Organizing Your Closet Post-Pandemic

How are you feeling about your clothes? For nearly a year, most of us have barely left the house. We’ve happily lived in our favorite 20% of our wardrobe. Going pant-less went from fantasy to reality for some. But what has your wardrobe been doing while you’ve been Zooming? It’s time to organize your closet post-pandemic.

Organizing Your Closet Post-Pandemic


Organizing Your Closet Post-Pandemic

If you are following along with my free Facebook clutter-support group and our monthly focus projects, when we got to May’s challenge of organizing your main bedroom, you immediately thought of going through your closet with an eye to edit, purge, and organize.

Everyone has different challenges in the bedroom. If you don’t know where to start, focus on safety first. Clear the bed from clutter. If you are only sleeping on a part of the bed–or can’t sleep there at all!–this is a small space that you can clear quickly and enjoy dramatic results. After clearing it and re-making the bed with fresh linen, top it off with a clean sheet, which will allow you to use the bed as a wonderful sorting surface to clear the rest of your room and piles of clothes from your closet.

Where to Start Organizing Your Bedroom

Once the bed is clear, start back at the door again. If you’ve read the SORT and Succeed system, starting at the door eliminates all the questions about what you should do first and next. Just start at the door and go in a clockwise path around the room. Sure, you can go counter-clockwise if you prefer. Just don’t try to go both directions at once!

Even I, a certified professional organizer, am seeing things in my closet that are past their prime.

My “backup” comfy pants finally gave up their elastic. You’e seen it before, when you stretch the elastic, but instead of bouncing back it makes that “crunchy” sound? I’ve replaced elastic before, and if you are a DIY-er, go for it. These pants, however, owe me nothing. I hardly wore them in the last few years. I’ve owned them at least 20 years. I’d be happier with more space in my drawer than keeping these as backup.

Organizing your closet post-pandemic-comfy pants


A pink necklace of no particular value is also overdue for a re-think. Having been one of my favorites in the past, now it’s perpetually tangled and tarnished. Truth be told, it’s a little scratchy, too. In fact, I already bought a pink replacement necklace. What’s the organizing rule? One in-one out!

Organizing your closet post-pandemic-necklace


Over the winter, a hungry beast ravaged a couple of my favorite wool sweaters. I had to refresh my cedar oil and tried my trusty repair method to darn the wool, but one sweater will never be the same. The holes did not repair well, and they are very obviously on the front. The damage is mostly below chest level, so I might have worn this sweater once or twice on Zoom during the winter, but I would never wear it out of the house. It’s merino wool, so I’ll take one more look at it and see if it will work as an under-layer in another winter outfit, but it will likely leave during my Great Closet Refresh, too.

Organizing your closet post-pandemic-sweater



How to Keep Elastic In Good Shape

Back to elastic for a moment, I’ve always been fascinated by elastic’s magical, unique, and completely under-appreciated power to return to its original shape. I researched how to care for garments that contain elastic. While bleach and aggressive drying are top offenders, I can tell you from much hands-on experience in many client closets that elastic that hasn’t been worn or washed in months and years is often crunchy and looses its stretch.

My theory is that elasticity, which is really stored energy, must be stretched regularly to keep elastic healthy. Without the kinetic energy created in the stretch-return-repeat cycle, elastic breaks down and will dry rot. The same thing happens to a car or a bike that’s perpetually parked. Never driving it ruins tires. I vaguely remember from high school science class that there is a force that pushes energy to the edges of tires, which somehow keeps them in good shape. Is this centripetal force or centrifugal force?? I can never remember, but it’s a thing. (Maybe a follower who is also a scientist can set me straight.)

Mini-Projects for Organizing Your Bedroom and Closet

Ready to organize your main bedroom and organize your closet? Here are some small projects to get to your goal of a peaceful, beautiful bedroom. Keep these projects small to avoid overwhelm.

• Remove the one ugly/smelly/worn pillow from your bed and recycle it if you can.
• Clear off just the top of your nightstand.
• Remove just ONE pile of mail/clutter from below your nightstand.
• Recycle one handful of broken/mismatched hangers from the closet.
• Rehang all the clothes currently on the “clothing chair,” treadmill, or bench.
• Make sure each dresser drawer can close easily; you might need to remove items from the way-back of the drawer to make this happen.
• Replace all non-working light bulbs.
• Match up all the shoes. Gather orphan shoes for donation. Yes, even single shoes can be donated.
• Remove socks with non-working elastic.
• Remove all empty boxes, shopping bags, and tote bags and recycle.
• Sort jewelry together: earrings, necklaces, pins, bracelets, watches, sun/glasses.
• Move all photos and heirloom keepsakes to one place, perhaps outside the bedroom (but not in the basement, attic, or garage).
• Replace all books and magazines into/onto a bookshelf, magazine rack, or orderly pile.

Get Started Organizing Your Closet

There’s no better time to organize your closet. There probably will never be a better time in the history of the world! You haven’t touched 80% of your clothes in a year! At some point, it became obvious which shirts you are happy to wear over and over again. THOSE are the keepers. The shirts that you just couldn’t bring yourself to wear on Zoom calls or on errands, those aren’t special, someday clothes; you just don’t love them. They’ve become clutter. You’ve lived without them for a year. Are you brave enough to make the break up official?

Here’s the real organizing magic. Once you downsize to the “right” amount of clothing, whatever that is for you, don’t go on a buying spree where you again settle for clothes that aren’t perfect for you. Use Darla’s Wardrobe Laws to only buy clothes that are PERFECT for you. If it’s not perfect, don’t buy it, or return it IMMEDIATELY.

One Tool to Avoid Keeping Too Many Clothes in Your Closet

There’s one simple organizing item that you’ll need to keep your bedroom closet perfectly organized, and you probably already own it. If not, it’s an easy and inexpensive upgrade: nice, matching hangers. My favorite are these hangers from Bed Bath and Beyond. Whatever your favorite hangers are, buy a matching batch, and don’t let them leave your closet–ever! If you maintain a consistent amount of hangers and everything fits, then you’ll abide by that One In, One Out Rule, and your closet won’t ever get cluttered again.
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Organizing Your Closet Post-Pandemic

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Mary

    Last year after experimenting I realized my closet does best when I have no more than 80 items hanging in my closet. I actually have a Post-it note on the wall to remind me. When things start to get tight I do a quick count, and remove any items that aren’t getting worn enough to earn their place in the closet.

    1. Darla

      Brilliant. We find that most of our clients manage perfectly with about either 100 or 200 items in a large closet. Without counting, it’s easy to tell, because my favorite hangers that I linked in the article come in boxes of 50 hangers.

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