How to Spring Clean Your Closet

The ultimate guide to spring cleaning your closet. Learn what to keep and what to toss, how to organize your closet, and where to donate old clothes.
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The ultimate guide to spring cleaning your closet. Learn what to keep and what to toss, how to organize your closet, and where to donate old clothes.

I'm a self-proclaimed slob. And no matter what my parents (and probably my roommates) think: no, I can't help it. No matter how hard I work and how often I clean my room, all it takes is getting ready at night and the search for a perfect outfit to make it look like a tornado hit.

However, despite my general messy tendencies, the one thing that I CAN keep organized is my closet. I love my clothing more than anything else in my room, and therefore, I treat it well. My closet is always neat and organized, even when the rest of my room is a wreck.

That's why I'm here to help you get your closet in shape for spring! With my tips below, you'll learn how to clean out your closet, get it organized, and KEEP it organized for life. Interested? Read on to learn how.

Step 1: Clear Out Your Old Clothes

Getting rid of things is probably the hardest part of spring cleaning. If you're like me, just as you're about to toss those snakeskin pleather pants you wore once four years ago, you probably think to yourself, "What if they become trendy again?" Or when it comes time to ditch your favorite jeans that stopped fitting long ago, you think "But wait--maybe I will go from a size 6 to a 00 again someday!"

Luckily, being that girl, I've figured out how to get myself to let go of those tough-to-toss pieces with a mental dialogue like the following:

Think about this: even if tomorrow some celebrity appeared on the cover of Vogue wearing snakeskin leather pants and they were suddenly deemed fashion-forward, are they your style? Would you take those pants out of storage and start to wear them again? If the answer is yes, your next question should be: Then why haven't I worn them in years?

The most important thing about your style is that it's yours. 

No matter what trends come and go, there are ones that you love and wear long past their trend-expiration date, just because you love them! There are some styles that look amazing on you and some that don't accentuate your best qualities. At the end of the day, the things in your closet should all make you look good, and more importantly, feel good! If there's something in your closet that doesn't do these things (which is probably why you stopped wearing it in the first place), then it's just taking away space from the items that do!

So, take all of those useless pieces out of your closet, bag 'em and store 'em in the corner of your room for now. We'll discuss what to do with them later in this post.

Step 2: Evaluate Your Closet Space

Both my home and college closets have minimal space for anything other than hanging pieces, so I've had to invest a lot of money in closet organizers from places like Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Here are a few of my favorites and how to utilize them:

Huggable Hangers

Huggable Hangers

Huggable Hangers - Target

If you're going to buy one single thing to help organize your closet, invest in these hangers. They will literally give you double the hanging space since they're super thin, plus, the velvety material keeps your garments from slipping off and ending up on the closet floor. Even better, these hangers come in a million colors to fit your personal style. They're a worthwhile investment that you'll have for years.

Adhesive Hooks

Command adhesive hooks

Command Hooks - Amazon

These hooks are also a great thing to have for your dorm room in general, but they work amazingly well in closets. You can hang necklaces, bags, towels, and robes on these hooks, and they tend to stay up for a while unless you hang something that's way too heavy. You can put them anywhere, and don't worry about getting them off at the end of the year--they are easy to remove and won't leave a trace.

Hanging Shoe Organizer

Hanging Shoe Organizer

Shoe Organizer - Casa.com

This shoe organizer is perfect for a cramped closet. It fits right at the end or the beginning of your closet rod, and takes up minimal vertical space. It's also perfect for a closet with a high rod, since it hangs pretty low. It keeps shoes off the floor, paired together, and visible, all in one spot.

Storage Cubes

Storage cubes

Storage Cubes - Casa.com

These storage cubes saved my life in my dorm closet. Since my closet is very small, but has a high rod to hang things from, I had plenty of space below my clothes, but not much space anywhere else. These cubes fit below my clothes and are perfect for bulkier, foldable items that you don't need to worry about wrinkling, such as towels, sweatpants and sweatshirts. Plus, you can build them the way you want. Here, the section with the balls is a crate, but you don't necessarily need to build your cubes this way!

Bed Risers

Bed risers

Bed Risers - Open Sky

Bed risers are the perfect way to increase storage space in a small dorm. You insert them under each of your bed's posts, and they instantly raise your bed to reveal more floor storage space. With these risers, you will be able to fit crates, boxes, or even your suitcases underneath your bed to hide them from view and free up space elsewhere in your room. I store all the things I rarely need under my bed, but I also have two small easy-to-grab cube-crates that contain my blow dryer, flat iron and other beauty products so that they're easily accessible.

Step 3: Find Your Clothing Organization Method

Some people like to organize their DVDs by decade, some like to organize them alphabetically. Clothing, too, can be organized in various ways. Here are a few suggestions:

- By type of apparel. Put dresses with dresses, tees with tees, and jeans with jeans. Within each category, you can further organize by event, i.e. more formal dresses stay together and sundresses stay together within your dress section.

- By color. Color coding your closet is an easy (and pretty) way to find exactly what you want. If you're in the mood for something pink, you go to your pink section. This organization method is best when all different types of clothing (skirts, shorts, tops, pants, etc.) are separated, so that you can find what type of piece you want before deciding what color you want it in.

- By occasion. You can also organize your pieces by the occasion they're for. Keep formal pieces (things you would wear to a wedding or other special event) in one part of your closet, semi-formal/going out clothes in another, and more casual/daily clothes in your final section.

- By season. If you have a big closet, you can probably organize your clothing by season. Even better, you can find a way to store off-season pieces a little higher up than current-season pieces, and find a way to easily rotate them once the weather changes!

Step 4: Just Do It!

Now that you've cleared out your old clothes, made some space and decided on an organization-game plan, CLEAN! Pull out everything from your closet, lay it on your bed, and begin organizing! You can organize things on the floor or your bed before they even get into the closet, or you can organize as you grab each item.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you clear your schedule and set a goal to finish your organizing and not get distracted. Once your spring closet clean is complete, you'll feel so accomplished! But there's one more thing you can do to really complete your spring cleaning...

Step 5: What About Your Old Clothes?

There are a few things you can do with the old clothing you've decided to dispose of:

- Donate it. Whether it's to a local homeless shelter, one of the clothing drop boxes around your neighborhood, or a Salvation Army, donating your old clothing will make you feel great and will benefit someone else's life in the process.

- Sell it. These days, it's so easy to sell your old things online. Hello, eBay! If you're the typical broke college student, selling your old clothing (and any other old items you have) is a great way to make bank. You know what they say: one man's trash is another man's treasure.

- Hand it down. Do you have younger siblings, cousins or friends of the family who have children the size of your old clothing? Let them rifle through and see if they find anything they like. Maybe they'll think of your snakeskin pleather pants as "dress up" clothes!

- Make something. Whether it's using old t-shirts to make a scarf or turning jeans into a pocketbook, there are a million creative things you can do with your old clothing! I've personally always wanted to take my old t-shirts that hold memories (such as from camp and high school events) and turn them into a quilt! For more ideas for what to do with your old clothes, see our DIY section.

What do you think?

Does your closet scream "clean me"? Are you going to be disposing of old clothing this spring? Do you have any tips on organizing and spring cleaning your closet? Let us know in a comment!