After the holidays and at the start of a new year, everyone is talking about purging, decluttering, and cleaning out, and Spring brings much of the same zeal for organizing and decluttering, fondly known as "Spring Cleaning".
People will be clearing out their closets to make room for Summer clothes and storing Winter goods so this is a great time to talk about purging your closet and filling it with only the things you love.
You've worked hard to curate a wardrobe that meets your needs but it's always a a work in progress. You want to be happy when you open that drawer or walk into that closet. If you don’t love your wardrobe, and you wish you did, you can change that.
How long has it been since you gave your closet a ruthless purge?
I don’t mean just removing a few things you haven’t worn in a few seasons. I mean taking it all out and starting over with only things that you truly love. If you haven’t done this in a few years or months, that’s the first step.
I always thought I was good at moving things out at the end of every season and keeping my closet up to date until I read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. That’s when I realized I was doing it all wrong.
Marie Kondo’s method was revolutionary to me. She has you take everything out of your closet and drawers. And then go through them one by one, trying them on if you haven’t worn them this season, and asking yourself if each piece sparks joy. If not, sell or donate it.
Once you ruthlessly purge your closet and get rid of all the stuff you don’t wear and don’t love, you can start to rebuild your wardrobe into one you will love to wear.
If you feel like you have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear, start by purging your closet with the process below. Only the items that fit and make you happy will go back into your closet, and then you can rebuild from there. You may end up with 5 pieces or 55; the number doesn’t matter, as long as every piece is one you would love to put on and wear right now.
I recommend doing this when you have a good bit of time to spend. You don’t want to be rushed. Also, you will be trying on a lot of clothes, so I like to do this when I am fixed up and feeling good about how I look. I think it’s easier to get a good gauge of how something looks on when I have some makeup on an
Here’s the STEPS!
STEP 1: EMPTY OUT YOUR CLOSET.
Yes. Take everything out, down to the bare walls. Do NOT skip this step. Taking everything out at once is first step to style clarity. Make sure to gather your clothing from all areas of the house — laundry, storage, etc. Don’t skip anything.
Try on anything you haven’t worn recently — yes, even that special occasion dress you’ve been saving for 5 years “just in case.” Before I did this, I had no idea how much stuff I was keeping “just in case”, and I was shocked at how many of my “just in case” pieces didn’t even fit anymore. What awaste of closet space!
STEP 2: SORT EACH ITEM INTO FOUR PILES.
- LOVE IT: If it is appropriate for the current season, and you absolutely love it and want to put it on right this second, hang it back in your closet.
- MAYBE: Is the fit a bit off? The color? Are you keeping it just because it has sentimental value, or because you paid a lot for it and feel guilty getting rid of it? Put it in a box and store it. If you find yourself wishing you had it, you can always go retrieve it. But if you don’t find yourself wanting it before the end of the season, it’s time to donate it and let someone else enjoy it. If you’re not used to purging, this can be hard to do, but I promise you, it is SO freeing!
- HATE IT: Self explanatory. Donate or sell to fund new purchases.
- SEASONAL: If it’s not in season, but you LOVE IT (and I mean LOVE IT), put it in a box and store it so you can add it to your wardrobe when the proper season rolls around.
Okay, a few notes about this step.
Marie Kondo says it is important to touch each piece and consider if it brings you joy. I promise you, this works. Trust your gut. If you don’t feel like putting it on and wearing it right now but are afraid to get rid of it, put it in the MAYBE pile. You can always go back to it, but you don’t want anything you don’t absolutely love in your LOVE IT pile.
If you have a TON of clothes, do this process in groups. All your tops, then all your bottoms, then dresses, shoes, etc.
I realize not everyone has seasonal wardrobes, and that is fine. If you prefer to keep all of your clothes in your closet all year round, go for it. But if you live in an area with distinct seasons as I do, I highly recommend putting away things that are not in season. It’s so much easier to get dressed when you’ve reduced your closet to only truly viable options. Try it once, and see how you like it.
Yes, it feels very wasteful to give away perfectly good clothing, and some people have a hard time with the purging process, but I look at it this way. It’s not a waste if it blesses someone who needs it.
If you don’t personally know someone who wants your castoffs, there are tons of local organizations that do good work providing clothing to needy women and families in the community where you live. Just find one that resonates with you and haul your stuff over there. As an added bonus, get a receipt, and it’s a tax write-off.
STEP 3: ASSESS WHAT’S LEFT IN YOUR CLOSET.
You may want to live with your clothes for a little while before shopping for new pieces. If you’re struggling to define your personal style, this process will help. Peruse Pinterest, your favorite blogs and fashion magazines, and keep track of what styles resonate with you. Pin them to a personal style Pinterest board, or keep a notebook with pages from magazines. Whichever method you prefer is fine, as long as it works for you.
Your goal during this phase is to determine your personal style and what you need to round out your wardrobe. Keep a notebook or a document on your phone with a list of clothing items you need or want, and then when you go shopping, you can shop strategically.