Health + Wellness

How to Declutter Your Closet: A Step By Step Guide to Getting Rid of the Mess

A few days ago, I embarked on the project of cleaning out my closet. And to be honest, I had no idea where to start. There were clothes all over the floor, things half-hung off hangers and piled on top of shelves. Half of the items in there were things I hadn’t worn in years, or things I’d been holding on to due to sentimental value.

Here’s a snapchat video I took of my closet before I cleaned it. Messy, right?

Anyways, that mountain of a mess is where I had to start. Since everything else was on the floor, I pulled all my shirts and pants off the racks and tossed them to the ground, so I could start from scratch.

Step One: Donations

Based on the amount of clothing you have, grab one or two large trash bags. I’m going to college in the fall and wanted to donate about fifty percent of my clothing, so I grabbed two giant trash bags. I opened the bags and kept them at the door of my closet.

Then, I went through the giant pile of clothes piece by piece. I held each one up and made a split second keep or donate judgment.

If you say keep: put the item on a hanger and hang it back on the shelf. It doesn’t have to be in any particular order just yet.

If you say donate: put the item in your trash bag.

Once you’ve sorted through the pile on your floor, you should have a sizable amount of clothing in the bag and the rest put up on the shelves. Now, it’s time for our second round of cleansing.

A lot of the clothing you put back up on the hangers is stuff you don’t need. You’re holding on to them for sentimental value, or because you think that someday you’ll wear those jeans or that top. But if you haven’t worn it to date, you’re not going to wear it in the future.

Comb through the items you’ve hung up, and this time, take more than a split second to decide. If that item of clothing is something you really don’t need, put it in the donations bag.

Once you’re done with these two phases of sorting, you should still have about half of your clothing hung up in a random order on the shelf. This takes us to step two.

Step Two: Organizing

Now that you’ve got a clean floor and a rack full of clothes, it’s time to start organizing. Start by separating your pants and shirts. If your closet has a shelf, maybe transfer all your pants there and leave your shirts hanging from the racks.

Once you’ve got those separated, categorize even further. I separated my pants into these categories: jeans, skirts, shorts, and sweatpants. I separated my shirts into: dresses, tank tops/crop tops, t-shirts, hoodies, and long sleeved shirts.

I then separated each category with a few inches of space, so I knew exactly where each type of clothing was in my closet. If you want to go further and organize by color and texture, go ahead! I kept it simple though.

Step Three: General Decluttering

Once you’re done, throw away any tags or clutter that’s on the floor, and make sure to vacuum! You don’t know what’s been on the floor under your clothes for so long. Good luck, and don’t forget to take those bags to the donation bins!

Neha Magesh is originally from Washington State, and she now studies journalism at NYU. She is the founder and Editor in Chief of The Spearhead Magazine. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, running, baking, and writing.

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