My Major Closet Overhaul (with video!)

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When we moved into this house last summer I was excited to have more space in my closet. And to have “his” and “hers” closets too! I essentially unpacked my clothes and threw them into my closet in haste, as one does when they are moving into a different house with 3 kids, and didn’t really pay any more attention to it for months.

I finally set aside some time to edit a lot of my clothes (why do I keep things for years that I don’t wear?!) and added a few extras to keep the closet tidy and functional.

I filmed the entire process so you can come along in my closet cleanout journey, and I’m sharing a few tips and suggestions if you are going to be tackling a closet cleanout of your own! And in case you missed it on Instagram stories, you will not BELIEVE what I found from the previous owners during this process!

 

 

5 Things to Do During a Closet Clean Out

One. Create a trash area, a donate area, and a relocate area. Before I started the cleanout I knew I was going to sell a few items, donate a lot too, and throw away various things that I couldn’t do either of the former with. I brought trash bags to the closet so I was ready to fill and not run into any barriers stopping my flow.

Two. Remove as much as you can before you start to organize. It seems counter-intuitive to create a big mess when organizing but I found it’s helpful to take as much as you can out of the area you are working in so you can truly assess the space.

Three. Wait until you’ve edited your closet down to what you are keeping before you buy storage. As much as I love buying cute baskets and containers, one of the most helpful tips I learned from a professional organizer I worked with was to do the cleanout first, see what you have left, and only THEN buy the storage for it. This prevents you from keeping things that you don’t truly need just because you have a box for it already, and also allows you to see what kind of storage can work best in a place. For example, I considered switching all my denim over to the clip hangers but I refused to buy them until after this project was underway. I’m seeing now that I really like my denim where it is and I’m glad I didn’t have to return the hangers.

Four. Evaluate your clothes and become aware of what you like and dislike. Like so many, I’m prone to an impulse purchase. During this closet cleanout, I got to see what items of clothing I really wear a lot of, and what items just sit and take up space. I had the phrase “be ruthless” in my head as I edited out items that I haven’t worn in a while. I saw that on Emily Ley’s feed during her annual Simplified challenge and I must say that even after I thought I was “being ruthless” I still have a lot of clothes that I likely could get rid of and not miss. It’s a process!

Five. Set your space up for success and give your most worn items priority space. I’m a “jeans and tee girl” so those two items get priority placement on the hanging rods. I keep my most worn denim as far to left on the rod as I can so I can continue to edit out what I don’t wear. I organized my tops to go from camis to sweaters, so I can better see what I have hanging instead of losing a top that got hidden between two jackets.

Overall, I’m thrilled with the results! Since finishing the video I have found some hyacinth baskets to coordinate on my top shelves. I threw my weekender bags in there and now my closet cleanout is complete!

I mentioned a few specific items in the video that are worth looking into. The clear shelf dividers are a game-changer for my purse organization. I also really am pleased with these baskets and here are similar hangers. I’m still using this jewelry organizer I bought on Amazon years ago. These round hyacinth baskets are nice to collect smaller items too!

Now that I’m starting from a clean slate, I want to pay closer attention to what I wear the most of so I can shop smarter. This may seem obvious, but the simple act of touching all of my clothes by reorganizing allowed me to see that I wear a lot of denim and blousier tops, but not many cardigans. Cardigans were the easiest thing to donate or set aside. I prefer a more structured jacket and so now I know when I’m looking for a light layer, I’ll look for something with a bit more structure than a soft cardigan would offer.

I noticed that I wear a lot of light colors in my tops (I knew this but my blouse selection affirmed this! Hello blue!) so lighter, more neutral shoes are going to get a lot more wear from me than anything black.

If you are trying to think more intently about what you buy to add to your wardrobe, pay attention to what gets the most wear. One of the easiest tricks to use in order to see this is to flip the hangers around on items you pull out the most. For example, if all of your hangers are facing left after you put back a top you’ve worn try hanging it the other direction. Then in a few weeks, you’ll be able to take a look at the hangers and see what you actually wore versus what you think you wore.

The most important shopping tip of all is this: if you are not super comfortable in it, DO NOT BUY IT. If you need to convince yourself or ask your friend/sister in order to help convince yourself that it’s right, it’s probably not right and you can find something better!

I’m already working on a follow-up post to share some other helpful organizing products, especially for jewelry!

