Spring Clean Your Closet!
by Dayna Del Val
Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner. It’s nearly time to say goodbye to all those bulky sweaters, wool pants, snow boots and turtlenecks. Lighten up your closet by cleaning, organizing, decluttering and removing items you no longer want or need. The best time to start is while it’s still chilly outside. Here’s your total guide to closet organization.
1. Empty the closet
Take your clothing from your closets and drawers. As you remove each item, check the pockets for used tissues, old shopping lists, dollar bills and what-have-you. Inspect zippers, buttons, hems and seams, and then put each piece into one of four piles:
All-season. You wear these garments throughout the year.
Donate/sell/swap. Get rid of everything you haven’t worn in a year because it no longer fits, doesn’t go with anything else you own or is out of style. Put it in shopping bags or cardboard boxes. Plan to donate it, sell it, or host a clothing swap party with friends.
Repair/dry clean. Set aside items with loose hems, split seams and fallen-off buttons and other fasteners, to mend later or take for repair. Include in this pile dry-clean-only winter clothing that needs to go to the dry cleaner, along with anything that needs alterations.
Check the soles and heels of your winter shoes and boots. Clean them thoroughly and have them resoled if necessary.
Store. This container is for winter-only clothing and accessories, including purses, jewelry, hats and scarves. Don’t worry about sorting it all and storing it yet — just gather it all in one place.
Move all the bins, boxes and bags out of the way — preferably to a different room so it’s out of your way as you continue your closet organization process.
2. Upgrade the storage space
With the closet empty, you can now attack any necessary cleaning, repairs and expansion:
- Open closet doors and dresser drawers to make sure they work smoothly. Tighten loose knobs, adjust and lubricate door tracks, and lubricate sticky drawers so they glide open and shut with ease.
- If the closet is dark, install a new light fixture or stick-up LED light.
- If your closet is deep enough, install another rod. Add shelves if there’s room above existing shelves.
- Vacuum the closet floor and then damp mop it. Dust shelves with an electrostatic cloth and then wipe with a damp rag. Remove liner paper from the drawers, vacuum and wipe them, and add fresh liner paper.
- If the closet walls are dingy and banged up, consider painting them, but choose a shade that won’t cast strange color tones on your garments.
3. Move back in
It’s time to bring in the spring and summer wardrobe you stored last autumn, as well as your all-season clothing.
If you put clothes away last season that you weren’t sure you’d wear again, add them to the donation bin.
When planning closet organization, hang clothing in a way that makes sense to you — that might be by color, function, season or fabric. Discard metal and broken hangers. Hang skirts on skirt hangers, delicate blouses on padded hangers, and heavier pieces like suit coats on sturdy hangers.
If you store shoes in their boxes (which is recommended to protect them) stack shoeboxes on a shelf or on the floor with the name facing out. Or store shoes in clear shoeboxes. If space is at a premium, use an over-the-door shoe hanger instead. (Their pockets also work great for purses, belts, scarves and other items that present storage challenges.)
Fold sweaters neatly and place them in small stacks so they don’t tip — consider using dividers to support them. Or use multi-shelf hanging canvas storage for sweaters.
4. Store the winter wear
Now that you’ve emptied the containers that held your warm-weather wardrobe, you can put your winter things away in them. Under-the-bed storage containers are a favorite. If space is really tight, use storage bags from which you can vacuum the air.
Whatever closet organization tools you use, make sure everything is clean and completely dry before you store it, and fold/hang/stack each garment as neatly as you can, because every wrinkle and crease will have 6 months to become ingrained.