I edit my wardrobe frequently. As in each month I take every single piece of my wardrobe, spread them out on my bed, and evaluate whether each piece deserves to remain in my possession. I try to do this by myself because closet evaluations with friends are not nearly as fun as the Sex and the City movie makes them appear.
One “fun and refreshing” closet cleanout with my friends Alli and Julia quickly turned into a “why is there no secret attic access in my closet to hide this (second) pair of cut-off jorts from the harsh glares of these people attempting to ruin my life?” closet cleanout. I think we ended up doing more harm than good that day...
Here are a few tips to have a successful and enjoyable closet cleanout:
1. If you are completely at a loss for what works and doesn’t work in your wardrobe, ask a friend or family member to help. They might not agree with you on everything, but at least you can get a second opinion and go from there. Otherwise, I suggest going it alone
2. Turn on some music and take everything out of your closet, dresser, etc. Every. Single. Thing. Including things such as:
- Athletic apparel. Why is it that people tend to hold on to XXXL shirts they got for free at a walkathon in high school? Trust me when I say they will never be right for any occasion.
- Underwear. If you are female, you have probably gone to Victoria's Secret and redeemed a coupon (or ten coupons) for a free pair of plain, boring cotton underwear you never wear, even on laundry day. Don't worry, you are not alone.
- Socks. If you have ever laundered your socks, you know you're missing the mate for at least a few pairs. And if you're in some weird state of arrested development, you might still have toe socks from grade school.
3. Try to look how you normally would look. For instance, if you never wear your hair wet, don’t try on your clothes after just getting out of the shower, or vice versa. Everything you try on will look off and you will be more prone to giving away something you actually do like. Oh and, if you don't own a full-length mirror, first of all - why not? You're an adult. Second, you need to buy one now.
4. Try every piece on and only keep clothing that fits your body and personal style, is well-made, and is appropriate for your age and lifestyle. This is the tricky part... I think most people struggle with at least one part of this equation, if not all parts of this equation. For instance, I often lean toward clothing that fits my personal style, but not my body type or vice versa. Or I skimp on a sweater, only to find it tearing a few wears in. Try to recognize patterns and avoid them the next time you go shopping.
5. Bag everything you are going to donate and/or sell and take it that day. Do not take things out of the bag once you have made your decision. Whenever I do this, it reminds me of that episode of Seinfeld where George eats a chocolate eclair out of the trash. He got what he wanted, but was anyone really better off?
6. Make a pile of clothes that you like but that need some sort of attention. For instance, if you have a pair of pants that needs to be hemmed, take it to a tailor that day instead of letting them sit in your closet unworn. Even though it might seem like a large initial investment, it doesn't make any sense to wait until you need something to send it to a tailor.
7. Write down what you need and don't need in your wardrobe. Next time you go shopping, try as hard as you can to stick to the list. When I last cleaned out my closet, I realized I didn't have any sort of rain jacket, so instead of buying the things I normally buy (striped shirts, oversized sweaters, printed socks), I bit the bullet and bought a trench coat. Not only is it awesome, it serves a function that none of my other clothes can.
8. Enjoy the clothes you put back! It's amazing how you actually can survive with a small wardrobe, as long as it is filled with things you actually like and wear.
Go forth and cleanse your closets! There are many donation drives going on around the holidays, or you can always sell your clothes if you're in need of some jingles.
Photo Credit: IMDB