Cleaning and organizing a closet isn't the most exciting way to spend a few hours. That's why many of us don't do it often.
And, just maybe, another reason is because we know what we'll find, and it's not pretty: Clothes that no longer fit or that show too much wear. Out-of-style garments. New clothes that have never been worn. Crammed shelves and rods with old favorites we forgot we had.
Closets can get out of hand in a hurry, making it easy to relate to the saying “a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.”
This is as good a time as any to show your closet a little love. It can pay off in a big way.
Filling a closet with clothes that fit and make you feel great makes getting dressed in the mornings easier and faster. No wasted time searching for that print blouse that's hiding between two black jackets you haven't worn in five years.
Taking a close look at what's in your closet also may trigger new ways to put together different pieces and outfits. Many women don't multipurpose their clothing and tend to wear the same top with the same pants every time, said Angela Crawford, owner of Closet Moxie at Shoppes at Northpark and Closet Innovation: The Moxie Way, a closet evaluation service.
A clean and well-organized closet can open up all kinds of new possibilities. Let's get started.
1. One piece at a time.
Pull everything out of the closet and check each garment carefully. Make a keep pile for pieces you love and wear, that fit well and that make you feel and look good. Try on each item to make sure it's a keeper. Allow plenty of time and don't get in a hurry.
2. Sell, donate and toss.
Clothes that you no longer wear, either because they don't fit or your lifestyle has changed, can be sold or donated. Most consignment stores accept clothes that are no more than two years old, in good condition and still in style. Suited for Success in Oklahoma City accepts professional work attire and donates it to low-income women who have completed job training and are seeking employment. Toss clothes that are torn beyond repair.
3. Don't get too emotional, learn to let go and be honest.
It's understandable to hang onto clothes for sentimental reasons. Try to keep those to a minimum. Don't let cost be a factor in your decision-making, either. Just because shoes or clothes were expensive is no reason to keep them if they're uncomfortable, don't fit or you no longer wear them. Those pieces take up valuable real estate in your closet. Someone else will love them. Be honest as you sort through your clothes. If you didn't wear it last year or three years ago, you probably won't wear it this year.
4. Try this hanger tip if you're unsure how often you wear a garment.
Organizing experts suggest turning all hangers backward. As you wear a garment, hang it back in the closet the normal way. At the end of a season, sort through all those backward hangers and purge. Of course, special-occasion and party clothes and accessories are exempt. This little test is really for those clothes you think you wear regularly.
5. Organize clothes by style and color.
It's easier to reach in and pull out what you want if similar items are hung together. All blouses together, all dresses grouped.
Alex Bratton, buyer for On a Whim stores in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, said she even groups sleeve lengths together, sleeveless to long, and then within each of these categories light to dark in color.
“If you need a cute black short-sleeve top, you have multiple choices grouped together,” she said.
Many women get into a rut of wearing the same outfit over and over, but grouping by style allows you to see the options more easily, she said.
6. Organize with boxes, plastic containers, clear hanging shelves and racks. Use these for seldom-worn clothing or seasonal pieces and store on a closet shelf. Label the boxes if you tend to forget the contents. Use a shoe rack or store shoes in boxes only if you're diligent about putting them back there after you wear them. If you tend to leave shoes on the closet floor, make a space in one area where they're lined up neat and out of the way.
7. Pitch those wire hangers.
They're not the best for clothes and they tangle easily. Thin, velvety soft hangers don't take up much room, and they keep clothes in place.
8. Pick up, clean and declutter regularly.
It's easier than a major overhaul.