Simplicity: How to Keep Your Closet Clean and Organized

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The change of seasons is always a good time to clean out your closet. In a perfect world, you would take a day three or four times a year to try on everything you own and assess what’s working and what’s not. In the real world, though, it’s often a scramble just to find an outfit that is clean and weather-appropriate in the rush to get out of the house in the morning.

Being crunched for time doesn’t mean you have to live with a disorganized closet, though. A few simple tricks can make assessing your wardrobe and getting organized as easy as getting dressed in the morning. Easier, even.

Elfa Walnut Platinum Closet

Simple Steps to Follow for a Clean Closet

Change your system.

Take everything that’s hanging in your closet and turn the hangers the wrong way, so that the hook is facing out rather than facing in. As you wear each piece, turn the hangar back the right way. Give yourself two or three weeks and then assess what you’ve worn and what you have not. Are the unworn pieces the wrong season? Wrong size? Wrong style? No matter what the issue is, get them out of the closet — they are wasting space and slowing you down in the morning.

Make it work.

Not ready to part with all the things you’re not wearing? Then wear them! Move the pieces that are still hanging backward after a month to the front of your closet and commit, for a week or two, to wearing only those things. Make an effort to make them work, as Tim Gunn says. Figure out why you’re not already wearing these pieces, and then figure out what — if anything — you can do to work them into your wardrobe. Have pieces that need to be tailored or dry cleaned? Take care of that. Need a new bra or a belt? Buy it. Absolutely cannot make something work? Then get rid of it.

Stop doing laundry.

This may be my favorite reader tip ever: As you wear things, put them in the laundry — and leave them there. We tend to wear the same items over and over (sometimes directly from the dryer) rather than looking for other options. Instead of laundering those favorite pieces, force yourself to find something else to wear. What else is in your closet now that your favorite jeans and that one white shirt are not available? Pay careful attention to the pieces that you keep passing over, even when everything else is dirty — if you won’t wear it in a moment of desperation, then you’re never going to wear it. Trust me.

Taking the time to figure out what you are and aren’t wearing is the first step toward paring down your wardrobe and streamlining both your style and your morning. Don’t be afraid to let things go — if you keep what you love, you’ll look great and feel even better. I promise.

How do  you make sure your closet looks and stays clean? What are simple ways to keep your closet organized?

Photo courtesy of The Container Store.

Susan Wagner Susan Wagner is a freelance writer and editor and amateur personal stylist. She lives in Oklahoma City with her husband and their two (very badly dressed) sons. She loves cashmere sweaters and flat shoes and oversized jewelry. She would love to come help you edit your wardrobe. You can find her online at The Working Closet.

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