Tips for Cleaning Out Your Closet

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Besides the warmer temps and the rise of blooming flowers, spring is also that wonderful time of year that people love to get their clean on. I mean it's called Spring Cleaning for a reason right?! Not only is this the time to get the entire house cleaned it's also a great time to do a closet purge. I don't know about you but this is when I rotate my winter items from the closet to back under the bed and bring up all the summer items. The struggles of city living ;) If you're in my boat then while you have all these clothes out it’s the perfect time to evaluate and purge. If not, then carve out some time in your weekend and start by taking the items out of your closet and piling those clothes onto your bed.

I know it can be hard to let go of these things but you need to be tough and ready to make some decisions. Water (or a cocktail), snacks, and some music definitely makes the process less dreadful.

So how are you supposed to figure out what to keep, toss, or donate? Well this is when you need to be ready to answer some questions and be truthfully honest with yourself.

Ask Yourself These Two Questions:

1. When did I last wear it? Set a strict time frame for this like 90 days, 120 days, or 6 months. If you haven't worn in that time frame then it gets moved to the donate pile. Whatever you set as your cut-off is good so long as you have a cut-off and you stick to it. Don't fall into the trap of the numerous "but what if" or "just in case" scenarios that help you to make excuses to keep clothing you won’t wear. 

2. Does it still fit? If it doesn't fit right off the bat then add it to the donate pile. Don't make excuses or justifications about how you might fit into the item one day. One day could be two years from now. This is the time to be cut-throat. Donate it so someone else who can enjoy it.

As you are answering these two questions you will be moving the items into the following piles:

Keep: These are items that you frequently wear and still fit.

Unsure: You'll undoubtedly have some hesitation on certain items so put them in this pile. When you come back to this pile try the item on. Does it still fit? If so, then ask yourself if you were shopping today would you buy this item? If the answer is no, then add it to the donate pile. If the answer is yes, then ask yourself if you plan on wearing it in the next 90 days? If no, then donation it is.

Donate (or sell): This is for the items that are still in good condition but they don't fit you, not an item you would buy today, and you haven't worn them in 90+ days (or whatever time frame you have set). You can donate these items to many donation centers like Goodwill or The Salvation Army. You can also use this opportunity to make some extra cash. However, you need to be ready to do some upfront work like take photos, write descriptions, and mail the item. There are many sites & apps you can use such as Poshmark, ThredUP, The Real Real (for designer items), Depop, or take them to your local thrift store.

Toss: These items are not in poor condition and unless you actually plan to get them fixed then toss it. Don't try to convince yourself you will get the item fixed just to keep it in your closet. More times than not, you won't and when you do this purge again you'll stumble onto this same item in the same condition. So toss, toss, toss.

While you are going through this closet purge, it's also a good time to prep your winter items for the next season. I know this may seem way too early to do this but trust me, you will be thanking yourselves later. The winter months are not only brutal to our skin but our clothes and more importantly our shoes & coats. They tend to take a pretty good beating.

As you’re organizing and purging put aside any of those winter garments that need a little TLC and inspect them for the following:

  • Take all winter coats to the dry cleaner and have them tighten and secure buttons.
  • Look at the soles of your winter shoes. Do any of them need to be resoled or do any of the heels need to fixed?

In regards to winter shoes, any that don’t require any cobbler work, wipe them off with a slightly damp cloth to get rid of any remaining salt, stains, or dust. Then just give them a quick little polish with a soft cloth. There is nothing like salt stains to ruin a sweet pair of kicks. After all, if you've invested money in those shoes, taking care of them now will prolong their life. I promise you won’t regret doing any of this prep. This has really saved me so to speak come the following fall/winter. I’ve learned my lesson a few times when I would go to put on a coat only to find that there is a loose button. And the worst, realizing I can’t wear a pair of boots because I forgot to get them fixed.

So whether your spring cleaning involves just your closet or your entire house grab your favorite beverage, turn up the music, and don't be hesitant to purge.