Cleaning Out My Closet: Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Wardrobe

Image from The Frugality

Image from The Frugality

Now that it’s April, and the evenings are light and – dare I say it – the weather is getting a little warmer, it properly feels like Spring is here. I’d been thinking for a few weeks now about setting aside an afternoon to rearrange my wardrobe ready for the new season, so when Satsuma got in touch to ask me to be a part of their Spring Cleaning campaign, it felt like perfect timing.

I’m quite lucky that, in the apartment we’re currently renting, we have a spare bedroom with a double wardrobe. In this wardrobe lives my ‘surplus’ of clothing – that is, all the pieces that would be entirely inappropriate for the season. So at the moment, the wardrobe is filled with summer clothing – floaty dresses, strappy tops and cropped trousers galore, with a few pairs of sandals thrown in for good measure. And in my ‘main’ wardrobe, the rails are stuffed with jumpers and the floors are covered in my boots. So it’s definitely time for a swap around, and while making the transition, it’s a perfect time to reassess what’s in my wardrobe – what can stay and what really needs to leave (preferably via eBay!).

Now don’t worry, I’m not about to start preaching about creating a capsule wardrobe – I’m far too much of a maximalist for that. But life is so much simpler when you can just dip into the wardrobe with ease each morning, knowing that everything in there looks good, feels good and works well with other pieces in there. It’s just about clearing out the clutter to find those little gems that you might have forgotten all about.

So here are my top tips on spring cleaning your wardrobe in time for the season ahead…

1. Clear out from the past season
Take a look in your wardrobe, and remove anything that won’t work for the season ahead. In my case, this will be chunky jumpers, bulky cardigans and anything particularly dark or wintry. This includes winter boots, coats, hats and scarves that will also be cluttering up your closet! Assess each item carefully: what do you want to keep for next season, what’s past its best. Pack away the items you want to keep; I’ll be folding bulky jumpers and keeping them in the drawers under my bed, and tidying away coats, boots and accessories into the surplus cupboard. Anything else needs to go into a ‘throw’ or ‘donate’ pile.

2. Bring back pieces from last spring/summer
If you have a surplus wardrobe, like me, it’s time to reorganise that too. Go through the items with care again and think about what you will want to wear in the months ahead. Does an item you loved last summer still excite you? I like to look at pieces and think “if I saw you in the shops today, would I still buy you?”. If the answer is yes, it goes in the closet! If not, get those items in one of those two piles you’re already building up.

3. Take EVERYTHING out of your wardrobe
Now that the surplus seasonal stuff is dealt with, it’s time to start working on your main, everyday items. The best way to handle this is to take literally every item out of your wardrobe, and I mean everything; no backing out on shoes, coats, bags and other accessories. If there’s anything seasonal kept in drawers or elsewhere, bring that too – this is a purge, after all. Dumping it all on the bed means you have to get it finished too, otherwise no bedtime for you!

4. Start sorting into five key piles
I find that the easiest way to look at organising clothing is by sorting it into five key piles: keep, maybe, bin, donate, sell. This should make deciding what to do with your clothes much easier.

The ‘keep’ pile is obvious – this should consist of pieces that fit well, that you feel good in and that you know you will wear frequently in the season ahead.

The ‘maybe’ pile is a slightly trickier one – usually this will be pieces that haven’t been worn yet, pieces that you want to keep but aren’t sure why, or pieces that you just don’t know how to style. These pieces are the ones that should be tried on and considered carefully – if, once you try them on, you’re still not sure, then they should go into the ‘donate’ or ‘sell’ piles. If you’re not sure now, it’s pretty likely you won’t ever wear it.

‘Bin’ is simple – pieces that are overworn, damaged or just generally worn out should be repurposed or thrown away. Everything has a life span and this applies to clothes too. Check for stains, holes, threadbare sections or just if something looks tired and done.

The ‘donate’ and ‘sell’ piles might be interchangeable, but my general rule of thumb is this: if it’s been worn a few times, is in fairly good condition and could be worn again, and didn’t cost too much in the first place, donate it. If something is unworn (especially with tags still on!), or still in fantastic condition and cost a fair amount to begin with, sell it. You can make good sales on eBay on pieces from high street stores as well as designer – if the quality is good, why not sell on, make a few pounds and put it towards funding new pieces for your closet?

5. Organise those piles!
Bag up the ‘bin’ pile and put it in the bin. Done. Bag up the ‘donate’ pile and leave it near your front door, so you’ll remember to take it with you next time you leave the house, and drop it off at your nearest charity shop. Put the ‘sell’ pile on your computer desk, so you’ll remember to photograph it and get it listed online ASAP – remember to snap them in good daylight, and scribble down all the details of each item so you can write a detailed description that will help the pieces sell.

I find that putting the piles somewhere that has the potential to irritate me (i.e. in front of the door, on my bed or on the desk chair) will push me to do what I need to do with them quicker, to get them out of the way.

Try on the ‘maybe’ pile and consider each piece with care. Do you like it, does it feel good? Does it fit, or are you squeezing yourself into something because you love it on the hanger? We’re all guilty of this! Be kind to yourself – if something doesn’t make you feel good now, it probably never will. Put it on the ‘sell’ pile and use the money to buy something that makes you feel fabulous. This applies to shoes too – how many pairs of shoes do you own because they’re pretty, but never wear because they’re painful?!

If something looks good but you’re just not sure if it goes with your wardrobe, put it into the ‘keep’ pile and move on to the next stage.

6. Assess what’s left.
Take a good look at what should now be one big ‘keep’ pile. How does it look? Do the pieces work together? Lay out the pieces and try and create at least three outfits for each key piece – obviously you can’t do these with statement pieces, but with more ‘everyday’ tops, skirts, jumpers, trousers and shoes, it’s good to make sure that pieces are versatile and that you can wear them in different ways.

If there’s a piece you love but you have nothing to go with it – don’t fret. This is what your ‘sell’ pile will help to fund – new pieces that do work! Make a list of anything you need to buy to fill the gaps.

7. Put it all away!
You’re almost there – and now it’s time to tidy it all away. Start putting things back in your closet, drawers, wherever you keep your clothes, but make sure you organise them in a way that makes sense. Jeans, basic tees and lightweight jumpers can be folded and put away into drawers or stacked on shelves – anything bulky needs to go in a different closet (if possible) or in a designated ‘winter wardrobe’ area.

For everything else, make sure it’s all hung up nicely, and then put it away in a way that makes sense to you. For instance, I organise my wardrobe in the same way I was taught to organise the rails during my time at H&M – by category, and then by sleeve length. So for instance, my rail is organised like this currently:

  • Strappy tops
  • Short sleeved tops
  • Long sleeved tops
  • Shirts
  • Cardigans
  • Jumpers
  • Strappy dresses
  • Short sleeved dresses
  • Long sleeved dresses
  • Short skirts
  • Longer skirts
  • Cropped trousers
  • Longer trousers

Sounds a bit mad, but it makes everything really easy to see and find. And if everything is easy to see and find, you’re more likely to wear it and get the maximum use out of everything in your wardrobe, all season long.

So there we have it – my top tips on spring cleaning your wardrobe! Hopefully you find my advice helpful in cleaning out your closet – and now I’m off to start on tidying up mine…

This post was in collaboration with Satsuma Loans.