If your bedroom closet is overstuffed with clothes, shoes and accessories, you probably know you should tackle a closet purge.
Unlike cleaning out a hall closet, your bedroom closet is personal and emotional, filled with secrets, dreams and regrets, so most of us need a psychological intervention as much as an organizational one. Start with the “why,” and once you have some motivation, we have ideas on how to get help, and how to get going.
Why Clean Out Your Closet?
1. You’ll reduce your daily frustration level.
“If everything in your closet is something you actually want to wear, and you like how you look in each piece, you really streamline your morning,” says Linda Goldman, owner of Altogether Organized and a Certified Professional Organizer who lives in Highland Park.
2. You can make some money.
Corri McFadden‘s company eDrop-off, which has two locations in Chicago, is one of the largest online-luxury consignment sellers in the country. They sell more than 2,500 items a week, and according to McFadden, if you’re not wearing that Chanel jacket or Fendi bag, you can turn it into cash.
3. Your outfits will look fresher. Really.
McFadden finds that clients with too much stuff tend to wear the first 12 pieces they see. If you get rid of the ill-fitting, no-longer-loved and out-of-style pieces that are hogging all the room, you’ll be able to see and wear a lot more of your clothes.
4. You’ll let go of the guilt.
Both McFadden and Goldman have seen time and again clients holding onto a piece “because it was expensive.” But if you beat yourself up every time you open your closet, and see those très chic boots that make you want to cut your foot off because they’re so uncomfortable, it’s time to let them go. Out of sight, out of mind.
5. Your closet will match your lifestyle.
Goldman gently helps clients let go of pieces that no longer work with their lives. Like the 20 power suits a full-time mom had a hard time parting with even though she admitted she’d never wear them again. Goldman often suggests taking a photo or storing one suit in an out-of-the-way closet, but not in your primary space.
Who Can Help You Clean Out Your Closet?
Both McFadden and Goldman’s companies offer help cleaning out closets. And there’s always the option of roping in a friend. Here’s how to decide your best route:
If your closet is packed with designer labels…
If you have a lot of designer clothes and accessories—Gucci, Prada, Lanvin, of course, but also lines by St. John, Theory and Escada—then eDrop-off will send a consultant out for free in exchange for consigning your unwanted designer pieces with them.
“It’s all about establishing a relationship,” McFadden says. “Our employees are there to answer your questions and take care of you. When we show up, we want you to be excited to see us.” To get an idea of the items they consign, it’s helpful to start at their website, and they request at least 10 items consigned in exchange for their help.
Photo courtesy of Corri McFadden
If your closet is stuffed to the brim…
If your closet is less designer, and more just overstuffed, it’s worth it to pay an expert like Altogether Organized to come and help you sort through everything. Goldman specializes in helping the stuck and overwhelmed, and she’s very gentle and friendly. The last thing you need is a drill sergeant, which brings us your third option.
If you just need a little extra help…
Enlist a friend if you’re basically organized, but need an honest opinion on keep vs. toss. Goldman says a friend can help best not by issuing edicts (“That looks terrible on you!”) but instead asking questions (“When was the last time you wore that?” “Is it worth the money to get it tailored?”), and then you can do the same for her.
How to Get Organized
Regardless of whom you enlist to help, here are four tips from our experts to smooth the process:
1. No need to empty out the whole closet.
For some women, that’s overwhelming, so you can begin by taking out items if any of the following are true:
- You don’t like how it looks on you
- It’s in poor condition
- It doesn’t fit your lifestyle
- It’s out of style
2. What’s left, group by category.
So all your pants are together, all dressy blouses are together, etc.
3. Within each category, group by color.
Twelve pairs of black pants?! Yep. It happens. Maybe weed through again.
4. Hang and arrange by need.
Unless you’re going to a black-tie affair every week, those cocktail dresses should be in the back. What you wear Monday through Friday should be in the front.
For more advice on dealing with the clothes you no longer want, check out: Where to Sell, Donate or Recycle Everything.