I’m a big fan of spring cleaning during any season, not just spring! I typically do a big purge when it starts to get warm, and then again when it starts to get cold. There’s something refreshing about a full closet clean-out after a long summer or winter. In today’s post, I’m sharing how to spring clean your closet, along with some of my favorite storage and organization items.
Purging your closet can be time-consuming and it does require a bit of effort, but the payoff is worth it. Have you ever stepped into your closet and felt totally overwhelmed, or like you have nothing to wear? If so, it’s time to spring clean the closet.
Although the immediate outcome of spring cleaning your closet is typically more space, here are a few other benefits of a giant purge:
- You may find pieces you forgot you had
- You’ll know exactly what you have, to avoid accidentally purchasing duplicates or too-similar items
- You’ll be less overwhelmed
- You’ll be able to save time and effort in the mornings so you can easily dress for success
- You’ll be more inspired and excited to wear what you own when your items are organized
- You’ll know that every item inn your closet fits you and you like wearing it
How to Spring Clean Your Closet
Start Early in the Day
Cleaning out your closet can take a while, so start early in the day when you have the energy and time to clean out and reorganize your space. I like to dedicate a full day when I’m doing a big closet spring cleaning for two reasons.
First, it always takes longer than anticipated to spring clean your closet and starting early will ensure you have extra hours in the day to finish the entire thing. Second, if you go to bed with a big mess, you’ll go to bed feeling unorganized. Then when you wake up in the same big mess, chances are you’ll be too overwhelmed to pick up and finish where you left off.
I’ve been there, and it has taken me weeks and even up to a month to chip away at a self-inflicted, overwhelming project that could’ve taken a single day. Dealing with the stress of a messy closet every single day for weeks is worse than just having one day of it.
Dedicate a Space for Items to Give Away
Before you start to spring clean your closet, create a dedicated “give away space” that’s physically separate from the area you’re working in. This helps to keep your cleaning space clear so it’s easy to organize the items you decide to keep. Most importantly though, having a separate space also helps to ensure items you want to hold onto won’t accidentally get hidden in the discard pile.
Tackle Overwhelming Stuff First
There’s always at least one section in everyone’s closet that overwhelms them. Maybe it’s your shoes. Maybe it’s sweaters. Or maybe it’s handbags.
Whatever your scary spot is, focus on that area first. You’ll have more energy, time, and patience to figure out what you want to keep. After that, it’s all up from there!
Don’t Forget Your Drawers
If you have a chest of drawers in your bedroom, make sure you’re also tackling the clothes in there while you’re working on your closet.
Try on Everything for the Upcoming Season
Yes, you read that right. When I clean in the spring, I try on every warm weather item I own. Dresses, shorts, tank tops, etc. Then in the fall, I try on cold weather pieces like jeans, sweaters, and jackets.
If something doesn’t fit, it immediately goes to the discard/give away pile. It’s tedious, but doing this gives you an automatic starting point for the rest of your closet organization journey.
Use the KonMari Method
I’m a big fan of using the KonMari method when organizing my home, and my closet is no different.
The KonMari method is a tidying process created by decluttering and organizing expert Marie Kondo. Her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, offers specific organizing techniques she’s perfected over time. She offers a lot of great information. But the big takeaway of the KonMari method is to keep only items that spark joy when you hold and feel them.
Although lot of people use the year rule – give away anything you haven’t worn in over a year – when spring cleaning their closet, I prefer Kondo’s “spark joy” method. I’ve personally found that by using this method, I like wearing every piece I own in my closet. By default, you won’t run into the issue of not wearing something in over a year.
Remember, you’ll have already set aside the items that don’t fit you, so everything you’re assessing will be items you already know will fit.
To put the KonMari method very simply, take everything in your closet and put it all in one area. Pick up every single clothing item, shoe, and accessory and see how each item makes you feel. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your brain can decipher which items you truly want to keep.
Discard Before You Re-Organize
Another element of the KonMari method is to make sure you discard everything you don’t want before you start putting things back into your closet.
