How To Clean Out Your Wardrobe Without Losing Your Mind
Everyone will tell you the same old tips about cleaning out your wardrobe and as you can see…there are quite a few I don’t necessarily agree with.
1. Take everything out of your closet and throw it on your bed/floor.
Don’t do this! It’ll give you a massive headache, you’ll feel overwhelmed and your bedroom will look like a bomb has just gone off. Also if you husband is home he will see all of your clothes and promptly declare that you should be banned from shopping for life.
I suggest if you have a larger wardrobe to do it in steps. One day tackle just the pants…the next day the tops and so on. Divide and conquer.
three four piles.
One for consignment/ebay, one for donation, one for keeping and one for your pug to lay in. Okay, some of you might have that fourth pile for the cat or a baby…whatever works for you.
3. Try on each item.
Yes! This is necessary. You can’t tell what it really looks like on the hanger. That is why you need to tackle this in increments. Trying on clothes is exhausting. Make sure you have plenty of refreshments and someone to rub your shoulders nearby. And by refreshments I mean martinis and by someone I mean this guy…
sans wifey of course.
4. Assess yourself in a full length mirror in well lit natural light.
Nothing looks good in crap lighting. Give your clothes and your self esteem a fighting chance.
5. If you find something you haven’t worn in over a year you shouldn’t keep it.
BS! Some years I get invited out to more fancy dinners than others. Some years I do more travelling than others. I still need to keep those dresses/skirts/tops “just in case!” For a few years we didn’t have a winter holiday but I’m very happy I didn’t toss out my bathing suit because of I hadn’t worn it in over a year! I’m prepared for most every occasion should they arise in the future. I call this “closet
half full” thinking. Like a boy scout, I’m always prepared.
6. If something no longer fits, get rid of it.
If your weight has been stable for the last 10 years…go for it. My weight fluctuates depending on the time of the month, what is on Netflix and how miserable our weather has been. If it is vastly too large or too small (I’d say more than 2 sizes) and you don’t plan on getting it altered…then okay, fine…out it goes.
7. If it no longer suits your style get rid of it.
I don’t like this rule either. Like my weight my style also changes from year to year and sometimes even from season to season. I’ll rediscover an old item and fall in love with it all over again. Especially if they are great timeless pieces that touch your heart, think twice before you toss it. I’ve done this before thinking I was doing myself a favour only to wind up endlessly searching for a replacement piece. #closetregret
If you really love the piece…keep it!
8. If you don’t like the item anymore toss it.
If you try it on and wonder what drug cocktail you were on to make you purchase such a hideous item by all means, get rid of it.
We all have moments of weakness when we think we’ll look good wearing something like this, “Piñata neckless-head-dress” aka “toilet bowl cleaner dress”.
Or maybe we thought, “If Lady Gaga Can Wear It So Can I.”
I think that dress would be brilliant at a crowded event. Those shoulders would act like your own personal forcefield.
9. If you wonder to yourself, “Does this look too young/too old for me?” toss it.
I think the question you need to ask yourself should be rephrased to, “Does this look like me?“ If it does…keep it! If it looks like “that other blogger” the kid next door or Lady Gaga, maybe reconsider, cause there is only one Lady Gaga and only one you, and that’s a good thing.
10. If the item is damaged, in any way, get rid of it.
If you have no intention of taking it to the tailor or fixing it…yeah…it shouldn’t be taking up valuable closet real estate. I find when I do clean my closet that it motivates me to get out my needle and thread and get those repairs done. I plan on stitching up my favourite jeans for as long as those threads will hold together.
This was me a few weeks ago when I started cleaning out my wardrobe…
as I hadn’t worn that sweater in over a year. Like I wrote, their is no expiry date on my clothes.
All I had to do what look at it with fresh eyes, try it on with something different and now I’ve worn it twice in the last month.
Also fringe is in!
Do you have any special closet cleaning tips you’d like to share?
If you enjoyed this you might like my post about closet organization tips or my jewellery organizing solution.
Linking up with Passion 4 Fashion Fun Fashion Friday
Brilliant post. I am a major wardrobe recycler (and now that I volunteer at the thrift store, I have accelerated) and not very sentimental about my clothes. I don’t endorse the “haven’t worn it in a year” advice either – I put some things in a nice Neiman Marcus shopping bag on the top shelf of the closet, then I revisit the bag twice a year. Sometimes a hidden treasure pops out. xox
I don’t really have any tips beyond this great list, but I do definitely agree with taking everything out of the closet first. I did this for my sister years ago when I became tired of hearing her say that she had nothing to wear. Her income was good enough for her to spend whatever she needed to pull a good wardrobe together too. So I helped her go through each piece and we made a list of the things she needed to pull her things together, mostly basics, etc…and she said ever since then she’s never felt that way again. The most fun I had with her was taking her shopping on her budget! She bought whatever I told her too. ha!
