Spring Clean Your Closet

As flowers bloom and temperatures change in the spring, it’s a good time to change up your closet organization. Put away the heavy sweaters and take out some summer pieces. Change out your boots for flats and sandals.

In the northeast, the temperature varies significantly during this time of year. One day the highs are in the 80s, and the next day the highs are in the 60s. An organized closet can help you navigate these variations.

I typically do two or three closet swaps as the seasons change. I store seasonal clothing in vacuum storage bags and bins. As I swap out my clothes, I start a clothing donation pile and toss items I no longer wear.

In the past, I would donate a bag or two of clothing, but this year I donated and recycled around ten bags of clothes. I had more to donate because I finally decided to let go of clothes that didn’t fit my new body or lifestyle. I was holding onto items I loved because I had fun memories in the clothes, or maybe it was a favorite item. Unfortunately, I can’t fit into some of my favorites, and I don’t have a job that requires my old wardrobe staples.

This was not the final count of bags to donate. I added several more bags to this pile.

Step One: Purge and decluttler

This cleansing activity was challenging, but I was inspired by a recent conversation with a friend. We talked about why we saved certain clothing items. I held onto some things in hopes that I could fit into them again. This year, I decided to let go of clothing pieces that didn’t fit. 

I tried on a lot of my clothes while starting my clean-up process. If items were tight and uncomfortable, I added them to the donation pile. Some of these items were my favorites, but I finally decided to let them go.

During my purge, I looked at the purpose of certain clothing items. I donated some fancy dresses (including one bridesmaid dress from ten years ago!), and I donated suits – I can’t remember the last time I wore a suit. I went through my Halloween costume bin and tossed a lot of items. I wondered why I was saving some things.

Why do I save so many things? Some might call me a “pack rat.” https://www.dictionary.com/browse/packrat “A person who saves things that are not needed or used but that may have personal or other value.” I don’t easily toss sentimental items, including photos, souvenirs, etc. My clothes also have personal value to me. For example, I had a fun collection of blazers, and I loved wearing blazers! However, when I did my cleanse, I found many too tight, and they lost their appeal. It was difficult to let them go, but I used a modified Marie Kondo method to bid farewell to many clothing items.

Who is Marie Kondo, and what is her method? 

Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (2011) was published in the United States in 2014, and her Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo aired in 2019. I never read her book or watched her series, but I did hear bits about her method.

Her method (Read more about each rule on her website, using the link provided below):

The 6 Basic Rules of Tidying https://konmari.com/about-the-konmari-method/#

Rule 1: Commit Yourself to Tidying Up

Rule 1: Commit Yourself to Tidying Up

Rule 2: Imagine Your Ideal Lifestyle

Rule 3: Finish Discarding First

Rule 4: Tidy by Category, Not by Location

Rule 5: Follow the Right Order

*Rule 6: Ask Yourself If It Sparks Joy: “In the KonMari Method™, your feelings are the standard for decision making – specifically, knowing what sparks joy.  To determine this when tidying, the key is to pick up each object one at a time, and ask yourself quietly, “Does this spark joy?”  Pay attention to how your body responds.  Joy is personal, so everyone will experience it differently; Marie describes it as “…a little thrill, as if the cells in your body are slowly rising.”Through the process of selecting only those things that inspire joy, you can identify precisely what you love – and what you need.”

When I first read about her and her method, specifically step 6, I thought it was harsh. So many items I own bring me joy, and I wasn’t ready to let go of them. I didn’t give her method a try because this was how I interpreted the process.

My modification: I did hold each piece I was donating and asked myself, “Do I still need this item, and can it still bring me joy?”

In rule 3 of her method, she instructs you to “let go with gratitude.” She lets go of sentimental items using salt (a Japanese purification ritual) and expresses gratitude for what they’ve taught her. I let go of some items with gratitude, and that did help me a little during my cleaning process.

Step 2Donation

I donated to Good Will and Boston donation bins. https://www.boston.gov/departments/public-works/recycling-clothing-and-textiles

1010 Harrison Ave. Boston, MA 02119

Step Three: Storage and Reorganization

Store off season items in vacuum bags. This is a great set with a variety of sizes.

25 Pack Vacuum Storage Bags, Space Saver Bags (5 Jumbo/5 Large/5 Medium/5 Small/5 Roll) Compression Storage Bags for Comforters and Blankets, Vacuum Sealer Bags for Clothes Storage, Hand Pump Included $35.99 Amazon

Reorganize your closet:

Read this article for a step by step guide to reorganizing. https://www.marthastewart.com/8266143/best-closet-organization-ideas

From the article: Ashley Murphy and Marissa Hagmeyer, organizing experts and co-founders of NEAT Method, to share their best tips for creating the ultimately functional closet.

Here are the tips (read the article for more details):

  1. Do a Purge
  2. Declutter
  3. Start Sorting
  4. Measure Your Space
  5. Use Baskets and Bins
  6. Categorize by Use
  7. Buy the Right Hangers
  8. Put Your Dresser Inside
  9. Use Trays for Accessories
  10. Label

I like these labeled dividers:

TraGoods 10 Pack White Clothing Rack Size Dividers Plus 60 Labels (1 Inch) and 16 Large Blank Labels, Large Rectangular Clothing Closet dividers (Pearl White) $11.99 on Amazon

**Skip all the steps and hire professionals**

If you don’t have time to take on big cleaning projects, you can hire professionals to do the work for you.

In the Boston area: https://organizingboston.com/

Read their post about spring cleaning. https://organizingboston.com/a-new-englanders-guide-to-spring-cleaning-2/

Here’s a review of their work, “A team of 2 from Organizing Boston spent a total of 3 days helping us to purge, de-clutter & organize our basement, garage, attic, 3rd floor and every closet and drawer in between.

I literally feel like I have so much more space in my mind, in my heart & in our home!

I’ve got the bug now and I just can’t stop. I’m doing the same with our businesses and it just feels SO GOOD!”

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