Closet Makeover & Back to School

For some students, having a new outfit on the first day of school is only a dream. With back-to-school just a few short weeks away, it is time for a Closet Makeover! That’s right, this is a great time to clear closets of outgrown, unwanted clothing and shoes. Not only do you free up much needed space in your closets, but you could also positively impact someone’s life that may be less fortunate.

The Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, is a business theory but it also applies to our clothes. Statistics reveal that we wear only 20% of the clothes in our closets and the other 80% are just taking up space.

So before you head out to do your back-to-school shopping, allocate a few hours to clearing out your closets. Start working at one end of the closet and work your way to the other.

Need more floor space? You can free up floor space by hanging longer items from the highest level. The extra space can then accommodate a shoe rack. If you have high-ceilings in your closet, consider adding additional shelving to accommodate items that are not needed at all times. Using decorative, labeled bins is an effective way to hold out-of-season clothing.

Visually pleasing

To save closet space and to give the look of uniformity, invest in thin hangers. The thin, velvet-lined hangers have been seen at the large discount warehouse stores, and can also be found at a variety of department stores. Extra hangers should be stored neatly in a box or bin rather than left on the rods taking up precious space.

It is important to note that not all clothes and shoes should be donated. Carefully evaluate the condition of the item and if too worn, set aside for the discard pile or for delivery to a fiber recycling company (see resources below).

5-Tips to help you get started on your closet makeover and purge

1. Set up four bins or stations labeled “Keep” “Discard” “Donate” “Recycle”
2. Focus on one closet at a time and complete the clean-out before moving on
3. Go through the entire closet one piece of clothing at a time and make a decision (see #1)
4. The “KEEPS” get re-hung in a like with like manner: Shirts with shirts, pants with pants, long-sleeved with long-sleeved, like colors with like colors.
5. Arrange for a pick-up or deliver donations to drop-off centers, consignment shops, or recycling centers within 2-days

 Additional tips

  • Questionable items of clothing should be placed in the closet with the hanger facing the opposite direction. If after six months the hanger is still facing backwards, it is likely that the item will not be worn again. Donate it.
  • Keep a step-stool in your closet to access those out-of-reach places.
  • If lighting is a problem in your closet, install stick-on lights where needed.
  • Visit websites such as IKEA and Container Store for creative ideas for increasing storage.
  • Go to and search for images showing organized closet space.

Below is a list of resources that you may consider using for your discarded items. These are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement.


Goodwill, Big Brothers Big Sisters, St. Vincent de Paul, etc.