Wardrobe Purge | 6 Steps to Culling Your Closet
This is my entire wardrobe. Not just summer, not just winter. Everything. I don't get tubs and totes out every season to rotate my wares. I see all my clothes all year round. After practicing being well-dressed with less for close to four years, I am happy to report I'm more content now than when my closet was overflowing!
The contents of our closets can reveal a great deal about us but I would go further and say how much our closets contain says a great deal more. Brimming over? Spartan? Perhaps it would say "sentimental," "streamlined," or "disorganized/haven't-actually-gone-through-my-things-since-college." Or maybe you're clueless about what flatters you so you keep and buy it all, hoping that out of this messy surplus you'll be able to whip up a perfect little number and some self-esteem.
I'm willing to bet more often than not, if your closet is filled to the brim, you're overwhelmed with dread - not security. The task of pulling together a great outfit can be daunting and if you're in a rut you tend to gravitate toward the same few pieces you know work. So, if you know what you like and what works, why keep everything that doesn't?
In my closet: 15 tops, 6 skirts, 10 dresses. The end. I have a single drawer that holds my maternity wardrobe, pants, and lounge wear. That's it, folks! Please don't misunderstand me - I am not telling you to do exactly this. You should not copy my numbers. Copy the mindset and method. Adjust to suit.
If you're ready to minimize that closet, let's get started...
1. Know what you love - and stick to it. My style is feminine and I gravitate towards skirts and dresses to speak my look. That might not be you. You might wear athletic wear or business casual most days and 10 dresses would be silly to own! Spend time getting to know yourself - your preferences, your needs, what you love - before you sift. Start a Pinterest board. Peg 5 words that define your style - currently, and what you want it to be. When it comes time to hold an item you can ask yourself one question: Do I love this? If the answer is no, it's time to send it on its way. Chances are you own plenty of things you love - why feel obligated to wear anything else?
2. Give yourself permission to break up with your stuff, guilt-free...
If you're listening to that niggling doubt in the back of your mind, persuading you to keep it because you spent good money on it, learn your lesson and move on. You bought a color that doesn't actually suit you? Learn and let go. You snagged a bargain and gloried in the thrill but were disappointed upon bringing it home? Learn and let go. That cute peplum/crop top/flatform/neon-everything/you-fill-in-the-blank trend didn't work for you? Let it go. Every item tells a story - how you felt, what you wanted, what you dreamed in that moment. But if you no longer love it, acknowledge your tendency and that it's purpose was to teach you a lesson not to repeat, and in the future be more thoughtful about what you bring home.
3. Minimize multiples. If you have multiples of the same thing, sometimes it is best to pick your favorite and send the rest on their way. The reason "one is great, four in different colors must be better!" is not always true. You will, more likely than not, gravitate towards one and leave the rest behind. If that is the case, take the look-a-likes out and pack them up for the thrift store. However, if you bought multiples because you wear it so much and you want to make sure you have a future supply should this one wear out, keep it. The point is to evaluate your motives and the reality of your tendencies carefully first.
4. Don't kid yourself. Anything you keep in order to downgrade to "loungewear" is truly just a thinly veiled excuse to not make a real decision. Cut the cord.
5. Sort. I recommend sifting your closet into five categories: keep, mend, consign, donate, and trash. When you finish sifting, your "loves" can go right back in the closet (preferably with breathing room in between them). You will have things you love that just need a little TLC - take care of them! Stitch the hole and sew on the button. It only takes a few minutes of mending to put your best players back in the game. Some of your items will be nice enough to consign. Others can be donated. The rest discarded. Wherever they are going, get them there now. Trash should happen immediately. Donations should be packed up and in the trunk for the thrift store. Consign as soon as you're able. The name of the game is to get them out of your space to enjoy the freedom of less choices and more happiness!
6. Treat yo' self! If you're anything like me, you live for rewards. Sometimes the empty space in your closet will be enough. Only seeing your favorites can be enough. But giving yourself something extra can really seal the deal for some. Maybe that's the new purse you've been eyeing. Or maybe you figured out through sifting that you want to wear more dresses but only have a couple. Whatever it is that will motivate you to do your best and sift successfully, give yourself some love!
The thing I rewarded myself with was...hangers. (Corny, I know. But you guys! It's so beautiful!!!) I changed out my white, plastic hangers for nice wooden ones. It cost me $45 to get 75 beautiful, gleaming wooden hangers and it was worth every penny. As soon as I put my things on them, it elevated my clothes and reminded me of when I first saw it in the store and fell in love. Seeing them on wooden hangers made me remember why I bought it and all the potential it had. For me, it's all about presentation. (I will always spend more on the prettier version of something.) I am totally guilty of judging a book by it's cover, but it's something I've acknowledged and accepted about myself and I know that if my clothes are beautifully hung I will be more content with them. Now, wooden hangers take up a lot more real estate (roughly double) than wire or plastic hangers so you'll only want to invest the money and space at this point if you have culled it down to the best.
You kept only the best and your closet now looks like a boutique? Win-win.
My choice to not be weighed down by empty decisions and full hangers is truly liberating. Want to join me?
It's time for your paring down party. Ready, set, sift!
Spring uniform post to come!