Not too long ago, a dear friend of mine was getting ready to move and wanted to clean out her closet for a fresh start at her new place. All she did was stare at her closet helplessly before calling me and asking how do you clean out a closet?
The solution I told her? Editing.
C’mon, who here can HONESTLY say they’ve never went to clean out their closet and just froze not knowing what to do with all of it? Or looked in their closet, that has tons of clothes, and thought ‘I have nothing to wear’?
So, I’m going to offer you what I find to be the best way to organize and clean out your closet so that you feel better about the structure and feel you actually have something to wear!
First, let’s start with the clean up. Take your time and go through each piece individually. You should automatically toss anything that is tarnished, stained, beyond repair, and doesn’t fit and WILL NOT FIT. Why do you still have that shirt with the hole and the little fabric balls from too much wear and tear anyway? And do you really think keeping a pair of jeans that fit in high school but haven’t fit in the last 7 years will one day miraculously fit again? Nope, sorry.
Ok, feeling better already, right? Next, go through what you still have and categorize into must haves and considering keeping. In my opinion, there are staples that are automatic must haves: an LBD, great pair of jeans, well structured fitted blazer, and your favorite day dress.
Now for the fun part. Before you put your must haves back in your closet, make sure that you actually do have a full outfit or two that you can make with them. For example, you have this fantastic Gucci sweater in your must haves, but it’s kind of funky and really only goes with one kind of pant or short. See if you have that pant or short in either your must have or considering piles and go ahead and put that outfit up in your closet. Continue making outfits with your considering pile once you’ve done as much as you can with your must have pile.
When making outfits with your clothes, REALLY make outfits. Make smart choices, not just “oh I’m keeping all these shirts because they look good with jeans”. No no no, my dear. keeping 100 tops “just because” is defeating the purpose. When you come across this dilemma, ask yourself, “am I really going to wear this?” If you haven’t worn it in the last year or two, chances are, you should toss it.
Ok, so, you’ve made all of your outfits out of your clothes. (Outfits that you are actually going to wear!) From here, look at the must haves that are left over. Double check again that they are must haves. If they are, take pictures of them and note what you need to complete an outfit with that piece. (This is a great way to strategize shopping days.)
With the considering pile, I recommend going ahead and tossing out the rest. You didn’t have them in your must haves and you don’t have a complete outfit for them so, why keep them?
Do the same with your shoes. I find it best to incorporate the shoes into the outfit choosing. Because once all outfits have been made, you’ll see what leftover shoes you have that can also be tossed.
Remember, you don’t have to throw away the toss pile. Donating clothes has always given me a sense of doing good and helping out the fellow neighbor! Goodwill has tons of drop boxes all over!
Happy editing, my loves!