As the weather gets chillier and time is no longer spent on the beach, it’s time to revamp that closet. I know a lot of people that store away their winter clothing and trade it out for their summer clothing when the seasons change. If that’s you, this is a great time to not only clean out that summer wardrobe but your winter one as well.
Get Rid of Items You Don’t Need
It’s not always easy to let go of the things you have, but if you don’t need them…this is as good of a time as any to free yourself from clutter.
Things that Don’t Fit
Typically most of our clothing that doesn’t fit is because it is too small for us. I understand that t-shirt you wore in high school may have sentimental meaning to you, but if it’s not going to do anything except take up room in your closet or collect dust, it’s time to let it go. Place it in a shadow box (if it’s that important), sell it, or simply add it to the donation pile. A year from now, it’s unlikely you will even miss it.
As for “too small” clothing that is simply too small: let it go. I know you have a gym membership you use for two weeks in January each year, but if you know it’s unlikely you will fit into it again, it’s time to say goodbye. Trust me, next May when you pull it out of the box of summer clothes and it STILL doesn’t fit (possibly for the third year in a row) you’ll be frustrated. On the other hand, if you get rid of it now, by next spring you’ll have forgotten about it entirely.
Of course, if something is on the “too large” side of this category, it’s time to let it go and applaud yourself for no longer needing it.
Ripped, Torn, or Stained Items
Jeans with rips in them are all the rage right now. In fact, you might find your jeans are MORE valuable now that they have that rip in the knee. If they are looking worn out and ragged, then it’s time to let them go. Let your daughter use pieces of them for a craft project, or simply dispose of them.
While jeans might be the exception, other articles of clothing are not meant to have rips or tears in them at all. If you are interested in repurposing old t-shirts, you can do so by cutting them into rags and using them to clean your car or tools. If not, it’s time to dispose of those old clothes that are no longer appropriate to wear out of the house.
Now, I’m expecting to receive a plethora of emails reminding me that the old pair of jeans you’ve had for years that are two sizes too big and have a hole in the rear end will make a great pair of “shop pants”. Trust me, I know someone like that, too. I do want to remind you, though, that the way you dress, even at home, dictates how you feel about yourself and can influence the quality of work you complete.
So, if it’s got a small stain (or tear) and it’s only going to get worse due to chemicals you are using, then feel free to set it aside for that purpose only. If, on the other hand, your wife (or husband) is going to find it in the next load of wash and throw it away anyway, or if it would leave you feeling embarrassed if someone showed up while you were wearing it, then you might as well part with it now.
Clothing You Don’t Wear Anymore
Up until recently, my closet was stuffed full of things I never wore anymore. I had formal dresses (not sure I’ll need those again) and pieces of clothing that no longer matched anything in my closet or didn’t fit quite right. If you simply don’t wear an item, then it is taking up the valuable real estate in what I would guess is an already full closet. This rings true for any bags, purses, hats, scarves, or shoes that fit into those categories as well.
A couple of years ago I received a green sweater as part of a subscription service. It was soft, cozy, and it came on a cold day, so I was excited about the idea of being warm in it. I wore that sweater only once in the two years I’ve owned it. It wasn’t my color, didn’t match anything else I had, and simply took up space. I parted with it last week and hope that some other person gets the chance to actually enjoy it. Do I miss it? No, in fact, it’s a bit freeing not to feel pressured to wear something that isn’t right for me.
It can be hard to let things go, especially when you know it could serve a purpose, but if it’s not working for you it’s time to move on to something better.
Create Full Outfits
Now that you’ve eliminated everything from your closet that doesn’t work for you, it’s time to take this closet organization to the next level: by creating full outfits.
If you’ve ever watched any of the clothing or makeover reality shows, you’ll notice that when they head out on their shopping sprees, they are always told to make sure they put together full outfits. No one models one piece of an outfit, they always model the entire thing. You should, too.
Try On Each Item
In order to accomplish this, you’ll want to try on each and every item in your closet and put together the pieces that match. Then, when you reach into your closet on any given day, you should have no trouble pulling out an entire outfit to wear that day.
For example: when I worked in the business world, I wore a dress to work each and every day. I had several dresses and always wore a cardigan or jacket with each one. In some cases, I had two or three cardigans/jackets that could pair with a single dress for the purpose of creating a different look from week to week. The problem was, if I didn’t organize those outfits together, then I would forget what went with what.
Whatever your clothing situation, make sure you have enough full outfits to get you through at least a full week and include any undergarments necessary for that specific outfit. When your clothing is organized this way then you, too, will have to spend far less time determining what to wear.
This is something you can do with your kids as well. In fact, while my kids have a great assortment of clothing that is interchangeable, they spend their Sunday nights putting together outfits for the week ahead. They include all of the items they need to go with that outfit for the day, including underwear, socks, and any specific hair accessory they might need. It takes all of the guesswork out of the clothing for that week.
Organize that Closet
It’s now time to get all of that clothing back into your closet. If you’ve created outfits, I suggest hanging them (if possible) and even wrapping a rubber band around the corresponding hangars so that you know which ones to keep together. For instance, I have one dress that has two sweaters and one jacket that can all go together with it. I will rubber band those four hangars together and then set them back into my closet.
In the case of my kids, they have a hanging organizer for all items that are not dresses (they use my method above for dresses). On Sunday, when they put their outfits together, they fold them all carefully and add them to their organizers for each day of the week. Like I mentioned before, they add socks and any other accessories they might need for that day to make the morning clothing selection simpler.
I personally do not have a dresser, so I use a few storage tubs (labeled) to keep my folded clothing (jeans, workout clothing, tights, etc.) organized in my closet. Use whatever method you need to categorize all remaining clothing.
Rid of the Excess
If you have all of your full outfits in the closet and are still seeing “loose” items that don’t go along with anything else, it’s time to decide the fate of those items. Do you really need to keep it, or could it be donated?
One of the ways I determine this is to stick those unused items into the hallway closet we have. After a couple of months, if I still haven’t used it, I donate it immediately.
Note: This system only works if you actually go back to that closet in a few months and don’t allow it to be the place you hoard items you’ll never use.
Pack away Seasonal Items
If you pack away your summer clothing items, now’s the time to do so. Make sure it’s stored in such a way that you will be happy to see it come out of the containers or closet when next Spring arrives.
Letting go of things you don’t need can be exhilarating. My daughter recently went through her room and came out with FOUR stuffed trash bags that she was excited to donate. I asked her how she felt about getting rid of so much stuff and she said, “It’s so nice not to have to worry about it anymore.” She also smiled broadly while handing it all over at the donation center, knowing some other child will have the opportunity to appreciate what she no longer needs.
How about you – how do you feel when you offload things you don’t need anymore?
Have a wonderful day!