How to Give Your Closet a Spring Cleaning

organized clothes hanging in closet

Spring is just around the corner, and I am already feeling the itch to do a closet clean-out. Lately I’ve committed to a more minimal, quality-over-quantity mindset when it comes to my wardrobe, but each spring I still like to re-evaluate how my style has evolved and what items I haven’t reached for in a year or two.

Over the course of a year, things get misplaced and messy. Some of my favorite pieces have gone missing, or end up in that dry cleaning pile that I never get around to. Then there’s that skirt that is sooo cute but I can never find somewhere to wear.

I waste so much time in the mornings digging through drawers to find a particular top I have in mind. I would rather spend that time making breakfast, meditating, or doing just about anything else. If you’d like to join me in curating your wardrobe, here is how I go about creating a closet that’s organized, concise, and never lets me down.

Step #1: Pull Out Everything

Yes, everything. Hanging clothes, folded clothes, out-of-season stuff – all of it. This is also a good time to physically clean your closet. When was the last time you dusted in there? Thought so. Vacuum the floor, wipe down shelves and drawers, spray some lavender room spray in there if you’re feeling yourself. I like to have some music going too to make cleaning less of a task.

Step #2: Categorize

Everything in your closet can fit into one of four categories: keep, sell, donate, or trash. Grab a trash bag for the trash, and label storage containers or cardboard boxes with the other three categories. Put items that you’re keeping but need dry cleaning or repair in a laundry hamper.

Trash: This one’s pretty obvious. Underwear and swimwear that have gone saggy? Trash. Anything stained, ripped, or pulled beyond repair? Trash. Athleisure? Trash. Sorry, that last one is just a vehement personal opinion 😉

Donate/Sell: These categories can be distinguished by the quality and brand of clothes. You can sell any nice pieces on sites like Depop and Poshmark, and I like to offer good quality clothing to places like Plato’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange before I make a Goodwill run. I then invest that cash in new pieces to fill any gaps in my resulting wardrobe. Items that go in the Donate and Sell boxes include:

  • Anything that doesn’t fit and hasn’t in 2+ years.
  • That top that looked cute in the store, but you “haven’t figured out how to wear it yet.”
  • Bridesmaid dresses or formal wear you’ll never wear again.
  • Super trendy pieces that are past their prime (hi-lo hemlines, I’m looking at you).
  • Clothing that no longer fits your lifestyle: if you’ve just landed your first big-girl job out of college and are navigating the waters of business casual, you can probably unload some school t-shirts. Alternatively, if you’ve transitioned from an office setting to working at home, you no longer need all those blazers and trousers.

Keep: Items that you wear all the time and love to wear can go back in the closet. If you store your out-of-season clothes in bins, go ahead and re-pack them – you’ll be way better at evaluating those items in-season. I put any remaining clothes on a “maybe” rack, and if I don’t find myself reaching for those pieces in the next few months, they get sold or donated as well.

Step #3: Re-Organize

Be strategic about how you put your ‘Keep’ items back in your closet. I have to make sure accessories are very visible, or I never use them. Come up with a system that will save you time getting dressed. I like to organize clothes according to activity, so I have work clothes front and center, and my formal wear in a less obvious corner. Coats go in a small closet by the door, and I keep my activewear in a dresser with my underwear and pajamas. I like this system because if I’m getting dressed for a party, I know exactly where to go, and I know I have all my options in front of me. Here’s some beautiful inspiration (not mine), but most of us can only hope to have this much space:

Step #4: Evaluate Your Life Choices

No, really. Now is a good time to visualize what your ideal wardrobe would be. Consider both your personal style and your lifestyle, and make a Pinterest board that reflects the intersection of the two. Most of the clothes you’ve decided to keep should work for your ideal wardrobe. Make a note of any holes that exist in your wardrobe, or any basics you need to replace.

Step #5: Donate

Put the Donate box in your car, along with the hamper of items you need dry-cleaned or mended. If you’re like me, you’ll never get around to it if they just sit in the house. And if you could sell some of those items to a consignment shop, that’s unclaimed money just lying around! Money better used for my favorite step…

Step #6: Shop!

This is the fun part. Go ahead and replace any essentials that were worn out or stained, and start your way toward that ideal wardrobe. I like to limit myself to 5 quality pieces per season, so that I really know I love an item before I buy it. This saves me so much money and closet space!

A closet revamp doesn’t take very long once you get started, and the payoff is huge. I love looking at my newly-organized closet and seeing all the potential in my clothes that I was missing before. It’s a perfect time to put your “new year, new me” energy to good use! So will you join me in my Spring closet clean-out? Let me know in the comments.

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