Tips for Purging + Organizing Your Closets

Hi Everyone! My name is Laura Hinton with Lifestyled You and I am SO thrilled to be guest blogging for Tiffany Meiter! I’m an Interior Design Coach who helps women discover the life + lifestyle of their dreams through creating a home they LOVE!

In my opinion, one of the keys to a successful home and lifestyle is organization, and I know Tiffany feels the same way. A cluttered, disorganized and messy home = a cluttered, disorganized and messy mind – and nobody needs that! Today I want to share my tips and tricks for purging and reorganizing both your main clothing closet as well as ancillary closets like your linen or office closet.

Change Your Mindset:

First things first. For so long, you’ve probably been building a mindset that “more is more”. The more things we have, the more important, successful, powerful, rich, admired and accomplished we are perceived. We are somehow “better people” who are more respected and looked up to when we can provide lots of things for ourselves and our families. Since childhood, we’ve conditioned our brains to believe that “more is more” and that, by nature, makes it very difficult to part ways with our things.

If you are able to change your thinking to “I can still be important, successful, powerful, rich, admired and accomplished without being surrounded by tons of stuff” and that “less doesn’t mean lesser” you will be taking one step towards easing your brain into the process of getting rid of the things you don’t need.

Clothing Closet:

Purging your clothing closet can be a doozy depending on the state of your closet and how much you are willing to purge. Just remember this is a HUGE opportunity for making donations as opposed to just throwing things away. If you are ready to get rid of your clothes, there are always others who would be happy to have them, so please donate! If you have kids, you can apply this checklist to their closets as well. Think about friends/family who have kids a little younger than yours who might appreciate the hand-me-downs.

STEP 1: FIND WHAT FITS

First, take out anything in your closet with questionable fit.

  • If it has been too small or too big for you for 9-12 months, I think it’s time to let it go. This might mean trying things on and analyzing the current fit.
  • If you are struggling to let go, set a price and time restriction on things to keep.
  • For example, ‘this dress was over $100 so I’ll keep it for 3 more months to see if it will fit,’ but then it’s out of here!

STEP 2: SAYONARA STAINS

Anything with a stain, hole, or something needing fixing must go!

  • I promise if you’ve been waiting to learn how to sew that button back on that cardigan, you are likely never going to sew that button back on that cardigan, lol.
  • Same goes for waiting to figure out if the dry cleaner might be able to get out that stain, etc. If your clothes are damaged in some way, they just need to go – otherwise you would have fixed it by now, right?

STEP 3: LET IT GO, LET IT GO

Let go of anything you haven’t worn recently, is out of date, or you have multiples.

  • This is the hardest cut and is totally up to you, but you can make some rules for yourself again.
  • For example, ‘if I haven’t worn it more than 3 times in the past year, it’s gone.
  • If I’ve owned this for more than 8 years, it has to go,’
  • If I have 5 of basically the same exact thing, I’m keeping 3 and donating 2.’ Stay strong, you can do it!

STEP 4: ORGANIZE IT

This one is up to you and will depend on the size/layout of your closet and the types of clothes you have, but here’s how I like to arrange my things.

  • 1st by type: I have a rack for casual T-shirts and tanks, long sleeve shirts/sweaters, fancy short sleeve/tanks, long sleeve blouses, jackets/blazers, long length items, dresses and pants.
  • 2nd by color: Put like near like and build your rainbow!
  • This allows for easy access and fast decision making. It will also help you realize when you a few too many of the same things.

STEP 5: WASH, RINSE, REPEAT!

Apply the same principals to all other accessories – shoes, jewelry, scarves, etc.

  • Don’t forget to go through your handbags/wallets and clean them out – might find some hidden $$$$ 🙂
  • Go through your coat closet – donate those jackets you don’t need!
  • Take note of your underwear, bras, socks, etc. – Is it time to replace any of these essentials?
  • You can be as aggressive on this clean-out as you like, but freeing up some space, getting rid of the clutter, and giving to others will make you feel great in the end!

BONUS TIP:

I like to do one initial purge, let things sit for a couple weeks, and then revisit. 

