4 Rules to Clean Out Your Closet The RIGHT WAY

Published on September 16, 2015 By Lauren

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  • With fall upon us, back to school shopping for kiddos, and the thrill of jeans-and-a-hoodie weather right around the corner, you are more than likely itching to do a little wardrobe rehab of your own. I know I am!!

    We both know how easily an adult closet can spin out of control, so I try to follow some hard and fast rules when it comes to changing my wardrobe, but I have some flexible rules as well.

    Rule #0:  Be nice to yourself.

    This is not rule #1, but it should come first in our chat, thus the zero.

    This is just for you, no one is judging you. It is ok if this takes you longer than a day to complete! Take it one thing at a time and try to find a few minutes when you can actually think this through.  Maybe your magic hour is during nap time, while the kids are at school, or perhaps you can get an hour at the end of the day.

    If you are rushed, cranky, or distracted, you will not be pleased with your results! You also need to be realistic about the amount of time it will take you to clean out your whole collection, it is not a quick thing.

    Rule #1: You must clean out the closet before you go shopping!

    I always stick to this rule. It’s easier to shop (and sometimes not to shop) if you know what you need, you know what you can replace, and you have a spot to put your new items. Set some basic guidelines for yourself and get started.

    Rule #2: You must wait until after you’ve put away all your laundry.

    Since I have such limited space for my wardrobe I always want to make sure to leave room for the pieces I actually wear.  Proof that I wear them is that they were in the laundry to begin with!  Anything in your dirty clothes hamper is probably something you can keep.

    Also, if you try to tell yourself, “I wear it all the time,” No, you don’t! If you did, it would be in the laundry right now!

    Rule #3: Work by Category

    If you try to clean out everything at once, you will likely feel like you failed. There is no category too small: scarves, hoodies, sweaters, jeans, nice/work pants, yoga pants… etc. The list I just gave you is from only 1 section of my closet!

    Rule #4: You must organize the pieces you are keeping!

    You need to do this at least once, and then you can return to whatever system you usually use. This is important because you should never own more clothes than you have the space to store.

    I have to say something honest right now, which some of you might not like. Unless you’re Princess Kate (we all wish we were), you’re not special enough to need to seasonally switch out your clothing. You do not need that many items of clothing. Choose the space you want to fill and try to narrow down and stick to those!

    I try to use all of my space wisely. I personally keep my clothes in my closet, my dresser, and the bottom drawer of my nightstand. If I can’t make everything I own fit there, I have to clean out. Once your clothing zones are full you shouldn’t keep anything else so choose wisely.

    That being said, you should be realistic about what type of organization works for you and is most accessible. My closet has no doors because they annoy me.  I also use the bottom of my nightstand for sleeping bottoms because I love to have a lot of those and that place makes the most sense to me as far as where to keep them!

    Ultimately, you have to make decisions that work for you. If you realize that you’re not in the right frame of mind to undertake saying goodbye to your things, come back another day. Choose your own categories and zones. If you need a friend to help you decide what to keep, go for it!

    Once you have successfully sorted out one category, you should feel great about that progress! Choose your next category and get to it!

    Take your time, focus on one thing at a time, and refuse to be mean to yourself over it! I hope your organizing leads you to a simpler wardrobe and fun follow-up shopping trip!

    If you’re like me and have a hard time letting go of things, then stay tuned for an upcoming post on my favorite tips for figuring out what clothes to keep and what to give away!

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