Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but her closet is her sanctuary. Just ask fashion-forward Carrie Bradshaw, who turned down a fancy engagement ring in favor of a spectacular home for her famous wardrobe in Sex and the City: The Movie.
But as much as we love our closets, the thought of cleaning them out is less than pleasant. And what makes this worse? We are forced to confront this task each summer as we unpack everything we brought home from our dorm rooms and off-campus housing.
In order to help you guys through the summer closet cleaning process, here are five steps to make de-cluttering your closet easier. (Before you read on, know that this post is meant to be a quick and easy guide to a fast summer closet cleanup. For a more extensive guide to serious closet cleaning, see How to Spring Clean Your Closet.)
1. Divide your items by season.
It can be pretty overwhelming to sort through every article of clothing all at once, so make things easier by dividing your clothes into three piles by season: winter, summer and fall/spring. This way, you can focus on smaller groupings of items instead of trying to tackle your closet as a whole all at once.
Because they usually transcend season, shoes, bags, and other accessories do not need to be separated in the same manner.
2. Create 3 separate piles.
Next, designate three different areas of your room - one for items to keep, one for items to toss, and one for items you're not sure about. Try to keep your areas as far away from each other as possible in order to avoid things ending up in the wrong pile.
Dealing with limited sorting space? See if you can find some empty bins or trash bags to ensure your items remain in the correct group.
3. Look at each piece of clothing objectively.
Now, here comes the hard part-picking a "season", and going through each item and deciding what to keep and what to toss. This can be tricky as there are often many emotions tied with certain items, or we see a potential use for a particular item down the road even though we may not actually use it.
In order to keep yourself objective, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I love the item and can't live without it?
- Is the particular item flattering? If it's not flattering, can it be taken in/repaired/tailored?
- How often do I wear this item?
- Does this item represent my current style and/or a hot trend I want to try this summer?
Once you have sorted through all your items, go through your "maybe" pile one more time and repeat the process. Still can't make up your mind? Call up a friend and ask her for her honest opinion on the questionable item. (We also have more tips on deciding what to keep and toss in our post on Spring Cleaning Your Closet.)
Also, since it's summer, you can be more generous with keeping items from the "summer" section - at least for now. Give yourself a period to try them out, and if you don't wear these items within the next few months, you'll know to toss them once the season is over.
Repeat this process until you have successfully sorted through all of your season and accessory piles.
4. Figure out what to do with the items in the "toss" pile.
Go through your toss pile and examine the quality of each item. If the item has stains, rips, or any other imperfections, the best thing to do is throw it away. Alternatively, you can keep these damaged items for use as rags for cleaning the house or as drop cloths for art or home improvement projects.
For items that are still in decent condition, look into getting cash for them by selling them to a second-hand store (or if you have more expensive items, on eBay). Research the various consignment shops in your area and compare their regulations and rates to decide which one is best for you.
Want to do a little good for those in need? Donate your unwanted items to a local charity. Research where you can find donation drop boxes in your area or contact local churches and organizations to find out when the next clothing drive is taking place.
5. Put away your "winter" clothes, and put your summer stuff up front.
Now that you're done, it's time to organize your closet for summer! This begins with storing all your "winter" stuff that you won't be wearing for at least three or four more months (depending on your geographic location) - it makes no sense to keep hats and gloves around when all you want to do is wear sundresses!
There are many ways to store winter items for the season. If you're living at home with the 'rents for a couple months, you can probably put those items in a box and store them in your basement, the attic, or a storage closet. Alternatively, you can store winter items in under-bed storage boxes, or even in suitcases that can slide under your bed.
Here are some more tips for storing winter items:
- Make sure your winter clothes (coats, sweaters, etc.) are clean before you store them. Dirt and stains can set in if left untreated for months, so make sure your items are in good shape before you put them away.
- Never hang knits! Hangers can stretch out sweaters and other knit items, so to help these pieces retain their shapes, always fold and stack them as opposed to hanging.
- Store your items in a dark, cool, dry area, if possible, like a storage closet or under your bed. Humidity and heat can ruin clothes.
Now that you've stored your winter items, simply organize your closet with your new summer stuff right up front, where it's easy to grab. You can store "fall/spring" stuff a little further back, so it's still accessible but won't get in the way when you need to reach for your shorts!
What do you think?
What are your thoughts on our summer closet-cleaning plan? Do you have a great tip of your own? How do you store your winter clothes? Comment below and let us know!