Do you have so much clothing, it’s a problem? Do you ever wonder how you’ll ever manage to organize mounds and mounds of clothing? Can you no longer see your bed, dresser, or floor and maybe you’ve even lost a pet in that pile-up of laundry? Then this article is for you.
This past winter, I finally come to accept that I simply have more clothing than available storage space. My clothes were covering every available surface and chair, and were even starting to pile up on the radiator.
Something drastic had to be done. And because I’m a busy lady, this task needed to happen fast. Here is my 2 step solution to quickly cleaning out your closet (like in under 2 hours).
STEP 1: THE PURGE
Purging is always the most painful part of re-organizing my closet. Parting with anything I own is a torturous process. I mean, I bought it because I like it (or at least likeD it, at some point). And I’m embarrassed to say that at least once a year, I claim to be some evolved minimalist. Yet, if anyone took a look at my closet and you’ll know I’m a bold face liar. No self respecting minimalist can justify having the amount of clothing that I do.
When I purge my clothing, I try to apply Marie Kondo’s principals to the process. I like to consider each item of clothing, by turning it over in my hands and contemplating deeply on the amount of joy the this particular item of clothing still brings to me. I heavily value whether I am currently comfortable and confident wearing each item of clothing in my wardrobe. I try my best to let go of any items of clothing that I’m keeping with future weight loss goals in mind.
I find this step very important because I frequently battle negative thoughts and voices about my body. Removing micro-aggressions and triggers from my own personal spaces is key. Plus, I don’t need that type of negative reinforcement when I’m looking through my closet.
I also remove items of clothing that are no longer being worn frequently enough to keep around. I do make exceptions for business attire, formal wear, and party dresses.
After going through this “purging process”, I successfully brought down my closet by about 1/3.
HOW TO PURGE YOUR CLOSET IN LESS THAN 90 minutes
- Gather all your clothing, designate a keep and toss pile.
- Come up with a few parameters for editing your closet. Mine were: Does it fit me right now? How often do I wear it? Does it make me happy?
- Rapidly go through your large pile of clothing, sorting everything into two piles: KEEP or DONATE.
Okay, so the time this will take totally depends on the amount of clothing you’re working with. Here are some tips to keep this task speedy:
- outline your parameters BEFORE you start sorting
- set a timer
- have a glass a wine or smoke a joint before you begin. a little cognitive distance might be helpful (it certainly is for me)
- don’t dwell on any item of clothing for more than 10-15 seconds. if you’re really torn, toss it. I used to recommend creating a “maybe” pile, but in my experience, this is a crutch.
STEP 2: THE CURATION
Okay, so now you’re finally working with a manageable amount of clothing. I’m not going to put a number on it, because we’re all different and I hold no judgement against those with huge closets. The key is: with the clothing you have left, how are you going to organize it all?
When I was in high school, I loved to organize my closet by color. I enjoyed how this presentation looked in some of my favorite stores and I liked it even more in my home. There’s just a polished and clean look to a color gradient.
But soon the items in my closets began to diversify beyond my highschool’s dresscode. By the time I was 22, I had acquired a decent amount of formalwear, suits, jackets for all seasons, and tons of eclectic pieces like overalls, kimonos, and rompers. There was no color organization that was going to help me make sense of such a wild assortment of clothing.
This was when I discovered capsule wardrobes from bloggers like Caroline Joy over at Un-fancy. Caroline puts together perhaps my favorite capsule wardrobes on the whole wide web and she launched my 2 year experiment with capsules myself.
I’m not a capsule aficionado by any standards, but there are principals that really help me with my closet organization. They are:
- A select number of current clothing. For me, that number is 40. I do not include any accessories, lingerie, active wear or outerwear in this number. If you decide to include these, best of luck to you!
- A strict timeline – will you swap your capsule every season? Every month? Every 2 weeks? Identify a capsule timeline and stick to it.
- Organizational Supplies – The area that matters the most to me is my closet. I organize with 2 different colors of hangers. Blue hangers denote “out of season” clothing and black is “in season” clothing.
Now that I’ve purged my closet and I’m left with a number of choice favorites, organizing by season is no issue. I quickly put aside most bright colors, thin fabrics, summer dresses, rompers, and light outerwear. These go on blue hangers and are put at the back of the closet, out of reach.
With the remaining curation selections, I can revert back to my favorite organizational principal: color! With much fewer pieces to select from, I can easily organize my clothing by color, returning my closet to the neat and polished styling I prefer.
I can also get a real snap shot of what my seasonal style is! If there are any errant pieces, identifying them is quick and easy! I’ll pull those pieces, put them on a blue hanger, and hope they make it into rotation next season.
This process is not for everyone but it works wonders for me. I don’t want to toss my favorite clothing but I certainly don’t want to drown in clothing either. I’ve recognized that those feelings of having nothing to wear had more to do with being overwhelmed by my closet.
Taking this approach culls my closet down to a reasonable size and helps me create a seasonal style full of pieces I feel confident wearing.