It’s one of the most daunting tasks – the most dreaded: cleaning out your clothes closet. [insert Michael Myers theme song music here – Oh wait, I did! Hah! Have a listen below for a little blog theme music....]
I don’t know about you, but I’m a clothes packrat. With every outfit, I associate where I wore it, who I wore it with, and these tops and bottoms conjure up memories, not just fashion moments. Then, there’s that part of me, that even if I only wore something once, I save it - “just in case” – I find that perfect pair of pants in the future to wear with this top in psychedelic pink again, or a glittery scarf that will make me like it a lot better. Inevitably, it doesn’t happen, but I still resort to the “waste not, want not” philosophy.
I however love the feeling of a clean and organized closet, associated with simplicity. I dream of coordinating my colors and lining up my long sleeves. I did work in retail once upon a time, but I never mastered that perfect fold. So I let my perfect vision of my clothes closet allow me to settle, and add yet one more t-shirt, one more pair of pants, or another gorgeous dress to the lineup, without discarding one darn thing. Multiply this method over the years, and I can pretty much guarantee you that I don’t have to go far to find something that’s now vintage!
With the looming of me moving, I had to tackle this task, despite my propensity for procrastination. Here are a few things I learned when it comes to weeding out your wardrobe to make things a little easier.
Let Go of the Guilt
Rather than trash your former “treasures” and feel post-clothing giveaway guilt, give your sundries a second chance. Many dry cleaners accept clothing donations for those in need, and there are also consignment shops and thrift stores that will accept items in almost-new condition. Heck, if you have a friend that wears the same size, consider swapping or dropping off some of your unwanted items; they will go much appreciated!
I remember years ago I worked with a friend who was quite a shop-a-holic, and she turned over her wardrobe with the seasons. It was like Christmas when she brought me a bag of her unwanted accessories and finer fashions! It’s a wardrobe refresher for free! No one has to know that you didn’t buy it in the store – it’s been there before! It just made its way to you after walking down a runway or two!
Don’t Celebrate 2nd Birthdays
If you’ve had something in your closet for 2 (or more) years without being worn once, it’s time to give it up, girlfriend. If it’s too big or too small, and you think you are keeping it just in case you pack on a few pounds, or will get into those skinny jeans again – chances are it will be out of style, before you will pull it out, for a night on the town. I use the two-year rule because some seasons you just won’t get to wear some very necessary items. Last year where I live it didn’t snow, but that’s a rarity; so I still kept my stylish snow boots for next winter. In general, though, say bye-bye to celebrating birthdays for unworn items.
Seeing Double or Triple
If you have a sea of black pants, or a pile of white t-shirts, it’s time to live and let go. There’s something to be said for having a spare pair, but having multiple items that look alike is just clutter in your closet, unless you wear a uniform every day. Pick a favorite specimen and ditch the rest. Less is best.
Color Your Closet Right
No, we’re not taking out Crayolas here. By the time you’re in your 20s, you know what colors look good on you, and you know that there are certain shades that turn you green. Unflattering colors will never magically make you like something. If a color isn’t for you, then it’s not for clogging up your closet either.
Uncomfortable Will Always Be Uncomfortable
If something itches, chafes, squeezes, pinches, or causes you any kind of “It’s driving me crazy!” pain or discomfort, toss it. Some fabrics like unlined wool, will make you sweat and itch even on the coldest days. The clothes that cause you this kind of crazy need to be canned. I don’t care what you paid for it. You’ll pay the price wearing it every time and curse the day you bought it. There is no redemption for these clothing mishaps. Feel good about letting them go.
Don’t Be Hole-y nor Do The Walk of Stain
We all have our favorite t-shirt that’s been washed so many times it’s softer than a teddy bear….but like a teddy bear, you don’t take it out in public (at least most of us don’t). This leads me to my next point. If you have any white shirts that have deodorant stains on them that don’t wash out, (You know what I’m talking about!), or if you’ve got a skirt whose hem is unraveling for the 4th time after tailoring, it’s time to toss them. Threadbare, disheveled, worn, and stained clothing makes you look, well, threadbare, disheveled, and worn. Putting these pieces back into your closet won’t make them new again. Instead, make room for some new purchases you will love just as much, if not more.
Of course, if you have a jacket that makes you feel great every time you wrap yourself up in it, or if you attached some sentimental value to a dress you went to dinner in, hold onto it, if you have a little room to spare. But make this the exception rather than the rule.
Fantasy Clothing Belongs in – Fantasies
We are all guilty of it – making that fantasy clothing purchase. Maybe it was that feather boa or that evening gown on sale that we envisioned wearing one night out on the town But the thing is – that night out on the town – never happened. So that daring dress or skimpy swimsuit is sucking up valuable real estate space in your closet now, instead of just in your head. You can give the gift of living in reality to these dream pieces by giving them away.
Once you’ve weeded out your worn out and your unworn, your miscolored, and your uncomfortable, take the newly reclaimed space and make the most of it. Try to group your garments by type. All of your short sleeve tops should be together, and your long sleeves should line up, too. Your pants should be kept separate from your skirts. You don’t have to go crazy and coordinate colors. Organizing your space will allow you to see what you really have and more easily make outfits as you go.
While you are at it, throw away any broken hangers, and make sure you have enough of them. You can’t escape the mayhem if you have fashion falling off hooks onto the floor. Stack your shoes in boxes if you don’t have a shoe rack, and label the outsides of them with a magic marker so you know what’s inside without taking a peek. For smaller accessories, you can hang belts on a hook, drape scarves over hangers, and buy bins for your bling.