Your Spring Cleaning Closet Cleanout Guide
Spring is here and this time of year has always been the perfect time to do some “spring cleaning” in your closet. This year is certainly no exception. In fact, the extraordinary times we’re living in make spring closet cleaning more crucial than ever. First of all, most of us have plenty of time to do it. Second of all, we may need the catharsis and sense of purpose that this activity provides.
If you’re like most of us, it’s long overdue. Under normal circumstances, you may not have time to pay much attention to your closet. I have been known to fall behind in this area during busy periods of my life, and from speaking with my clients I know others experience the same thing. The end result usually looks something like this:
- Your closet becomes messy over time. At first, the mess is manageable: It’s just a few empty hangers or a couple of scarves fallen from their hooks. But soon the entire closet becomes a disorganized tangle of haphazardly placed garments, shoes, and accessories.
- You can’t find anything when you need it. Looking for that perfect long cardigan to stay warm on a chilly night? Prepare to spend extra time hunting down this and other essential pieces.
- You forget what you have. After a certain point, you can’t remember what all is actually tucked away in the abyss of your closet. Often, this means you end up wearing the same pieces over and over.
- The dust bunnies take over. Without vacuuming and wiping down ledges and shelving, your closet can quickly become the dustiest “room” in your house!
Right now, with more time to focus on such tasks, it’s a good time to thoroughly spring clean your closet, audit and organize your clothing, and curate the looks that represent who you are today. Read on for some tips.
First, empty your entire closet. Spread out the contents of your closet in front of you, including any shoes, accessories, or other items on shelves and inside of drawers. Stack or pile clothing on your bed and carefully place your shoes on the floor. You might be surprised by how much you actually own when you see it all laid out before your eyes.
Then, clean your closet from top to bottom. Vacuum or sweep the floors and dust all shelving and ledges with a damp cloth. If you have a mirror inside your closet, clean it as well. And while you’re at it, wipe down the doorknobs and the parts of the door that you touch regularly with a sanitizing solution.
Next, personalize your closet. A few finishing touches can make your closet area warm and inviting. Paint the walls a soothing color or use self-adhering wallpaper in a cute pattern to create an accent wall. If there’s room, hang a small print or painting that makes you smile. Finally, add a small accent rug to warm up the floor.
Now, go through each item piece by piece. Once the closet is clean, you can continue to “spring clean” by focusing on your clothing. This step, which I call a “closet audit” is time consuming, but it is so worth it. To do a closet audit, spend a moment with each item of clothing you own in order to decide what you want to do with it. Most pieces will likely go back into your closet (in an organized manner) but others may have a different fate.
Remove items that no longer feel like the authentic “you.” Who we are today does not always line up with who we once were. The same goes for our clothing. It is very normal to feel attached to pieces that we no longer want to wear. The problem is, this clothing can contribute to overcrowding in your closet. It’s fine to hold on to a few choice items for sentimental reasons, but as a general rule, if you haven’t worn it in a year or two, get rid of it. Remove these pieces now and store them elsewhere in your home for the time being. Later, when it is safer and businesses have reopened, you can drop them off at a local consignment store or donate them to your favorite charity.
Remove items that are out of season or need special attention. With warmer weather just around the corner, you may be ready to pack away your winter jackets, scarves, and boots. These items take up valuable closet space, so move them into deep storage. Likewise, remove any garments that need to either be dry cleaned, repaired, or tailored. You won’t be wearing them for the time being, so move them out to give your wardrobe some extra breathing room.
Look at what you have. Think of what you need. By this point in the spring cleaning process you have probably noticed some gaps in your wardrobe. This happens when you are suddenly able to see what you have. Maybe you need a standard white collared shirt or a new pair of black jeans. Or you may need several new items for spring. Keep a list of whatever you need to buy. Right now is most likely not the right time to go shopping for these items. If you would prefer to online shop you may, or you can also easily hold onto the list and stock up later this year when clothing stores are open once again. If you are unsure what you need, simply “window shop” online to get a good idea of what is available.
Put everything back neatly. Carefully hang all clothing and return everything to its proper place. If you don’t already have an organizational system that works for you, consider adopting a sustainable one today. For example, try hanging your clothing by color. Or organize by style and hang all blouses together, then tee shirts, then skirts, then slacks, etc. Line your shoes on their shelves or the floor, and return any accessories such as hats, purses, or scarves to their proper places. You will feel so much less stressed when you look in your pristine closet and see everything right where it should be.
Finally, gather up some warmer weather clothes to add back into the mix. It is still too early to pull in your most summery clothes, but this is a good time to supplement your closet with some lighter pieces appropriate for warmer weather. Say “hello again” to thinner jackets, ¾ length sleeve shirts, cardigans, airy tee shirts, and skirts and dresses in spring colors like pink or green.
One of the best ways to cope with these challenging times is by remembering the things you can do right now to positively impact your life and then doing them wholeheartedly. Spring cleaning your closet is a perfect example. It can give you not only a sense of control, but also a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. Make the most of this time now and throw yourself into your closet cleanout and audit. When it’s finished you will have taken a positive step to remove at least the clothing-related stress from your life and boost your confidence. Anything that brightens your life right now is worth doing.