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Comments (48)

  1. Jen P says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    Wow, it looks so organized. I love the finished look. The decor on the top shelf really polished it off.

    • Kate says
      Posted February 17, 2020

      Thanks Jen!

  2. Michelle says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    This could be my favorite blog post you’ve ever done. Honestly. Maybe it’s just the season in my life I’m at. I now want to re-do my entire closet. Purge. Donate. Then get organized living or some closet making system in my walk in closet. Now. 🙂 Thank you for doing this!!!

  3. Posted February 17, 2020

    I love how organised everything is after, Kate! You’ve inspired me to do my own spring cleaning. Thanks for sharing! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  4. Amy says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    What are the buying trends and shop smarter tips you reference at the end. For you at least?

  5. Julia says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    Love this so much! Can you link your travel backpack?

  6. Hilary says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    I love this post! I’m hoping to redesign our closet space, but we want to live here fora while before deciding how we want to arrange everything. I’m with you on the “be ruthless” mantra. I’m trying to embrace a more simple wardrobe since I tend to wear the same things over and over. A good rule I saw recently was to get rid of the stuff you’re holding onto “just in case.” I definitely hang on to stuff that I MAY theoretically wear again, but in the age of rent the runway and other sites like that, I’m finally giving myself permission to let stuff go!

  7. Laurel says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    Looks great! I don’t have near the amount of space you do but you’ve given me great ideas that I can incorporate into my smaller walk in.

    • Kate says
      Posted February 17, 2020

      I’m glad to hear that!

  8. Jessica says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    I kept double tapping the screen but nothing happened. Instagram much? LOL
    I love everything about this post & especially the video! The music, the walk through, the comments at the end about what you learned by doing this. It’s stinky how we’ll keep buying stuff we don’t want or need. Important to learn from our buying habits! Thanks Kate!

    • Kate says
      Posted February 17, 2020

      Thanks for your kind words!

  9. Charlotte says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    Loved. Honestly I wasn’t going to watch because my clothes/closet situation is so much different and I was afraid I’d only be dissatisfied with my situation but I walked away with so much good advice! Thank you for that!

    Have you considered hanging that jewelry storage on the same rod but opposite end above the clothes hampers so that you don’t see it when you look in, but when you step in you can easily turn and see your statement jewelry at a glance?

    Thank you again for being so relatable.

    • Kate says
      Posted February 17, 2020

      I’m glad to hear it was helpful! I like that idea for the jewelry storage placement!

  10. Michele says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    I’m a big fan of art in a walk in closet. Makes it feel less like a storage facility and more like a fashion Narnia.

  11. Jamie J says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    Looks great! I love a good closet clean out.

    Have you thought about hanging your boots (if you wanted them out from behind your jeans)? It looks like you have room over the hamper or in the corner under your shorter dresses.

    I have a unit that I love for holding smaller bags and rolled up leggings. It could be good for folded sweaters if you need more space and want to use hanging space over the hamper. https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B07Q1Z439B/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_apa_i_flTsEbNFMVSWN

    • Kate says
      Posted February 17, 2020

      hanging my boots is a great idea! Thank you!

  12. Lori says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    Do you know who did the closet design? Builder or Company after the house was built? I love the drawer area with the jewelry shelf on top.

    • Kate says
      Posted February 17, 2020

      It was designed while the house was being built!

  13. Bethany says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    Just a note for anyone inspired to clean their closet after this: you can take any fabric items (including “textile trash” or things not nice enough to donate!) to H&M for recycling so they don’t end up in the landfill! Plus you get a discount card for your next purchase. 🙂 There is more info on their website!!

  14. Ramona says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    An inexpensive idea for boots to help retain their shape…stuff them with pool noodles. You could line them up behind your jeans or even back in the corner by your belts. It looks like a boutique! You are a lucky girl to have all that closet space! 🛍 👗 👡 💍 👜

  15. Sally Dynan says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    You’ve got me fired up to sort my wardrobes. I’m a shoeaholic and need to cull them before the summer. I’ll start with those.
    Love your blog 💕

  16. Susan Fisher says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    Beautifully done! Nicely organized. I like the size of your closet-many times walk-ins are so huge an full of angles-not very pretty. Maybe you might add a small bench in the middle so that you can sit while putting on shoes? If you have room?

