How To's

The Great Closet Challenge

It’s a tradition in many asian countries that when you enter the new year, your house should be spotless – while it used to be seen as a type of ritual to sweep the bad spirits out, the general idea remains that entering into the new year should be a time of a clean slate, and sets the tone for the next 365 days.

I did not do this.

So, my first challenge to myself is definitely the closet (maybe I was unconsciously shooting for the lunar new year?) – and I thought I’d share some of the best tips that I’ve found so far!

1. Hang in, hang out

One of my favourite ideas is that when you hang a piece of clothing, hang them all the “wrong way”, that is, with the point of the hanger facing towards you. Once you’ve worn that piece of clothing, it can hang normally. In six months, anything that you haven’t worn for half a year will be easily identified, and can be pulled for donation.

2. Be ruthless – be generous

Pull out that sweater that you bought last year and never wore. I know it’s hard, I’ve done the “well, maybe I’ll one day find that pair of boots that will really make this outfit work” do-si-do as well. It’s been a year, it’s had its chance. Make a “freebie” pile at the door to give away to friends when they come over, or phone a local charity (it’s usually laughably easy to donate – my family gives to one which picks up at your home for free)

3. Hang with care

Fold, never hang sweaters (they’ll get pulled out of shape), and wire hangers and plastic wrap from the drycleaners are a no-no: not good for the clothing, and the plastic can trap in chemicals from the cleaning process. I also love those tiered hangers for your skirts and pants where you can hang several bottoms on a single hanger – saves so much space!

4. Within arm’s reach

Being five feet tall, I’m probably more sensitive to this than most, but prioritizing your shelves is a good idea for anyone. Evaluate what the most convenient-to-reach areas of your closet are, and earmark them for high-traffic items – keep your out of season or less frequently used bags and clothing on the shelves you find high or low.

5. Start early, stay on point

The last time I tried to tackle the closet was in the early evening, when I tend to be more alert. However, I got to the point where I had pulled out, tried on and sorted approximately 30% of the closet, then started to get tired. I went to bed with the piles on my floor, and woke up the next day having to go to work – I came back home with zero motivation, and ended up shoving the piles back in any which way. The next attempt will be started in the morning, with music a-going, so I can dance around with my clothes and get the job done.

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