When’s the last time you did a deep clean of every single piece of clothing you own? (And sorry, swapping out your seasonal wardrobe twice a year does not count.) I’m talking about taking every dress out of the closet and removing every T-shirt from its drawer.
Sure, this deep clean will be therapeutic to some, but that’s not the point. The real purpose is to inventory what you currently have, because there’s absolutely no reason I should still be holding on to that Bebe tube top from college. My personal rule is to toss anything that hasn’t been worn in the past two years—but I tend to hold on to anything that is sentimental or might come back into style in a few years. Figure out your own personal boundaries for tossing versus keeping and stick to it throughout this entire organizational process.
Once I take all the pieces out of my closet, I make sure to put away the keepers strategically. My tip is to sort items by category and then by color. This will look different for everyone, as we all have different closets, but my tiny closet is split in half, so on the right side, I start with sleeveless shirts, then short-sleeve shirts, then long-sleeve shirts, followed by dresses based on the same three categories. After that comes skirts, sorted from short to long, and pants, also by length. On the left side of the closet, I put blazers and other light jackets closest to the middle and put heavier coats and puffers toward the back of the rack.
Once my closet is done, I do the same with my dresser. I tend to organize my drawers based on use, followed by color. For example, my favorite black leggings (all four pairs) are sitting in the front of their drawer, while the stack of pink leggings (ranging from baby to hot) are at the back.
What did I learn from the first time I did a deep closet clean? Well, I was very excited about my newly neat room. I also conveniently realized that I’ve acquired eight perfectly great white button-downs, even though I hardly ever wear this style. It also showed me that I’ve got summer dresses on lock, but I’m lacking in the long-sleeve dress department and I could definitely start investing in trousers instead of a new pair of jeans.
Now that you’ve got a handle on what exactly your wardrobe is composed of, make a list of the items you want to wear more and where you’d wear them. I totally forgot about that blingy gold dress that’s just asking to be worn to a party, and I promised myself I will figure out a way to wear more white button-downs, like layering them under cashmere sweaters.
2. Try On The Pieces You Haven’t Worn In A While
While going through your clothes, take some time to do a fashion show...for yourself. Whether it’s the cold-shoulder blouse you bought a year ago and wore once or the leather skirt that feels too va-va-voom for most events, you might find the once lackluster piece actually fits better now or goes with a piece you’ve since acquired. Do this with the pieces you’re planning to give away too.
But rather than just trying things on for size, see if you can build a proper outfit with each piece. Go on, add shoes, a bag or other accessories to truly complete your look. If the outfit feels comfortable and like something you’d wear, then snap a picture.