Ready to declutter and organize your clothes? This can be a huge undertaking depending on how big your family is and how much clothing you own. So roll up your sleeves and let’s get to work.
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Quick Links to Info Below
- 1 Organizing Your Clothes
- 2 Don’t Trash Your Clothes
- 3 Managing Your Keep Pile
- 4 Folding and Storing Your Clothes
- 5 Maintenance
Before You Start
- Make sure that your laundry is up to date. It doesn’t have to be all done but you really don’t want baskets of clothing coming your way after you have organized piles of clothes. If it is not up to date, click here to read about organizing your laundry routine.
- Make sure that you have the time to spend on this task. Depending on how much clothes you own, it can be an all-day task.
- This challenge covers your own clothing only. When you are done, you can follow the same steps for the rest of the family later.
Organizing Your Clothes
Gathering Your Clothes
Let’s get started. First, find yourself a nice clean spot to put all of your clothing. The bed is usually what I use because it keeps me close to the closets and dressers. You can also lay down a blanket on the floor and lay your clothing on that.
Now, gather all of your clothing and lay them out on your clean space. When I say everything, I mean everything including shoes, purses, coats, accessories, swimwear, etc.
Empty your closets, chests, drawers, armoires, storage, and any other places you may be keeping your clothes. This includes anything you’ve put away for seasonal reasons.
When laying out your stuff, try to keep the different types of clothing separated as much as possible. So, underwear in one section, tops in another, etc. It doesn’t have to be perfectly sorted, but you should be able to find your clothing types without too much digging.
Start to Whittle Down Your Pile
At this point, you may have huge piles of clothes and you’re asking yourself if you’ve made a mistake. Don’t give up. We are now going to work on making those piles smaller. Going through each type of clothing, separate the following clothes, accessories, or footwear into another pile. These include anything:
- that doesn’t fit
- that is clearly out of style
- you have not worn or used in over a year
- that still has price tags on them (ignore recently purchased items)
- you are keeping for sentimental reasons
Now, let’s talk a little about why you should not have these things above so that you can avoid saving them in the future.
- You should never hold onto clothes that don’t fit as a result of weight loss through dieting and exercising. Keeping larger clothes could actually work against your progress. Keeping them is like ‘saving them in case you gain weight again’. I know, I’ve been there. At the same time, don’t hold onto clothes that you hope to fit in one day. It’s okay to keep a pair of jeans as a benchmark, but not a whole closet full.
- Don’t hold onto clothes you haven’t worn in over a year or still have price tags on them. Clearly, you don’t like them.
- Don’t hold onto to outdated clothes hoping it will come back in style. It usually will come back but not in the same form. It will look more like a Halloween costume then the current style.
- Holding onto items for sentimental reasons? Read on:
Letting Go Some of Your Clothes
For some of you, this may not be an issue, but for others, it can be the thing that makes it hard to get organized. For example, when my dad passed away ten years ago, I held onto my wake/funeral clothes. I couldn’t let them go even when I dropped 50 pounds and they no longer fit.
It took me six years before I could let them go. I realized that they were connected to days that I really didn’t want to remember. I had to become aware that my dad was in my heart and not in those clothes.
Take a look at your ‘sentimental’ clothes and ask yourself why are you holding onto to them. It’s okay to hold onto your high school jersey when your team won a championship game but it’s not okay to save the bottoms or your practice sweats.
A good test to determine if you are holding onto something needlessly is to ask yourself: would I display this in a frame or is it an heirloom piece you plan on passing down? If the answer is no, then it may be time to let it go.
Don’t Trash Your Clothes
Once you’ve decided what needs to go, here are some suggestions for putting them to good use.
Donate Some of Your Clothes
For clothes that are in good condition, donate them to an organization such as the Salvation Army. If you have office clothing, donate them to a women’s shelter. They are especially in need of these types of clothing.
If your clothes are very worn, turn them into rags or click here to read Home Jelly’s list of organizations that will accept and repurpose them for a good cause.
For wedding dresses, I recently learned about ‘Angel Gowns.’ These are gowns specially made for stillborn babies. They are donated to hospitals, funeral homes, and grieving parents free of charge. I can’t think of a better way to repurpose your gown and know that it is greatly appreciated. Click here to read more and make a donation.
