Warm weather seems to come out of nowhere, and while it’s a pleasant change, it also leaves you scrounging your bedroom for last season’s clothing. Today we are sharing easy tips for spring cleaning your closet from wardrobe stylist, author, and fashion-goddess, Monica Barnett.
What is Spring Cleaning?
Spring cleaning is truly about getting yourself prepared for the rest of the year. I like to think of it like taxes, which were due April 15th – it’s the time to evaluate what happened last year, and plan to course-correct across the next 8 ½ months.
It’s a phrase we hear all the time but rarely do any of us truly participate in true “spring cleaning”. Why do they call it spring cleaning anyway?! Well it’s rooted in the aspects of Iranian and Jewish cultures.
“The vernal equinox (which falls on March 21), marks the beginning of Spring. In Iranian culture, this date also coincides with the New Year — known as ‘Now Rouz’–and a subsequent two-week celebration marked with traditions that date back to before Islamic rule. Now Rouz is the perfect time to plant new vegetation and burn away the old. In preparation for the celebration, Iranians also view it as the perfect time for a deep, vigorous household cleaning, known as “shaking the house”.
The Jewish origins of spring cleaning also hit close to home. Their reflection on renewal comes just before Passover, when they clean their homes to sweep away any leavened bread in preparation for the holiday. Passover marks the journey of slaves from Egypt, and because these slaves were only given unleavened bread, known as “matzah” in Hebrew, it is a show of gratefulness and respect to rid homes of leavened bread before the holiday.” Read more here.
The Benefits of Spring Cleaning Your Closet:
So now that you know it’s legit, let’s talk purge and renew! As an avid “spring cleaner” not to mention a wardrobe stylist, I understand the benefits of spring cleaning:
- More space – get rid of bad or non-value added clothes to make room for the fun stuff that you love
- Better clothes – those same clothes that have stains, tears, or are pilling up get the boot, which means what’s left are all your fabulous purchases to focus on
- Less money spent – when your closet is less cluttered, you have better focus, which means when you shop, you actually spend on what you truly need versus what you think might work
- Quicker shopping – it’s the focus you get from knowing what’s in your closet that allows you to get into a store, find what you need, and roll out!
- Less stress – how many times have you said, “I have nothing to wear” as you look at a closet full of clothes? Spring cleaning leaves you with the best and the brightest so you can work with everything that’s in your closet
- More versatile closet – when you’ve gotten rid of the junk and you know what you need and what works, your closet becomes a place that works for you and not against you
Spring is the perfect time to clean out your closet for three reasons:
- It gives you something to focus on so you don’t think about the cold or the rain!
- If done properly, it involves most aspects of your wardrobe from your summer pieces (with heavier pieces layered on top) to your fall items (the lighter stuff).
- From a shopping viewpoint, it presents the opportunity to bring “fresh” and “new” elements into your wardrobe that will lighten up your look
11 Simple Rules for a Stress-Free Cleaning Session:
Yep – you get all of that from being more diligent about what’s in your closet and getting in the habit of spring cleaning. I created a four-part series on building the ideal wardrobe and it’s worth checking out but if you’re focused purely on the tradition of spring cleaning, here’s how-to knock it out in one weekend:
- Separate spring/summer from fall/winter (Rome wasn’t built or conquered in one day) – we’re focusing on getting ready for spring/summer
- Throw out any item that doesn’t fit (i.e., it’s more than two sizes two small) – the average woman will not drop two full dress sizes across the next two months
- Put your whites in a pile. If they have a stain, rip, snag, or hole, discard them
- Draw a line in the sand – and choose two bright colors to focus on for spring/summer because these colors will become the focus of your newest purchases
- Toss any shoes that have an exposed sole, are from your college days, and cannot be worn with jeans as well as a summer dress
- Any shirt with a dingy/yellowing underarm goes out
- If you’ve used a shaver on your sweater more than two times in the last two wears then let’s put it in the “donate” pile
- What does your headwear section look like? If you love baseball caps, make sure you have a plain cotton one and a fedora – the rest at your discretion
- Take any handbags or totes in black and put them away – spring/summer is about color so find your metallic or brightly hued bag and put it into the rotation
- Section off your suits by cotton/blend, lightweight wool, heavier wool, and other. Put all of your “other” and heavier wool suits away (storage bags with cedar blocks) and focus on what’s left
- Review what’s left and write down a gameplan of items to add to the mix
If you follow these simple 11 rules, you’ll be well on your way to a breathable, workable and versatile spring/summer closet that also allows you to throw in a few fun, trendy pieces to build on what you already have.
Go. Clean. Purge. Raze. Get ready!