Nov 6, 2013

Closet Chat: Clean it Out

As long as I can remember, mothers have been telling their daughters and magazines have been telling women to clean out your closets in the springtime. Spring Cleaning as it's called, is supposed to be a total scrub down of the home and purging of any old, worn-out, unused items. I personally hate doing this in the spring. For one, it's usually too hot already in Florida to be going through all that and the pool is probably calling my name, which let's be honest—that always beats a closet clean out.
Instead, I like to do a huge closet clean out in November (and then smaller clean outs every few months or so after that). There are a few reasons for this: the temperature has finally started to tip toward cool, and my unwanted items may have only been worn a few times and when donated to Goodwill, could potentially be used as someone else's Christmas present, dress to a holiday party or something else. So, to start of November right, I did my yearly, big clean out this past weekend. I went through everything: shirts, pants, shorts, dresses, shoes, handbags as well as the sock and intimate drawers.

I always start with socks, bras and underwear because I never donate any of that stuff (gross) and can easily just toss stuff into a trash bag and be done. I'm a huge advocate for instant gratification, can you tell? By cleaning those drawers out first I've already checked off one of my mini goals and feel a sense of completion, which makes it easier to move onto the next item of business.

Clean Out Unwanted Clothing:
When your mom suggests to make three piles: keep, trash and donate you should actually listen to her advice. Well, except for the keep pile; why am I going to make a pile of items I'm going to keep, which I then will have to put back when I'm done? That part makes no sense to me. My "Keep Pile" stays in the closet/drawer.

For my donate pile, I actually roll in a garment rack from the garage that I normally use as a drying space for wet clothes. This way, I can pull items out of the closet, move them to the garment rack and I'm able to move a lot quicker. Then, when I've pulled out all the items I no longer want to keep, I can easily go back through the pieces I've added to my "Donate Pile" and make sure I really want to toss something.

Usually, I always go with my gut instinct and don't put anything back though. There's a reason it went to the garment rack and didn't stay in the closet in the first place. So, then I go through the items again and pick out which clothing items are too worn or raggedy to donate; anything with a stain, tear or anything else that you wouldn't personally want to pay for at Goodwill, go ahead and pull off the hanger and put in the trash.

Once you've gone through and thrown away anything too bad to donate, you should now have only the items you wish to donate remaining on the garment rack. Now, you'll want to start pulling pieces off the hangers, fold them as nice as possible and add them to a large bag (I tend to use a white trash bag from the kitchen). The better shape you can get the clothing items to Goodwill the better. It makes the sorting person's job a lot easier when items are folded nicely and stacked instead of balled up and wrinkly.

Hang Bags and Purses:
At this point you're done with your socks, bras, underwear and have gone through all the clothes in your closet. I'm going to be honest, a few hours have past during all that sorting and the last thing you probably want to do is keep going. Take a break, get a drink or a snack, play with your cat(s), but be sure to go back to that closet of yours and finish the job. It's time to clean out shoes, purses, wallets, scarves, hats and any other accessory item you've got lurking within your closet.

The same "too worn out/gross to donate" rule applies with these items too, mainly shoes. Please don't donate those really old flip flops that show the sweat/dirt outline of your feet. No one, I mean no one will want those, go ahead and trash 'em. Same goes for sneakers; if they smell, are so dirty you can't even tell if they used to be white or the bottom sole of the shoe is separating from the rest of the shoe—trash 'em.

Once you've thrown away all items that are in too bad of shape to donate, start adding them to another trash bag. If you're donating wallets or purses make sure to clean them out entirely and check all the pockets—twice. Make sure not to leave any receipts with account information or personal information in the wallet or purse. You don't need anyone getting hold of information you don't want them to have. At this point, you should be pretty much done pulling out all the unwanted items, now you should probably organize what you have left.

Now that your closet is cleaned out, you probably want to organize everything. If you don't do it now, you're not going to do it. Ever. I don't organize my closet by color because any time I ever do laundry, I have to keep putting clothes back by color and because I hate doing laundry and putting clothes away, I know I'm not going to keep up with that. Instead, I organize my clothes by type. So, all my sleeveless blouses/shells I keep together, all other blouses I keep together and put them right next to the sleeveless blouses etc. The list below is how I break down items by type:

  • Sleeveless blouses
  • All other blouses
  • Tank tops
  • Short sleeve Ts
  • 3/4 Ts and Long Sleeve Ts
  • Buttondowns
  • Cardigans
  • Sweaters
  • Hoodies/Activewear
  • Jackets
  • Dresses by Length (short to long)
  • Pants

The purses that I keep, I line up on a shelf so they don't get smooshed and banged up. Coordinating wallets go inside the appropriate purse and any other wallets or clutches will end up in a box or basket for safe keeping.

Box Miscellaneous Items:
Any pieces that can easily be lost within a closet, I'll group together and place into baskets within my closet. So, as I mentioned above, random wallets or clutches will go in a basket, winter items like rainboot liner socks or gloves will go together and slippers will be put in another.

Scarves I either fold into squares and stack them on a shelf so I can still see which ones are which or I have my more popularly worn scarves hooked onto shower curtain rings, which are hooked onto a sturdy plastic hanger. That way, I can pull them off the ring quickly and just loop them back on when I'm done.

Add Fragrance:
If you've made it this far I applaud you. Cleaning out and organizing an entire closet is no easy feat. By this point I'm usually indulging in a glass of wine as I whine about how my back hurts and cursing myself for starting such a big project on a Saturday that could've been enjoyed doing something, anything else. Now, all I do is add some kind of fragrance to my closet and I'm done. I'll either use a fabric refresher/linen spray much like how Abercrombie goes around spraying the clothes in the store every so often. Only, I do it like once a day until I forget to do it. The other thing I'll do is stash one of those scented sachets somewhere in my closet.

I bet you never thought I'd be done with this post huh? Well, I'm done and since you've now completed this entirely too long post on cleaning out your closet, you can no longer procrastinate on your own closet clean out.

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