The following is a post from contributing writer Angie.
Many of us have been in this kind of situation before: We feel like we own a lot of clothes, but also feel like we have nothing to wear. We might also rely on the same few outfits over and over, ignoring most of the clothes in our closet.
In these types of situations, our clothes and closet can become overwhelming. If you’re like a lot of people, when you’re overwhelmed, you might just block it all out. Of course, this isn’t the ideal way to cope with your closet problem. Instead, consider taking these steps to keeping the clothes you love (and maybe even find new loves in your closet) and letting go of the clothes that might be better suited in somebody else’s closet.
Closet Clean Out Step One: A Visual Assessment and Culling
My preference for starting is to take a visual through your whole closet first. You might decide that you want to make sure to touch each item, just to keep yourself on task.
During this visual assessment, remove any clothes that you know you want to keep. They should be clothes that fit well and are flattering to you. Both of those points are important. If something fits well, but every time you wear it, people ask you if you’re not feeling well, that’s probably a sign that it’s just not flattering. Let it go flatter somebody else’s body instead.
Also at this time, pull anything out that you know does not flatter you or fit well. If you really must box up some ill fitting items to keep for another time, then do it. Just get it out of your day to day clothes closet. Also pull out that shirt that people keep asking you when you are due, if the last time you had a baby was 2002.
Closet Clean Out Step Two: Try on Everything
This is a good time to grab a friend, spouse, or brutally honest child. It will be best to have a second opinion of someone not in the clothes.
Anything that is still in your closet (or drawers) after your initial culling should be tried on. (Remember, you’ve already taken out your absolute yeses and nos.) I know this could sound daunting, but it is an important step toward seeing what you really should keep and what needs to leave your closet forever.
This exercise is actually how I managed to find my purple knit zippered hoodie. I had received it as a gift about five years prior and just never wore it. As in I had never worn it a single time. After that closet clean out, I realized how much I liked it. I wore it for about eight years until there were too many holes to keep wearing it in public. You might find a new favorite or new clothing combination too!
As you try on each piece of clothing, make a decision. If you put it in a maybe pile, then be prepared to try it on again after all of the clothes have been decided on.
Closet Clean Out Step Three: Put Everything Back in Your Closet
Once you’ve tried everything on and made decisions about each piece’s fate, you can put everything from the keep pile back in the closet, making special care to put things in neatly.
Stand back and admire your work. Tell yourself that you will wear some of those clothes you’ve been ignoring.
Closet Clean Out Step Four: Get Rid of the Clothes You Said No To
There are many options available for parting with clothing you don’t need anymore. Some options include:
- Goodwill or another clothing resale option that is charitable in nature
- A women’s or homeless shelter
- A consignment store
- A garage sale (though clothes are often not a big seller)
- Give to a friend
Closet Clean Out Step Number Five: Repeat
It would be lovely if this were a one time task, but this should probably be something you consider doing at least every couple of years, if not annually. You will probably find that it makes getting dressed each day easier as you’ll lose some of that overwhelming feeling.
What are some of your best tips for cleaning out your wardrobe?
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One thing that works for me is hanging all my clothes with the hanger backwards on the rod. Then I can see what I’m not wearing, and then I don’t have a hard time getting rid of it.
Virginia Knowles says
I cleaned my bedroom closet a week ago. Among other things, I pulled out a bunch of clothes to offer to my adult daughters. It’s not too cold yet here in Orlando, but I went ahead and got out my long sleeves and pants while I was at it. I did sort by type/season of clothes, and then put the shirts in order by color, too, The closet looks so nice — and I’m planning to keep it that way! http://www.comewearymoms.blogspot.com/2012/10/turning-angst-into-clean-closet.html
The best advice I got about closet cleaning is turning all the hangers in your closet backwards (with the hooks going back to front) once every six months. When you’ve worn something and you’re going back to hang it up, hang it up the normal way. At the end of six months, anything you haven’t worn gets culled. It adds almost no time to your daily life. It also just motivates me to be thoughtful about fit before I put something back – was I glad I wore it? Of course, the 6-month period I started in January got a little messed up (clothing-wise) as I’m expecting a baby next month!
Regarding the suggestions of turning clothes hangers around for whatever purpose, I have heard that this could, in the event of a house fire, sacrifice your wardrobe. If there is a fire where the firefighters can *safely* retrieve personal items, they will carry out your hanging clothes from your closet…but only if they are easy to remove. If some hangers are turned around and others are not, they will not spend time on your clothes.
I often let some clothes I’ve worn air out and then rehang them in the closet; to mark them, I put one of my daughter’s colorful (and neglected) hair elastics around the neck of the hanger rather than turning the hanger around. A loop of yarn or other colorful thing could serve the same purpose–simply to alert you to your system in a visual way. 🙂