How to: Declutter your closet quickly and effectively!

Do you ever clean out your closet and think you did a good job, but then a week later look through it and think, "did I even get rid of anything?". I've been there. It feels like those three t-shirts you put in the donation basket was a big step until the next time you do laundry and you still can't close your drawers! Here are some tips to make decluttering quick, painless, and best of all effective!

#1 What do I wear this with?

For years if I like an article of clothing I would buy it even if I didn't know what I was going to wear with it. I owned a lot of colorful prints whether it be on a top, pants, or skirt. What this means is that I ended up with a lot of colorful prints that didn't go with a single other item in my wardrobe. A piece is only as great as the completed outfit! No matter how cute something is if you don't have anything that goes with it the only place it's going to be looking cute is in your closet. I finally parted with multiple items that I had to accept that I never wore them because they didn't go with anything else I owned.

#2 Sort it out by color.

I did this recently and it makes it a lot easier to take a quick glance through everything you own all at once. I took all the contents of my closet and sorted them by color. I made a pile of black items, blue items, gray, etc. I made one pile dedicated to multi-colored prints as well. I have been trying to simplify my wardrobe. Solid color items, and neutral colors lends itself to a lot more options for outfits (read: the opposite of my print problems in #1). So doing this allowed me to see how my clothes really broke down into colors and solids v. prints. It also allowed me to look at all my prints at once and again, decide if it made sense to hang on to them.

#3 Think in quantity.

And no, I do not mean more is better. I mean instead of looking at an item by itself and saying 'yes I like this' or 'no I don't', think 'how many items of mine are similar to this one?' or 'do I need four gray sweatshirts?'. I also like the color sorting method for eliminating duplicates. If you go through your pile of black clothes (this is by far my largest pile) and see three black cardigans, keep your favorite one and toss the other two. Or if you love two black cardigans, but the one in the brown pile you never wear, ditch that one. Another place to do this is your t-shirt drawer. I was going through my t-shirt drawer pretty often and couldn't part with more than one or two at a time, and because of this my drawer was overflowing with more shirts than I could ever wear on a regular basis. So finally I went through and thought, 'how many t-shirts do I actually wear on a regular basis?'.  Sure I like all the shirts but how many do I NEED? A few solid colored T's to mix and match, a few graphic T's, and a few to work out or clean in. I finally got rid of about half my t-shirt collection because I convinced myself I didn't need to keep all my high school soccer shirts just because they still fit me. And I'm loving how roomy that drawer is now!

#4 Replace with (well thought out) quality.

This is something that is a work in progress for me (and probably will be for you too unless you have a few thousand dollars to go spend!), but I actively think about what items are most important to me. These items won't be the same for everyone but they are the ones you need to think about upgrading. For me it's things like buying one quality pair of leggings instead of the $3 pair at Forever21 that I have to replace every other month (I recommend Girlfriend Collective these leggings are wonderful!). Jeans and even a nice pair of Chinos or casual black slacks are a great investment piece as well as things like a leather jacket, or a great blazer (again, think versatile. A really expensive sequin top you can wear once every two years: not a great 'investment' piece). Think about the items you wear the most and make sure the next time you get one, you consider the quality and versatility along with the price tag. And don't forget you you should always try to get rid of an item when you bring home a new one!

#5 When do I plan to wear this next?

I think the 'when's the last time I wore this method' is effective, recognizing there are special occasion exceptions. Personally, I like to think about the next time I plan to wear something. If I didn't even know an item was still in my possession, I probably don't need it. HOWEVER, if I have a dress I haven't worn in six months, but I've been planning to bring it on my next vacation, it may be worth holding onto. This method can be a little more vague and should be used as a secondary rule to the others mentioned above!

Always remember to consider your space, and your needs. Are you cleaning out an Ikea wardrobe or a walk-in closet? The amount of items you can afford to hang on to will depend on this! Also, what do you wear on a daily basis? If you wear business suits to work, you probably don't need 25 t-shirts. However, if you wear t-shirts to work, hang on to a few more of those and think about acquiring a few fun statement pieces for going out on the weekend! There are no hard and fast rules, use these as guidelines, and consider your life and your needs to determine what is best for you!