It's the time of year where back to school, moving to a new apartment, or just making good use of your space is at an all time high. The only other time most people do this is what we know as Spring Cleaning. From people I know with children, this is a must. Those without back to school needs will find it feels great to get things in order before holidays, cold weather, or looking for things we may already have. There are good tips to make more room, sort out the old, and shop your closet, hopefully saving you time and money.
Start by making a list. Write down what you think you need, then look at the things you have and decide what you really need (for example black pants, white shirts, 4 pair of jeans, new underclothing, etc.) With that list, the first thing you do is go through your clothes and check to see if those black pants fit, are in good shape, are still black/not faded, aren't ripped, the zippers work, the buttons are all there, and finally check for stains. If they pass, put them back. If not, put them aside to either fix or donate.
Remember, don't donate something that is in horrible shape. Repair holes if possible before donating. If not, mark them so they can easily see what needs done before marking prices. With that in mind, many unusable things can make great rags, so keep a place for those things. White tee shirts that are not white any longer are good rags and cotton works well on many projects.
After you have gone through your list, checked what you have, what you need, and know which clothes that may need some attention later on, you now are ready to arrange them in a way that doesn't cause stress or cause you to look over something you know you own. Lists are great, but you have decided what you need before starting and stick to it. Unless you find a tagged item that fits great and is something you love, always stick to the list you made before hand. I only need so many old tee shirts for night shirts. Things that date from the 1980's can now find a new home. You may also want to keep clothes that have have dates, places, or funny characters to a minimum when doing this, unless of course, it is NBA, NFL or another sport you love. These have value and cost so much to replace.
You now should have only what you want to keep on hangers or in the drawer space. It's time to put them in an order that works for you. I have read that you should hang clothes by color and, if you have room, hang by season. Don't hang jeans, fold them. Of course, these thing depend on your life, work, church clothes, area you live, and mainly space. I like hanging clothes vertically, since I find it saves space, time, and keeps things in orderly fashion. Hangers with several bars on them makes this easy. I also have little hooks that allow me to hang as many 4 articles while taking up little space. Before I found these, I used Christmas tree hangers or paper clips, bending them so they hung around the hanger's hook, and allowed another hanger to neatly be placed on them. This is where I sort by color, button up shirts, or light weight jackets and blazers. Since you have cleared out what you no longer use, there is so much more space for the things you wear.
If you live in area where Summer clothes can be put away (like in an attic or other room), replace them with clothes for the coming winter. It still may be hot, but I assure you the weather changes fast. Keep that in mind if you still need summer clothing, only keep what you will need and hang those items so it's what you see first. That way when Fall does happen early one morning, everything is in order you can now take those items and put with the rest safely until next Summer. Maxi dresses and some sleeveless dresses can be worn with sweater, blazer, or jean jackets, making a new outfit for free. You have already gotten everything you need, it's now ready to wear and easy to reach. As my Grandma always said "think ahead".
Once you have your clothes sorted, hang your shirt and skirt set or pants outfits so theyare together. You may now have a new outfit from shopping your closet. Last year color blocking wasn't a huge trend, now it is making way into more outfits then before. Yes, you can wear that pink with red or orange and plaids can be different colors.
White button down shirts are always a must for most of us. They can be worn so many different ways - dressed up or down. Women can wear your husband's old shirts. If it still is in good condition, try wearing a belt and leaving shirt out, instead of wearing it the same old way. Once again, it's a new look for free. As my son got older, his clothes became mine; who cares what side the buttons are on. Men, yes, if their work requires suits or even for church, I wouldn't recommend it for them, but for ladies it can be fun! I love wearing neck ties with dress slacks, jeans, or even a maxi skirt. Changing it up seems like new, always.
After you have sorted through your jeans, slacks, pants and skirts, hang these items together. Makes it easy because usually that is what starts an outfit. For small closets, remember jeans take up more room then tops, so folding these neatly can clear up space if needed. You decided on your list how many you would need, and try sticking to that. I understand finding a pair you may have forgotten is tempting; put those away, and swap out in the future if you need the space. Having too many pair of the same jean is taking up space where something you don't have could be placed. Same thing goes for slacks, sweat pants, and even leggings - too much of the same thing puts you into a rut of wearing same thing over and over.
For new seasons, try new things you can always swap out since you now have a system where you can find everything at a glance. Mentioning leggings (my weakness), they are perfect for the hanger with 4 or 5 rungs. If you like try putting the ones you just wore on bottom after they are washed,that way for ever rotating them instead of wearing same ones every time. Here again legging can be put in a drawer. They go great with the longer tunics, shirts (men's belted shirts work here) or sweaters, take up much more space. We don't want these things wrinkled. Summer shorter dresses can be worn over leggings, even with long shirt underneath. If it's way cold, a turtleneck could work making a new look with leggings or tights and boots.
Sweaters should always be folded if possible. Sometimes this can't happen, so use paper tissue over hanger, and fold sweater in half using the middle bar instead of hanging like you would a shirt. They get shoulder bumps sometimes and after time these become permanent. The tissue paper (used paper from a gift works fine) is inexpensive compared to replacing a sweater.
Underclothes, bras, and camisoles all can be put in bins, baskets or i put mine in an inexpensive plastic dresser that fits neatly in bottom of my closet. Please when you sorted these items, only donate what can or will be resold. Good bras in great shape are hard to find. You made your list with back to school sales, it's a great time to replace old underclothes at lowest prices of the year. Tights, thicker stockings, and socks are also on sale right now - best prices of the year at most places. Even if it's not near cold yet, keep it in mind if you have to have room for these items. Old ones with runs or holes should be thrown out. However, if you have warm tights or socks, thrift stores and local shelters need these items for homeless during winter months. Also, if you have old coats, please make sure you help keep someone warm if possible. They may not be able to be resold, but these items are in great need every winter, in every city.
I have the greatest tip for belts. You take an old curtain rod, or just use brackets that hold the rod. Have someone cut a dowel rod (you can ask at hardware store) and put or tack on back of your closet or behind the bedroom door. Buy some S hooks - each hook can hold several belts or even necklaces, keeping them orderly, out of the way, and off the floor. Belts are one of the things I always look for at the thrift store, they change any outfit easily. These rods can hang neck ties, too.
I may be thrifty. I don't have even close to the amount of money an average person has, but that doesn't mean I have to dress like I don't care or know what's happening in fashion. We all should care - it says so much about a person. We all can make the most of space, money, and time (storing things properly means as little ironing as possible). Hold your head high, smile, and enjoy taking your old and making it look new again.
Make sure you keep all this work up, so when you find one of the articles of clothing on your list, you have room to put it neatly. Stick to the list - you'll find it on one of your outings. I've read where they used a board with magazine pictures, giving ideas on outfits. Inspiration boards can be fun, give you ides on what to look for instead of impulse buying (even at thrift stores, why buy it if you aren't going to make good use of it). This starts with knowing what you have, it being in good condition, and able to be worn several different ways! Ladies this is being fashionably trendy maybe not require spending anything but your time, and it's worth it.
If you don't care about being in a new look, you'll be blessed by organizing what you wear and keeping it ready to wear at a glance.
By Luana M. from San Diego, CA
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