Organize Your Closet in 5 Easy Steps


By Kristen Bailey

What to wear, what to wear. There you are, standing in front of your closet, thumbing through the hangers, and despite the fact that your closet is stuffed full of clothes, you have absolutely nothing to wear. This dress is too small, those pants are too long, that shirt has a wine stain and it looks like you’ll be wearing leggings with a T-shirt yet again. Make getting dressed easy by organizing your closet so that everything it contains is clean, mended and fits.

Step One: Prepare

Before you begin, gather five boxes or laundry baskets. Label them with tape:

  • To charity. This is where you’ll put the clothes that you don’t like or that don’t fit.
  • Toss. If something is too worn or stained to give away, put it in this box. Cut them into rags for the garage or use them for quilting squares. Try to throw as few as possible in the garbage.
  • Storage. If something is too big or too small but you can’t bear to part with it, or if it’s something that you only wear once every three years, put it in storage until you need it.
  • Mend. Clothes with missing buttons, burst seams or in need of hemming go here.
  • Cleaners. Clothes in need of dry cleaning or other professional care go here.

You’ll also need skirt hangers and pants hangers if you don’t already have them. Make sure you have enough regular hangers, preferably of the thick plastic variety that won’t misshape your clothes.

Step Two: Sort

Take your clothes and shoes out of the closet one piece at a time. For each piece, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does it fit?
  2. Do I love it?
  3. Do I wear it?

If it fits but you don’t love it or wear it, put it in the charity or toss box.

If it doesn’t fit but you love it and hope to gain or lose enough weight to wear it again, put it in the storage box.

If it fits and you love it but you never wear it, decide whether you can part with it. If so, put it in the charity box. If not, put it in the storage box.

If it fits and you love it and will wear it, hang it on the appropriate hanger and lay it on your bed or, if it needs to be cleaned, put it in the Cleaners box.

Step Three: Clean Your Closet

Thoroughly vacuum the floor of your closet. Wipe the shelves, rods and upper corners with a damp rag or electrostatic cloth to remove dust that may harbor dust mites, microscopic and highly allergenic creatures that feed on dead skin cells.

Step Four: Put Your Clothes Away and Take Stock

Once your closet is clean, hang up the clothes you’re keeping. Group them by type or by outfit, depending on your preference. Now that you’ve pared your wardrobe down to the things that fit and that you love and will wear, you may need to add a few pieces to go with what you already have. As you put your clothes back in the closet, make a list of the pants, shirts, dresses and shoes that you need so that when you go shopping you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. This is also good time to stock up on panty hose, tights, socks, underwear and bras.

Step Five: Mend, Store, Drop Off

Immediately after hanging up your remaining clothes, take the charity basket out to your car so you can drop it off next time you’re out and about. Make time right now for the mending—it won’t take long to hem and sew on buttons, but if you don’t do it now, you probably won’t get to it for a long time. Put your storage box away where you can forget about it until you lose or gain weight or need that fancy ball gown for a holiday gala. Last of all, deal with the “toss” basket. Cut absorbent materials into rags for the laundry room or garage. If you’re a quilter, consider using some of the clothes for quilting squares. What you can’t use around the house, toss in the garbage.


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