Spring Cleaning

Spring is on it’s way and even though it may already be tempting to spend the day outside, take a few hours to clean out your closet. You’ll be glad you did when it is finally time to dig out those t-shirts and shorts.

Before you start:
Try to have all your clothes washed and in your closet before you start, so you have a good idea of what you actually own at this point. Wear some comfortable cloths and turn on some up beat music. Grab a couple of rags and some all-purpose cleaner to wipe off shelves and rods in your closet. Grab a couple of large trash bags and a few empty laundry baskets.

Start out by sorting everything into three piles.
1. Things you will throw away or use as rags.
2. Things you will give away.
3. Things to keep.

Make these piles outside of your closet. With the closet empty, take some time to wipe all the shelves off with a rag and some all-purpose cleaner or some soapy water. If you have wooden shelves, use a dusting spray or a barely damp cloth. If you’re not sure what you can use on your shelves, just give it a good dusting.

Take some time to sweep or vacuum the floor as well. Don’t forget to wipe the rods and clothes hangers as well.

Take a look at your three piles. If you are anything like me, pile 1 and 2 are probably pretty small and almost everything in your closet ends up in pile 3.

Time to go over the pile again. Here are a few “rules” to help you figure out what’s worth keeping:

If you haven’t worn something in 9-12 months it is probably not worth hanging on to. You may like the looks of a particular sweater, but end up not wearing it because it itches. Or you found a blouse you love, but haven’t been able to find anything to go with it. If you don’t have a very good reason to keep it, give it away or toss it.

Do you have a pair of pants or a dress that is several sizes to small, but you keep telling yourself that you will fit in it one of these days? I know this is hard, but be honest with yourself. Are you going to lose enough weight in the near future to fit in it? If you think you will, give yourself 6 months to fit into those cloths. Put them in a bag with a dated note. Set yourself an email reminder, or keep a note on your fridge to check back 6 months from now. If the cloths still don’t fit, toss them or give them away.

Look over your keeps pile again. Do you notice several similar items? Do you have 6 pairs of black dress slacks, 3 pink sweaters etc? Do you really need 6 pairs of black pants? Pick 2 or 3 of your favorites, or the ones that are in best shape and toss the rest. Do the same with the sweaters. Pick one to keep.

Don’t forget to look through your socks and undergarments as well. Get rid of anything you wouldn’t want to be seen in. Spend a few dollars on some new items if you don’t have much left when you are done.

Now it is time to put your keepers back in the closet. Take a few minutes to figure out what goes where best. Divide your clothes by season and keep them together accordingly. It will make it easy to switch your spring and summer items to the back of the closet in the fall.

A few last tips for those of us tempted to pull stuff back out of the do-not-keep piles. If you are planning on using some items as rags, go ahead and cut them up now. You can keep them in a plastic bag or small cardboard box in your cleaning supply closet.

Take the bags to be thrown away or given to charity as soon as possible. The longer they sit around the house, the more tempted you will be to dig something back out.

That’s it. With a little luck you’ll have enough room in your walk in closet to actually walk into it at this point. You may have found clothes you forgot you had and you should have a much better idea of what’s actually in your closet.

Give yourself a pat on the shoulder for a job well done and go enjoy the first spring days outside.


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