CLOSETS & BEDROOMS | Decluttering
How To Declutter Your Closet & Minimize The Seasonal Switch
How to declutter your closet so you can spend less time searching for things and moving seasonal clothing around.
Organizing your closet and dealing with seasonal clothing doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By learning how to declutter your closet properly, you can create a more functional, user-friendly, and stress-free space.
How to declutter your closet:
1. Has your closet exceeded its clutter threshold?
If your closet is not overstuffed, you should be able to put away, store, find, and retrieve things with minimal effort. However, once it gets too full, reaching into it to grab something gets harder because your clothing is crammed too tightly together.
If you find yourself getting frustrated because it’s a struggle every time you need to find something or find room to add something new, this is a clear sign that your closet has exceeded its clutter threshold. If this sounds like your closet, it’s time to regain control and simplify to make it more user-friendly.
2. How to declutter your closet without getting overwhelmed.
By pulling everything out of your closet, your decluttering efforts will be more effective than if you simply look for items to let go of. This blank canvas will also allow you to see the space you’re working with and make it easier to categorize your items.
That said, pulling everything out at once can be overwhelming, so be sure to break your closet down into sections. Clear one clothing rod at a time, one shelf at a time, etc. You can also sort by category, shoes, dresses, shirts, etc.
3. Sort related items together before you begin deciding what to let go of.
For everything that you are not sure whether or not to keep, simply sort related items into piles. Once everything has been sorted, go through each pile and make decisions. It’s easier to make educated decisions when you can clearly see how much you have of a given item.
For example, once you see that you have 6 yellow tops and yellow isn’t even your color, you can let go of your least favorites without hesitation.
Be honest with yourself when deciding what to keep. Haven’t worn it in the past year? It might be time to let it go. Consider donating, selling, or repurposing items that no longer serve you.
4. Keep your closet decluttered by adopting the one-in one-out rule.
Adopt a “one in, one out” policy. When you add a new item to your closet, consider removing an old one. This helps prevent clutter from building up again.
5. Avoid storing seasonal clothing anywhere other than your bedroom.
Seasons roll by so quickly that it is hard to keep up with this time-stealing task. Instead, focus on simplifying your closet by reducing the amount of clothing you own and manage.
Studies show that more than 15% of women and nearly 20% of men said that they’ve only worn 10% or less of their closet in the last 6 months. So take the time to evaluate what you have and be selective about what you keep. You will save loads of time for yourself if you don’t have to do much switching around from season to season.
The ideal situation for your closet is not to have to do any seasonal switching out of clothing at all. If you can reduce the amount of clothing you own to keep only what can easily fit into your closet, this is the most maintenance-free option for you. I don’t have a capsule wardrobe, but I declutter the clothing I no longer wear frequently. So I don’t do any seasonal switching at all because everything easily fits into my closet space.
However, this is not always possible depending on the size of your closet. So the next best scenario is to do some switching, within your closet or bedroom, but keep it to a minimum.
6. Move out-of-season items to less accessible locations in your closet or bedroom each season only as needed.
Place the current season’s items at eye level or within easy reach. The back of the closet, bottom drawers, or the upper shelves in a closet are good places to store these items.
Keeping out-of-season clothing out of the way but still visible and accessible, makes the seasonal switch quick and easy. This also ensures that no clothing is lost or forgotten about.
7. The only exception to this rule is heavy winter coats and boots.
Whether you keep them in your garage, mudroom, or closet, it does make sense to move heavy winter gear in and out of storage. Boots and heavy coats can be pulled out each winter and placed in an easily accessible area for convenience.
By storing these bulky items in your basement or storage area in the summertime, you will free up space. Just don’t start doing this with your other seasonal clothing.
8. Ask yourself this question to declutter your closet more thoroughly…
When trying to decide whether or not to keep a given item, let’s say a dress that you are really struggling with, ask yourself, “If I had the occasion tomorrow to wear a dress like this one, would I choose this dress? Or a different one?” If you would choose a different dress, and you need more space in your closet, that’s a sign you should let it go.
9. How to declutter your closet with this trade-off worth making.
If you want to pinpoint the reason why we can’t let something go, it often comes down to fear. We fear that if we let something go we will regret it later. But realistically, almost everything we let go of is forgotten as soon as it’s out of our sight.
There may be something that we do lament letting go of, but it’s typically one or two out of 50 items. The challenge here is that we never know which one of these 50 items is going to be the one we will miss. That is the mystery. But here is the thing: Does it make sense to keep all 50 items for the sake of one or two items?
