Cleaning Out your Closet: How to Stay Organized

If you stay organized while cleaning out your closet, you won’t have to waste time and feel overwhelmed by the process.

Before you start taking everything out of your closet, you might want to invest in some sort of closet organizer(s) to better separate and organize all your clothing, shoes, belts, etc. You don’t have to invest thousands of dollars for a professional closet system, you can buy inexpensive closet organizers or shelving from your local Wal-mart, Target, Home Depot or (it is best to decide this “before” you start your closet organization process).

Another nice touch is wood hangers – I recently bought wood hangers at Costco and was surprised at how much better and more professional my closet looked just by using wood hangers instead of the plastic ones.

Cleaning out your Closet:
The best tip I can give you is when taking items out of your closet, resist the urge to just throw everything in one pile.

Because I like to keep my clothes organized according to when and where I am going to wear them, I like to separate all the items (as I am taking them out of the closet) into categories with a system that I refer to as my “what, when, where theory:”

  • What season you are going to wear the item in
  • When are you going to wear it (i.e. to work, on the weekend, in the evening or special occasion, etc.)
  • Where do you wear it – i.e. top (blouses, shirts, sweaters), bottom (skirts, pants, etc), both (dresses and suits)

You can also separate your shoes, belts, scarves, etc, into similar categories.

By placing everything into categories, you will stay organized throughout the process – and it will make it easier and save a lot of time when you are putting everything back in your closet.

Putting Everything Back in your Closet:
When putting all the clothes back in your closet, try to keep everything organized by placing them in your closet according to category (i.e. work, casual, evening, etc). I also like to organize my clothing by color and pattern, kind of like they do in the department stores. It may seem a little neurotic, but it makes it much easier for me to pick out something to wear when I am in a hurry.

Out of Season Clothing
So that your closet doesn’t get overcrowded, store all the clothes that you aren’t going to wear this season in a box. Be sure to mark the box with the name of the season so that you can easily locate it (you don’t want to get it mixed up with other boxes and accidentally throw it away).

Organizing your Shoes
Instead of having all your shoes scattered in the bottom of your closet, you can buy a shoe tree or shoe rack to place all the shoes you are planning to wear this season.

To store shoes for next season, you can either take a picture of the shoe and put it on the front of the box or if you don’t want to invest money in printing out all the pictures, just write a brief description of the shoe and the season you would wear it.

It is a lot of work, but once you get your closet organized you will be surprised at how much time you will save trying to find what to wear.

Cleaning Out your Closet: How to Decide What to Keep

When cleaning out your closet, it can be difficult to decide which items to keep and which to throw or give away. If you just aren’t sure what to do, ask yourself two questions (if you can answer all three questions, the item is worth keeping):

  • When am I going to wear this item again?
  • Where I am going to wear it? Can you wear it to work, on the weekends, or special occasions.
  • What am I going to wear with with? Make sure the item you are planning to keep matches other items you already have in your wardrobe.

If you have an emotional attachment to the item, or you just aren’t sure what to do, put it in a separate pile (see Tips for Cleaning Out your Closet).

Tips for Cleaning Out your Closet

Now is the perfect time to clean out your closet. It is a lot of work, but after you are finished, you will be more organized, and you won’t have to waste time in the morning searching for something to wear.

The process of cleaning out your closet may sound easy, but if you are like me, you may be emotionally attached to certain items you own. If you think that you might have a difficult time deciding on which items you should keep and which you should get rid of, invite a friend over to help you make the decision and support you during the process. Because your friend is not emotionally attached to your clothing, she can give you an objective opinion as to which items are no longer in style and should be removed from your wardrobe.

Cleaning out your closet can be a very easy and almost enjoyable process if you stay organized throughout. Before you start, you might want to read: Cleaning Out your Closet: How to Stay Organized

One way I have found to get everything organized is to separate everything (I mean everything: shoes, belts, scarves, etc.) into 5 main piles:

Pile #1: Items to keep
Deciding which items to keep and which to get rid of can be more difficult than it sounds. If you just aren’t sure what to do, find some tips here: How to Decide Which Items to Keep

Pile #2: Items you “might” wear again
The reason I created this pile was because it seems like every time I cleaned out my closet and threw or gave a bunch of items away that I thought I would never wear again, I ended up wanting to wear at least one of them a month or two later.

In order to keep this pile from becoming too big, it is best to limit yourself to how many pieces you are going to “tentatively” keep. If you just can’t decide on a specific number of items, limit yourself to the number of items that will fit in one box.

After you have filled the box with all the clothes you just aren’t sure about getting rid of, choose a date that is a month or two from now and write that date on the box. Store the box until that date – if during that time you haven’t wanted to wear anything in the box, it is probably safe to give the items away or donate them.

Pile #3: Items that need to be repaired
Before deciding to repair something, check how much it will cost. If the cost exceeds the value of the item, it might be best to throw it away and buy something new.

Also, you should make arrangements within the next week to have it repaired, if you don’t you are likely to forget about it again, and the item will sit until the next time you decide to clean out your closet.

Pile #4: Items to be donated or given to someone in need
If you are having a difficult time getting rid of certain items, remember that you are helping someone else by giving your clothes to a charity or someone you know who can’t afford to buy new clothing for themselves.

Pile #5: Items to throw away
Remember not everything should be donated. If the item is torn, damaged, or stained, it is probably best to throw it away.


After you have sorted everything into piles:
The first thing to do is get rid of the items you are going to throw away. Put everything in a bag and take it and put it in your trash bin immediately (before you change your mind).

Second, you want to pack everything you are going to give away – the easiest way I have found to do this is to put all the items in trash bags and put them in your car, that way they won’t get mixed up with anything else.

Now for the items that need fixed. Place them in a box and put them in your car so that the next time you go out, you can drop them off to be repaired.

Finally, it is time to put everything back in your closet. If you have stayed organized throughout this whole process, it shouldn’t take you much time to put everything back in your closet.

That’s it!
Now that you’re done – sit back and enjoy how organized you are and think of all the time you are going to save in the morning when getting dressed.