How to Clean Out Your Closet

20 Aug

Closet Cleanout Aug 2011

I usually try to clean out my closet around February and August of each year. Living in a small NYC apartment, I wish I had more room for clothes and accessories than I do but I make do. If anything, it really makes me analyze what items I really love, and purge out anything I’m meh about.

Here’s how I usually go about doing it.

Assess Your Inventory

First i do a general assessment of what I have. This involves taking everything OUT of the closet. This may seem a bit overkill, but trust me it works. It’s a great way to find items you forgot you have! While doing this quick assessment, it’s a great opportunity to filter out some items quickly based on the following.

  • Do you like it? If you don’t absolutely adore it, get rid of it. Otherwise it’s just taking up valuable real estate in your closet. Put it in a “to be donated” bag.
  • Is it damaged, and if so is can it be repaired? Rips and tears are easy for a seamstress to fix. For wear and tear on shoes and handbags, your local cobbler can usually handle those. Put those in an “alterations” bag. Anything with serious damage that you do not want to invest in bringing back to life, trash.
  • Have you worn it recently? If you haven’t worn it within the last year, chances are you never will. Granted it’s not damaged, put it in the “to be donated” bag. If it is, toss that sucker in the trash.

After your assessment, you should have your wardrobe inventory divided up into four categories, Potentials to Keep, Alterations, To Donate, and To Trash.

Try On Your Inventory

It’s now time to try on everything in your potential keeper pile. Look in a full length mirror, and enlist the help of a very honest friend, family member or significant other. Honesty is key! Lots of times what we think looks awesome on us actually doesn’t, so you’ll need this honest feedback to further whittle down your selection. If A piece is maybe a little large or needs a few tweaks to fit perfect, add it to the alterations pile. If it looks horrible on you beyond repair, to the donation pile it should go.

Once you’ve tried on everything in the keeper pile, then it’s time to move onto the alterations pile (the ones you haven’t tried on yet) and repeat the process. That way you can determine any addition alterations that need to be made in addition to the standard repairs. This is also a great time to get creative. Have a blazer with a hole in the elbow? Instead of patching it, how about removing the arms altogether and turning it into a vest. Have a maxi dress that shrunk in the wash? Have it hemmed into a knee-length dress. The possibilities are endless.

Office shot

Create Your Shopping List

This is the fun part! Now that you’ve fully assessed what you have, now it’s time to see what you need to either replace or add to your wardrobe to bring it up to date for the season. I always give priority to my basic and classic pieces, prior to listing trendy items. For example, my trench coat is now several years old and starting to show some wear, so I added it to my donation pile and have added a new trench to my shopping list. Making a list also helps you really analyze your budget so you can realistically prioritize what’s important so you don’t go on a buck wild shopping spree.

Another great way to extend your budget is to turn your unwanted items into shopping cash. To learn more on how to do that, check out my Transitioning to a Cruelty Free Wardrobe post.

Do you clean out your wardrobe regularly? Please share your tips!

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13 Responses to “How to Clean Out Your Closet”

  1. Paola August 20, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    I’m in the middle of doing this right now. Thanks for the tips!

    • Corrie August 20, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

      You’re welcome! Good luck with your clean out! 🙂

  2. CokaRabbit August 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    These are awesome tips!!! I think I might start to plan cleaning my closet!! Then I will have more space to bring something new home! LOL

    • Corrie August 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

      That very reason is what gives me motivation to always clean out mine. Makes room for new, cooler stuff! 🙂

  3. agnesdeer August 21, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    Definitely a wonderfully useful post! Yes, we should all do that from time to time!

  4. germanymarie August 21, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    thank you SO MUCH for this!! I needed to read it. totally.
    xo

    • Corrie August 21, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

      Yay! You’re welcome. I still owe you a post on how to style Litas 🙂

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