Mallory Sills is a Chicago-based personal stylist and Fashion Styling tutor at QC Makeup Academy. Today, Mallory discusses how to give your closet a deep-clean!
Cleaning out closets is an art. Working as a professional fashion stylist, it’s also a crucial service to offer your fashion clients. With spring just weeks away, it’s a great time to focus on spring cleaning your (or your client’s) closet. A strong understanding of cleaning out a closet – what works, what doesn’t, and best practices – won’t just help you personally. It’ll also make you a better personal fashion stylist for your clients!
Here are some tried and true tips to spring cleaning your closet like a pro. Keep reading!
How to Declutter a Closet
The best way to begin spring cleaning a closet is to declutter. I often refer to this as a “closet detox”. We often think about detoxing our bodies, but our closets need it, too! Over the years, I’ve tried different tactics to handle the decluttering process and find it’s best to start in one section and work your way through everything. The key is dedicating a specific time period to spend decluttering. If you’re cleaning out a closet for a client, you’ll want to schedule an appointment specifically dedicated to this.
As you go through the entire closet, I suggest putting clothes into categories: keep, toss, donate, and fix/tailor. The items that will be kept can stay in the closet space, but you will want to move the items that fit into the other categories into a box or bag to make it easy to transition them appropriately.
Benefits of Decluttering a Closet
Closet clean outs offer some pretty powerful benefits. For starters, it gives you (and/or your client) an opportunity to eliminate anything that isn’t serving you and your wardrobe in a positive way. It’s amazing how much stuff we end up accumulating. Clients often say things like, “I didn’t even know I had that” or “I completely forgot about that.” Knowing what you own is important! Not only does it give you a chance to actually wear more of what you own, but it can also prevent you from buying something you already have hanging in your closet.
Another often overlooked benefit of decluttering is the emotional effect it has on us. Getting rid of clothes that you don’t truly enjoy, don’t fit, or have negative memories attached is incredibly therapeutic. Plus, if you’re going through a client’s closet, it gives you an opportunity to analyze their wardrobe to see what pieces they may need to add or replace. Bonus: you’ll also learn a LOT about a client during these appointments because it is such a personal experience.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the Marie Kondo craze that’s become incredibly popular for decluttering. There’s a lot of validity to her method in evaluating the items to keep or toss. That being said, it is on the extreme end of the evaluation spectrum. Personally, I always encourage clients to focus on items that make them feel good, that flatter their body shape, and that they enjoy wearing. However, the “sparks joy” method may not necessarily apply to ALL items in someone’s closet.
For example, most women need a white tank top for layering/coverage that might not necessarily “spark joy” in their lives but it is something that’s incredibly functional. Get it? In my opinion, it’s all about balance. That being said, as you gain experience as a personal fashion stylist, you will find a method that you fully believe in and that works for you and your clients. It may be Marie Kondo’s method, it may not be!
Create a Closet Organizational System
Let’s be honest: if your closet is a mess, it’s difficult to find what you’re looking for. It can make getting dressed that much more difficult in the morning. After you declutter a closet and are left with only the “keep” items, you can create a functional organizational system. The more organized the closet is, the easier it is to find items, know what you have, and make getting ready a breeze!
Closet Organizing Hacks
While everyone owns different types of clothing with their own unique closet spaces, there are a few hacks I find work universally.
1. Organize clothes by category.
This makes a huge difference in creating a functional closet space. When your clothes are organized by category, it makes it so much easier to actually see/know/find what you have.
2. Use accessory organizers.
Organizing accessories is often tricky, especially if you have a smaller closet space. Similar to clothing, organize your accessories by category. Then, make use of accessory organizers. They are designed to specifically hold accessories, which makes them much more functional.
3. Don’t forget to organize items that are seasonal or special occasion specific.
I suggest storing seasonal items in containers that keep the clothes well protected. This allows you to have more room in your closet for clothes that are currently being worn. In regards to special occasion items, garment bags are a great way to preserve the pieces and have them more readily available. Typically, I recommend keeping all special occasion pieces together, preferably in a space that’s out of the way.