Spring Cleaning and Your Wardrobe

It’s not just the pollen making us itchy this time of year.  Many folks also are feeling the “itch” to clean and freshen up their homes.  While most of us take time to have our carpets steamed, wash curtains, and take care of other cleaning tasks each spring, many people rarely give their wardrobes annual attention.  When the spring cleaning urge hits you, don’t neglect your wardrobe.  Here are a few quick tips for decluttering and organizing your dressers and closets. 

Purge!  Spring is a great time purge your wardrobe.  I am a big fan of the KonMari method, which you can read about in Marie Kondo’s best-selling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”  Kondo suggests taking all of your clothing out of the closets and drawers to carefully and thoughtfully examine each piece.  Keep only those items which truly bring you joy to wear, and either donate or consign the rest.  Many of us hold on to clothing for sentimental reasons.  Kondo’s method recognizes our emotional attachment to things, and advocates “thanking” each item for its service to us, acknowledging that we don’t need to hold on to the clothing to retain our memories, and essentially saying “goodbye” to the item as a way of emotionally detaching.  Does this sound a bit odd?  It certainly did to me, but I’ve found that it actually works.  Give it a try, and see if it works for you.

Drawer Folding.  Prior to reading Kondo’s book, I never thought much about how I folded my clothing—just getting my laundry folded before it wrinkled, and actually putting it away, seemed like a major accomplishment.  Kondo’s folding methods are easy to master, and are designed to eliminate the stacking of clothing in drawers, which has the primary drawback of only seeing the top-most garments.  With this outdated folding method, you forget about the clothing you can’t see, tending to gravitate to clothing in the top layers, and can easily duplicate clothing you already own simply because you have to “dig” to see it.  With Kondo’s simple folding technique, clothing is folded in such a way so that when you open a drawer, every garment is immediately visible to you.  A good visual for this technique is to picture how Oreo cookies are stored in their containers—not stacked, but standing up.  Kondo’s folding methods even work for socks.  You’ll be giving your socks a “rest,” and no longer bunching and balling them up.  They will last longer and fit better. 

Shelf Folding.  If you have open shelving in your closet, it is fine to stack garments after they are folded because you can see each item easily. 

Hangers.  No matter what type of hangers you prefer, a closet always looks best if your hangers face the same direction.  Not only is this more aesthetically appealing, it also is a practical habit for removing garments from the closet.  When organizing my hanging garments, I start by grouping by category, including blouses, skirts, pants, sweaters and dresses.  Next, I create sub-groups within these categories by season, and finally by color. 

Shoes.  If you store shoes in boxes, it’s a good idea to remove them.  If you can’t see them, you can’t remember what you have.  While boxes might seem like a great storage option for shoes, in reality they are bulky and take up coveted closet space.  I recommend storing shoes in an open-concept shoe storage unit, on the closet floor or on shelves so that they are visible.  Another trick for maximizing both storage space and visibility is “heel/toe” storage.  Place each pair of shoes together with one shoe facing toe forward, and one facing heel forward. 

Shoe Boxes.  Save a few of your shoe boxes to use for sock, hosiery, scarves and underwear storage in your bureau drawers.  This tip helps keep your smaller items tidy within your drawers after you’ve put in the effort to neatly fold them.