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Living in Style: Organizing your closet

Wednesday - 5/1/2013, 9:00am  ET

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Style for Hire's Lisa Tumbarello offers easy ways to reorganize your closet before setting out to buy this season's essentials. (Courtesy of Lisa Tumbarello)
  • Gallery: (5 images)

Paula Wolfson and Alex Beall, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Nothing completes spring cleaning like organizing and cleaning out a closet. But the biggest challenge is always knowing where to start.

Style for Hire's Lisa Tumbarello offers some organization tips to make tackling your closet a bit easier.

WTOP talked to Lisa about the best ways to get your clothes in order and how to decide what should stay and what should go. Check out the gallery for a look into Lisa's own closet.

Make some time.

Cleaning out your closet isn't going to take 30 seconds. It's going to take a couple of hours so set aside an afternoon and have a try-on party. Have you worn it in a while? Does it fit? Does it look good? Does it make you happy? If it's a size ago, should you keep it? If you answered "no" to any of these, it's time to sell it to consignment, donate it or throw it out. Be honest and objective. But get it done before spring shopping so you can make yourself a shopping list.

You have to start somewhere.

And making piles is a good place to start. Get serious by labeling your piles (what to keep, what to look at again, what to donate, what to fix and so on). Remember, you can always tweak and tailor your old pieces to make new ones. For example, if the bottoms of your pant legs are worn, hem them to make a cropped pant.

Itemize and colorize.

Start by putting all the same items together: pants, blazers, skirts, etc. Then colorize within each category from light to dark. Within each color you can also order by style. For shirts, within each color section, order the tops from tanks tops to short sleeves to long sleeves. Avoid organizing by outfit, though, because you'll miss the multiple ways one item can be worn. Organizing also helps your spring shopping by pointing out what you have an over-abundance of and what you're missing.

Hang ups.

When do you hang it, when do you fold it? For shirts, if it's for more than lounging around, hang it up. But lightweight sweaters and heavyweight knits should be folded otherwise the hanger puts pesky divots in the shoulders or stretches them out. No matter the article of clothing, use good hangers like the thin velvet flocked hangers. They save space, simplify outfit making, won't ruin shoulders and don't let your tops slip off.

Calling it quits.

Parting is such sweet sorrow, but sometimes it has to be done. If you wouldn't buy it at a Goodwill store, then don't bother donating it. It will end up in the trash somewhere anyways. If the piece has bad stains or moth holes, it's time to trash it.

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