Spring Cleaning Your Closet: What to Keep, What to Store, and What to Donate

Tips and tricks to help you manage and organize your wares.



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My closet is currently overflowing with unused clothing. Half of the clothes that are avalanching out onto my floor don't fit me anymore. Meanwhile, the other half is a random collection of items from boyfriends past, stolen partially out of sentimentality and partially out of spite.

As I brace myself to possibly uncover the entrance to Narnia behind my piles of tops, skirts, jeans, dresses, shoes, and trousers-- I've been accumulating some tips and tricks on how to tackle spring cleaning. Here are seven ways to help you conquer your closet!

1. Genuinely assess what you're working with
If you really want to get down to the nitty-gritty-- take all of your stuff out of your closet. Dump it on your bed so you can't rest until this marathon session is through. Gatorade, Powerbars, and inhalers should be kept on-hand.

2. Pull out your regular winter garb
Take your winter coats and heavy knits and put them into longer term storage (such as a vacuum pack bag or plastic drawers for under-the-bed storage). Hold on to cardigans, jean jackets, and pull-overs, as you may need them during cooler summer nights.

3. Keep two bins nearby-- one for donations and one for trash
From your pile, pull out the clothes that you wear on a regular basis. The six-month rule is a safe method for when you're hmming and hawwing about whether or not to keep an item. Re-hang anything that you've worn in the last six months, and donate anything that isn't genuinely sentimental or that you haven't worn in that time period. Stop trying to convince yourself that you'll wear it. If you haven't already, you won't. Also, throw away damaged or stained items.

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4. Safely hang closet items to make them last
If you've been using dry cleaner hangers to hold your heavier sweaters (which I'm guilty of and I don't even dry clean my clothes), consider investing in slimline hangers. The thin hangers will expand the amount of room in your closet and help your clothes retain their shape.

5. Carefully store your folded clothes
If you have a wooden chest of drawers, line your dresser drawers with contact paper. Adding the plastic liner will prevent snags from forming as a result of clothing rubbing against the wood surface. Also, put a dryer sheet or potpourri bag into the drawer to keep your clothes smelling fresh.

6. Donate usable clothes
Donate your clothes to a local Salvation Army-- it's a great national resource, especially if you can't find a nearby shelter. The organization generally raises money from the sale of clothing, which goes towards supporting homeless shelters and charitable organizations.

7. Host a clothing swap
If a few of your friends are having similar spring cleaning escapades, consider hosting a clothing swap. Have your friends pool together their clothes and go through each piece, faux-auctioning off the items. What's the worst that could happen? You get drunk off mimosas with your girlfriends and add few extra items to your closet? Sounds good to me.

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