By Claire Coghlan
From Bright Smile Beautiful You
The seasons are changing, which means out with the old and in with the new. Before your head starts spinning from wardrobe overload, follow these simple steps to clean your closet the easy way.
Before you can claim yourself to be master of your closet, you’ve got to see what’s inside. The first step is to de-clutter. Channel an episode of “Hoarders” and ruthlessly eliminate anything you haven’t worn in the past two years, or that makes you feel less than fabulous. There are exceptions — perennial classics can stay. Keep designer-label pieces that are in mint condition and fit you well. Toss anything that you might fit into eventually. For the keepers, remove the pieces, clean and store properly. One of those airtight, under-the-bed bags are a good bet. Everything else goes to the local thrift shop. Remember such donations are tax-deductible, so get a receipt.
Assess the Damage
Carefully go through all the keepers. Get out three bags, one for anything that needs to be repaired or hemmed, another for pieces that require steaming or pressing, and a third for clothing that is dirty or stained. Take each to the tailor, laundry room or dry cleaner immediately, as to not have a pile of bags sitting on the floor of your closet.
Store Winter Woolens
Luckily (and finally!) you won’t need bulky sweaters, hats, scarves and gloves until next year’s big freeze. After ensuring everything is clean and snag-free, stash these pieces in a plastic bin and store them under your bed to create breathing room in your closet.
Sort and Fold
Now that you can see everything, start categorizing. Separate hanging items (dresses, skirts, jackets, pants) from fold-ables (jeans; beach-, swim- and workout-wear; T-shirts and sweaters).
Create a Rainbow
Once the styles are grouped, start color-coding. Arrange all white shirts together, for example. Then, progress from lighter to darker shades; treat lengths in the same manner. Stack folded items by color on shelves. If you don’t have any, get some handy hanging shelves. Remember to keep the items you wear most often at eye level.
Place underwear, camis, shapewear, tights and socks in drawers, again according to color and style. Or, place them in baskets if a dresser is unavailable. Invest in a clear plastic, multi-pocket, over-the-door organizer to store and display all your extras — scarves, belts, necklaces, sunglasses, etc. This way, you’ll easily see your options when you want to accessorize. Finally, clear up floor space by placing shoes in clear, stackable boxes.
Now that you can actually see what’s in your closet, you’ll be amazed at how easily you’ll be inspired to come up with brilliant new ideas to reinvent old favorites. Not to mention the smile you’ll have from standing in front of a neatly organized, expertly edited selection of your fabulous and flattering clothes.
Claire Coghlan is an NYC-based writer and editor who has covered fashion and style for magazines such as InStyle, People and Life & Style Weekly, and websites including TheKnot.com, DailyFrontRow.com and EverydayHealth.com.
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