Jazzy Jack says
You look so at home there in front of your flower explosion!
The top looks like butterflies have landed and morphed 🙂
I am always cleaning out and redonating my closet, mostly when things keep falling out! I tend to do one garment type at a time. Don’t want to be too freaked out!
But if you are sorting the age old ” I have nothing to wear” as Joni said, maybe you need to look at the whole picture.
I agree that sizes and tastes vary over time so keep those things you love…and have room for. Great post! xo Jazzy Jack
Love seeing pictures of you in your gorgeous home! That top is a beauty.
Great tips and a rather attractive picture of Mr Clooney, too (although he never did much for me until I saw him all tattooed and bad ass in From Dusk Till Dawn, phwoar!)
Mine’s the chuck everything on the floor, pour myself a drink, turn the music up and wonder how the f*ck I got so much stuff and point 8 – why. The sequinned stripper knickers and the crushed purple velvet bralet are just two cases in point.
Fab read! xxx
Or alternatively, don’t do anything and leave your wardrobe as it is, that tends to be my approach!
Actually, I get rid of things all the time, but in dribs and drabs, not as part of a massive overhaul. My wardrobe is in a constant state of flux (not everything, obviously, some pieces are definite keepers) but I often wear things for a bit, then decide I just don’t love them enough and re-sell them on Ebay, pass on to my daughter or friends, or donate to charity shops. I’ve still got too much, but I can cope with that! And I never understand the guideline about throwing something out if you haven’t worn it for a year; I’m sure we all have special pieces that aren’t everyday or are very occasion-specific but they still come in handy when that occasion arises.
Glad you’re keeping that top, it’s lovely with the floral skirt! xxx
Natalia Lialina says
This is wonderful, Suzanne! You have a good organizer’s mind, and I agree with all of your tips. The tip to divide into categories, so it’s not overwhelming, is especially helpful to me.
I used to treat my closet differently – first of all, I never had a lot of clothes, ever. It did not even occur to me in the past that I needed or wanted a lot of clothes. The artistic approach is quite new to me, so I’m learning along the way (the last year and a half to two years). I pretty much always wore what I loved, but I wore my clothes to the point of either its or mine exhaustion, and then it was time to let go of it and make or buy new stuff.
That approach just does not work for me any longer, and I’ve accumulated some extra pieces which don’t get a lot of outings, plus those which were experimental and I’m still not quite sure what to do with them. Once I’m ready to sort those pieces out, I will do just that – divide into categories and invite a handsome guy to rub my shoulders! Not that one on the photo though. 🙂 xxx
Natalia Lialina says
And your outfit is very, very pretty! So glad that the top did not go to donation pile.
Now it’s a darn good thing you didn’t give this one away! You look great in it!!! Love both the top and bottom (I’d fight you for that skirt). Love those blue shoes!
Happiness at Mid Life says
I agree not throw everything on the floor – worse mistake of my life!! I did that in our spare bedroom with everything that was in dressers about a year ago….and yup – it’s still on the floor. I totally agree with tackling it in sections by type of clothes or section of a closet, makes it easier to digest.
I love this top and hope it’s staying!
Jodie filogomo says
LOL….you are so right about so many points! (Although my man of point would be Mario Lopez). When you try things on, a huge factor can be what you’re wearing with it for it to look fab! Sometimes it’s really nice to have a true friend to help (definition of true friend: one who tells you the truth while still making you feel good!!) jodie
ps…that top is perfect….glad to kept it in this “new” fringe era!!
Yes, George would be very helpful in this process..and would said martini’s, if only- sigh-
but great advice. I tend to keep things for the very reason that your outfit is so gorgeous today.
If i loved it once, i tend to love it again, maybe styled differently. That said I have ample closet space…
Funny, constructive piece!
Dawn Lucy says
Haha … great tips and as always, I love your sense of humor! And I adore that blue fringe top! I vote for keep it!
Thanks so much for linking up with Fun Fashion Friday!
Your post offers all the tips you need in order to clean your closet! very exhaustive and witty!
It is useless to keep clothes you have not been wearing for a long time : you won’t wear them anymore in future!!
Allie Mackin says
Funny I just did this the last few weekends and had about 7 bags of clothes and shoes I got rid of, it felt great. And wonderful tips by the way.
