Closets - Clearing Clutter & Categorizing

When we start talking about clutter, I find the majority of people struggle most with clearing out their closet. It doesn’t matter if you have a huge walk in, or a tiny cupboard like space, chances are it is housing too much stuff that never gets worn. People are funny when it comes to clothing. We either get extremely attached or wear it once and never see it again. Either way, a solid closet clearing is an AMAZING way to lighten your load (mostly a physical, clutter type load, but also quite the mental load).

Here is a quick and dirty step by step on how to clear out that closet:

  1. OUT:Take everything out! EVERYTHING! Socks, hangers, lint balls…take it all out. Don’t leave anything inside of your closet, give it a solid wipe down/vacuum/swiffer, and marvel at how much space you actually have.

  2. CATEGORIZE: Separate your mountain of clothing into categorized piles. It’s important to have multiple precise piles rather than large generally categorized piles. By that I mean ‘sweaters’, ‘t-shirts’, ‘long sleeves’, and ‘leggings’, ‘denim’, ‘skirts’, rather than ‘tops’ and ‘bottoms’. I assure you it will help you understand which categories are saturated with too many items and help you realize if there are any categories you are actually lacking quality items in.

  3. CATEGORIZE AGAIN: This step is usually for my Canadian babes, or anyone that lives in a climate range of -30 to +30 in a year. We obviously tend to hold onto a few more necessary items that are seasonal like parkas, boots, or bikinis. You don’t need to get rid of these things every time a new season comes around, but if it’s out of season, it should not be taking up room in your closet. Separate your now smaller mountains into seasonal piles. Right now, in January, you should have a Tupperware bin that is the new home for any of your bikinis, shorts, and sandals. House this bin in a designated storage or garage space (it will have it’s own clear out when that season comes back around). And visa versa, if it’s summer, tuck your parka and boots away and out of your closet.

  4. PURGE: Okay so I’m not a HUGE fan of the word purge because most people get scared or overwhelmed at the idea that they have to throw everything they own out. I assure you, this isn’t the case. A good, productive purge is about being HONEST with yourself and letting go of things that no longer serve you (and possibly haven’t served you for years).

  5. PILE: Dedicate four corners of your room to a separate pile. KEEP, DONATE, TRASH, SELL. Go through every item and assign it a corner. I find it most productive to put things immediately into opaque black garbage bags no matter what corner, so that I (or my clients) can’t be indecisive once they’ve chosen to donate or trash an item. If your initial response is not one of excitement for that piece of clothing, then give it a new home.

  6. DEDICATE SPACE: This is where we can help immensely! Everyone clutters their closet differently, which means everyone needs a different method for organizing it properly. If you hang and pile things, I would never suggest folding all of your clothing into tiny squares…it won’t be sustainable. Likewise, if you prefer folding, I would suggest finding some built in storage solutions if you only have a hanging bar in your closet. This part is personal and different for everyone based on what they NEED from their closet space.

  7. FOLLOW THROUGH: This step is huge. What good is cleaning out your closet and creating space for yourself if you let your collection of now filled, black garbage bags sit around your house?! I’ll tell you, it’s no good. It also becomes a temptation to second guess yourself on things you were certain you didn’t have use for. Pack those bags in your vehicle and take them to donations centres, youth and women’s shelters, wherever they need to go to be out of YOUR SPACE.

  8. CELEBRATE: Give yourself a good ol’ pat on the back for actually taking the time and following through with your commitment to decluttering your space.

Remember, you don’t always have to think wwmkd (What Would Marie Kondo Do). Everyone clutters differently so everyone will declutter differently. If the thought of folding anything into tiny squares makes you nauseous, try a new method. It’s not about following one particular method to succeed, rather, finding the method that will be convenient and sustainable for your lifestyle. Your closet should be a treasure chest for your favourite items, not sweat stained tees and hole-y socks.


Team Tidy