Why wait a couple more months to participate in the cliché of “spring cleaning” when you can easily get a head start now? On this topic, we talked with Melissa Taylor, a Chicago-based designer of a line of ready-to-wear women’s clothing and men’s custom outerwear called Emalon. Taylor is also the CEO of Fashion House Chicago, a company that offers a range of services including hosting events and fashion shows, photo shoots and closet cleaning. Noting that every closet is different in shape and size and can be tailored to each individual’s personal needs, Taylor explains the basics of reorganization and updating closets based on her years of experience with Fashion House Chicago.

Start with out-of-season clothing items.

Store them in plastic bins that can easily slide under the bed. Beginning with a category or a section can ease any feelings of overwhelming anxiety from looking at any clutter, Taylor says. Trying to tackle too much at once is a no-no.

Move on to “recycled clothes”

This is how Taylor refers to clothing items that are your favorite, but you rarely wear. Add those items to the storage bins and tend to what needs cleaning and is still wearable.

Make a donation.

Anything you no longer wear or use and are in good conditions, pass down as an heirloom or give it to charity. Taylor recommends and donates to the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, but there are plenty of others to choose from.

It’s okay to be a softy.

If something has sentimental value and you just cannot part with it, go ahead; keep it in the closet — but keep it only five pieces or less. “If it is over five pieces, that is a different deal. You cannot have ten pieces hanging in your closet…it just takes up space,” Taylor says.

Finish with a shoe shelving system.

If you do not have a separate closet for your shoes, install vertical shelves to place the in-season shoes on. Keeping shoes out of their boxes is a great way to always see and know what you have to match with your outfits.

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