Cleaning Out Your Life: One Closet at a Time
A clean and organized closet provides many benefits: better space utilization, your items are organized and accessible, not to mention the biggest gains: an organized closet space adds to the harmony of your home, as well as your mental wellbeing. Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world, and because everything carries with it energy, the mess in our environment can affect how we feel subconsciously. We might suddenly feel very irritable without knowing why. Your closet and the surface spaces of your home are good places to start this cleaning process. This will result in a deeply therapeutic and fulfilling experience.
I did a deep closet cleaning a year ago, and let me tell you, such heavy ‘mental bags’ were lifted off my shoulders. I gave away 11 bags worth of clothing and shoes (see picture) and I felt like a new person: empowered, organized, light and a new beginning.
Here are some strategies for cleaning out your closet space…
Make sure to set aside sufficient time for cleaning. To maximize effectiveness, set aside at least an hour for decluttering and organizing your closet space, or for big cleaning jobs, several sections of time over several days.
Part 1: Sort and Remove Clutter
Step 1 – Get Three Boxes
Removing the clutter is the first step. For this, you will need three boxes and a trash bag.
- Box A – holds items that belong in a place other than your closet.
- Box B – is for items you no longer need and will donate to charity.
- Box C - is for items you should get rid of but feel emotionally unready to give up, i.e., that $100 shirt you bought 2 years ago but never wore.
- Trash bag is for any trash you find.
Step 2 – Sort Quickly
Sort through each item in your closet and decide very quickly which items to keep and which to give away. As you sort, here are several things to consider:
- Have you used the item in the past year? If not, it’s probably time to let it go.
- Do you own more than one of an item? If so, do you really need multiples of one item?
- As you sort clothing, make sure each item fits and still looks attractive. If not, donate or trash it.
- For shoes, make sure each pair corresponds to at least one set of clothing you actually wear. If not, there isn’t really a reason to keep them.
- With memorabilia, decide if you truly need to keep it. Can you take a picture of it instead and give the item away?
Step 3 – Move Boxes
After you’ve finished sorting,
- Box A – The contents should be distributed to the correct place in your home.
- Box B – Take it directly to your vehicle to give to a local thrift store or charity the next time you’re out.
- Box C – Set it aside for a month. If you don’t need the items inside within a month, it’s likely you never will. You can then donate them to charity.
- Trash – throw away
Part 2: Organize
Because your closet is now cleaned out, it will be much easier to organize. Consider the following organizing tips:
- Try using stackable see-through plastic bins for your storage items. This allows you to easily see what’s inside.
- Take some time to organize your clothing in a system that works for you. Many people separate clothing by type – pants and tops, work clothing and casual clothing, or winter clothing and summer clothing. Others separate clothing by color which has the side benefit of making your closet attractive as well as organized. The method you choose is completely up to you; just choose a system that makes sense for your life.
- For example, I separate my major sections by business casual, evenings and slacks. Within each section, I separate the pants and the tops. Within the tops, I separate button down shirts with casual blazers. I also separate the button-down shirts by blacks, whites, stripes, and other colors. I keep heavier items such as blazers, jackets on the ends of the closet, to keep out of the way from the middle sections, giving the closet a ‘light’ feeling.
- It may be helpful to purchase organizing tools such as shoe organizers, over the door hooks, and shelving. This helps maximize your closet space.
- Label your storage boxes. You don’t want to have to open every box to find out what’s inside. And please, don’t use a pen to do labeling. Use a black permanent marker. Sharpes are your friends.
- Get nice hangers. When I reorganized my closet, I went out and got wood hangers and got rid of all the random miscellaneous mis-matching hangers I had in the closet. This way, all your hangings look consistent (like in a store). It’s very calming for the mind to look at. I feel so good each time I look inside the closet, that I’ve already got my money’s worth after the first 3 days.
After all your hard work, step back and fully enjoy the fruit of your labor. How do you feel? Pretty rewarding, eh? You will suddenly experience a sense of mental clarity and calmness as a result of days.
* How does a clean closet make you feel? Let us know in the comment section.