Let’s say you are organizing the clothing hanging in your overstuffed closet. If you’re short on space, accept the risk that you might miss a shirt or two, but you likely won’t miss the other 48 shirts. That’s a worthwhile trade-off. The space that those 50 shirts will leave behind brings great rewards.
10. Move clothing that does not fit you out of your closet.
One common reason that individuals struggle with a cluttered closet, is that they store clothing that doesn’t fit them there. If you feel that you must keep clothing that does not fit, (which I don’t recommend) store them elsewhere. Don’t let these things take up precious space in your closet. They can be placed in a plastic bin in the basement.
Here’s something to think about: If you lose weight, will you want to wear your worn-out old jeans? Or will you want to celebrate with the season’s latest styles?
11. Choose simple storage solutions.
Organize everything in your closet so that it is visible, easy to access, and easy to put away. Keeping your closet simple is especially important if you happen to have ADHD.
Some organizing products are functional while others are not. The following are some of my favorites: Velvet-coated hangers will keep your clothes visible and accessible. These hangers will prevent clothing from slipping off the hanger onto the ground. Avoid complicated multi-item hangers that aren’t user-friendly.
Store similar items like purses and scarves together in clear plastic bins or baskets to keep them all together. If you can, stand items up rather than lay them down. This will make things easier to see and retrieve. Hang belts together using hooks or a belt organizer.
If your closet does not have built-in shelving for your shoes, you might want to invest in a Shoe shelving unit made specifically for organizing shoes. Look for a sturdy unit with flat shelves. Avoid the units with slanted shelves, they are not as functional since shoes often slide off of them.
If your closet’s upper shelves are overstuffed, consider moving things that are not clothing or bedroom-related to a storage area instead. Common things I find in closets that can be stored somewhere else are keepsake items, photos, and luggage.
12. Utilize labels.
Label your bins or baskets to make it easy to identify what’s inside without having to open them. This will save you time when transitioning between seasons.
13. Don’t Keep keepsake clothing in your closet.
Another common habit that steals closet and drawer space is keeping sentimental items that you don’t actually wear there. Do you have sweatshirts and T-shirts residing in your bedroom that you acquired from an event or activity that you participated in? How about that old college sweatshirt that holds so many memories?
14. Store things simply by keeping clothing types together.
Keep all like items together so that you can find them easily. The less thought you have to put into where to find things the better. For example, storing all of your tank tops together, and all of your short-sleeved shirts together is better than separating clothing by casual vs. dressy outfits.
Storing them by clothing type, (pants, tanks, long sleeve shirts, etc.) ensures that you won’t ever have to question where to find a sort of dressy, semi-casual shirt.
15. Evaluate your space.
See if you can find a way to make room for everything without overcrowding your closet or moving things out of your bedroom. Utilize closet organizers, and add shelving to your closet. Add a cubby storage unit or an ottoman bench to your bedroom. Can you find any open dead space where a shelf can be placed? If your closet is full, do you have the space to add a dresser?
16. Declutter your closet by taking advantage of under-the-bed space.
Plastic totes created specifically to slide underneath your bed are perfect for storing out-of-season items like flip-flops sandals or sweaters. When it’s time to switch seasons, they can be quickly retrieved and replaced with other out of season items. This rotation can be done with minimal effort to make the most accessible space available for the clothing you will be wearing.
17. Remove plastic bags from hanging clothing.
Do not leave clothing you don’t wear often hanging in either plastic dry-cleaner bags or shopping bags. Fabric that is unable to breathe for prolonged periods of time may discolor especially if your garment is light in color. Instead, purchase breathable garment bags for long-term storage of your seldom-worn seasonal clothing.
18. Consistency is key to keeping your closet decluttered.
Maintain your closet by consistently following the process. Small efforts throughout the year will prevent the need for a major overhaul later. Set aside time at least twice a year to eliminate clothing you are no longer wearing and rotate seasonal clothing as needed.
19. Enjoy the benefits.
An organized closet brings peace of mind and saves you time getting ready. You’ll be able to see all your options clearly and put together outfits more easily.
Remember, the goal is simplicity and functionality. By categorizing, decluttering, and using thoughtful storage solutions, you can transform your closet into an organized oasis where finding your favorite seasonal items is a breeze.
If you would like personal support with organizing seasonal clothing and your closet, learn more about how to get help from me by visiting my Virtual Organizing page.
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