Closet organizing – part I
Closet organizing is something you should do starting the capsule wardrobe adventure. Before the minimalist approach settles in our heads for good, it should be noticeable in our environment. That is why it is worth to start with a thorough closet cleaning – to know what you have, what is worth getting rid of, and what is missing. This way, you create the impression that you have gained a certain space in life. It is especially worth doing when you close some life stages. When the Magic of Tidying book fell into my hands, I got rid of all unnecessary things from my apartment. Besides, there weren’t that many of them. However, I must admit that cleaning my closet was the most difficult and unpleasant thing for me. Why – that in a moment.
Closet organizing: Step by step procedure
Let’s start with some theory. A lot has been written about cleaning wardrobes and the whole theory comes down to a few points. I will introduce them to you, and then refer to my own experience.
You take everything out of wardrobes, cupboards, drawers and even a laundry bin. The point is for all things to be in one place. They can be sorted immediately by type: blouses in one place, pants in another, etc.
Why? First, you know what and how much of it you have. Little by little you begin to realize the excesses and the deficiencies. The amount of clothes can overwhelm you, especially when you know you have to make order eventually. But remember that if you don’t take them out of your closet or you decide to stuff them all back in instead, you still have that overwhelming amount of clothes and accessories at home. The first thought may also be that you have too many clothes and you will gain energy for cleaning.
- Clean the wardrobe. When was the last time it was totally empty and you could refresh it? When will it be completely empty next time? Yes, this may be your only opportunity 🙂
- Go through all the stuff. First you check if cloth is, worn out, stained or damaged. If so, it should end up in the trash can. (Supporting question for undecided, if, for example, “the stain is almost invisible.” How would I feel if I was seen in this by someone I like / someone important to me / enemy / boss / client.) If item is okay, it’s time for more questions and the eternal conflict of the heart and the mind:
Do I like it? (if you don’t like something, consider whether you will wear it.)
Do I look good in it? (If you know that you look bad in something, you will spoil your well-being and decrease your confidence every time you put it on. These are the clothes that in the moddle of the day you come to an idea of changing.)
Do I wear it on a daily basis? (If you do not wear something or you do it seldom, consider whether it is necessary for you to have it at all. It is said that if you haven’t wear cloth for a year, it must be discarded. At this point I recommend common sense. If you have a timeless outfit for a special ocasion, and in a year, two or even three, this opportunity did not come, do not get rid of it just because there is a rule that everyone refers to. I myself have elegant dresses or shoes in my wardrobe that have not been used a year or two, until the opportunity came and they are still there. I found a place for them where they calmly wait to be worn and do not occupy my “working” space – it is easier for me to do something when it is clear.)
Would I buy it today? (applies to everything bought on impulse, from the need to improve one’s mood, or not matching the preferred style).
Does it go well with anything in my closet? Common sense comes in handy in this case as well. If you like a cloth, you look good in it and you would like to wear it in the future but it doesn’t go with any other clothes you have, maybe it is worth designing such a set and buy the missing elements. There is only one condition. This must be done as soon as possible.
Depending on the answers to those questions, clothes should fall into one of four categories: closet box (includes cleaning or repairing), throwing away box, giving away box and selling box (why not?). But I bet there will be Category 5, called differently: I don’t know / I feel sorry for it / or maybe… Whatever you call it, there will be things that probably have to wait until you grow up to get rid of them. It’s hard. There is no need to tear your hair off your head because of that.
You plan the closet. Answer the following questions for better closet organizing:
Was the current layout comfortable for me?
Is what I use most often at hand?
Do I always know what and where my cloth is?
What is the best way for me to sort? By colors, purpose, frequency of use?
How to store items that are rarely use? (and yet timeless and of good quality, so too valuable to get rid of)
What will be the easiest way for me to keep my wardrobe tidy?
Where will I put things that I don’t know what to do with yet?
Think about the things you have chosen. How long do you want to have them? Does the method of storage extend their life?
- Place the clothes. In my closet dresses, shirts and outerwear are on hangers. Other clothes are folded the Marie Kondo method (like this). But still I need to iron.
So much for the theory. In practice, it was not so easy in my case. I did the first cleaning of the wardrobe exactly according to the plan. The amount of stuff was overwhelming, but it was encouraging to me. I had many things that were difficult for me to part with. But no one said I had to do it once and for all. I did it four times (!) before it was done right. And it was time well spent because I didn’t make any decisions that I would regret later. Only one thing was painful. Many of the things I got rid of were almost unworn, reckless or completely unnecessary and of poor quality. Some of them got damaged after a few times of using – for example, a jacket made of a material that quickly “curled up”. (that’s why I want to learn about the materials and composition of clothes) I calculated the cost of these things at about 500 euro. This is a considerable amount for which you can buy a few good-quality items that will not go away after a year. And I really wish I had spent it on something decent. At such moments, minimalism wins.
Apart from the first attempt, I tried to thoroughly clean the wardrobe three more times (on average once every two months). It wasn’t as tough as the first one, asI just had to go over things. Each time I got rid of 1-2 bags of clothes until only what I needed left. During this six-month period, I bought a few things and the money was spend good like never before.
Closet organizing: conclusions
It is worth to clean the closet thoroughly once in a while and methodically
If you wait with it, there is a great risk that you will spend money wrong buying clothes by then.
It’s good to know how much you have, as you may find that you already have all or almost everything you need.
Counting up how much has been spent on things that ultimately turn out to be waste hurts, but allows you to develop other shopping habits.
If (like me) you go through the thorough closet organizing several times before it reaches your minimalism level, go through the process from start to finish each time.
None of the things put aside “for consideration” ultimately survived in my closet.
In the meantime you can read about clothing base.