Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How to: Closet Cleanse

How to: Do a Closet Cleanse

The transition between seasons is the perfect time to cleanse your closet. It's really tempting to buy a bunch of new fall clothes without taking stock of what you already own that can easily be worn in the fall. Here are my tips for doing a closet cleanse.

Do the Prep Work-it pays off!

all images via

Wash all of your clothes first. It's important to have everything in front of you.

Clean and make your bed (or other large surface) to be able to lay things out.

Set out containers (boxes, bags, or laundry bins) to sort clothes into categories. This makes it easy to get things actually out the door to be donated, and it makes it easier if you have to stop mid-cleanse. At least you're not left stuffing all the clothes back in your closet!

Give Yourself the Time You Need 

Set some nice lighting. Put on music. Pour yourself a glass of wine or a great natural soda. This is quality time with yourself.

Try on each item of clothing with a normal bra and good underwear. Ask yourself some tough questions. StyleBerry Blog had some great ones back in 2009, and I would ask them in this order:

If you love it, but it's not flattering, then you might ask yourself some follow up questions. Is it the wrong size? (Note, your body isn't the wrong size...) If it's a close size or a size that you'd like to be and you have healthy plans to become that size, then set it aside in a special place. When you reach that goal, you can take it out to wear, and it will feel like free shopping! Don't keep it in your closet now, though, because it's taking up space. 

If it could easily be altered, put it in a bag in your car and take it to the tailor this week. If it's something that needs to be altered and you haven't done it in over a year, it might be time to donate or sell it.  Put it in that box. 

If the answers to all three are not yes, put it in the donate or sell boxes. I understand wanting some items for sleeping or being comfortable at home or going to yoga, etc. so keep some of those that are the most flattering. I like to fold my truly casual clothes so that they're separate from the clothes that I want to wear most often, those that project what I want to project.  

Start to put only the clothes that got a "yes!" from all three questions back in your closet.

Don't put anything back in that isn't flattering, the image you want to project, AND that you love. I'll talk more about this later this week, but we all fall victim to this trap: we put clothes in our closets that are meant for someone else. "I could wear this if I ever _______." Went on a cruise. Rode horses. Had kids. Didn't have kids. Had completely different hobbies or a different job or lifestyle. Or was my 21-year-old self. This is a good time to take note of the outfits that you imagine for that person and instead focus on dressing yourself for the life that you live. Currently. You deserve it.

Hang each item on a hanger. Uniform hangers make everything look more tidy. I like to hang clothes in outfits when I put my clean clothes away so you might consider doing that. 

Take note of the items that are left in your closet. I love how Because of Jackie noticed what she, currently, likes.
"In the end I left only what I really wear, what I really love. And it's not much, to tell you the truth. I learned a couple of things while I was editing.
1) I rarely love anything I buy at Marshall's. Don't get me wrong, I adore the prices there. Yet most of the cheaper items have that cheap, polyester feel to them that creeps me out. I wear them once for some dinner or event and then it stays there, never to be worn again...
5) I discovered that I like to wear comfortable things. Surprise! I like tunics, skinny jeans, low heeled boots, fun jewelry. I love popping an outfit with great accessories or having fun details on a piece of clothing, like studs or leather."
Taking note of what's left can really help you to hone in on what your current needs are as far as buying new clothes or figuring out fun ways to dress with what you currently own that fits you and helps you feel confident.
Sell, donate, or bring things to be altered. This week. Don't let yourself buy anything new until you do that.

If this feels overwhelming to you, please email me at startclosein at gmail.com. This is some of what I'm happy to help you with-and we can pick great outfits to hang in that clean closet for you. (And I'm not currently charging for my services!)

Happy cleansing! And remember,

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