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May 8, 2020

Quarantine To Do List: An Easy Guide to Organizing Your Wardrobe

The reality of what it means to shelter in place is no longer quite so shocking. It’s been two months since schools and non-essential businesses have closed, and majority of us are settling into our new normal – one that exists almost exclusively inside the confines of our own homes. As we learn to practice social distancing and self-isolation, our usual forms of entertainment are off the menu, leaving us to look for new ways to pass the time and possibly tackle projects we never quite get around to.

If you’re someone who still has dresses from college or a pair of bell bottom jeans tucked away for that “what if” scenario, cleaning out your closet may be just the task to not only pass the time, but also help you achieve a small victory towards a more organized household. Nothing feels quite as satisfying as checking something off a to-do list that we’ve been putting off for ages.

While our everyday attire may consist of sweatshirts and leggings for the foreseeable future, editing your current wardrobe can mean devising a plan for what your style will look like when life eventually goes back to normal and real clothing becomes part of everyday life again

The objective of a closet overhaul is to part with the items that no longer serve you, focus on the ones that align with your current style goals, and end up with a selection of clothing that leaves you excited to get dressed in the morning. Not only does it push you to let go of questionable trends from the past and things that no longer fit, but you’ll be creating space to rediscover all the hidden gems you forgot you owned.



Before you begin it’s important to get clear on what your style objectives are. For most people, having a wardrobe that makes them look their best and therefore feel their most confident is the overall goal, but it helps to determine what you want your image to convey. Establish a description of your ideal look – polished, approachable, successful, for example, which will provide you with a set of criteria to measure your items against.


The purpose of your overhaul is to end up with a wardrobe that works FOR you and doesn’t cause chaos every time you go to get dressed. Empty out all the contents of your closet and wash down shelving and storage areas so that you have a fresh space to work from. Starting from nothing, rather than sifting through your clothing while it’s still hanging, makes it more likely that you’ll subconsciously put back only those items worthy of being in your new closet.


Go through your clothing one item at a time, categorizing each piece as a ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘maybe’. Hang the yes’s back into your clean closet, separating the other two categories into piles on the floor.  As you work through your wardrobe, keep your objectives in mind, asking yourself honestly if the items in question align with your style goals.


Most of us attach sentimental value to our clothes as soon as we purchase them, and even if they never get worn, we have a hard time letting go. This reaction will be most apparent with your ‘maybe’ pile, as you feel an intrinsic pull to keep everything you own. To combat this, ask yourself how long it’s been since the item was worn. If it’s been more than six months, chances are slim that it will become something you use in high rotation. Moving it into the ‘no’ pile may feel tough but remind yourself that if you forgot about it for several months you most likely won’t miss it when it’s gone. Eliminating pieces you don’t use allows you to focus on the ones that will help maintain your goals.


Re-evaluate what’s left in your ‘maybe’ pile by trying everything on and assessing your gut reaction. If you don’t immediately feel strong and confident in the items, it’s time to let go of them as they’re unlikely to be worn in the future. For anything remaining that still causes uncertainty, challenge yourself to style those pieces into three separate outfits. This will determine how versatile they are. If you’re able to do so, add them to your closet with the rest of your yes’s.


Clothing is a gift that keeps on giving, and what no longer works for you will most certainly provide value for someone else. Check with family and friends to see who may be in need of a clothing refreshment. Businesses like Goodwill and the Salvation Army are also a great option, and are asking customers to hold on to their donations for the time being until they re-open for business. And if you’re looking to make some extra income, use this quarantine downtime to post your clothing on sites like Poshmark, eBay, and the RealReal.


Now you’re organized with a wardrobe that’s ready to showcase your updated style whenever normal life resumes. To keep it that way, you’ll have to be disciplined. Remember, the objective of an overhauled closet is to maintain a selection of clothing you wear on a consistent basis, all of which makes you feel like your most confident self. As time moves forward, put systems in place that prevent you from over accumulating. A great way to do this is to maintain your organization by removing an item each time you add something. If you buy a new pair of jeans, one pair should go. Everything needs a purpose within your closet so that you know it’s there and don’t lose it within the clutter.

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