The Closet Overhaul

Updated: Aug 17


There’s nothing quite so personal as where we get ready each morning. How we interact with our clothes and our closet sets the tone for the rest of the day. This space should hold all of our favorite clothes, accessories, and memories that make us feel like we could conquer anything. But if our closet is a source of pain and frustration, how fast will that sour our morning mood?

Why didn’t this get hung up? I can’t find the top for this outfit! Where are my good jeans? Is this even clean? Sound familiar?

We hate to see anyone live with a cluttered, overflowing or claustrophobic closet a second longer than they have to! So we got our top closet tips together for a quick guide on how to get the most of the space. No more rushing to get ready only to escape the closet feeling defeated. Time to conquer our fears and dive headfirst into a closet overhaul.

Remove everything from the space

Before we get to some quick tips, if we’re taking this overhaul seriously, we first need to see what we’re working with. Step one, take it all out! Yes, everything! We need to know exactly the extent of what we’re housing in our closet and be able to see all the storage space we have to play with.

Sort

After we have a clean canvas to work with...Step two is to sort! Set aside some bags or bins to use during this part of the process. We’ll need one for each:

  • Toss

  • Donate

  • Sell

  • Review

  • Keep

  • Rehouse elsewhere

Edit

As we look through each piece of clothing we’ve pulled out, there are two major criteria to keep in mind: the condition of the item and its purpose. If we’re honest and ruthless, the transformation will have a lasting impact on not just our closet, but how we feel about the clothes we use every day.

Anything that’s seen better days but now has holes, pilling, stains, rips… Is not fit for anyone to be wearing anymore. Toss. If it can be dry-cleaned, we can discuss keeping it but, let’s ask the bigger question first: why hasn’t this been cleaned sooner? No time? No budget? Don’t love that piece enough? Be honest and our closet will be better off for it.

Now, we come across an item that’s still in good condition but, say, was purchased for a job we no longer have. It is no longer serving a purpose that justifies taking up space in our closet. We don’t love it, we don’t use it - we donate it. If we’re lucky, we’ll also have a category for any high-end, investment pieces still in good enough condition to sell. Whether it’s a local consignment shop or a virtual marketplace, selling items we no longer enjoy is a great way to save them from ending up in a landfill and gives them a second life.

Here is where we need to tackle any clothes that we might still love but simply don’t fit us anymore (and maybe haven’t for a while). Yes, we have a dream to get back into our college-era body, but saving anything for the “one day, eventually, hopefully, maybe” category will never serve us in the long run. Being organized is about complete well-being and loving our bodies here and now is part of a happy, healthy life. If it can be re-purchased, it can be repurposed and put into the donation bin.

This brings us to the penultimate closet category: items to separate and review at a later date. With any sorting session, there may be a handful of items we’re just not sure if we’re ready to part with. That’s okay. Make a temporary space for items so we can revisit and review them again soon. This should be a safe space to keep the clothes in good condition while we make up our minds, but it should also be an area we won’t see every day. Set a reminder to check in with these items in three weeks or three months and if we haven’t thought of anything we set aside in that time, the decision is made. Donate it all! We can take however long we need to decide the fate of these pieces but do not let them take up valuable space for too long! A big hurdle that keeps many of us holding onto material things longer than we should is emotional associations. Don’t be tricked into keeping anything out of guilt. The memories associated with a piece of clothing won’t leave us just because we let go of the item.

And finally, by default, everything else we’re left with will be well-loved, in great condition, and well-deserving of going back into our closet. These are our keepers.

Getting rid of edited items

We’d be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn’t now mention how to get rid of the edited items we just piled into bags. If you want help with how to get rid of these items, take a look at this article we wrote last month about donation options in San Francisco.

Organization

Now comes the fun part of reorganizing and rehousing our favorite pieces. We’ll keep it short and sweet since the process of curating our closet will have made an improvement in and of itself! These tips are totally customizable and will help us make the most of our storage space.

  • Tip 1 - Use the same hangers for the entire closet. This will keep a clean line running through the closet and if able, getting a slim set like the ones here will actually give us more space!

  • Tip 2 - Use shelf/drawer dividers and bins to keep categories tidy. All best intentions are met with life’s realities and when time gets tight, keeping our closet spaces clearly defined will help make sure everything gets back into its rightful home after laundry day.

  • Tip 3 - Fold and/or hang everything the same way. We are forever fans of the file-fold to make sure we can still see our more stackable items, but whichever folding method works for you, stick to it!

  • Tip 4 - Make sure it’s all visible. Add drawers, shelving, risers or more tension rods if needed, but make sure everything that makes it back into our closet is visible at a glance. We love acrylic and mesh for this reason...added structure with inherent visibility.

  • Tip 5 - 1-in-1-out. To keep an edited, curated feel to our closet, nothing new comes in without a hard-earned reason to knock out an existing piece. This practice will also keep us from ever needing a huge purge session again. Win-win!

Well, that’s it. It may take a good cup of coffee and a trusted friend (or a SortJoy organizer) to keep a closet overhaul on track, but we promise the time investment now will be forever worth it. We can’t wait to see all the closet makeovers, tag us with #teamsortjoy!

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