Prom dresses and bridesmaid dresses can also be repurposed and donated. Click here to learn more and make a donation.
Repurpose Your Clothes
There are so many ways to repurpose your items if you are somewhat crafty. Perhaps you can make a pillow out of that tie-dye shirt from years ago. Or you can turn a pair of socks into doll dresses. For more creative ideas on repurposing your clothes, check out Pinterest. They have tons of ideas.
Caution: Please do not keep any clothing if you believe it will sit in a pile of unfinished projects that you know you don’t have the time, money, or skill to do.
Make Some Money Back
Chances are you probably don’t have the receipts for those items that still have their price tags. Go online and check to see if stores are willing to take back clothing without a receipt. You can usually find this under store policies.
Kohls is one store that I know of that will give you a refund or store credit without a receipt. If not, consider taking them to a consignment shop so you can make a little money back.
Saying Goodbye Quickly – The When
Now, take these clothes and put them in bags and/or boxes clearly marked with their destination. Donations to local thrift shops should be put in your car right away. If you have the time or the help, get them to the shop as soon as possible.
For donations by mail, get them into a box and tape it up. The point is to get them to where they have to go before you change your mind.
Managing Your Keep Pile
Taking Inventory of Your Clothes – The What
Hopefully, by now your pile of clothes has gotten smaller. Now, we are going to take inventory of each category of clothing. Ask yourself if the amount of this type of clothing or accessory is reasonable for the style you wear most. For example, I really do not like to wear skirts. It would be reasonable then for me to have a skirt or two but not eight.
Also, look for excessive amounts of clothing altogether. Regardless of your style, if you have 48 bras, it may be time to get rid of a few. As before, donate or repurpose these.
Next, let’s separate your pile into two parts: spring/summer and fall/winter wear before moving on.
Folding and Storing Your Clothes
While I learned how to fold my clothes better using the KonMari method, there are some things I do differently. If you don’t know the KonMari method, it is an organizing and storing system created by Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
I truly recommend this book if you’d like to learn more. You can also click here to read my first attempt at KonMari.
Now, if you are unable to get the book, you can also find lots of Pinterest boards and YouTube videos that demonstrate how to fold the KonMari way. Here is my Pinterest board if you’d like to learn more.
Here are some folding and storing suggestions that I follow:
- Ankle socks/booties: sticking my hand into one of the socks, I then insert this sock into the other sock. Then I roll them up and put into a drawer.
- Bras and swimwear: I actually hang these up in my closet. I tried the KonMari method but it was not working out for me at all. You can check out my post on creating a bra organizer here.
- Panties: I keep these organized using narrow shoe boxes.
- Tops: I hang these up in my closet. Folding and storing as Marie Kondo suggests leaves my tops with fold lines that I have to then iron to get out.
Begin by folding and storing your off-season clothing first. The best places to store them are in ‘under-the-bed’ containers, on high out-of-the-way shelves, or in some sort of storage room like an attic.
This keeps your closets and dresser draws from getting too cluttered with clothes you don’t plan on wearing at the moment.
Once you have finished with these, then get to work folding and putting away your current season clothing.
Let’s talk about the hard part now. In order to keep your clothes organized, you need to stay on top of the methods you learned. After every laundry load, continue folding and storing your clothes religiously.
You may also want to be mindful of your shopping habits. I was guilty of buying clothes on clearance only to find out that I never wore them (no wonder they were on clearance).
A good rule to follow: if you buy something, then you have to give up a similar item from your closet.
Next, you will have to schedule two days out of the year to cycle through your seasonal clothing. As you switch out clothes, make sure to through an editing process and ask yourself if you really want to keep something for another year. If you don’t then add it to your donate/repurpose pile.
I know this may seem like a lot for some of you, but you can do it. It really is a lifestyle change for a lifetime. Take your time and watch your spaces transform into something you love and not loathe.
YAY! You’re Done!
Good luck and let me know how everything is going by commenting below. Need help or support? Join our Facebook Group tribe, Making Home Your Way, by clicking here.
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Here are some related you posts you may want to read along with this one:
- How to Organize a Stuffy Master Bedroom Closet
- How to Declutter, Consolidate, and Organize Your Master Bedroom
Also, don’t forget to sign up for our weekly organizing challenges. Enter your name and email address at the end of this post to receive a new challenge every week.
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