The New Year Is the Perfect Time to Declutter Your Closet—These Tips Will Make It Easy
Welcome 2024 with an organized space.
Everyone knows about spring cleaning, but we have a new proposal: winter decluttering. The new year (and season) marks the perfect time to transition your closet for cooler months—and it’s an incentive to refresh your wardrobe.
To tackle this topic, we turned to fashion stylist and personal shopper Andy Drakeford of Andy Drakeford Style. “I’m a big fan of seasonal closet edits and reorganization,” Drakeford says. “There are various reasons ranging from the obvious change in weather, but primarily it gives us a refresh on what we own, what we’ll actually wear, what we didn’t wear, and allows us to tidy things up a bit.”
Here’s what Drakeford has to say about organizing and eliminating any clutter in your closet:
1. Make a Season-to-Season Closet Edit
Every season, Drakeford recommends reviewing your clothing as you transition your closet by filling it with more weather-appropriate items. For starters, you should purchase a collapsible rolling rack and set it up near your closet.
“Take a group out by category—tops, pants, dresses, jackets, shoes, bags, etc.,” she says. “Place them on the rack and revisit each item. If it’s something you love, wear, and that fits, still has some life left in it, but is clearly a summer item, put it aside. If it’s something that translates into the next season, place it back in your closet.”
For summer clothing, in particular, Drakeford says the fabrics typically wear out more quickly. With that in mind, take a good look at each piece before deciding whether you should keep it or donate it to someone in need. If something is in good condition and current, but you haven’t worn it for a while, consider visiting a consignment shop or site (think The Real Real or Poshmark). “Get a little return on your investment,” she says.
After you’re done with your warm-weather wardrobe, move onto the fall and winter pieces and complete the same review process on the rack. “Try each piece on, ask yourself if it’s flattering, current, comfortable, and still fresh,” Drakeford says. “If the answers are yes, install them in your closet.”
2. Take Care of the Items You Want to Place in Storage
With everything going on this time of year, it’s easy to forget about storing your clothing properly. If you have space in your closet or another room in your home that can accommodate your off-season items, place them there. But if you don’t have room, Drakeford suggests storing them in large stacking bins or keeping them on your rolling rack (with a cover!) in your garage.
Here are some other storage tips from Drakeford:
- When you’re transitioning your closet for warmer weather, place sweaters and knits in sealable bags to avoid moth holes.
- Keep your shoes in dust bags to avoid scratching.
- Always clean your dirty clothes prior to storage, so that stains don’t set in.
3. Strategize Your Storage
As you’re organizing your closet with pre-approved pieces, be mindful of how you’re hanging and storing everything. For instance, Drakeford says to hang clothes according to category, and encourages arranging each item by color and style (light to dark and short to long). She has a pro tip for shoes, too: Put the right shoe forward and left shoe backward, which will give you more space for your other kicks.
4. Don’t Forget About Organizing Your Drawers
We’ve all learned about the Marie Kondo folding technique—but Drakeford has an alternative option. “I’m not a fan of rolling clothes in drawers, because it causes wrinkles and it’s impossible to determine what the item is,” she says. “Fold in a uniform way and stack from the back of the drawer to the front, so you can see each item.”
Drakeford also suggests snagging some drawer dividers, or adding baskets or bins for shelf storage, if you have more space there.
5. Make Moves After Dry Cleaning
Is it just me, or does taking your clothes to the dry cleaner feel like a lot of work? After it’s done, though, you have one more task, according to Drakeford: Get out your good quality hangers.
“Velvet non-slip ones are gentler on the garment versus wire dry-cleaning hangers or plastic tubular hangers,” she says. “Those tend to stretch out or even create holes in the shoulder and cause clothing to lose shape.”
You also want to remove the dry-cleaning plastic. Not only will it disrupt the uniformity of your closet, but Drakeford says it can also activate chemicals in the cleaning solution that cause damage or yellowing. If you’re storing these items for next season, place them in a proper garment bag.
6. Less Is More, Especially When It Comes to Trends
“I have a firm philosophy that less is more,” Drakeford says. “It’s overwhelming to have too much to choose from.”
And what about on-trend items? If you keep getting sucked in by targeted Instagram and TikTok ads, you’re not alone (trust me!). Drakeford says it’s all about determining what your closet “needs.”
“I follow trends, but I like to be realistic and practical as well,” she says. “I don’t like waste. Adding key pieces each season is wonderful, but I prefer to base new purchases on need versus what’s trendy.”
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