  • That dress you thought you really needed, or that sweater that you thought brought you a ton of delight might suddenly feel a little less important in a few days.
  • When we are getting rid of our “stuff” we often meet resistance when we feel like, “oh no, I’m getting rid of too many things!
  • We start reverting to that “more is more” mindset that has been ingrained in our heads for so long that suddenly we start to panic that we are getting rid of too much.
  • Give it some time and revisit after the shock of the initial purge. Things you were on the fence about will suddenly feel easy to get rid of.

Other Closets:

This checklist works great for any closet that is NOT clothing based.

STEP 1: TAKE IT ALL OUT

  • Create a big open space in front of the closet & start pulling out all the items.

STEP 2: PURGE AS YOU GO

  • As you start emptying the closet, if you immediately think an item can be let go, put it either in a garbage bag intended for the trash, or one intended for a donation.

STEP 3: CREATE PILES OF “LIKE” ITEMS

If you’ve determined it is something worth keeping, put it into a pile with a category in mind based on what it is.

  • If I was doing my upstairs linen/misc. closet, my categories would be something like: towels, sheets, medicine/first aid, toiletries, cleaning supplies.
  • If you find an item doesn’t fit into a category with any other items, it probably belongs somewhere else in your home. Relocate it to the proper location.

STEP 4: CREATE SUB-CATEGORIES OF THE SAME ITEMS

Now you can take one pile and sub-divide the items into more specific categories.

  • In my example, I would take my toiletry pile and divide it into something like: Eye care, tooth care, shampoos + conditioners, body wash + lotions, shaving, sunscreen, etc.

STEP 5: CONTAIN AND LABEL

Find a box or container that can house your final piles.

  • I use a label maker to define what is inside for clarity and quick access.
  • Next time someone needs a band aid, they know they can find it in the “First Aid” bin in the closet. They don’t have to waste time and energy digging through an entire closet, but know exactly where to find it quickly and easily!

I hope these tips and tricks help you in decluttering and organizing your closets – Remember, a clean home = a clean mind! If you are interested in learning more about my innovative Interior Design Group Coaching Experience, ‘Stylize Your Home’, you can read about it here. I’m also available for 1-on-1 coaching to help you discover the life + lifestyle of your dreams through creating a home you LOVE! Laura@LifestyledYou.com

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Comments

  1. Stephanie

    Once school is over and I have more time, I plan to tackle all of the closets and storage places in my house. This is the same process I use. The main thing I hold on to for a while is toys because my boys will say they are done with something but then have a meltdown when they think it’s gone.

  2. Courtney

    Oooo so many great tips!!! We just purged my hubby’s closet over the weekend. Always more work than you think it’s going to Be that’s for sure lol

  3. Nancy L

    Excellent tips and you’ve inspired me to clean out my closet, too. I really need to purge and donate several items. I didn’t even think about my costume jewelry. I haven’t thrown away jewelry in about 10 years. Ugh. I better get busy! lol

  4. Neely Moldovan

    These are awesome tips! We have been doing so much purging lately and it feel so good to do!

  5. Joanne

    Great tips to help do a good clear out. Sometimes I find it hard to part with things that I never even use and just end up with clutter.

  6. Becca Wilson

    I used to color code everything but now I just do it by style. As WAHM this helps me out more than matching colors would. Great ideas here!

  7. TheVirginiaNymph

    Man oh man… My daughter (The Sprite) and I really need to downsize and reorganize our clothing. It’s gotten out of hand. I think you may have inspired me to begin.

  8. Melanie williams

    These are really good tips for sure. The one about if it does not fit, just get rid is a must…makes purging much easier xx

  9. aisasami

    I just cleaned out the closet and what I think about is a) does it fit me and b) have I worn this in the last 6 months. If they don’t meet those questions, I will donate them!

  10. Christa

    Such great tips here! I try to go through my clothes when the seasons change. I never realize how many clothes I have until I put them all in one place to organize!

  11. Kristen

    I’ve never even thought about including things like accessories and smaller items like that into a purge. That makes so much sense. I’m sure there are belts and scarves that are out of date that I’d never wear again. Such good tips.

  12. My Lib

    I so need to do this!! I am good about going through my tween s closet with her and putting away seasonal items but not so good about my own. Thanks for the kickstart!

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