While this task may seem overwhelming and like it's going to take over your life, fear not. We're here to help. Follow our tips for an efficient, organized, and -- dare we say it? -- fun experience.
1. The Stage Is The Thing.
That's a twist on a Shakespeare reference* but our point is that you need a staging area, first and foremost. Why? Because you're going to be moving a lot of things from one place to another. You're going to be sorting and organizing and making different piles, you're going to -- let's face it -- have a tiny bit of chaos where it seems as if you're just going to have to live with these monstrous piles everywhere and nothing will ever be done, but then you'll break through that and voila! A beautifully organized seasonal closet.
So, this staging area. It can be your bed (make it first so at least that's nice and tidy, and you have a smooth surface to work with). It can be a couch, or a dresser that you've cleared everything off of. You can even use your floor: Spread out a blanket or towels, or give it a good mopping before setting things directly onto it.
- Keep -- for items that you're absolutely, without a doubt, 100% keeping
- Donate -- for items that you'd like to donate to a worthwhile cause
- Trade -- for things that you think family or friends might like
- Fix -- anything that needs even the smallest of repairs should go here
- Iron / Steam -- for the more OCD among us who don't like hanging wrinkled clothes in closets, it's nice to have a separate container with things that need to be ironed and/or steamed.
- Trash -- speaks for itself. It's done with you, you're done with it, and the only new home items in this area are going to is the trash bin.
You don't need all of them. But at the bare minimum, have 2: Keep and Trash.
Ready? Almost. Now, you need to set the proper atmosphere. That's right! Because a play without great lighting and music would be pretty boring. So we're going to do the same here. Figure out what will help you in this process. It needs to be something that'll keep you moving, keep you going, but won't distract you to the point where you need to sit down and watch the rest of that murder mystery because you need to know what on earth happened.
But a tiny bit of distraction is OK. So maybe you get your phone, put some headphones in, put the phone in a pocket so that your hands-free, and you listen to an amazing podcast or book. Or, you crank up your stereo and put on a Pandora or Spotify station that'll energize you. Or, grab your tablet and put a show on -- a good trick here is a show that you've seen before and love. This way, you won't have to pay attention to every tiny little detail but you'll have a nice pleasant hum happening in the background.
And now we're ready.
2. Do The Box Step.
If they're dusty, clean that up before you open anything -- you don't want the dust flying all around and getting into anything.
3. Out With The Old, In With The New. Or, depending on your style, In With The New, Out With The Old.
Unless you have an unlimited supply of storage containers, most of will be using the exact same ones that we just emptied. This is the part that can get a bit chaotic, but stay with us!
As you take clothes out of your closet, put them into one of the stations we set up at the beginning. Keep only those clothes and shoes and boots that you love and need. None of this, “well, maybe one day..." Life is short, and our closets are generally always too small. Wouldn't it be better to make room for things that you absolutely adore?
The nice thing about taking everything out of your closet first is that you'll have an empty (or mostly empty) closet. Which means that you'll be able to give it a nice scrub. Sweep, mop, dust, vacuum, get a wet rag and wipe down all shelves. Do the same with crown moldings and any crevices where dust may linger. See if anything needs repairing: Any loose hooks? Wobbly shelves? Maybe you need to spruce up your closet organization game. In which case, head over to our articles: All About Clothes Hangers will tell you which hangers work best for which clothes; Use A Closet Doubler To Maximize Your Closet Space walks you through a neat little tool that can give you lots more room in your closet.
And now you've got a clean closet, just waiting to be filled up.
Time to tackle those storage containers.
Keep those stations handy, because you're going to do the exact same exercise with anything you take out of the container. Do you love it? Need it? Want it? Feel ambivalent and wishy-washy about it? Sort, sort, sort everything out except for the Keep pile.
4. To Iron (Or Steam) Or Not To Iron (Or Steam)**.
For items that need folding, head to our How To Fold Clothes To Get Organized + Save Space. Because how you fold your clothes can make a huge difference, and save you a nice amount of space.
5. Rinse And Repeat.
Keep going till you have everything old out of the closet and everything new in it -- or in one of your stations.
If you're using a Boot Butler (and we certainly hope you are!) and don't wear boots in the summertime, move your BB to a storage closet so that your fall and winter boots can continue to hang out in a comfortable position till you're ready to wear them again.
If you want to get rid of more things but are having difficulty, we recommend, De-Clutter, Un-Clutter and Clutter No More. Because we know that it's not always easy to decide what to keep and what to get rid of.
6. And Now The Leftovers.
Meaning, let's revisit those areas we set up in the beginning.
Lots of organizations -- from charities to shelters -- are in constant need of donations. Do an internet search to see what options are available for your particular area. Some organizations will come to you; all you have to do is set out a donation box or bag in a designated location at a designated time. Some organizations ask that you come to them. There are also drop-boxes in numerous cities where you can drop items off. Whichever place you choose, make sure that they want / need the things that you have, and also that whatever you're donating is clean and ready to wear. Don't donate dirty, gross things. Just don't. Nobody wants that.
Host or attend a trading party with friends or family. Especially if you wear the same sizes, it can be super fun to shop each others' wardrobes!
Missing buttons, broken zippers, fraying hems -- don't hang these in your closet, because they'll never get fixed. Instead, either put them into a container that you're going to tackle later if you're handy, or put them into a bag and hang that bag on your front doorknob so that you can grab it on the way out and take it to your dry cleaner.
For this, all we can say is, Bye Felicia. Don't look back.
Good job! Now go put some fabulous new outfits together and enjoy that spring.
* It's from Hamlet, the part where he's thinking about how to catch his no-good stepfather and expose him for the cheating, murderous villain he (the stepfather) truly is. And he decides he'll do it by staging a play... "The play's the thing / Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King." (Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2)
**We had to throw another Hamlet reference in!