Closet Cleanout Tips

Hi everyone!  Since I will be spending the next couple of weeks staying at home, I figured that it was the perfect time to clean out my closet.  I definitely have not perfected the process, but today I will be sharing a few tips that help me when I'm completing this process.

1. Group things by category (find EVERYTHING in that category that you own!)

This is my biggest tip, and by far the one that helps me get rid of the most stuff!  First, choose what category you want to work on: purses, shoes, pants, athletic clothes, etc.  Then, gather every single item from that category that you own, and put them together somewhere with lots of open space.  Depending on how many of a certain item I own, I sometimes use the guest bed, a coffee table, or even our living room floor for this purpose.  Make sure you get every single item in the category you are working on, not just what's in your closet right now.  Working on swimsuits, and you have some packed away for the winter?  Get them out!  Looking at shoes, and you keep your special occasion ones tucked away under the bed?  Pull those out too!  When you have everything together, start editing.  I find it much easier to cut down on the number of a certain item if I can look at every single one of those items together, which helps me realize that I definitely don't need all of them.  

2. Put items against each other "head to head" style

This tip is less applicable to items you wear a lot (jeans, socks, pajamas, etc), but very applicable to items you don't wear/use as often.  If you have one or a few awesome items in a specific category, are you ever going to wear the other items in that category?  For me, the answer is no.

I think the easiest way to illustrate this tip is with an example.  I'm in the stage of life where I attend a lot of weddings and related events.  I have two dresses (one pink, one navy) that I have worn to several weddings.  They are classic dresses that are very versatile and can be dressed up or down, depending on the event's dress code.  If I were to edit the "spring/summer event outfit" section of my closet, I would put each dress "head to head" against the pink and navy staple dresses, and think about a pretend or real upcoming event.  If there are cases where I would choose to wear the other item instead of the pink or navy dresses, I might keep it.  However, if I would pick the pink or navy dresses, the "losing" dress would go in the "get rid of" pile.

Another example came up when I was helping my mom clean out her closet.  She had 6 black jackets/blazers.  If she worked in an office where she wore them all the time, it might be ok to keep them all.  However, she only wears them a handful of times a year.  She realized that she has 3 favorites that she always chooses, and never wears the other 3.  Those 3 non-favorite jackets would have been things she might want to keep if she saw them in her closet, but when she realized she never wears them because she prefers the 3 favorites, she decided to get rid of the them.

3. Deal with items you can't wear

Nothing wastes more space in a closet than clothes you can't even wear!  First of all, let go of any items that are uncomfortable in a way that prevents you from wearing them.  I am very sensitive to materials that make me feel itchy, and tags or seams that itch.  Even if I love an item, if I don't wear it because it's itchy, it's not worth using valuable closet space to keep the item.  Second of all, grab any items that need tailoring before you'd wear them.  If you know in your heart that you are never actually going to get the item tailored, get rid of it.  If you will get something tailored, make a pile, and commit to taking any items in the pile to the tailor within the month.  That way you'll actually be able to wear those clothes!  The same goes with any items that are torn, stained, need a new button, etc.  Either commit to addressing the issue to make it wearable again, or get rid of it.

4. Make a "maybe" pile to revisit later

When I clean out my closet, I make 3 piles: keep, get rid of, and maybe.  It's ok to be unsure about getting rid of something!  I use the "maybe" pile liberally, and when I come back to it the next day or week, I'm usually able to be more decisive about keeping something or getting rid of it.  Or if I see a couple of similar items in the "maybe" pile, I'll make a deal with myself: get rid of one, keep the other.  This pile can also help with the next tip...

5. Put together outfits from the items you decided to keep

I'm guilty of having a lot of clothes, but feeling like I have nothing to wear.  When I clean out my closet, I like to take some of the items that I'm keeping and play around with them to make outfits.  Since I have everything out of my closet, it makes it much easier to play around with things and spot items that could go together.  This is where the "maybe" pile can come in handy.  You might be on the fence about keeping an item, but with all of your clothes within eyesight, you may realize that it makes a nice outfit with something you already decided to keep.  Taking the time to put together outfits ahead of time makes it so much less stressful when you have limited time to get ready for something!

6. Challenge yourself to wear items you're on the fence about

Another way I deal with a "maybe" item is to challenge myself to wear it within a week, as long as it's seasonally/situationally appropriate.  We all have those items that are perfectly fine, but just don't get worn, for whatever reason.  I realized that I often see an item, think "that's cute, why don't I wear it more often?", and put it in the "keep" pile, only to forget about it until the next time I clean out my closet.  Now, I take those items and put them near the front of my closet, and challenge myself to wear them within a week.  If I keep making excuses to avoid wearing an item and don't wear it within the week, into the "get rid of" pile it goes!

What are you doing to stay busy at home?  Let me know if you have any other tips for cleaning out closets!


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