By Jennifer Parris
If you’re like most people, you dream of a big walk-in closet, where everything is organized and accessible. But, if you’re like the rest of us, your closet is one big catch-all, where everything is cluttered and chaotic. Thing is, it is possible to have a closet where everything is neat and tidy. And while it will take some time to get your closet up and running, it will be well worth it once you see the results. Here are some do’s and don’ts of cleaning your closet–and you’ll actually find that blue blouse you’ve been looking for.
Plan to Purge
Cleaning out your closet isn’t going to be a painless process, so make sure that you give yourself ample time to complete it. You might find that it’s easier to set aside an entire day to get it all done, or you might want to work on it in sections (think shoes, accessories, coats) over the course of a couple of days. The goal isn’t just to organize your stuff, but to truly keep only what fits and looks fabulous.
Skip the Shoeboxes
Keeping your shoes in their boxes might look neat, but it definitely takes up a lot of unnecessary (and much-needed) space. So skip the shoeboxes and display your shoes without all the additional clutter. And to maximize space, you should place your shoes with one facing forward, and one facing backwards. Not only will you be able to see the complete pair as it looks both front and back, but it saves on space, too.
Color Code Everything
While you might have clothing in a variety of colors, you don’t want to necessarily have it sprinkled throughout your closet. That’s why it’s a good idea to group like items by color. For example, if you have three white shirts, hang them together, and then color code the rest of your closet. Put the clothes that you wear most often for work or to run errands on easily-accessible hangers, so you don’t have to dig through your closet–and potentially make a big mess.
Figure Out Your Folding Style
There are so many ways to store your clothes. You might decide to put everything on hangers, or you might opt to fold your clothing instead. If you do decide to fold, figure out what style is best. Tidying expert Marie Kondo boasts the benefits of folding your clothes and storing it in drawers for maximum visibility. No matter what style suits you, just be sure that it’s something that you can sustain so that your closet stays stylish and organized.
Donate Still-Good Items
After clearing away the items that are worn, damaged, or (ahem) no longer fit, you might find that you have a pretty big file. Before you think about tossing it all into the trash, though, go through it to see what you can donate. There are many places, such as Goodwill or consignment shops, that will accept used clothing. You can even search for shelters in your area that are in need of clothing for the homeless or victims of domestic violence. But if the clothing is beyond repair, it can go in the garbage.
Cleaning your closet is a deeply personal process. It forces you to look at your life in a whole new way as you pare down the clothing that makes you happy, fits well, and prepares you for your future.