Make the most of your wardrobe by organizing your closet and determining what you own, what you need and what you need to toss.
First, start with an audit to determine what clothes you’d like to keep, and what you need to toss. Go through your closet one item at a time and ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it fit?
- When will I wear this?
- When was the last time I wore this?
- Does it have stains or holes?
- Can it be fixed?
Separate your clothes into four piles: keep, store, donate/sell and toss. Only place items in the throw away pile if they are ruined beyond repair. Otherwise, place them in the donate or sale pile. Put the “donate” and “trash” piles into large plastic trash bags, and physically remove them from your closet area. If you prefer to sell your items, list them on an online site like eBay or find a local consignment store.
If you can’t decide what to do with an item, flag the hangar. Then, remove the flags as you wear items. Any clothes that are still marked at the end of the season should be sold or donated.
Next, toss mismatched hangers. Large or bent hangers take up unnecessary room in your closet and can damage your clothes. Certain hangers work best for certain items: For example, satin hangers are for delicate items, and wooden hangers are for tailored jackets. These hangers will prolong the life of your clothes and help them keep their shape, saving you money on replacement items. Organize similar hangers together.
Now, revisit your keep pile. Store your out of season clothes outside of your closet. This way, you’ll be able to quickly evaluate and wear current items. If you don’t have a storage closet, utilize the space under your bed. Storage units like these from Bed, Bath & Beyond start at $10 and are great for storing clothes and linens while protecting them from moths.
Use bins and boxes to store similar items together. For example, keep all of your winter hats and scarves in one box and belts in another. Place these boxes on a the closet floor or a high shelf. If you have a high closet with hard-to-reach shelves, invest in a step stool.
If you have a lot of jewelry or other small accessories, mount a pegboard with hooks on the inside of your closet door or on your closet wall. Your small items will be in one place and in plain view. For more creative ways to display your jewelry, read: 5 Ways to Organize Your Jewelry.
Stack your shoeboxes with the labels in plain view. If you don’t keep your shoeboxes, organize your shoes so the pairs are together. These slim, plastic shoeboxes from The Container Store are a visible, easy alternative that fit neatly into any sized closet and are about $2 per box.
If you’re short on space, install slim canvas drawers like these from Target, which run for about $7 per drawer. Clothes that might stretch on hangers like t-shirts and cotton dresses can be folded and stored in the drawers.
If you or the woman in your life has a lot of handbags, install durable hooks on the inside of your closet door or on your closet wall.
When you re-hang your in-season clothes you’ve decided to keep, organize like-items together. For example, place all of your short-sleeved clothes together, your dress shirts together and your slacks together. That way, you’ll be able to find your favorite red shirt quickly in the morning.
For optimal organization, color-code your clothes from lightest to darkest within each section. For example, hang your pants from white to black.
Place all of your hangers facing in to begin, and then turn the hanger the opposite direction after you wear the item. You’ll get a better feel for the items that you wear more often.
When you organize your closet and change out clothing for the season, take a few extra minutes to clean the space. Vaccuuming floors, wiping down the shelves and rods and replacing light bulbs creates a cleaner space for your prized clothing collection and discourages moths from making their home there.