Get to grips with your disorganized, cluttered and overflowing closet this season. Chances are you already have some of spring’s essential looks tucked away… if only you could find them.
If your closet is anything like mine, it’s a minefield. Every time I open the door something explodes out at me. As a fashion journalist who writes about ways we can enjoy style without excessive consumption, the plain truth is that my closet is bursting at the seams and yet I’m wearing the same old pair of jeans, boots and sweater I’ve been wearing all winter.
Just as the warmer temperatures and longer days gently awaken our spring spirits, the awareness for a seasonal closet clean-out becomes explicitly clear. Now’s the time to devote a few hours to tackling your closet and in the process, set yourself up for a year of wearing wisely.
Because chances are, like me, you already have some of spring’s essential pieces tucked away in your wardrobe. And as an ethical style seeker you know that the most sustainable fashion is the clothing you actually wear more than anything new you are tempted to buy. So save your money and prolong the life of our landfills with my 6-step guide for creating an uncluttered and organized closet you can shop guilt-free and without ever having to leaving the comfort of your home.
1. Take Inventory. This is a great opportunity to get intimate with all the clothes you do have and gain awareness of the items you tend to habitually overbuy. I was shocked to count 15 black t-shirts in my wardrobe, I can safely strike the need for a new one from my list for quite a while. The goal is to whittle down your closet to only the things that you absolutely love. Try everything on and be brutally honest with yourself about whether it still fits or suits your body shape. The rule is if it doesn’t look 100 percent great on you, let it go.
2. Restyle. Acquaint your self with this season’s color trends and silhouettes and then spend some time putting some new outfits together from your newly culled wardrobe. Perhaps all you need is a pair of chunky fishnets and some booties to reinvigorate all those adorable tea dresses you collected in the ’90s? Would one new blazer in this season’s juicy tangerine shade instantly update your office separates? Devising a list of exactly what you need for the upcoming season will make shopping for those key pieces so much easier, and spare you from the kind of unfocused shopping that is now cluttering up your closet.
3. Redesign. Take a fresh look at what you have that fits, but if it’s just ho-hum as far as this season’s trends are concerned, get in touch with your inner Project Runway contestant and consider what pieces can be reworked to inject some new life into them. Re-imagine that basic grey marl sweatshirt by slashing a sexier neckline. Could you cut off the arms of an old denim jacket to make this season’s must-have denim vest? For the scissor adverse, tell your local dry cleaner that does alternations your ideas and see if it’s something they can do.
4. Mend or Attend to. Are there any rips, holes or fraying hemlines that need attention? Buttons missing? These are things that can easily be done at home with the aid of a basic alterations guide, if necessary. Broken zippers and setting in tailored sleeves should be left to an expert. Stains can be lifted with DIY natural solutions. Even those perspiration stains on silk that the dry cleaner couldn’t get out are worth a shot at. Mix vinegar and water in equal parts and pour it on a piece of soft cloth, dab it on the stain and then rinse with warm water, I’ve found this method can be successful even on stains that have been set in for years. If the item is truly beyond repair, consider cutting it into scraps to make quilts, pillowcases, rags or shopping bags.
5. Consign/Sell or Donate. The high-quality, designer or vintage pieces that are in great condition but just don’t fit or never really suited you, should be resold or consigned. There are a number of apps that allow you to do this now online. For everything else, take it down to your local Goodwill, Salvation Army or thrift store. The IRS allows you to deduct a fair market value for your used clothes if you itemize your deductions on your tax return.
6. Take Care Of What You Have. Savvy style lovers know the best way to save money and look great is to keep the clothes they own and love in tip-top shape. Plastic dry cleaner bags don’t allow your clothes to breathe, which leads to color fading and mildew. Replace with home-sewn muslin bags or ethically made options like Jendarlng bags. My favorite non-toxic moth repellant is Moth Away, these herbal moth repellent sachets are formulated with 100 percent natural ingredients and are highly-effective.