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! My laundry sorter is from Amazon as well and I sort by lights/whites, darks, and “specials”.
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!