This month, we’re organizing your closet! Last week I wrote about how to find your closet style, because defining a goal is the first step toward achieving a goal. But whether you go for minimalism, coziness, or a total glam closet, you’ll need space to achieve it. The best way to make space is to declutter your closet!
When I work with clients, I use the acronym TRACKS to sort and pare it down to the essentials, and you can use it on your own, too.
TRACKS stands for Trash, Recycle, Action, Charity, Keep, and Sell. When I’m decluttering with someone, we go through each item and ask which of these categories it belongs in. Sorting everything into these categories is a big step towards a neat closet!
It’s the first letter of the acronym, but it’s really the last resort. Only send a piece of clothing to the landfill if it doesn’t fit in any other category.
Recycling clothes usually takes the form of donation, but you CAN reuse material in other ways if the garment is no longer wearable. Here’s a neat video about how to make t-shirt yarn! You can also cut garments into rags and use them to clean up around the house.
Sometimes all a garment needs is a makeover or up-cycle! There are tons of YouTube tutorials that teach basic sewing techniques, so you can repair minor tears or lost buttons. If something doesn’t fit anymore, consider taking it to a tailor. Sometimes minor alterations can extend the life of a garment. The longer you keep your clothes in circulation, the better for the planet.
Consider donating clothes that you don’t want but are still in good condition. Make sure you call the charity first to see what they’re accepting. Some great places to donate to in the Los Angeles area are:
You can also just give things away through your local Buy Nothing group!
Not everything in your closet has to go! I want you to have what you love and need. A “throw it all away” mentality will leave you with a clean (empty) closet, but that’s not what decluttering is for. The point is to deliberately choose what’s in your closet, instead of having all or nothing.
Not sure what to keep? Try the Hanger Trick!
It’s pretty simple and does take some time to set up (if you have a lot of clothes) but it does really help you not cheat on this. Here’s how it works:
- Decide on a time frame (3 months, 6 months, 12 months)
- Reverse all the hangers in your closet
- When you wear something, put it back the right way
- At the end of the time frame, anything you haven’t worn will still be the wrong way around and you know you can let it go.
If you do cheat – I did (there were a couple of pieces of clothing that I just loved and told myself that I would wear in the next 6 months) be sure to repeat the process 2 or 3 times. By the time you’ve not actually worn that loved item, for double or triple the time frame you gave yourself, it’s really time to give it a new home.
I have an exception. I still have my wedding dress. I do still fit it and I have worn it several times since my wedding, but not for a while. And I’m very clear I’m keeping it for sentimental reasons, not as an item of clothing in my closet.
There’s nothing wrong with making a little cash from your old clothes! Give your clothes a chance at a new life by selling them. Options for selling clothes include:
You got this! Keep in mind that it’s perfectly all right to start small. If your whole closet seems overwhelming, start by decluttering short-sleeved shirts!
Use the TRACKS acronym to declutter your closet this week, and then tell me how it went!