• Otter and Oak

With Spring comes spring cleaning. And with spring cleaning comes the dreaded CLOSET CLEAN OUT. I’ve been researching this one for a while, not only for the purposes of this blog, but also because my own closet has become such a mess it has now infringes on the room. I just try not to make the mess angry enough to landslide down and attack me.

The Marie Kondo method of “When I hold this item, does it give me joy?” is a slippery slope for me. A swimsuit hasn’t given me joy since 1994, and yet, realistically, I need to own one. So, I knew I’d need to go with a more traditional approach.

Most of my research says the best way to begin is to pull everything out of your closet. Everything. Give the walls a good wipe down and vacuum the dark reaches of the floor. This is a good time to assess the space and ask yourself some hard questions.


  • How much can you realistically keep?

  • How much of your wardrobe do you actually utilize?

  • Is there a more effective way to utilize the closet space you have?

At this point, you need to separate your items into three distinct piles: keep, trash, or donate/sell. While you’re going through these items, you should cull out clothing that no longer fits properly, free hats and t-shirts you will never wear, clothes you used to love but haven’t worn in years, and items you said you’d repair, but haven’t. Most articles say to get rid of anything you haven’t worn in 6 months. I disagree with that. I think a year sounds more reasonable. If you didn’t wear a sweater all last winter, odds are, you won’t wear it this winter. Get rid of it.

After you’ve gone through everything, it’s time to go back to your three key questions and reassess. Have you culled out enough to make an appreciable difference? Have you kept the staple pieces that serve your wardrobe needs most? Would additional shelving, wall hooks, or other organizers help you maintain order long term?

After you’ve answered these questions and have completed the modifications that will best maximize your space it’s time put the closet back together. You should do so with a plan in mind.

  • Hanging clothes together by season, cold weather clothes to one side, warm weather clothes to the other.

  • Making staple wardrobe pieces easy to find. I suggest putting them in the middle, separating hot and cold weather clothes.

  • Folding items (such as sweaters) and storing them in the dresser or on a shelf when possible, to save closet rod space.

  • Using wall hangers for belts and handbags, to keep them off the floor and make them easy to find.


Getting your closet organized so you can find what you’re looking for in the morning, will hopefully prevent that mad morning rush. You may even have time to enjoy a leisurely second cup of coffee. Finally, something you can hold that brings you joy!





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  • Otter and Oak


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