  17. Jenn says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    How do you store sweaters?

  18. Jess O. says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    This is a great reminder for me that i need to do this too! any tips on hoodie/sweatshirts and sweater storage? love your blogs! cant wait for the next one!

  19. Jessica says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    I remember hearing once, “You’ll never love it more than you do in the dressing room.” If you’re lukewarm about it in the store, it is sure to take up space as an unworn item in your closet! It has helped me Just Say No to so many purchases!

  20. Marian says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    You did awesome and I am know inspired to start on mine 😊

  21. Justine says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    Love this! I really need to do something with my closet too! I cannot get myself to get rid of clothing? Why is it so hard? Thanks Kate!

  22. Tina McNamara says
    Posted February 18, 2020

    Your closet looks amazing! I think the icing on the cake would be a cute little chandelier!

  23. Suzanne Fletcher says
    Posted February 18, 2020

    Have you considered hanging your pants/jeans on the top rack and shirts below?
    I know, counter-intuitive because pants go on the bottom of your body, but this allows more light to pass through for items on the lower rack.
    It’s easier to see what’s down there.

  24. Gloria says
    Posted February 18, 2020

    I love this post so much! Thanks for sharing!! Here’s a basket idea for your totes 🙂
    https://tjmaxx.tjx.com/store/jump/product/Medium-Hyacinth-Rectangular-Basket-With-Braided-Handles/1000566005

  25. Vanessa says
    Posted February 18, 2020

    Loved this so much! Can’t wait to learn more from you.

  26. Posted February 19, 2020

    This has totally inspired me to re think some dead space I have in my closet. I have a little shelf similar to the one you styled above your drawers and it’s sort of just dead space! why not make my closet feel more like a room with art work or a plant? TY!

  27. Suz says
    Posted February 19, 2020

    Looks great! Could you please share the source for the fiddle leaf print on the corkboard?

  28. Katie Wilson says
    Posted February 21, 2020

    That denim section is my spirit animal! Also, what about doing a fragrance collection?

    • Kate says
      Posted February 21, 2020

      Love that idea!

  29. Jenny says
    Posted February 22, 2020

    I loved this so much! I’ve been working on my closet this weekend. I’m embarrassed at the amount of clothes/shoes/etc that I have and do not need. It really helped me to get each piece out and decide. Also, I realized that the cheaper items do not last and I need to stop buying those. I want to invest in quality pieces that will last over time. Thank you for all the helpful tips!

  30. Carrie says
    Posted February 23, 2020

    Thanks for this – you inspired me to do a LONG overdue closet cleaning over here, and I’m delighted by the results.

  31. Tanya says
    Posted February 24, 2020

    Getting rid of clothing is so hard! I try to edit my clothes and then start to wonder if I will wear that one random shirt I bought three years ago “at some point”. I’m definitely going to try and “be ruthless” when I attack my closet in a few weeks. Thanks for the tips!

  32. Posted February 24, 2020

    I am in love!! I really like how you added art work and decor. We have about the same size closet but also haven’t done much with it. Thank you for sharing

  33. Asmaa says
    Posted February 25, 2020

    Very good advices and i like the idea of donating what you didn’t wear for years!

  34. Maarit says
    Posted February 27, 2020

    Thanks for sharing!! Are all your basic tees and tanks hung up on hangers or in a drawer?

    • Kate says
      Posted February 27, 2020

      folded in drawers!

  35. Christina says
    Posted March 11, 2020

    Absolutely love it! And I have similar space in my closet so you’ve inspired me! Couple questions…. I see you have only 4 drawers. You mention that one holds swimsuits and another holds athletic wear. That only leaves 2 drawers for bras, underwear, socks, pajamas, sweatpants/loungewear. Can you share where you store these items? Also, what did you put in the grey baskets from target? Great job! Really beautiful!

  36. Betsy King says
    Posted March 15, 2020

    Can you link where you got the laundry “baskets”?

  37. Posted March 18, 2020

    Gorgeous! This looks amazing.

  38. Posted March 31, 2020

    This video was fun to watch. Cleaning up and organizing the closet is a total task for me. Thanks for making it look like fun.

  39. Laura says
    Posted April 1, 2020

    Hi! Did I miss your jewelry organizing products? Where can I find that post?

  40. Krysta Z says
    Posted April 9, 2020

    Do you mind sharing the dimensions of your closet? I’m curious if a similar layout would work in my space. Thank you!