Once you have discarded your unwanted items, you’ll be able to:
- Have a firm grasp on what you have left in each category
- Be able to determine much space you need to store everything
- Figure out sizes and quantities of any baskets or organization items you may need
Deep Clean Your Closet
While you have everything in your closet off the shelves, take this time as an opportunity to deep clean your closet. Dust and wipe down any drawers or shelves. And vacuum any places that are normally hard to reach when your closet is filled.
Organize by Category and Color
When you’re ready to put everything back in your closet, organize by category, and then color. Do what makes sense for you and how you use your closet. I like to hang my jeans, but some people like to fold their jeans.
Here’s how I break down the categories in my closet:
- Non-denim pants
- Short sleeve tops
- Long sleeve tops
- Sweaters (folded on shelves)
- Short dresses
- Long dresses
- Short sleeve t-shirts
- Long sleeve t-shirts
- Workout gear
Within each of these categories, I’ll then color-code all the pieces. Every single category follows the same color-coding pattern.
Treat Your Closet Like Your Favorite Uncluttered Store
Have you ever noticed when you walk into a tidy store that has its clothing neatly hanging or folded, you’re less stressed about shopping than a store that’s messy and cluttered? You want your closet to feel like the first store, not the second one.
When hanging items, hang them facing the same direction. Button up buttons and zip-up zippers. When folding items, try to fold them so that they’re all the same width and face everything in the same direction in your drawer. Here’s a video on how I have started to fold my t-shirts, and it really helps. These tiny actions will keep your closet and drawers looking put together and tidy.
Toss your mismatched wire hangers and store hangers. Invest in uniform hangers so that every item you own hangs from the same thing. I’m a big fan of velvet hangers; they’re super thin to help save space and the velvet flocking prevents your clothes from slipping.
Invest in the Right Storage
Use nice, woven baskets on top shelves to conceal items in a uniform fashion instead of cardboard boxes.
If you have dead space on some of your closet walls, utilize those areas for more storage. Buy some cute hooks to hang hats, belts, bags, or even a robe.
If you’re working with limited drawer space, purchase drawer dividers or drawer organizers to help separate different categories that need to live in the same area.
More Storage Tips for Your Closet
When storing your shoes, you can create a little extra space in your closet by alternating them. Take your pair of shoes and put one shoe facing toward you. Then flip the other shoe so it’s facing away from you. You may not necessarily create enough space on your shelf for another pair of shoes, but you’ll get a little more wiggle room between each pair so your shelf doesn’t look or feel stuffed.
If you prefer or need to keep your shoes in boxes due to closet space, these stackable clear shoe boxes allow you to see what’s inside while maintaining a cohesive appearance. (I also use these boxes to store headbands and belts!)
When storing bags, make sure that they are always filled with something to prevent them from sagging and looking worn. This helps to extend the life of your bag. You can buy special purse pillow inserts, but I just use tissue paper or whatever filling comes inside the bag when I buy it.
For slouchier bags, I separate them using these shelf dividers so that they keep their upright position.
Oversized or Seasonal Items
Unless you have the luxury of a giant dream closet, oversized, occasion, or seasonal pieces can take up important closet real estate, especially if you don’t reach for those items often.
Put any items that you use less regularly on higher shelves and keep what you do use more often at eye level. These seasonal items can include snowshoes, winter accessories, and duffel bags.
In our tiny NYC apartment, I use these clothing storage bags to stow seasonal clothing on the top shelf, and then these under-the-the bed clothing storage bags for coats.
If you’re super short on space, use vacuum bags and store them on a higher shelf or even under the bed.
Although I have a spacious closet, I do not have any hanging area for full-length dresses or long skirts. If you’re in the same situation as me, the easy solution is to hang the item in half over a hanger like you would any pair of pants.
I do a big closet clean every spring and fall, but the real secret to maintaining an organized closet is to regularly do smaller clean outs a few other times a year. I like to do these in the summer and winter to check in with items that may no longer spark joy or didn’t serve me in previous seasons. By doing small clean outs throughout the year, it makes the big spring closet cleaning a whole lot less daunting.
I’ve been on a super closet-organization kick lately…love these tips!
Cathy, your Poor Little It Girl
Ohh yes! I saw your laundry room project on IG! It looks great!
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