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Try these tips for a one-day closet clean-out

There’s nothing worse than a cluttered closet. It makes getting dressed in the morning frustrating when you’re searching for your favorite pair of black pants or finding that blazer you bought a few weeks ago. Even if you’re working from home and switching between your daytime pajamas and nighttime ones, having a cluttered wardrobe can produce unnecessary anxiety every time you walk into it. Being organized always feels good, so find a day when you can commit to a major cleanout and stick to it.

If you’ve noticed your closet is getting messy, there are a few simple things you can do to tackle a full-scale declutter. There are several ways to get started depending on how large or small your project shapes up. Going into it with practicality about what you need to keep, where things should live, and how often you use an item of clothing always makes things easier.

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messy closet
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To start, take everything (yes, everything) out of your closet. It may feel overwhelming, but the only way to truly declutter is to start fresh. If you find that you have a lot of smaller items like socks, hats, or belts lying around with no place to live, consider running to the store (Target, Walmart, and Container Store are good options) and buy storage baskets so you can have a more organized way to store them. If your closet is on the bigger side and you can fit a small storage dresser, even better.

Next, organize your clothes into piles by season and type and put items for the seasons you aren’t using towards the back of the closet or in bins in storage. There’s no sense in creating clutter when you don’t need to access an entire wardrobe of seasonal clothing. Next, take the items you are using and organize them into pants, shirts, jeans, sweaters, dresses, blazers, athletic-wear, etc. Hang or fold similar items together so you can see your options clearly.

It doesn’t hurt to use a minimalist eye when sorting through your belongings. My general rule of thumb—if I haven’t worn an item of clothing in six months, I have a conversation with myself about whether I actually need it. If I haven’t worn something in a year, it has to go. Make a pile for donation and one to sell, and try to be honest with yourself if you think you’ll wear an item again (this is not easy, I know). For the items you do decide to keep, hang them in the front of your closet to see them; it may help motivate you to throw them on.

If there is anywhere you have space to add in shelves, hooks, or extra racks to keep your closet clean and items visible, do it. It may seem excessive but having more ways to see all the items you have helps guarantee they’ll see the light of day. If you don’t have the room in the closet itself, consider displaying your hats or necklaces in a nice arrangement on a wall shelf or your shoes on bookshelves in your bedroom. They look cute as room decor.

closet donation pile
Andrii Zastrozhnov/Shutterstock

When you’re getting ready to put things back, neatly fold your clothes. They will be more organized in your drawers and on your shelves, and it will inspire you to keep it that way. As a bonus, it gives you some extra space to store your clothing, too.

Be sure to get the right kind of hangers for any clothing you want to hang, like sweaters and pants. I like velvet hangers like these. The description on the website states, “soft, flocked, velvet style fabric, these black hangers are able to grip your clothing to prevent your items from slipping onto the floor, and the shape of the hanger saves a multitude of space in your closet.” They aren’t cheap, but you’ll thank yourself for investing.

Finally, if you find yourself lacking motivation, turn on your favorite tunes, invite a friend over, grab a glass of wine if you so desire, and make a fun event out of it. Once it’s done, you’ll be glad you made time to declutter your closet.

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