If given the choice, no one would want to spend a whole Saturday afternoon figuring out the easiest way to figure out how to clean out a closet efficiently. Not when they could be doing better things like eating brunch with friends, or soaking up the last of summer before pumpkin spice takes over the world. No one ever really wants to waste the hours it takes to sift through the rubble that was your wardrobe. But it always seems to happen all at once — that moment where you come out of your organizing frenzy and, looking around, you realize this mess is too big for any woman to handle. So now what? You've wrecked your room and you have no other choice but to put it back together.
For situations like this you need wardrobe sorting hacks and you need them fast. You've done enough considering and weighing; it's time for the cut throat decisions and the merciless trimming. Ready to do this? Below are five tips for cleaning out your closet, and fast.
1. Get Rid Of Anything You Tried On & Immediately Took Off In The Past Three Months
You know the scene: You reach for a dress thinking it might just be the thing for that morning, zip it up, and almost just as quickly take it off — something about it is off to the point of you not wanting to step out of the house in it. If anything you find while sorting falls into this category, toss it. You clearly aren't a fan of it. Rather than taking the time to think of obscure moments you might need to wear it, save yourself some time and get rid of it.
According to style writer Michelle Scanga at WhoWhatWear, "When editing your dresses, ask yourself one question: Have you tried it on three times in the past year, without actually wearing it? If so, it’s time to realize it’s just not going to happen."
2. Ask Yourself: If This Was On Sale Now, Would I Buy It?
Want to know the fastest way to get down to your true feelings on a piece? Put your money where your mouth is. [Ask yourself:] CUT If you were standing in a store right now, considering this item, would you be tempted to buy it? If the answer is no, then it's to the donation bin it goes.
This question helped me finally toss all my kitschy vintage dresses grew out of but didn't want to admit to myself that that was the case. When I asked myself if I would put down a cool $40 for any one of them and my response was a deep frown, I knew it was time.
This is a helpful question to ask because it moves the cleaning out process going. You can't really argue with the logic of it: If you didn't want to buy it now, when would you want to wear it later?
3. Do It A Section At A Time
Maybe you were one of the smart ones and didn't decide to bear hug the contents of your closet and then promptly dump them on the floor. Kudos to your and your forethought my friend. Instead of tackling the whole beast in one day, keep your organizing time to a minimum by going at it one section at a time.
One day after work, after you eat dinner and before you go to be, clean out your skirts. A day later, move on to your blouses. Give yourself a mental health day and pause for 24 hours, and then jump back into it and start hacking at your dresses. I find that by letting yourself do baby steps, the task will seem smaller and you'll keep the process moving. If I take 10 minutes to filter through my shoes one day before I go grocery shopping, it won't feel like much of a task. Then after a week it's like I magically have a parred down and tidied wardrobe.
4. Challenge Yourself To A Number
Bad at making decisions? Push yourself to come to them by giving yourself limits. For example, allow yourself only 40 hangers. Sixty-five pieces might have come out, but 40 pieces are only going back in. By giving yourself a limit you're forced to make some tough decisions rather than spend time thinking of all the moments you might need that item in the never-going-to-happen future. You have a goal, and you have to meet it.
According to style blogger Ruth Soukup of Living Well Spending Less, "With only 40 hangers to work with, I am forced to keep things to a minimum, and anything new that comes in has to be something I truly love or it doesn’t make the cut."
5. Point Out Three Other Things It Can Go With
The key to making quick decisions that won't plague you with "what ifs" is to back it up with logic. So to move your closet cleaning along, every time you get snagged on a certain item and aren't sure if you should toss it or keep it, ask yourself this: What three other things can I pair it with right now?
Don't cheat and say it can go with your white tee or black sweater — with that logic my grandma's salmon colored stretch-band pants can go with that. Be honest and see if the piece in question is a team player and contributes to making your wardrobe more versatile. If not, part ways. You're opening up room for better options.
Overall, when cleaning out your closet, there is one overarching action to keep in mind: Say goodbye to nostalgia and hello to new possibilities. Don't keep something because of what it once was. Move forward with a newly edited wardrobe, and you'll feel better for it — trust me.