There’s something about spring that makes us want to lift the blinds, throw open the windows and give our home some much-needed TLC. But there’s more to spring cleaning than just dusting and vacuuming — your closet needs some attention too.
Cleaning out your closet may seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach, it doesn’t have to be. We’ve rounded up some advice on how to spring clean your closet, so you can start the season on the right foot.
Remove everything from your closet
The first step in spring cleaning your closet is get everything out where you can see it. Take everything out of your closet and drawers, and then put it in a pile on your bed or floor. If you have clothes in other places around your home, throw them on the pile too. Doing this lets you see how much stuff you truly have.
Now that you have the whole picture, you can start evaluating and sorting the items in your wardrobe.
Evaluate and sort your clothes
Next, you want to go through the items in your pile one by one and carefully evaluate each one:
- When’s the last time you wore it? If it hasn’t been worn in the last year, it most likely won’t be worn again. (Nice suits or cocktail gowns are the exception.)
- Does it still fit? Your clothes should make you feel comfortable and confident, not like you need to hit the gym. Now’s the time to let go of too-small clothes that you “might” fit into again.
- Does it spark joy? Take a page out of Marie Kondo’s book and, as you pick up each item, ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?” If it doesn’t, let it go.
As you go through each piece of clothing, sort them into different piles:
- Clothes to keep
- Things to donate
- What to take for recycling
- Ruined tees to repurpose into cleaning rags
- Items to take for dry cleaning, mending, or alterations
Further classify your clothes to keep
You can be strategic as you’re sorting items into your “to keep” pile by putting like things together, such as pants, suits, undershirts and underwear, ties, tees, shorts, winter clothes, etc.
Doing so will save yourself some time and effort when putting things back in your closet.
You can also separate these subcategories into two different buckets: clothes to hang and clothes to fold.
You’ll hang things that wrinkle, like:
- Dress shirts
- Nice polos
And you’ll fold clothes that don’t need hanging:
- Socks and underwear
For example, if you’ve placed your pile of to-keep clothes on you bed (and things to donate etc. on the floor), you can put your clothes to fold at the foot of the bed (jeans, t-shirts, etc.) and the items you’ll hang at the head.
Pack away winter clothes
With warmer weather here, now’s a great time to put away items you won’t be wearing in the next few months. Clean and pack away your ski jacket, snowboard gear and any other seasonal or winter items, like heavy jackets, long underwear, gloves, scarves, etc.
Store these pieces in bins, and label each bin so you can easily find what you need later this year. Packing away these winter clothes isn’t just a great way to make some space in your closet; it can actually make getting dressed easier, as you have less stuff to sort through.
Fold and hang your clothes
Now that you’ve spring cleaned your closet of old items, it’s time to hang and fold your clothes. We recommend the KonMari folding method by none other than Marie Kondo. This is where you’ll thank yourself for grouping together similar items earlier, as you want to store and hang your clothes according to type. First, hang up all your tops, and then all you pants.
Organize in a way that works for you
The last step to spring cleaning your closet is to organize your wardrobe in a way that makes sense for you. Maybe that means organizing according to color, by casual vs. formal (jeans then slacks), use (work clothes vs. golf clothes), or bulk/size (jackets, sweaters, long sleeves, then polos) — the choice is yours.
Head to the dry cleaner that same day
It’s easy to save errands for tomorrow, but we recommend closing the loop on your spring closet cleaning by getting your garments to the right place right away. That means taking your clothes in the “to-be-dry-cleaned” pile to the dry cleaners on the same day as your closet spring cleaning.
Then stop by the thrift store to donate the items in your “to donate” pile. For the clothes that are too ripped, stained, or ratty to donate, you can recycle them. Look up how to recycle clothes and accessories and use the Recycling Locator from Earth911 to learn where to take these items.
If you do these errands right away, you won’t forget to do them, and the bags of old clothes and wrinkled items won’t become clutter once again.
For the final touches on all your hard work, go the extra mile and get everything super fresh and clean! Find a dry cleaner near you to officially finish spring cleaning your closet.