Austin-Morgan Closets Blog

5 Tips for Organizing Your Closet

Thinking About Organizing your Closet?

It’s a mess, it’s unmanageable, and you need space. You’re going to tackle the whole thing, and you’re not going to let sentimentality weaken your resolve. You’ve had an epiphany, and you’re ready to clean out your clothes closet!

But as you pull out that first item, it happens: Your ever-so-rational mind starts building an ever-so-rational case for keeping virtually every article of clothing you were just prepared to toss.

We’ve all been there, so don’t despair. Whether you’re fueled by enthusiasm or trembling with trepidation, these can-do closet organizing tips will start you on your way.

1. Note the excuses. 

  • “I really paid a lot for that.”
  • “I just haven’t gotten around to wearing that yet.”
  • “That just needs altering.”
  • “I’ll fit back into that one of these days.”
  • “Fashions always come back around.”

Sound familiar? We all have things we hold on to. Note the reasons that pop into your head, because once you know your reasons for holding on to those things, you’ll be better able to move forward and make room — literally and figuratively.

Start by getting rid of 10 items (or five — just pick a number that isn’t zero). In one quick sweep, you might be surprised what you can toss without a struggle. If you’re afraid of biting off more than you can chew, be assured that you can accomplish a great deal nibble by nibble, drawer by drawer, row by row.

2. Unburden yourself of the unworn. We’ve all heard that unless it’s a cocktail gown or your wedding dress, you should get rid of it if you haven’t worn it in six months. For many of us, that’s easier said than done. It could even sound downright unreasonable. But there are ways to put this in perspective.

Our memory can be faulty, so try using these nifty tricks to keep track of what you actually wear. Buy pretty new hangers, and each time you wear something, put it on one of those new hangers. You can achieve the same result without investment by turning all your hangers backward. Once you’ve worn something, replace it with the hanger hung forward.

When it comes to your drawers and shelves, it’s likely that the stuff squashed into the corners and crumpled on the bottom are items you really don’t use. But if you want to be sure, take everything out and place a small, brightly colored sticker (the kind you find at an office supply store) on each clothing label and remove the sticker after you’ve worn the item. You’ll soon see what you really love to wear and what’s just taking up precious real estate. Then shift accordingly.

Also, take a closer look when you trade out your seasonal clothing. If you didn’t wear it last year, chances are good that you’re not going to wear it this year, so don’t hang it up and don’t pack it up — donate it. You know you’ll get more stuff this season, so go ahead and make room for it.

3. Multiply your closet space by trimming down the multiples. Do you have five white blouses, black skirts or pink bras? Different styles for different outfits — I know, I know! But at least one usually remains unworn or is ill fitting. Toss just one of these multiples and you’ve immediately gifted yourself with 20 percent more space.

4. Dump the damaged goods. Is it pilling, tattered, snagged, threadbare? If it’s sentimental, wash it, fold it and put it in a box. If it isn’t, toss it. Is it in a pile awaiting stain treatment, repairs or alterations? Looking at a pile of stuff you haven’t taken care can create guilt and add to stress. Give yourself one week to treat the stuff, take it to the seamstress or move it out. You’ll be rid of a pile and will enjoy the singular satisfaction of checking something off your to-do list.

5. Unload the unfashionable, unflattering and unhealthy. Certainly, some items are true classics and stand the test of time. However, clothes worn in a job you no longer have or in an environment you no longer frequent (say, outfits from your clubbing days) simply need to go, especially if that job or environment has bad feelings or loss attached to it. Also, don’t keep gifts given by people you don’t actually like (the clothes or the people). If the tags are still on, return them. If not, consign them and use the cash or store credit to find something you love.

Here’s a hard truth: The 1980s are long gone. Even if that was the most exciting decade of your life, it’s time to ditch the clothes and get up-to-date. Since we aren’t always able to see ourselves clearly, a second opinion can be an excellent mirror.

If you don’t have a friend to critique your wardrobe with you over a bottle of wine, use this time-tested method: try on an outfit and imagine bumping into an old flame. Would you feel confident and sexy wearing it, or awkward and embarrassed? What you felt good in then may not be flattering now, so embrace who you are today and work with what you’ve got.

We’re not all fashionistas, nor are we all prepared to completely reset our wardrobes. But the bottom line is that your closet should be a place of inspiration, not stress. So lighten your load and keep only what you love and feel beautiful in — whatever your style may be.

See our closet projects on Houzz

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