organise your closet

Have you ever been scared to open your closet doors? Worried a mountain of clothes will come tumbling out and bury you? Worse, can you even open you closet?

Sometimes we don’t realise how many clothes we have until there’s simply no room for more, and at that point, it’s definitely time to start getting rid of some of it. You’ll have room for more pieces, and if you know you’re going to have to move one day, you won’t waste time moving clothes you don’t even want.

What you need is a wardrobe makeover. Get started with our wardrobe break down and let the organising begin.

What should your wardrobe look like?

Whether you’re still in high school, blazing through college or working in an office, there are some pieces of clothing that serve as the foundation of a wardrobe. These are versatile pieces that can be easily mixed and matched in order to create a dozen different looks. Whether it’s an internship interview, coffee with your friends or a dinner meeting, you’ll always have the perfect outfit.

looking at closet
Looking for these items will help you see what you wear the most. Your wardrobe should be made up mostly of these staple items:

  • Pants
    • One or two pairs of jeans, preferably one without holes. You’ll be able to wear these on a casual Friday.
    • One or two pairs of shorts.
    • Black pants, wide leg or cigarette skinny, whichever you prefer
    • Khaki or grey pants of whichever style you prefer
  • T-shirts
    • A few lounge t-shirts that you’ll wear mostly on the weekend
    • Short sleeve t-shirts that can be worn to a professional setting
  • Tops
    • A button-down. White is the most versatile colour, but you might prefer other colours
    • A few sweaters to keep you warm when it snows
    • A few long sleeved tees to layer
    • Cardigans and sweatshirts
    • Dressy blouse or two
  • Coats
    • Spring jacket
    • Wool or equally heavy coat
    • Blazer, preferably black. Though other colours can very cute, stick to at least a black or grey one for now
  • Skirts and Dresses
    • Pencil skirt in a black or grey
    • A day dress for weekends
    • A little black dress, because of course
  • Shoes
    • Black heels, you choose the height
    • Ballet flats
    • Boots
    • Sneakers

Other than these items, there’s no need to fill your closet with much else so organise your closet around them. These pieces never go out of style and they can almost always be repurposed. Anything else like crop tops or cargo pants will probably go out of style (again) so there isn’t a good reason to hang onto them.

Keep this list in mind as you begin going through your closet.

The Attire Test

trying on clothes

Set aside a full afternoon for this task because you’re about to go through and organise your closet piece by piece. It will take a while, but when you’re done, you’ll have so much more room for new clothing you’ll actually wear.

In order for you to keep an item of clothing, it must pass the attire test, which has two parts.

  • Get rid of if:
    • It’s seen better days. The item is ripped or damaged (beyond a few holes in jeans), or has an unsightly stain or other major fault you won’t be able to mend.
    • It no longer looks nice on you. The material is stretched out and it does nothing for your figure.
    • You’d feel vintage wearing it. Not the good kind of vintage, but the what-were-we-thinking kind, what you would let your kids play dress-up in one day. Don’t let them do that. Just get rid of the clothing.
    • It’s redundant. You have a so many sweaters, and you never wear this one so what’s the point?
    • It’s got an “if” attached to it, as in “If I ever get asked to be an extra on Game of Thrones, I’ll wear this.” Maybe you have all the luck in the world, but chances are you probably won’t be wearing that furry vest (you’ll need it for Winterfell, right?), so just get rid of it.
    • It was an unnecessary guilty pleasure. Maybe it was a seemingly stylish pair of jeans or a cute-at-the-time top you paid too much for, but whatever it was, it’s taking up space in your closet.
  • Hang it back up if:
    • You cannot live without the top. You adore it, and that’s all that matters.
    • It makes you feel incredibly hot and sexy.
    • It screams the certain style you want to project. Want that tough, rocker look? A leather skirt and some motorcycle boots would amp up the volume.
    • It’s a staple. Black pumps, a white tank top, black slacks, they’re all items that can be worn so many different ways. They help you layer as well as put together a professional look for the office.
    • It’s a favourite in need of minor repairs. If you can sew or are able to take it to a tailor, it’s definitely worth saving the clothes you love. Just be sure it’s worth the extra time and money.

The Hanger Test

hanging your clothes

picking out clothes by keepingtime_ca 2009 | CC BY SA

If you still find yourself having problems getting rid of clothes or convincing yourself that you’ll totally wear those too-small jeans, there is another method you can try: the hanger test. It’s a little more visual and it’s gradual so you will be able to see before your very eyes what you do and do not wear.

Hang up as many clothing articles on hangers as possible and organise them in your closest. The hooks should all be facing the same direction, either away from you or towards you. After you’ve picked out and outfit, worn it and are ready to hang it back up, put the clothing on the hangers, but reverse the direction of the hook. This will indicate that you have worn that item of clothing.

After a month or two, you’ll be able to see which items you really do wear and which ones aren’t really part of your wardrobe. Box up those other pieces and donate them. Do this every season to keep track of what sweaters, t-shirts and dresses you’re wearing.

The Split-Second Test

organized closet

If, after all of that, you still find yourself with a packed closet, try one last test: the split-second test.

Imagine that you are in a store right now and look at the article of clothing. Would you spend money on it now? If not, it’s time to let it go. As you get older and start balancing your own budget, you know that you have to spend your money wisely. You can’t buy every piece of clothing you sort of like. You better love it and know how often you’re going to wear it. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Featured image: closet reorganization by Liz 2009 | CC BY