Get your shit together: 9 steps for spring cleaning your closet

Clothing on hanger at the modern shop boutique

Clothing on hanger at the modern shop boutique Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you’re ready to tackle and turn over your things, this is a tried-and-true method to the madness.

Divide and conquer. Don’t go crazy trying to get everything done in one day.

Do it in baby steps. One evening, clean out the beauty product cabinet. Toss what’s old and expired, give friends some stuff, and put a box out in your apartment lobby for neighbors to grab. (In general, you can’t donate items to women’s shelters unless they’re unused.) The next day, tackle your coat closet. The day after that, make a run to the thrift store. This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed by the stuff accumulating in your living room and you can focus on the task at hand.

Sort your shit. Decide what to keep, what to store, and what to sell.

Lately I’ve been using Poshmark. It’s so easy to photograph, list, and sell your stuff via their app -- they even send you a postage label so you don’t have to worry about that. If you’re lazy, you should definitely download it. It’s been beyond easy. Just take clear photos in natural light and be willing to haggle. You could also try Craigslist or NextDoor to get rid of some items; your neighbor could be willing to buy that winter coat you never wore.

If online’s not your thing, there are other places to sell and donate in the Twin Cities.

Take upscale items to a reseller like June or a consignment shop like Fashion Avenue or GH2. Your mid-price items and trendy pieces can go to Buffalo Exchange or B. Resale. You can also plan a garage sale with your BFFs when it gets warmer. As for donations, take your pick of the various thrift stores in the area, whether that’s the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or Value Village. (RIP, Steeple People.) You can also look into whether local shelters need certain items and donate to them. This is a great way to help support a cause that’s important to you.

Are you storing things for sentimental reasons but aren’t actually wearing them? It might be time to put them in a Space Bag and box them up so they don’t take up room in your closet. Label the box so you know what’s in it in case you feel the urge to drag something out when the spirit moves you. If your apartment building has storage units, grab one for the stuff you just can’t get rid of. Or, if your parents are really nice, ask if you can store a box in their basement. (I call mine my “archive.”)

If you’re hanging on to items that don’t fit you anymore, we hate to break it to you, but it’s probably time for them to go. Someone else will love it just as much as you do — send it off into the world to be free!

DO YOUR DRY CLEANING. We know, going to the dry cleaner kind of sucks. Try hand-washing your cashmere sweaters in the tub with a little bit of Aveda Shampure shampoo. For things that can’t be tossed in the bath, make piles for dry cleaning, tailoring/mending, and shoe repair -- and then actually take them in. For shoe repair, try Lee’s in Uptown or Skyway Shoe Repair downtown. As for dry-cleaning, Uptown’s Rainbow gets great reviews, and Mulberry is a “green” option.

Care for your favorite items. Swap out cheap dry cleaner hangers for velvet ones, which are gentler and have more grip. Have you ever put on your favorite sweater and noticed a few suspicious holes? Yeah, moths eat stuff, and it sucks. Drop lavender oil on cotton balls and leave them in the corners of your closet for a “natural” bug repellent or head to Target and grab a few moth repellent closet hangers.

Go to Amazon and buy a few cloth garment bags to store formal items, silk dresses, work suits, or whatever you cherish. While you’re there, grab a sweater stone to de-pill all your favorite sweaters that you haven’t been wearing because of said pills. Take whatever needs mending to a tailor (or ask a talented friend for help), and go through your drawers and get rid of any really old, stained, or torn cotton items like T-shirts and underwear. (You can reuse some as dustrags!) You shouldn't be wearing underwear from 10 years ago anyway.

Don’t stop at your closet. Use this cleaning frenzy to get other things done, too, like washing (and possibly changing out) your bedding, dusting the miniblinds, and going through cabinets and drawers you have neglected. Keep the momentum going. Nothing feels better than getting into a freshly laundered bed after a day of sweeping, mopping, and shining.