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Swap Your Closet - Spring Cleaning Tips

03/02/20 | Dana LaRieal Morales

It's springtime and for me, that signifies a time of change and renewal.  The trees begin to bloom and it starts staying lighter outside.  The weather starts getting nicer which means the inevitable, it's time to swap your closet!!!!  Oh, what a fun time of year! 

In this episode, I share tips on how to swap your closet and declutter unnecessary noise at the same time. Don't waste the opportunity to bring efficiency to your dressing experience. 

Supplemental Resources:

I didn't hear you clearly, did you just groan? Seriously?!?! You don't enjoy getting to wear brighter and lighter-weight clothes?  Springtime in general doesn't just make you happier? 

Ok, I thought so...well, don't let the idea of swapping your clothes get you down. Just take it one step at a time. Think of it as the perfect time to breathe new life into your closet and your clothes.  You get to truly discover them all over again.  

It's also a time to go one step further and rid yourself of the excess noise in your closet.  There is nothing like using the end of the season as a trigger to re-evaluate and renew your clothing and your closet. It's a time when you can look at everything with a realistic eye.  You can see the new ways to wear the same stuff you have always had, instead of immediately going out to buy a ton of new stuff.  You can also see the pieces you truly need instead of spending your money on unneeded or unnecessary items.

To Clean or Not to Clean Before You Swap Your Closet

Are you team clean or team dirty?  Ok, let me explain the teams first.  If you are team clean, you make sure all your clothes are washed up before you swap your closet or begin a closet declutter project.  If you are team dirty, you figure if the item is dirty you wear it so you don't need to worry yourself with determining if it should be decluttered or not. 

Well, I see both sides of that coin, but I'm definitely team clean.  The main reason is because this isn't just a declutter, it is a declutter and closet swap.  You need to be able to evaluate all types of an item and not just a subset of it. 

For example, how can you evaluate your mountain of jeans if you only have half of them to compare? Instead, get all the jeans and review them together. You can see where you have an overabundance or where one may look dingier than another. Additionally, if you are someone who packs your winter clothes away then this is even more important because you don't want to inadvertently leave out items that should be packed away. 

Now, if you are team dirty I will acknowledge that realistically you probably don't need to consider the items in the dirty clothes pile if you were just decluttering because you know you are wearing them. But, I want to submit to you today.

Ha, like I'm in court...someone's been watching too much Law and Order!

...that sometimes we wear or hold on to things that we should be letting go of...only because we haven't honestly evaluated them.  Maybe we forgot about something else that was better because we regularly have our go-to items. Ok so now let's talk about breaking your closet down.

Understanding How to Break Down Your Closet Swapping Project

Ok, the first thing I want you to understand is that we are going to tackle your wardrobe in segments.  This will help to reduce the level of overwhelm and will help you break your project down into workable parts. Trust me, it's much easier to address a lot of small segments than it is to try to tackle a large pile.  

I know when I have seen this on recent decluttering shows it seems very overwhelming.  The truth is most of those shows are working with stay-at-home moms/dads or people who have taken off a week for filming.  Realistically, we have a short amount of time to dedicate to the process of decluttering.  

It is mostly an hour or two a night or a few hours on the weekend. This is due not just because of your limited amount of physical time, but your limited reserve of energy after having worked a full day and doing all the things in between.  Seriously, I get it!  

So, as you begin to swap your closet, I want you to only take like segments of clothing.  Remember, this is for the purpose of both swapping AND decluttering, so we will touch every piece of clothing in your closet. Some common categories are as follows:

  • Underwear
  • Camisole/Undershirt
  • Shorts
  • Workout Clothes
  • Skirts
  • Pants
  • Dresses
  • Suits
  • Long-sleeved
  • Short-sleeved
  • Sleeveless
  • Jackets
  • Stockings/tights
  • T-shirts 
  • Hoodies

This list is not all-inclusive, but it gives you an idea of groupings you can use.  If you are interested in going deeper, you can use the declutter club challenge to assist you.

Rules of Engagement To Swap Your Closet

The main difference I see between a general declutter and a swap is that you aren't currently wearing the clothes.  You are getting ready to put the clothes up.  I find that we tend to be more optimistic regarding the likelihood of wearing an item again or not during this time.  Even though that is the case, you can be a little more lenient during closet swaps because you will review the clothes twice, once when you pack them away or swap your closet, and then again when you put them back in your closet for activewear. 

We tend to say oh by the time winter comes back I will have lost X pounds or you may not have any other sweaters so you hold on to it just in case you don't find any between now and next season. Listen, I get it...you don't want to be forced to buy something else. BUT my question is what is your reasoning for letting it go?  Does it have a hole in it, is it dingy or do you avoid it even if it is in your closet? 

Take this time to be real with yourself and do the action that is hard.  Remember, if you weren't wearing it before and it was hanging in your closet it was noise. Remove the noise so you can have a nicer and more enjoyable dressing experience.  If you weren't wearing it because you forgot about it, clear the noise of other things you don't like or need so this item can be heard.

Swap Your Closet By Asking Key Questions

Now one of the most important things you can do is ask yourself the key decluttering questions.  They will keep you honest as you go through the process and swap your closet.

  1. Do you like it? If you don't like it, it really doesn't matter if it fits or not, there is no need to keep it.  This of course is assuming it is not a required work uniform or other such garment.

  2. Is it in disrepair, worn, or torn? If it can't be fixed then you need to let it go and possibly just replace it.  There are so many times I realize that I just "put up with" something because I don't think about myself as much as I do my family.  Think about it, how often do you evaluate your child or your spouse's clothes and say oh you need some more xyz...vs. how often you do that for yourself.  Get those panties with the ripped hem out of your drawer and buy yourself some new ones.  Don't you deserve it?

  3. Does it fit? Now, this is another category where sometimes we ignore the reality of our situation.  We don't want to admit that we have gained weight and instead try to squeeze into the clothes we know are being stretched to their limit OR we have lost a bunch of weight but haven't invested in new clothes either because we aren't finished or we just haven't acknowledged the fabulousness that is us.  Let's let go of anything that doesn't truly fit.  Note: there are exceptions for pregnancy.

How Removing The Noise Simplifies Your Life

Once you go through your clothing swap and declutter, you will begin to see commonalities in your clothing.  You will begin to see clothing stories and pairings that you missed before.  Your overall process of getting dressed and putting up clothes will also be much easier, once the noise is gone.  You will feel a sense of renewal in the process.  

So what are you waiting on?  Let's swap your closet and declutter some clothes!