This article originally appeared on Domainehome.com.
With spring underway and fresh starts on everyone’s minds, thoughts naturally gravitate toward spring cleaning and getting organized. One of the toughest places to keep tidy and functional is the closet, where hurried mornings and last-minute outfit changes can leave your space in shambles. To help you tackle the daunting (but totally rewarding!) task of cleaning out and organizing your closet, we reached out to New York-based organizing company Done & Done NYC, and spoke to the brand's founders Ann Lightfoot and Kate Pawlowski. Keep scrolling for their tips on de-cluttering your closet once and for all!
1. Clear A Space
Prep your room for your organizing spree by setting up an efficient space for sorting. “When working with our clients, we have them put a clean sheet over their beds and set up a hanging rod,” explains Pawlowski. The large surface and additional hanging rack enable you to clearly see everything that’s been hiding away in your space.
2. Divide and Conquer
Pull out pieces of similar style, material, and color to see how much you have of one particular item, so you can rid yourself of repeats. “We have our clients pull out everything in one category, let's say sweaters, and sort them by kind (V-neck, turtleneck, cardigan, cashmere, cotton, wool, etc.),” Lightfoot says. “The point is that when you put like items together and see you have six black V-neck sweaters and you realize you only wear two, the other four can go!” Do this same exercise with every category, from sundresses to boots, to pare down your inventory.
3. Allow Yourself To Be Ruthless
When it comes to deciding what to keep and what to toss, being honest with yourself is the best policy. “People simply have too much that they are not actually wearing but aren’t willing to part with for whatever reason,” says Pawlowski. “You have to ask yourself the right questions that allow you to be ruthless: ‘When did I last wear this? When can I possibly imagine wearing this in the future? Does it even fit? Is it current?’ While you might think you’ll wear it one day, the truth is you probably won’t.”
4. Practice One In, One Out
To maintain valuable space, when a new item comes home with you, prepare to donate one that’s already sitting in your closet. “Closet space is limited, but when new items come in, nothing goes out,” says Pawlowski. “You hear it time and time again about organization but ‘one item in, one item out’ is always a good rule—and the best remedy to keep your closet organized!”
5. Don't Leave It At The Closet
“On the day you do your closet, do your dresser as well—gym clothes, socks, T-shirts, and more—because you are already in the mindset of ‘what am I really wearing?’" says Lightfoot. “It's best to do it all in one go. Plus, doing everything in one day means you only need to make one trip to a donation center or consignment store.”
6. Make Sure You Can See What You Have
“Our biggest tip is to not keep the closet or wardrobe too crowded,” says Lightfoot. “When you have the ability to move things around and see what's there, more items get worn. Also, don't forget that lighting is important! Installing ceiling lights where possible is the best option, but for a standard closet (not walk-in), a goose-neck lamp clipped onto a shelf or door works well.”
7. Keep Everything Easily Accessible
“Anything that goes into a bin—like handbags to prevent dust, or scarves to keep them folded neatly—should be in a clear container with a label on front,” recommends Pawlowski. In addition to making sure you keep items visible, also be sure you can access them. “A tiny one-inch step stool makes all the difference for reaching items on higher shelves.”
8. Make Organizing A Routine (Especially In A Small Space)
To maintain order and tidiness, Done & Done NYC recommends reevaluating your closet every six months, corresponding to seasonal changes, so you can replace sweaters with dresses and wool suits with lightweight options, all while clearing out any unworn or underused items. For small spaces, a weekly check-in may be in order. “Just like you have to do the dishes or clean the bathtub, a small closet needs to be tended to,” says Lightfoot. “The workweek can be busy, but on the weekends, take a small amount of time to put things away properly, re-hang, and re-fold items—it makes all the difference in smaller closet spaces.”