Modern*Simplicity

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How to Declutter Your Closet

How to Declutter Your Closet / Modern Simplicity. Photo by Becca McHaffie on Unsplash

It may seem like winter is here to stay, but spring really is on the way! If you haven’t decluttered your closet lately, it’s time to get started. I recently did a massive KonMari-style purge of my clothes. I wanted to decide what items of worn-out winter clothing needed to make an exit, plus I needed to make a shopping list to fill in the gaps of my spring/summer wardrobe before an upcoming spring break trip where it is most definitely warm. 

I purged my own clothes first (closet and dresser) before rounding up the boys to go through their clothing. While I didn’t do much hands-on purging for them, I oversaw the process and gave them some guidelines so they’d know what to do.

Here’s a step-by-step process for decluttering your closet in preparation for a new season.

Laundry first!

Catch up on laundry! It’s hard to purge your closet when a bunch of it is in a hamper or in the washing machine. Wash it all, dry it, and bring it to the “scene of the crime” — aka wherever you’re doing the purging. For us, we got out every clothing item and put it on the bed for evaluation.

Purge

Time to wade through the pile. Start by pulling out anything you don’t love, don’t wear, or doesn’t fit. Pull out anything that has unwashable stains, holes, rips, or that needs to be altered in any way. If you haven’t worn it in a year or two, take it out. Be honest with yourself here — if you’re not wearing it and have no plans to, it’s just taking up precious storage space in your home. 

Discard

Bag up the discards and put them by the door to drop off for charity. Bag up anything that needs to be altered or repaired and make plans to take it to the tailor or fix it yourself in the next week. 

Sort

For the clothes you have left, it’s time to put them away in a nice, organized fashion. Arrange the clothes by category — pants, shirts, skirts, dresses, t-shirts, pjs, etc. If you want, you can divide them further by sleeve length and color.

Organize

Hang up clothes you like to see in the closet — for me, that’s dresses, skirts, dress pants, and most shirts (except t-shirts). I may also be a little weird this way, but I like all of my hangers to match, so I invested in a bunch of white plastic hangers for a uniform look. For clothes you like to fold, consider using the fold-and-file method of vertical drawer organizing, made popular by Marie Kondo. This involves folding clothes into small squares or rectangles, then storing them upright in your drawer (instead of in stacks) so you can see each piece and nothing gets buried. This piece has some great visuals to show you how to fold. I like this method so much that I now pack my suitcase using the fold-and-file method as well.  

List out the gaps

As you hang and fold to put your clothes away, keep a running list of items you need to fill in your wardrobe. Then you can keep an eye out for the perfect piece while you’re shopping and avoid frantic trips to the mall later. In this particular purge, I realized I have no casual sleeveless tops for spring, and I needed a nice black skirt that would travel well for several upcoming trips. My older son had no swimsuit or shorts that fit (which he’ll need for spring break!) My younger son only needed some new jeans to fit his rapidly lengthing legs. Both need new sandals or flip flops too. They enjoyed a quick shopping spree to Target to fill in the gaps in their wardrobes. I turned to ThredUp for mine — I love picking up secondhand clothes in my favorite brands that look new and cost a fraction of retail. 

Repeat for shoes and bags

Repeat the above steps for shoes and handbags. It’s good to go through this process every time the weather changes for the season, especially if you rotate storage with out-of-season clothes. We no longer have out-of-season storage except for winter coats and gloves/scarves/stocking caps. If you have kids, you may also need to do a quick purge whenever you notice a growth spurt — that’s not something you can plan on a calendar! 

How to Declutter Your Closet / Modern Simplicity

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