How to Organize Your Clothes Closet
Updated: Nov 24, 2018
Your clothes closet is an area of the home that you totally control (no need to get buy-in from your loved ones!), and when you organize it, you'll reap the rewards each and every day as you get ready.
Start. Sort. Style. partner and home organizing expert Amelia Meena (from Appleshine) says it's an area where many of her clients need help. She says we wear about 10% of our clothing 90% of the time. Think about the time, space and energy you can save if you resolve to get your closet together!
To approach this home organizing task, we'll use the Start. Sort. Style. steps.
The Start. step for making your closet work better for you is to identify what Amelia calls your "weekly uniform."
Your weekly uniform is made up of the clothing you wear most frequently during the week. She's also called them your "get-up-and-get-out-the-door" clothes, whether you work outside or the home or not.
You can start to declutter your clothes closet, even if you only have 5 minutes:
You may think 5 minutes won't yield a lot of progress, but identifying your weekly uniform is a big step! It's what you'll base the rest of your wardrobe from, and it's what should take up most of your closet.
If you have some more time to devote – a full afternoon! – here are some ways you can take your closet organizing to the next level:
1. Minimize distractions. Shut the door, tell your family you're off limits, and make sure your phone is silent and/or out of reach.
2. Pull everything out of the closet. Yes, everything! This begins the Sort. step. Put your clothes on the bed, so you have enough workspace to sort through everything more easily.
3. Items that are torn, ripped, old or damaged? Get rid of them. No excuses! Even if it's something that could be mended, give yourself the gift of not worrying about fixing it. You probably have much more important (and fun!) things to do.
4. Categorize like with like. This means: a pile for jeans. One for tops. One for workout clothes, and so forth. The goal here is to get a clear picture of just how much stuff you have in each category. You may be surprised to see how much you have, once it's all sorted together.
5. Edit the categories down, getting rid of the articles of clothing that don't fit as well as the others or are older OR that don't feel great to wear.
One note here: If you start to feel a little guilty because you have so much, or so much of the same category, don't stress about it. One of the gifts of getting organized is that, in the future, you'll be better able to keep an eye on what you have versus what you really need to buy. Chalk it up to a learning experience this time. Don't keep things just because you spent money on them. Donate items in good condition for others to enjoy. Keep going, and stay motivated!
6. Make what you wear most, most accessible. After you've categorized and edited, it's time to start returning items to your closet. This is the Style. step! You're going to make your closet functional and beautiful. Your weekly uniform should be front and center, since it's what you wear most. Give it the prime real estate. You can hang it by color or by type (blouses with the other blouses, etc.), depending on what feels best to you.
7. Build your closet around your weekly uniform. Everything goes around what you wear most frequently, to get a better ratio than that 10/90 rule we mentioned earlier. You want to be surrounded by what you wear most (and you want to love what you wear). This is a moment to do what Amelia calls "honoring your capacity limit." This means, if have one shelf for jeans... but more jeans than can fit on that shelf... you gotta edit your jeans down further. You can do it, and it's worth it.
If you're not 100% totally sure about what you've edited – here's an option for you. Box up the clothes you may want to keep and still wear, and get them out of sight (place them in the garage or under the bed, neatly folded and clearly labeled). Jot a note down in your calendar to check the box in a three months or so, to get more of the items into rotation. If you really don't like the clothes then, get them out! Donate them.
One caveat: Do this box up/switch out process only if you think you'll actually go through with it and wear some of the clothing again. Don't use it as an excuse to add more clutter elsewhere in your home! (Of course, you're on the honor system with this, so see how you do.)
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