Ask Yourself These 5 Questions When Cleaning Out Your Closet

Sabrina Paparella

Sarah Elliott for Harper's Bazaar

It's that time of year again, the change of season, where every inch of your home gets spruced up, scrubbed down, and organised. Yes, that means the closet too, including your wardrobe. Getting to work can be a daunting task. You want to figure out how to best utilise the space you have, while presenting your items in way that's clean, accessible, and easy to maintain. Plus, doing a clean out is a chance to dig through your wardrobe, rediscover forgotten gems, and recycle what no longer catches your eye. As you jump into cleaning your wardrobe, you'll want to keep a few questions in mind to make the process easier. Keep reading as we take you through each one.

Have I Worn This in the Past Year?

Every wardrobe overhaul has to start with one very important step: Taking each item into consideration and ditching whatever you don't use. What counts as "unused"? The one year rule is standard. Ask yourself: Have I worn this in the past year? While it's true that a piece may go unused for months because of the season, any period over a year is a good indication that you may have outgrown it. Set it aside to donate.

West Elm Garment Rack ($200)

Am I Utilising Floor Space?

Recite it with us: No area of floor space should go to waste. Every nook and corner can be used to store those precious pieces you just can't part with. Leveraging vertical space is important to keep in mind. Shoe racks are a useful piece to invest in because they do just that: saving space by allowing you to stack in layers. The same rule applies to shelf space. Invest in cubbies or storage boxes that are stackable. Hang what you can, and save floor space only for larger, bulkier items. Lining up shoes toe-to-heel can also save you an extra few inches of space.

What Can I Hang on Walls?

Walls can hold more than you think—and this includes the backs of doors and cabinets. Invest in pegged hangers to hold everything from hats and jewellery to scarves and small bags. For even more space, hang a large peg board and sort like items on individual hooks. Invest in a shoe organiser to hang on the inside of the door. These small cubbies are also useful for holding belts, hosiery, and costume jewellery that may be difficult to hang.

The Knotted Wood Hanging Jewellery Organiser ($80)

Is Every Item Easy to See?

One of the most important rules to cleaning is making sure every item you own is visible. When you have a large wardrobe, it can be easy to forget about pieces that are hiding in the back of drawers, especially when it comes to small items like jewellery. Sorting like items together in your closet can prevent items from getting buried and help you determine when you have too many of the same item. Make garments in drawers visible by rolling up and lining them side-by-side rather than in stacks. This will also help you maintain tidy drawers for longer.

Urban Outfitters Emilia Tiered Jewellery Stand ($50)

What Can I Donate?

Before you throw an item in the "toss" pile, see if it's in good shape to donate instead. Comb through your wardrobe and separate items into "keep," "donate," and "toss" piles. If an item isn't broken, yellowing, or an undergarment, put it in the donate pile. Companies like Goodwill make it easy to drop off used items and are even tax deductable.

Steele Canvas Basket Corp Elevated Laundry Basket ($230)

Keep reading for 13 essential organisation items for a perfectly manicured closet.

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