Spring Clean Your Closet With This Stress Free Technique

A change of season is the perfect opportunity to clean out your closet and finally create the perfect wardrobe you’ve been dreaming about. I know sorting and organizing everything in your drawers can be overwhelming and feel like a total bore but it doesn’t have to be. A more streamlined wardrobe can simplify your morning routine and make you feel less cluttered. Here’s how to start.

Step One: What do you wear?

Wash and put away everything in your laundry hamper. Start with absolutely no dirty clothes whatsoever. Now, for the next two weeks live your life like you normally would while wearing the clothes you normally wear. Don’t stress about picking something out or thinking about what you want to keep; change nothing about your routine! But at the end of the two weeks, whatever is left behind in your closet that didn’t get worn is on the chopping block and fits into one of four categories.

Step Two: The sorting hat.

Keep

You may not have worn your favorite, still-relevant cocktail dress this week, no biggie. Hang on to that one! If you’re doing this in the summer you’re not going to get rid of your favorite sweaters or your bikinis in the winter. The goal is to clean your closet, not discard everything in your possession. Special occasion items and seasonal stuff are totally fine to pack into some deeper storage boxes until the next time you need them.

Consign

If you’re lucky enough to have a few pieces worth selling, do it! Check out local consignment and second hand shops to see if you could make a little extra cash off stuff you don’t want. You could also try your hand at selling online through outlets like Poshmark or Threadup.

Swap

If you’re lucky enough to have a friend or two who wears a similar size to you, pass on your unworn pieces to someone who may still get some life out of them. Even better, you could organize a little clothing swap with a group. Anything left behind gets donated!

Donate

It’s time to ask yourself: how many t-shirts do you need? If you run enough 5ks or show up to enough college events you’re going to accumulate quite an arsenal. Cut yourself off somewhere; I don’t like to own more than 12 t-shirts at a time (which still sounds like a lot when I typed that out). Are you hanging on to something because there’s a theoretical possibility you might wear something again? If you know you don’t legitimately need it, it’s time to say goodbye.

Step Three: A better future.

One for One  

I work in retail, which means I accumulate shoes and clothes at an alarming rate. The only way I can keep my closet from becoming an unmanageable zoo is my one-for-one rule. Anytime I add something to my wardrobe, something has to go. It makes me think long and hard about what pieces I want if it means I have to give something up in the process.

Seasonal Plans

We’re not talking about boxing up half of your clothes from October to March, but heavy jackets, scarves, and sweaters don’t need to take up drawer space in August. The same goes for swimsuits and booty shorts in December. Keep a box of out-of-season clothes in a storage bin at the back of your closet or under your bed to free up valuable space.

Be Honest but Kind

Words to live by, including when it comes to cleaning. Clothes can have a striking amount of sentimental value. I still have a little box of my high school soccer jerseys and my senior prom dress that I have no intention of giving up anytime soon. The key is though, that it’s a small box. Hang on to stuff that actually matters to you but doesn’t weigh you down. I didn’t keep the shorts and smelly old socks that went with the soccer jerseys, the shirt was all I needed for that memory.

Step Four: Rinse and repeat.

A great closet purge doesn’t need to happen every month, but once or twice a year can help you keep the clutter down and make the most of your wardrobe. Plus they are great steps to run through anytime you’re relocating and don’t want to bring unnecessary baggage along for the ride. Happy cleaning!

Tess Stryk

Tess is a flight risk who could disappear into the Blue Ridge Mountains or on a tram in Berlin at any moment. She can sit still for exactly as long as it takes you to read this bio and is most likely on a run or sending a new climbing route while you're doing so. You can find her meandering Virginia hiking trails, guzzling flat whites, or prowling the new nonfiction section of your local library.

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