How To Clean Out Your Closet Effectively

Spring isn’t quite in the air yet, but I’d venture to say it’s at least lurking around the corner. When it’s finally balmy enough to open the windows, it will also be time to swap heavy winter clothes for lighter threads. You know what that means. Grab your dust rags and trash bags because it’s time for spring cleaning.

Spring cleaning sounds like a simple task that’s pleasant enough until suddenly you’re sitting in the corner of your closet sifting through a wrinkled pile of clothes from high school trying to figure out if the sentimental value outweighs the space factor. Keep the concert tee and toss the homecoming dress…or vice versa? If you live in New York where closet space is a hot commodity, you can only hoard so many memories before the claustrophobia sets in.

I’m not always diligent about keeping my closet organized. Between event swag, working with brands, styling looks for the blog, and family trips, I must admit that quite a heap of clothes tends to accumulate. Ahem, how did that get there? It’s overwhelming to sift through everything, but after a closet purge, I feel accomplished and relieved, like order has been restored. So in the spirit of “out with the old, in with the new” this is my tried and true closet cleaning process. If stocking up on clothes is a problem for you, stock up on these tips instead.

Stage 1: Empty

Get all of your clothes out and in the open. All of them! Whether you keep clothes in the closet, dresser, under the bed, or balled up in the corner, put everything on in an open space and get ready to cut it in half (or less). Also this is the part where you crank up the music and have a coffee or smoothie nearby. Might as well make it a party, right?

Stage 2: Sort

Next, put your clothes into piles based on what you’re going to do with them. There are several guiding questions you can ask yourself to help ease the process.

Have I worn this in the last 12 months?

Do I get excited to put this on or feel like a bombshell when I wear it?

Is this item worn out, tattered, stained, faded, or does it have holes that I’ve been ignoring?

Does this fit me? Does it flatter me?

If I went shopping today, would this go in my cart?

This is how I like to separate my clothes.

Pile 1: Loves

All your favorite clothes that make you feel like a model. Maybe these are recent purchases or your tried and true go-tos. You automatically know you want them, you wear them regularly, and you’d probably pack them first if you decided to jet off to the other end of the world.

Pile 2: Maybes

You feel like you want these items, but you wouldn’t throw a hissy fit if they suddenly went missing. Maybe you want to keep these things because they have sentimental value, they were expensive, or you feel like at some point you’re going to need it to complete a look…but so far that day hasn’t come.

Pile 3: Goodbyes

Nope. Just nope. Anything that is totally out of style, old and tattered, or that you haven’t worn in the last year has got to go. You can separate this later into items that you can donate and those that are too horrendous to go anywhere other than the trash bin.

Stage 3: Assess

It’s a good idea to try on the items you’re a little unsure about. You might discover that there’s a huge tear in this shirt  and you didn’t even notice (why did no one tell you?) or that the skirt you’ve been hanging on to for years doesn’t even fit anymore. Basically, you’ll get clarity when you mentally say, “why was I keeping this again” or “why the hell don’t I wear this more often I look smoking hot”?

If the only reason you’re hanging on to an item is because of how much it cost you, put it aside and sell it. Poshmark is a great app that allows you to easily post items you don’t want to eager buyers. Also, if you end up keeping a “maybe” but by the end of the season you haven’t even touched it, it’s time. Donate that sucker.

Stage 4: Comb

I like to comb back through what I said I was keeping to make sure I really want each item and am not selling myself lies when I say I’ll  wear it. Do not second guess what you put in the goodbye pile. Your first instinct doesn’t lie.

Stage 5: Reassemble

If you’re sure about your selection, put everything back and organize while you’re at it. I’m not a color-coding type of gal myself, but I do think it’s good to put all my jackets together, blouses, denim etc. You might as well make your new and improved wardrobe extra polished and easy to sort through.

I hope these closet cleaning tips help you kickstart your spring cleaning. You know what they say: out with the ill-fitting jeans and stained camp t-shirt, in with the newest trends and those adorable boots you spied while window shopping on Fifth Ave. I think that’s how it goes, right?



Kickstart your spring cleaning by ditching those clothes you’ve been saving for “someday.

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