Allie of ALLIENYC
I’m glad you kept that top. A one-year rule? Ha. Ill-fitting? Ha. Great run-down of all the conventional thinking with great responses. I’ve started to bag things and put them away for months. And then happily fill up that gaping space, which kind of defeats the purpose of the exercise.
I definitely find the whole “take everything out of the closet” idea way too overwhelming. Honestly, I’m pretty bad on the try-it-on-before-deciding thing too. Most of the time, either I want to get rid of it because it doesn’t fit or I know I don’t use it anymore. Should be better about trying things on though, because, as you point out, old favorites can get re-discovered.
Debbie Stinedurf says
I would probably be more likely to clean out my closet if Clooney came over to help. Or Lenny Kravitz. (Sorry…there was one damn fine photo of him on my Insta feed today and just, damn.) I recently decided my gray winter coat was beat beyond saving it so my pug/bull mix inherited it…she loves sleeping curled up in it because it smells like mommy. 🙂
I’m doing this over the weekend, and I really hope George Clooney shows up! Love that outfit on you! Have a great weekend.
These tips are so good Suzanne, and it’s great to turn some of those commonly held beliefs on their head. I’ve been trying to do a bit of reorganisation, but like you said, baby steps are important to not get overwhelmed and exhausted. I recently pulled out everything that I don’t wear because it needs a button replacing/hem re-doing/other sewing alteration, and I’ve got quite a few bags for the charity shops. x
Kate McIvor says
Hahaha! Thanks Suzanne. My daughter made the mistake of asking me to clean out her closet when I went to visit her. By the time I was done, there was no way I was going to buy her any new clothes. 🙂
Suzanne, I love your ensemble especially that top is so flirty, glad it didnt got to the donation pile hahaha.
Yeah I dont really go by most of those cleaning out rules either. When it comes to organize I go by categories too, make is so much easier to handle and keep an overview. Thanks for those great tips 🙂
Have a great weekend my friend 🙂
This is a great post Suzanne, and I find your suggestions for closet cleaning much more reasonable. If I took all my clothes out and put them on the floor I would have a nervous breakdown. For me, the wardrobe purging is an ongoing thing – I just gave two big bags of stuff to the Diabetes Association.
Heather Lindstrom says
That outfit looks fabulous on you! It’s fun to find a piece that works so well again in your own closet. Great tips! Of course I always agree about the whole George Clooney thing! LOL!
Thanks for a great article and the good reminder not to shop while under the influence of psychedelics. I live in the developing world where it’s hot most of the year and the laundry is brutal. In my professional life I have to look fresh, pressed and stylish every day (anyway, I try). I find I have lots of cotton clothes that wear out quickly from fading or hard use. Fortunately, a junior colleague is a devout member of a church with an active charity outreach. I do a seasonal closet cull twice a year and give the rejects to my colleague and let her do the sorting: for herself, for her sisters and for the church. I agree however with the don’t toss if you haven’t worn it for a year idea; there are always formal occasions or visits to other countries where that Fortuny evening dress will knock ’em dead.
I use only one rule- if it doesn’t make you feel good then get rid of it. And Lately I’m wondering about keeping my winter clothes just slightly larger permanently- I seem to go through a stretchy pant phase every December through May, so I’m thinking I should just keep my winter clothes like that, then I don’t have to stress about weight gain too much ( or frantically try to find stretchy pants every january 😉
I actually don’t have enough clothes now! I got rid of everything that didn’t fit a few months ago and that didn’t leave me with a whole lot. I really need so go shopping but… I’m such a cheapskate.
No Fear of Fashion says
Can anything by Anthropologie be wrong? Love the top with that skirt. Brilliant that you have matching shoes with it.
I laughed quite a few times through this post. Like with the Lady Gaga bit and with the toilet brush haha.
I agree with your tips, dear. The biggest eye-opener for me was the fourth pile, for pugs, pets or toddlers;-).
Due to the combo of LOTS of clothes and way too little closet space, I found myself forced to get rid of all the clothes that were two or more sizes too small for me, thinking that I was a big girl, accepting that I would never be size S again. Needless to say, that within months (due to medical reasons, but still), I was a small size S, with only L and XL in my closet.
Okay, I said then: this medical condition is lifelong, so I will never be an L or larger again. Within one year I threw out all my clothes in exchange for stuff in size S.
Yes, you see it coming: a year later I was declared better, left my diet and gained back all the weight I lost: size L here with only S in my closet.
In short: if only I would have enough closetspace, I would keep all my clothes in all sizes, just in case.