When I first set out on a journey of decluttering and simplifying my belongings I decided to start with my closet. It just seemed like the most logical place to start. There are many reasons why to minimize and declutter, but I am not going to tell you why you should do it, instead I will tell you why I did it.
Reason 1. I have gotten quite tired of not being able to fit a single extra hanger on the rack, yet never having anything to wear that I truly liked.
Reason 2. I like to spend minimum time assembling my outfits.
Reason 3. I like to get good use for my money out of my items. Every time I see an article of clothing I never wore in my closet I internally cringe, thinking that I could have bought something way better in its place (like books, or sushi).
Reason 4. Having less makes me appreciate things I already have more. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. I have become very selective about things I own and things that I buy, so everything I own is truly loved and well used.
Reason 5. Minimal and sleek closets are very IKEA, and I dig that style.
I have been slowly and gradually working on my closet, but it is still not at the point where I want it to be, which is okay, because I am really enjoying the journey. Here are a few tips that helped me to start decluttering and refurbishing my closet.
1. Pick 3 words. These words will help you to define what is the most important quality when it comes to the clothing you wear. For me those 3 words are: comfort, confidence and simplicity. Through all of the years that I have experimented with different styles, I couldn’t understand why none of them stuck. I tried being edgy, I tried being girly, I tried so hard being boho. But every time I would assemble a style defined outfit I would feel self-conscious and uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, the outfits made me look good, I just had trouble doing some basic things in them: getting out of the car without something getting stuck, or lifted; eating without dipping my sleeves into my food; bending down…You know the struggle. Then I go and put on a good pair of jeans and a grey tee and I can breathe again. So I made comfort my number 1 priority when shopping for clothes - and everything changed. Now, I don’t mean that I go around wearing sweats and baggy shirts (although nothing is wrong with that if that’s your style) just the things I buy are not extravagant, or a one season styles anymore. I try to buy things that are timeless and simple in design. For when I feel comfortable and attractive in the clothes I wear, only then I feel completely confident.
2. Define your style. It doesn’t have to be an industry defined style, it just has to be you. If you are still experimenting with what style suits you best, try buying pieces that can be worn multiple times and that are easy to mix and match. If you already know what your style is, stick to the items that define it, and you will love everything that you have in your closet.
3. Work with seasons. If you want to go ahead and re-do your closet in one sitting, you can totally do that. But I learned that taking a “seasonal” approach to things works better for me. When I was “winter” cleaning, I only went through and discarded things that I would wear in that season. I left some of them as my “maybes” to see if I would wear them at all. Well I went through the whole winter only wearing about 4 of my favorite sweaters, one pair of jeans and a skirt. Recently I just discarded all of the items that didn’t even get touched in the winter. Now that it’s “spring” time I am going through my spring items. When you work with the seasons you get to see exactly what you wear and what you barely touch.
3. Pick a color scheme. You don’t have to, but it helps (especially when you are out shopping). When you stick to certain hues and colors, it’s much easier to shop, as viola, everything in your closet matches! It works very well with neutral colors: blacks, greys, tans. But if you are a lover of bright colors – make sure that they complement each other. Myself, I noticed that I am the most comfortable in greys, blacks and dark blues (might sound boring to some of you, but that’s okay), so for my color palette I chose: black, grey, navy blue and maroon (as my accent color). Now, that doesn’t mean that all of the closes I own are only of those colors, just most of them. I have whites, few hushed greens and some spring looking florals. As I am still in the process of building my “perfect wardrobe” I like to keep my options open.
4. Shopping ban. Put yourself on a “no shopping” challenge for any amount of time you feel comfortable with, but try to go without clothing shopping for at least 1 month. This little trick helps you to see what you have in your closet. It challenges you to create outfits with pieces that you already own, very often things that you long forgotten that you had. Exploring your own closet can be very fun sometimes.
5. Follow one in - one out "rule" This very common trick helps with keeping your closet manageable. If you just cleaned up your closet and then went and bought millions of new things to stuff back in there – well then why were you even cleaning in the first place? When you are still in the process of decluttering your closet try to only buy things that you really love, things that go with other things. Remember that you have to love that new item enough to be able to let go of something in its place. This also helps with compulsive shopping habits.
6. “Would you buy this in the store?” This little tip actually helped me a lot. When I went through my closet trying to discard things that I barely wore I kept asking myself “Would I pay money for this in the store right now?” Sadly, most of the time the answer was “no”. It showed me how little use I got out of the money I paid for that piece of clothing, as well as opened my eyes to some of my bad shopping habits.
7. Don't get too excited. When I first learned that stores like Style Encore and Plato’s Closet will give you cash for your clothes, I think I went a little overboard. I started looking for things in my closet that I could sell, not the things I just wanted to get rid of because I didn’t like them. I kept imagining all that cash that can be spent on some staples I still needed to bring into my closet. In the end, my happy bubble was obviously popped, as they give you very little cash (clothes are practically worthless, however if you bring some nice shoes or designer purses you can make some decent cash there). So, when decluttering, make sure that the items you want to get rid of are actually the ones you don’t care much for, not just the ones you think you could sell.
8. Visibility. I have noticed that having an open style closet really helps with clutter, as there is virtually no room for clutter to hide as everything is on display. I purchased a free standing clothing rack and a few of open shelves. All of my favorite things I hang on the rack, and then I fold my jeans and chunky sweaters to display them on the shelves. Undergarments and hosiery obviously stay hidden. However this approach only works if you have a walk-in closet, or just a really big closet. For smaller closets and closed drawers try using dividers as they will help to organize and increase visibility in a small space.
Here is a small gallery of inspirational images of extremely minimal, tidy and beautiful closets. I have taken these images from Pinterest (when most of the time it's impossible to find owners of the images), so if I used one of your images without the permission, please let me know.