06 April 2020

How to really declutter your closet

In the past few days I've seen about 30 declutter videos. Surprisigly, I started with my own closet for two reasons. First is that I absolutely love organizing stuff and second was that I was simply bored being closed inside my 4 walls for 2 weeks (so far). So, once I was done with my closet, I fell into this YouTube vortex of declutter videos. I like them all, but organizing clothes is my biggest love.

While I was watching all of it, I realized some things all girls had in common and some mistakes they made (in my opinion). If you're stuck at home like I am, this is a post for you.

Organize clothes in categories and then declutter. If you have the tendency to shove things into your closet, you may lose sight of what you actually have in which category. Organize items into T-shirts, dresses, jeans, bracelets, boots, sneakers, whatever. That way you'll see how many items you have, how similar they are and do you really need them all.

This is my original starting point. I had clothes everywhere, more under my couch (picture 2), some bags and boxes in the closet too.

Is it a basic piece? The truth is, I don't need 10 black T-shirts. However, something like that is really a basic piece and I always need to have them ready to go. Some pieces are just easy to style so it's OK to have more than one, just in case some are in the washing or you just stained one T-shirt and need a quick wardrobe change.
Does it fit? I mean, this is a no brainer. Is there really a point in keeping some clothes that don't fit right? You want to feel good in what you wear so the fit is really important. In case you have some old clothes, the chances are they're too small, too big, too short...

This is the process. Categorizing and folding.

Is it comfortable? I had some shoes that were killing my feet, but I kept them because "I could wear them to a wedding". I'm not going to wear something that I know is terrible ever again. Same as the dress that gave me an allergic reaction during the summer. It is beautiful, soft material, nice fit. But something went wrong and now I know I won't be reaching for it again.
Can I wear it with different items and styles? This goes with the item being basic. But, also, you can alter some pieces and they can become 'your basic'. Something that I would definitely need to style carefully may be something you wear on daily basis with basically anything. If you can get more looks out of it, I guess you need it.

And this was the result. I swapped winter and summer clothes, I bought some boxes for my scarves, fancy stuff, scarfs...

How much do I actually wear it? 'Once a year' is not a good answer to this question. Unless it's tradition to wear your red sweater every single Christmas Eve, your polka-dot blouse each Easter, your cropped black jeans to the festival or something like that, it's time to get rid of it. I'm keeping my Christmas dress even though I wear it only once a year for only a couple of hours. But it's tradition. Wearing a regular shirt only few times in 365 days tells me it's not worth keeping.
Can I repurpose it? If you really like an item, but know you don't wear it much, think about repurposing it. Maybe you can turn few of those into a quilt, maybe a dog blanket or bed. Maybe you can turn long jeans into shorts, a top into crop-top or a gym attire...
Keep the sentimental pieces. With the previous one, it's OK to keep some stuff. Limit yourself to  to 10 pieces you're keeping just because. Maybe it's your mom's favorite dress from when she was young, the first T-shirt you stole form your boyfriend, the dress you graduated in, the blouse you wore for your first job interview,... It's OK to be sentimental. The point it just to limit yourself so you really pick the most important stuff.

Then I bought some more clothes... And I left some items I never wear in hopes I'll repurpose them... Sew something new...

It's OK to do bit by bit. I find decluttering very satisfying and seeing before and after pictures makes me very happy! However, it's OK to do it by taking baby steps. Maybe you're not ready to part with some pieces, but maybe you'll get rid of them in another closet clear-out.
It's OK to keep 'special' items. If you have a little black dress you never wear or a suit or a glittery dress... It's OK to keep those just in case. Those are some ultimate pieces that you, of course, don't wear often, but an occasion will come when you'll need them. Trust me, keep those items.
Categorize stuff while putting them back (by style, color or type). I separate clothes by type - jeans, T-shirts, long sleeves, dresses and so on. If I'm looking for a dress, I can see everything I have in just one glance and I don't need to go through my entire closet. Also, if you're in a hurry, you'll most likely take what first catches your eye and you'll forget about the other items.
Fold it nicely. This is probably the biggest mistake I've seen girls do. I don't know if that's just for the video so it would have a better before and after effect, but everything is just thrown into the closet. That way you have way less space, you can't see most of the stuff and you won't wear something that's wrinkled. You need to be able to see everything you have in the closet.

Then I decided it was time to put ALL of my clothes in the closet. Summer and winter. So I got this bag out of the couch (picture 1), all the clothes from the closet (picture 2) and jumped into it.

Separate the 'maybe' pile and see if you reach for any of the stuff. If there are some stuff you'd like to wear more, but don't know if you actually will, separate them into a 'maybe' pile and then you have two choices. Either bring it to the front of your closet to really see them every single day or, what I do, put them in a bag and shove somewhere out of sight. In a few weeks I can't even tell what's inside meaning I really don't need those pieces.
Now that I'm done, do I have room for new clothes? The point of decluttering is getting more space in your closets. Not necessarily for new things (you don't need to go on a shopping spree immediately), but just so you could easily see everything and so that everything has its own place. You'll see that if you see that you can fit few more pieces into a drawer or on a hanger.

And now I have this. It may not look a lot different from the starting photo, but have in mind this is now all of my clothes. I used to have seasonal clothes in the closet and it made it worse because I would forget about some and I would buy more and ultimately it didn't fit. There are definitely less hangers in here. Now I have everything here, displayed and reachable.
Update: I got rid of an entire garbage bag of clothes which I gave to a friend, cousins, etc. and also a shopping bag of clothes went to trash.

Did you also go on a declutter spree during this quarantine? Let me know how yours went and if you have any more tips and tricks :)

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