I used to be overwhelmed with the amount of clothing I owned and I didn't even know it. When I moved away from home and found that living out of two suitcases was actually possible, it changed my life - especially when it came to my wardrobe.
Simplifying my closet has been a lifelong project for me, but for you, it doesn’t have to be. It took me years to let go of the clothing that didn’t flatter me or make me feel good (and to realize that, hey, I don’t actually need to keep it just because I bought it!). I am finally at the point where I can see every single article of clothing at any given time, and I know exactly what I own, and know that everything I have fits me well and suits me.
Today, I want to share with you a basic guide to help you begin with your clothing purging process.
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Step One: Prepare to Purge
It is important to prepare before starting the great purge. Gather some boxes, bins or garbage bags and label them: Sell, Donate, Throw Away (a garbage bag works well for this particular category).
Keep these things in mind as you begin, so you know exactly what bin/bag each article of clothing should go into
Sell newer (or unworn!) clothing in good condition (think ThredUP or other consignment stores in your area)
Donate older clothing in good condition (Goodwill, Salvation Army, friends, etc.)
Throw away anything that is beyond repair
Do not hesitate to get rid of items that you feel you might need in the future for a special event like a themed party, etc. Remember that you can always borrow from a friend when something comes up, or even get creative with what you already own or check a second hand store.
Step Two: Remove Everything From Your Closet
Yes, you read that right. Every. Last. Item. Pile them on top of your [made] bed and get ready to go through each and every single item. You must handle every single article of clothing.
Step Three: Begin
Be honest about your clothing - Get rid of everything that doesn't fit, is worn out or beyond repair, things that you don't love wearing, items that you haven't worn for a year (or years!), and most importantly, anything that does not bring you joy. Consider your current personal style (which has likely changed if you haven’t done this in a while) and decide whether your current articles of clothing reflect it. If you don’t look good in it or don’t feel good in it, do not bother keeping it.
Accessories, shoes and scarves too! - Let go of accessories that no longer fit your personal style or are no longer usable (i.e. have holes, rips, etc.). Don’t forget that handbags and wallets fall under this category too, so avoid neglecting your collection! Make sure all zippers are working and there are no worn holes or other broken parts.
Critique your sock drawer - It's time to let go of the socks that have no partner and the underwear with, gasp, holes! Anything with worn out elastics should be purged as well. Don’t forget to think about hosiery - anything with runs or that no longer fits right needs to go!
Remove things that shouldn't be in your closet at all! - Your closet is not a catch all for everything that doesn’t fit under your bed (not that you should have things under your bed either…). Make sure your closet is a safe home for your precious clothing and accessories.
Related: My Favorite Organizational Products
Step Four: Return Items to the Closet
After your diligent sorting, it is time to return your items to the closet. There are so many different ways to organize, but one way I like is having longer hanging items on the left and shorter to the right. It creates a nice draw for the eyes and is easy to get to what you’re looking for. I also sort by tones - dark to light. I personally do not think there is one right way to organize, but make sure that you can see every article of clothing in your closet. Out of sight, out of mind, really is applicable to wardrobes. What also helps? Using pretty hangers! I love wooden ones, like these ones from Amazon.
Step Five: Sit back and admire your work
Enjoy a tall, cold glass of lemonade or water too. You deserve it. Good job!
It's amazing what kind of relief fills your heart when you open the doors to a simplified closet. Why don't you take a chance and try it out?