Closet Cleaning Time!

Your closet can be your favorite or least favorite place in your whole house, depending. I swear. The house I'm living in now has a pretty tiny closet, and I get to share it with my boyfriend. Yipee. It's gone through different iterations of organization (take out this set of drawers here, put in these cubbies there, etc.), and I'm sure it'll go through a few more. But let me tell you something: what I did earlier this week is about the best thing I ever did to my closet. And it's real simple.

We begin with a relatively organized closet containing a good amount of stuff I never wear. I'm not alone in this, am I?

Step 1: Take it all out. 

Yes, all of it (okay, you can leave your significant other's stuff if this applies to you. He can read this post and do this for himself) and lay it out in an organized fashion on your bed. I put mine in stacks by type, like pants, sweaters, cardigans, long sleeves, blouses, t-shirts, etc.

Step 2: Try it on.

Every.single.thing. And do it right, please. If it requires a strapless bra, put on a strapless bra. I know, I'm so mean. Put it on, look in your full-length mirror, and see if it fits. And I mean really fits. Just because it zips/buttons/pulls on doesn't necessarily mean it fits well. What you're really trying to determine is, would I wear this out?

If the answer is no, take it off and put it on the floor in a "get rid of" pile. You might bother to fold it first (you should), but you might not. If it does fit, ask yourself another question (or two): do I feel good in this? Does this reflect my personal style? Do I have somewhere to wear this? (okay, so three). If the answer is no to any of these questions, put it in the "get rid of" pile. If the answer to this second set of questions is all yes except for the fit, considering tailoring. Many common fit problems like too long or too loose can be easily and cheaply fixed by a tailor, or yourself if you have some basic sewing skills. Put these clothes on the floor in a "to fix" pile. If the answer to all of these questions is yes, take a close look and make sure there aren't any stains, holes, or other damage. If there are, add it to the "to fix pile." If there aren't, hang it up in the closet (or fold and put away, if applicable). Move on. Try on every single item, even stuff you've worn recently. Even stuff that is out of season. Stop complaining and just do it.

Look at all of that extra space in the middle!

Step 3: Get Your Clothes in Order

My closet goes by type and color. The types (in order) that I have my closet broken down into are blazers, cardigans, sweaters/hoodies, long sleeve shirts, button-up shirts, blouses, t-shirts, tank tops, and dresses. The clothes within each of these categories are arranged by color. I do black, grey, white, then rainbow order (ROYGBIV). This makes it really quick and easy to find whatever I'm looking for, be it a particular article of clothing or a type like top, bottom, or outerwear. I keep my skirts and pants folded because...tiny closet, people.

Step 4: Create Some Outfits

This may seem kind of silly, but it will save you when you're short on time or inspiration and need something to wear. Go download Closet on your iPhone (I know, I have an app for everything), and photograph your clothes. I did this with my clothes on a hanger, but you can do it with your clothes on if that's better for you. This creates a virtual "closet" with item descriptions which you can then arrange into outfits (complete with jewelry and other accessories). You can even assign outfits to certain days on the calendar (such as for special occasions or planning in advance for a busy week) and make packing lists. There's also a shuffle feature which will shuffle all of the different categories of clothing and come up with an outfit. Usually you won't love the whole outfit, but you might discover some surprisingly awesome combinations that you never would have thought of on your own.

Step 5: Pat Yourself on the Back

After which you might have a cocktail or a piece of pie. Congratulations, you now have a closet of only things that fit you right now, so when you reach into your closet you have no excuse not to wear any of the things in there, and you can feel confident that when you put something on for the first time in a while, it's going to fit and look fabulous.

Step 6: What About These Clothes on the Floor?

Take care of the "fix it" pile. Whatever you can do yourself, do immediately, or it's never gonna happen (if you're me, anyway). As far as the "get rid of it" pile goes...sit on it for a bit. If you're trying to lose or gain weight, some of that stuff might fit you in a couple of months. Some of the stuff you don't love right now you might look at later and say hey, I remember why I bought this and I'm excited about it again. In a couple of months, revisit the pile, try some stuff on again, and if it's still not working for you, sell it in a garage sale, sell it online if it's in great shape and valuable, take it to a thrift store, or donate it at Goodwill. Or, host a swap party with some girlfriends. 

You will have to go through this process again. Your body will change, your style will change, items will get damaged, etc. If you do this periodically, you will always have a closet that is a happy place.


  1. I am totally going to download closet! I have been looking for a way to get my clothes organized.

    1. It's great! I have a bad habit of sinking into despair when what I want to wear is dirty or when I'm in a rush and don't know what to wear, so having some outfits pre-assembled really helps in those situations. It's also great when you're out shopping if you're not sure if you should buy something because you can pull out your phone and figure what, if anything, you have to wear with it.

  2. This is actually quite helpful. I enjoyed the writing of it as well because right when you said "Try it all on" I was like, "ugh" so when you said stop complaining I laughed! haha. Also this: "We begin with a relatively organized closet containing a good amount of stuff I never wear" is what my closet's state was very recently until I jumped back into it and just said "Lydia, get rid of this crap!". Now it is seriously beautiful in my eyes. &As much as I would love to have a walk in closet. You can still make really good use of a small closet and not have it look crazy and unorganized/packed!

  3. I'm so lazy about trying my clothes on too. Which is so silly, because if you didn't like wearing clothes you probably wouldn't have as much, but then when you have to try something on when you're not going to immediately wear it out it feels like such a chore. I'm dreaming of the day I'll have a bigger closet, but we've definitely managed to make this one work for us. Thanks for commenting!


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