Is your closet a mess? Hey, don’t worry about it -- we’ll keep it a secret between the both of us, aite? Between the lack of space (I was sharing closet space with my sister, and some of my mom’s clothes too, apparently) and the lack of time (main hustle + 2 other side hustles, anyone?), I never had the mental capacity to tackle my bursting closet, nor the time to do it.
I’m sure you’re probably in the same situation as me.
And then something like that happens. But I did, one fine Saturday, sit down and clear my small closet of everything it contained before attempting to declutter and tidy it up. I did some research (i.e. watching Netflix and scrolling through BuzzFeed) beforehand to make my closet deep clean a little easier and here I am, trying to pay it forward and make your lives easier too.
These are just some tips that worked magic for me and I thought, maybe they’d bring some magic to your decluttering too!
TIP #1: STORAGE CONTAINERS? PFT, NEVER HEARD OF THEM
Look, I’m not saying not to buy storage containers forever. I’m just saying that it’s important for you to see how much apparel you’re going to store before you purchase the necessary containers.
And I know, visiting The Container Store or Ikea can be really, really fun. Seriously, if anybody thinks going to Ikea is not fun, you need to throw this person out of your life. They no longer spark joy. But that’s beside the point.
If you start buying storage containers first, you might end up with too many containers, or too little. It’s best if you pause for a while to take stock, check to see how much clothes you have, then purchase the containers/storage options you need.
It’s a tip that’s both environmentally and cost friendly. Hey, these tips are magic for your wallet too!
TIP #2: DECLUTTERING COMES FIRST
I’m definitely partial to Marie Kondo and her Konmari method, but I have to say, decluttering your closet MUST come first. It’s through discarding old items that you can find space for the newer, bolder something.
“Spark joy” is Kondo’s method to choose what stays and what gets discarded. I found it plenty useful as I held every piece of my clothes and asked myself if it sparks joy in me or not. “Joy” can be a very abstract concept so I broke it down into one simple question: do I like how I feel in this particular piece of apparel? If the answer is yes, I keep it. If the answer is no, I discard it.
If you’re not about the abstract life, another decluttering trick you can use to decide what to discard is through how often you’ve worn the item in the past 6 months.
Turn all the hangers and hang them the wrong way round (meaning, the hanger hooks are facing you). Whenever you wear something, hang the item back with the hanger the right way round. At the end of six months, clear out everything in the closet that is still hanging the wrong way round.
Of course, there’s no way to go back in time to try this method out. So I would suggest doing your best to gauge how often you’ve worn a certain item now, and put this neat little decluttering trick into place to make decluttering even easier six months down the road. (Look, I’m even making future you’s life easier!)
TIP #3: A LITTLE CHARITY AND KINDNESS MAKES THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE
Once you’ve decided on a method of decluttering that works for you, what do you do with the clothes and shoes that you don’t want? I know discarding them is the easy way out, but hear me out!
Clothes and shoes that are of acceptable quality could easily be donated to thrift stores like Goodwill, ValueSavers, and ReStore. You’d be able to benefit many people with your donations and be environmentally friendly at the same time -- win, win!
Some of the clothes could also be given or sold to friends and family at largely discounted prices so both of you mutually benefit -- win, win, again! My sister organized a sale of her unwanted clothes as she was moving back home from her dorm, charging about $1 to $5 apiece, letting her get rid of her clothes while earning some chump change. That’s something that you could do as well.
The dividers help prop up my purses and keep my winter sweater pile from falling over. Visually, they help segment each pile from the other, and make everything neat and tidy. They’re more versatile than boxes or baskets (though wicker baskets are super Instagram-worthy) as you can designate how much space you need on your shelf and set the dividers accordingly.
They are wonderful.
TIP #5: OLD BUT GOLD
Another BuzzFeed tip! Try maximizing your hanging space through this ingenious DIY.
Remember soda can tabs? Pluck them off after each soda you enjoy (maybe not so much now, I know it’s cold and miserable and winter) and use them to stack your hangers on top of each other.
Probably one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it works for practically free!
TIP #6: IS PERFECTLY FOLDED LAUNDRY A REAL THING?
Have I mentioned that Marie Kondo changed my life? If you haven’t caught her Netflix special, please do so (not sponsored!). You can watch the trailer here.
I know there’s no one right way to fold your laundry and put them away but Kondo’s method makes every piece of shirt or pants you fold so incredibly small that you can fit even more of your clothes into each drawer. It’s genius!
I’m Asian and my entire apartment is a no-shoe zone (you know how it is!), so all of my shoes are always kept in specific shoe cabinets by the front door of my apartment. But I understand that a lot of you keep shoes in your closet -- so I definitely had to include a tip for shoe storage!
In my shoe cabinets, I often make use of space-saving shoe holders to cut the space my shoes take up by half (that means, you can buy and store two times more pairs of shoes ). These holders allow you to stack a pair of shoes, one on top of the other, and fits both flats and heels.
They also allow you to display your shoes neatly on the shelves, so you know exactly where each and every pair of your shoes are. Useful, especially if you’re running out of time in the morning (main hustle and 2 side hustles, remember?).
I hope these tips would work some magic in your life as you declutter your way into a brand new Spring wardrobe! They don’t call it spring cleaning for nothing, you know?
Happy cleaning! And if you want to share any tips and tricks yourself, slide into our DMs on Instagram and Twitter.