Closet Clean Out : The Process

If you’re like me and think of January as a time of new beginnings, you might also be dealing with a massive closet clean out–which can be scary and daunting. But my Internet Loves, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, it can be great–and give us reasons to go shopping! Read below for some of my tips on getting the most out of a closet clean out!


The Questions

I think closet clean outs are a bit difficult for two main reasons: the amount of things to go through (tips on that below) and the emotional toll. Let’s be honest–clothes are not only what we may invest in, but clothes are what our lives happen in-first dates, promotions, weddings–we’re dressed in clothes for these events. And can sometimes hang onto the clothes as a memento. I am not one for throwing things out–if there’s something that’s super important to you (from wedding dress to that concert tee from high school) and you can’t bear to part with it, pack it up (gently and with cedar) and store away. That’s not an excuse to hang onto everything–but hopefully knowing that not everything HAS to go gives you some peace.
As for how to go through everything else? These are the guidelines I use. Yes, we all have different needs for a wardrobe–but treat whatever needs you have like a bad boyfriend; meaning that there is no reason to hang on to things that you don’t like or treat you well because you’re afraid of not having anyone or waiting on something better to come along. For everything in your closet ask yourself these questions:

  • How does it make me feel? The clothes you wear should make you feel good, they should bring you joy. And if you hate what you’re putting on, you should get rid of it and buy new!
  • Does it fit my needs? If you need to wear a suit to work a closet full of sweatshirts won’t serve you.
  • Is it really what I want? If you’re holding onto a pair of pants you hate while lusting over a pair you love you’re better off getting rid of the pair you hate and buying (or saving) for what you want. There’s also no reason to hang onto an item you “should” have that you don’t love.
  • How does it look? Does it fit properly? Can it be altered? Is it flattering on me? Get rid of things that don’t work with your body–true story I’ve hung onto jeans for years wishing that the rise was longer, it’s better to just move on. However, if the item can be altered it may be worth it!

Hopefully these questions (and maybe a friend to help with the answers!) can help make the clean out a little less traumatic! And now that we know what to think of when we clean out–let’s talk about how to clean out our closets!
Divide and Conquer
I don’t know how you organize your closet (and if this is where you tell me you have a dreamy Pintrest worthy closet, I have to let you know how jealous I am)–but I do mine by type–skirts, tops, pants, dresses, shoes–with coats and fancy dresses in another closet. Which means I can run around getting dressed–but also means it’s easy to go through things. Part of what can be daunting about a clean out is the thought that it has to be done in a day–which is great if you can! Grab a friend, grab some wine and get going!However, that’s not always doable–so I’ve been known to pick a category (pants, shoes, etc) and go through them one at a time. However you do it, give yourself a time line (if it’s a category at a time say a week, if you’re doing it all say 4-5hrs)–there’s no reason to prolong the process!
The Method
1. Part of why I think it’s best to work by type of clothes is that I think the best way to do this is to pull out everything. So do it by type–for example take out all your skirts. Go through them, touch them, look at them–and be honest. What do you want to keep? Those can go right back in.
2. The things that you aren’t sure on keeping? Put them in piles–the ones you’re on the fence on, the ones to go to Goodwill, and the ones you don’t want but may sell.
3. Here comes the work–that pile you’re unsure of? Go through it and try everything on. Yes, try it on. Those questions we talked about? This is where we really use them. So look at yourself in your clothes, really ask yourself about how they make you feel and look on–and be honest. Then make a choice and put them in a get-rid of pile, or put them back in your closet.
4. Repeat until every category in your closet has been looked at.
5. During this time it’s also helpful to really think of the things that you need and want in your closet–be it pieces you need to replace or pieces you need to buy! Make a list if needed (I personally do my wishlists on my phone!).

You should have a pile of things to give to Goodwill, a pile of things you may be able to sell, and your closet should be full of things you love and that look amazing on you!

So what’s next? Tomorrow we talk my tips for closet organization and how to sell those clothes in the sale pile! I hope this helps your closet clean out be something to look forward to–because if nothing else, when you get rid of things, it gives you a reason to go shopping! Right? Right!

Happy clean out! XO RA

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Actress, avid shopper, and a lover of fashion. Hoping to make the world a better place one pair of shoes at a time.