom over.} However, if you don’t have a friend that can be impartial vs. wanting to shop in your closet, or talk the entire time about their closet, then go to Plan B.

Plan B is going through the Dunno pile again by yourself. Perhaps you might be ready to part with a few more items the second time around. Then I want you to put the Dunno stuff in a guest room closet or in a box. If you keep thinking about an item, or realize that cotton pink cami would look fabulous with your hot pink pants, then you can go, pull it out and keep it. Otherwise, mark your calendar for six months from now. If you have not gone to that closet or opened that box in 6 months, it goes directly to the donation pile.

For the Fix It pile, take the pile to the Tailor with a caveat; you may not be keeping everything in this pile. You might need to put it into the Bad pile if the tailor shakes his/her head that it is not possible to fix. For everything that is tailorable, ask what is the cost to tailor it, because it might just be better to just get new pair of charcoal striped pants. After the appointment, you should have left behind what is getting tailored, and everything else you are carrying back to the car should be going in the Bad pile as soon as you get home.

At this point, your Dunno clothes are put away, some of your clothes are getting tailored, and now you have clothes for donation or consignment. What you also have is a fully organized closet with items that you love, and love your body back.

Yay you!!! Tweet me and share with me your before and after pictures!






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  1. i like how you separated your piles as you organize the closet. It’s so hard to let things go, but sometimes it’s really out of site, out of mind.

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