15 Closet-Cleaning Tips You Need If You Can Never Decide What to Wear

Elaine Yu | Feb 1, 2016 Home & Garden
15 Closet-Cleaning Tips You Need If You Can Never Decide What to Wear

woman clothing pile

Finding time to clean and organize your closet can feel like a dreadful task, but trust me, there is huge payoff once you do it. Your morning routine will be less stressful, and you’ll feel calmer as you’re picking out your outfit for the day. 

I've put together an easy 15-step process for clearing out the clutter in your wardrobe, and I promise it will be worth the time investment. Let's get started!

elaine yu stylist

cleaning closet

Images via NinaMalyna/shutterstock; mikifoto; ©iStock.com/KhongkitWiriyachan

  • Clear the clutter



    Does your closet look like this? When you get dressed every morning, do you feel overwhelmed trying to put an outfit together because you can’t find what you’re looking for? If you’ve been putting things into your closet for years without a single decluttering session, it’s time for a good closet cleanout.

  • Set aside some time



    Set aside time to get organized in two- to three-hour chunks. Setting a goal to clean out your entire closet at once is too much of a burden. Tackle it in small increments.

  • Break closet up into sections



    Break your closet down into sections and focus on one to two sections at a time. For example, on the first day, go through your tops and shoes. Then pants and dresses the next day. And finally jewelry and accessories the last day.

    More from The Stir: Nursery Organization DIY for Baby's Closet

  • Take everything out



    Take everything out. The only way to do a thorough closet cleaning is to take everything out. That’s right. Everything! Empty out the section you’re working on, grab some cleaning wipes, and give your closet area a good old-fashioned wipe down. Start fresh and with a clean foundation.

  • If you love it, put it back



    If you love an item, put it back in your closet. These are the pieces in your wardrobe that you reach for without thinking. It fits you, the color is right, the piece is perfect. Definitely keep!

  • Create four piles



    As you’re cleaning out your closet, create four piles:

    1. give away to friends and family

    2. donation

    3. consignment

    4. throw away

  • Practice the 1-year rule



    If you haven’t worn something in over a year, put it in one of the piles. This is the hardest part of the process. It’s easier to hold on to things “just in case,” but most of the time those events never happen. If you really can't decide, put the piece back in your closet but reverse the hanger. Once you wear it, put it back the regular way with the hanger facing back. By next year, if the hanger is still facing forward, get rid of it!

    More from The Stir: 6 Ways to Make Your Closet Seem Bigger

  • Don't save items for "What if?"



    Don’t hold on to a wardrobe full of clothes that you’ll wear when you lose those last five pounds! Dress for your body today.

  • Store sentimental items elsewhere



    If an item has sentimental value but you know you’ll never wear it, store it someplace else. That college sorority sweatshirt or your grandmother’s wedding dress should be saved -- but not in your closet. Store these keepsake items in an air-tight container up in the attic.

  • Group like items together



    As you’re putting things back in your closet, organize by function. Skirts and pants should go together. All tops together. Dresses in the same space. Etc.

  • Use velvet hangers



    Velvet hangers create uniformity and will help your dress space feel more calm.

    Shown here: Black Huggable Hangers ($8.99 for 10-pack, containerstore.com)

  • Get rid of metal hangers



    Recycle metal hangers. They’re unattractive, so return them to your dry cleaners during your next drop-off.

  • Take advantage of storage bins



    Use bins to help organize loose items like activewear, bras, underwear, and socks.

    Shown here: Maize Bins ($14.99-$29.99, containerstore.com)

  • Put accessories in plain sight



    Find a good jewelry organizer because if you can’t see your accessories, you won’t use them. For some people, it’s a drawer organizer. I personally like to hang my jewelry so I can see everything. Find something that works for you.

    Shown here: Closetware Clear 37-Pocket Jewelry Organizer ($9.99, bedbathandbeyond.com)

  • Get rid of it! Right now.



    Remove the piles of clothing from your closet area immediately! Resist the temptation to go back into the piles and put items back in your closet. As soon as you’re done with your section for the day, remove those piles and get them out of your closet!

  • Too much to handle? Get help.



    If you feel overwhelmed with the closet organization process, you can always enlist the services of a personal stylist or a professional organizer to help. Good luck!

closet organizing

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