I get many questions here at style at a certain age on how to clean out my closet. So here are a few tips for those of you interested in organizing your wardrobe. If you’re wondering why my hair looks a bit different it’s because the photos are from last August right before I found my fab stylist, Karmen. I usually sort through my closet every spring and fall so I am fast approaching a major clothing purge. First step, you ask, for a clean sweep? Dedicate an afternoon in your busy schedule to assess your closet and go through every item in your wardrobe. I know, I know, there are a million other priorities competing for space on your ever-expanding to-do list rather than sorting through pencil skirt, cardigans, and that swoon-worthy dress found on the final sale rack. But, I promise, devoting an afternoon to properly sort through your clothes is time well spent. If you are like me, you’ll discover that fashion mistakes have been made over the course of a season, weight gained, (even better, lost – let’s face-it ladies weight fluctuates, it’s a fact of life) or maybe, just maybe, it’s finally time to retire that beloved go-to blazer. You know the one, it has a shiny sheen on the elbows due to years of love, but you’re still loath to part ways?
It isn’t easy to rid your closet of items that no longer fit or have sentimental value, especially when you’ve shelled out major cashola for the purchase in the first place. But keep calm and carry on. Which is why, through the years, I have devised a tried-and-true method to purge my burgeoning closet and in the process make room for that drool-worthy new puffer vest. After all, I live in San Francisco where even an inch of closet space is akin to prime real estate.
Since I am a bit of an organization addict (I’m a Virgo by birth and have a strong penchant towards planning and systematizing) I wanted to share my method for a wardrobe detox. First off, when sorting through my clothes I put on a great playlist – still loving the seventies, nothing sounds better to me than the Doobie Brothers or Steely Dan – pour a glass of wine, and ask these 3 questions:
Does this fit?
Have I followed the ‘one year rule’? If I haven’t worn it in a year, it’s time to let it go. Ruthless, I know.
Is this item damaged, e.g., moth holes, broken zippers, pilling or missing buttons, or can it be repaired?
If the answer is ‘no’ to any of the above questions, then it’s time to part ways and make three piles. Sell, donate, and trash.
The items that make it to your sell pile are the ones that are either currently in style or gently used. It could even be a pair of brand new, to die-for jeans that were bought with the promise of losing five pounds. Sigh. But take heart, these clothing items have the potential of making you a profit with little effort thanks to an emerging online marketplace for buying and selling clothes. There are several to choose from which have a streamlined experience that makes it possible to list my items, ship them out, and earn money or credit toward on-site purchases, all while sipping my coffee in my pin-striped pajamas. As a matter-of-fact, I don’t even have to leave the comfort of my apartment. Now how’s that for convenience?
If by chance some of your unwanted items are still in good condition please consider donating them to a good cause. Of course, Goodwill Industries and Salvation Army are always good choices for your orphaned clothes, and are reputable if that is one of your concerns. But there are other organizations that deserve and appreciate your contributions as well. Personally, I love and support Dress for Success – a non-profit organization that addresses and fulfills the needs of low-income women who have left welfare and are interfacing with the challenges of the workforce. But consider local homeless shelters, or even better ones that specifically cater to battered women. To help in your localized search a nice site to visit is HSD, Helping the Needy or Shelter Listings.org. Trust me on this, somehow it’s easier to let go of clothing when you know it is going to someone in need.
Now onto the hard part, those items that can’t be repaired or have significant wear-and-tear must be tossed into the rubbish bin. I know it’s hard to say goodbye to your beloved LBD, or your favorite graphic tee worn on countless occasions, but don’t let your emotions get the better of you. It must be thrown away. I repeat, the item must be thrown away.
It might take more than one try to get into the swing of down-sizing your wardrobe, but the reward is an amazing streamlined closet that makes getting dressed in the morning just that much easier, and maybe even fun. Happy cleaning!