Now that it’s finally spring, it’s time to put away those chunky sweaters and bust out the tank tops and dresses! Despite allergy season, spring has always been my favorite time of year. Mainly because growing up in California has made me quite accustomed to warm weather. Having lived in NYC for the past (gasp) eleven years, you begin to feel a bit resentful towards east coast living when you’re still wearing a down coat in the middle of April or even early May.
I do feel however that we’ve finally passed the threshold in which we can safely begin to put away our winter parkas and puffy coats for at least the next six months (thank God!).
With spring cleaning comes the dreaded closet switchover. IF you are lucky enough to live in an area where the majority of your wardrobe can be worn the entire year (aka California or Hawaii), you can skip part 2 of step 3 in this procedure. It sounds quite complicated but I assure you it’s not.
So I for one actually do not dread this process as much in the spring as I do in the fall. In fact, I almost enjoy the process of cleaning and organizing my closet when it comes to preparing for warmer weather.
There’s nothing like pulling out some cute tops and sundresses that you forgot you even bought last year. It’s sort of like having two new wardrobes in one!
Read on to discover some super simple tips and tricks to get the most out of your closet and possibly even find some new outfits in the process.
STEP ONE: PURGE THE EASY ITEMS
This is the easiest step. You know what I’m talking about when I say “purge the easy items” right? This isn’t necessarily items that you will throw away, but just remove the items that you know for sure you’re not going to wear anymore. Whether they are old and tattered or you’ve outgrown (i.e. gained weight), then they should be put into the PURGE area. This frees up some room in your closet and enables you to gage a better idea of what you’re working with.
STEP TWO: CLEAN - LITERALLY
Many people forget this step. You need to literally clean your closet. Meaning, remove ALL items physically from the space and then dust and vacuum or mop the entire area. Yes, the goal is obviously to organize your closet, but organizing your closet without actually cleaning it is like putting clean dishes onto a dirty surface into your cabinets. Got it?
STEP THREE: SEPARATE AND DECIDE
Now that you’ve removed all articles of clothing, shoes and accessories you need to put them into three different piles: Toss, donate, or keep.
TOSS: These items should be the original ones that you instantly removed from Step 1. These pieces of clothing should be old, falling apart, they don’t fit, or completely out of style. These pieces are usually pretty easy to spot.
DONATE: These items should still be in excellent shape but are no longer in style, you haven’t worn in the past year, or they do not fit you anymore. Keep in mind that the golden rule of a year should be your final indication of whether to donate. There is however the exception to perhaps a cocktail or formal dress/outfit. Also keep in mind that if you no longer fit into the garment due to weight gain it’s time to stop holding onto these pieces in hope that you will someday be able to wear again. You’re allowed ONE piece of “skinny” clothing to keep. I know we all have that one dress or pair of skinny jeans that we know we will someday fit into. ;)
KEEP: These are your staple items or pieces that you absolutely love and wear on a daily basis. When you look at that particular piece of clothing you are either A) excited to wear or B) know you must keep because it’s a staple item, i.e. classic button down, tank top, etc.
PART 2: IF you live in an area that has two seasons you can also make a 4th pile for items you plan to STORE away for the summer. These could include heavy jackets, coats, sweaters, pants, etc. For those of you that happen to be New Yorkers reading this you know what I’m talking about. It’s called limited closet space available. For those of you without this problem, just skip this part because you probably have unlimited space and a non-seasonal wardrobe (I’m jealous).
STEP FOUR: DON’T FORGET YOUR DRESSER AND UNDERWEAR DRAWER
Many people just completely forget about their undergarments and socks. Now is the time to also purge any old bras and panties (you know what I’m talking about), and never worn or ugly lingerie. It’s also time to get rid of any holey socks or that extra sock that you just never found the matching partner to (where the hell do they go, right?).
STEP FIVE: ORGANIZING
Now it’s officially time to organize your closet. If you’ve gone through steps 1-4, chances are you’re already exhausted and your room is a disaster. However, you’re in the home stretch so time to power through! This is also when it starts to become more a fun task.
Make sure you have plenty of huggable hangers. If you do not own these, you need to at least try them out. They are a lifechanging in terms of keeping your garments stretch free and any silk or slippery top that usually falls off wood or (gasp) plastic or wire hangers. Plus they save space!
Begin by grouping all of the same styles together. Pants go with pants (if you hang your pants), blouses, tank tops, t-shirts, dresses etc. Some people also like to organize each group into color as well, but unless your closet is absolutely ginormous I don’t think it’s a big deal.
STEP SIX: TAKING INVENTORY
Now that you’re pretty much good to go in terms of being organized you can begin taking inventory of items that you may possibly need to replace or are missing. This is obviously the very best part of cleaning out your closet! At first, it may feel like a new wardrobe because you’re bound to find something you forgot you even own. But by making a checklist of items that you need makes it extremely helpful the next time you’re out shopping and are feeling a little overwhelmed.
And that’s it! You’ve successfully organized your closet in six steps. For a cheat sheet and checklist of the items that you should consider adding to your wardrobe check out our free guide to Creating Your Most Wearable Wardrobe!