"Know when to let go!"

Start off 2021 organized: Tips to tame your closet

Posted:Fri Jan 1, 2021
Posted By:John Rothrock, CGCP

The new year always begins with it lots of dedication to doing better – eating healthy, scheduling exercise and tackling home projects always top the list of New Year’s resolutions.

Often, we abandon these new ideals as real life kicks in after the holidays. But, here is a resolution that you can start and finish before you lose steam: In just one day, you can overhaul your wardrobe and organize your closet.

By dedicating a cold afternoon in January to getting rid of unwanted items and cleaning up the space for the items that stay, you’ll set yourself up for success the rest of the year. And, you’ll be able to say you marked at least one resolution off the list.

Here are some tips for how to tame your closet to make it go from a dumping ground that creates stressful mornings to a haven that makes mornings run more smoothly.


Pull out every item from your closet and make piles. Organize your clothing into piles by type – pants, sweaters, T-shirts, skirts, jeans, and so on. Once you have all your clothes piled together by type, you can easily pick out the worn out or uncomfortable items. Create a new pile of items to donate by going through all the sorted piles.

Know when to let go. While you sort, remember, this is a no-judgement zone. Our bodies change over time, so if your closet reflects different sizes, that’s ok. (Here’s a secret: Everyone’s does.) If it doesn’t fit now, get rid of it now.

Getting past size fluctuations, we’ve also all made ill-advised fashion choices. Maybe you have ugly sweaters you can’t believe you bought or boots with the tags still on them. Don’t hold on to items you’ll never use just because you don’t want to admit to bad decisions. Get rid of them and move on.

For the rest of your clothes, here are a few questions to ask yourself to see if it’s time to say goodbye:

  • Do I love it?
  • Have I worn it lately? (You decide what lately means to you – the last month, season or year. But, don’t go past the one-year mark.)
  • Will it fit again or will I alter it to work with my wardrobe now?
  • Is it still in quality shape? (Is it free of holes, stains, rips? Are the buttons and zippers still working well?)

If you answer “no” to any of these questions., toss the item in the donate pile.


Do a mini-spring cleaning. Once your piles are sorted, take a quick 15 minutes to refresh the space. Wipe down all surfaces of your closet and vacuum or sweep the floor. Since the space should be empty, it shouldn’t take too long. And, afterwards, you’ll have a clean surface where you can build your wardrobe back.

Flip hangers to figure out what you wear. As you rehang all your clothes in your closet, flip all your hangers to the same direction. Then, each time your wear an item, flip its hanger to the opposite direction. Soon, you’ll be able to see – even with your pared down wardrobe – the clothing you aren’t wearing. If you haven’t worn an item in six months or a year, you’ll know you can donate it as well.

Organize clothes by type, and by color. Need a yellow shirt? How about those dark jeans? If you reorganize your clothes to be grouped by color – or even lightest to dark – finding the right item and knowing what you have will be much easier. Not only with this idea make your closet very visually pleasing, but it will also make it much more functional for you to see what you have.

Invest in organizational pieces after you clean things out. Resist the urge to head to an organizational store before you clean out your closet. Once you’ve purged, cleaned and reassembled your closet, you’ll have a much better idea of any items you need. Here are a few organizational pieces that could help though:

  • Hangers: Purchase matching, velvet or higher quality hangers to keep the integrity of your garments intact.
  • Shelf or drawer dividers: Long closet shelves and dresser drawers can get unruly quickly, even after the best organization. Shelf and drawer dividers help organize the space and give structure to stacked sweaters or jeans.
  • Hanging storage: Adding vertical storage can be as easy as placing a shoe rack over your door or a sweater shelving unit on your clothing suspension rod. This additional storage can help maximize space and open up new storage areas for you.

Donate your used-to-love items and recycle old hangers. Finally, lug all those donated clothes to your favorite charity like a homeless mission or the Salvation Army. And, bring all your old, unwanted hangers to Yale Cleaners. We’ve been recycling hangers since 1993, and we’ll even give you a free hanger hamper to help collect your unused hangers at home. Drop off any hangers you need to recycle at any of our 11 locations.

After following these tips – and completing at least one New Year’s resolution! – you can also more easily care for the clothes you do love. Dry cleaning garments will preserve the color and texture of many garments longer than conventional methods of washing at home. After the closet purge, take stock of what items would better be cared for with dry cleaning, and regularly dry clean them to help ensure they last as long as they can. Make this year’s self care start with quality care for your clothes.


John Rothrock, CGCP

About the Author

John Rothrock, CGCP

John Rothrock is the President and CEO of Yale Cleaners, a local family business focused on providing high quality, same day dry cleaning with exceptional customer service. He earned a degree in Business Administration in 2005 from The University of Oklahoma. John is a graduate of the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute and is a Certified Professional Drycleaner (CPD), Certified Professional Wetcleaner (CPW), and a Certified Environmental Drycleaner (CED). Having all three of these certifications makes him a Certified Garment Care Professional (CGCP), a distinction held by few people in the dry cleaning industry.

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