As seasons change, I am tempted to purchase a wardrobe refresh for the latest fashions and on-trend colors. Now is the perfect time to clear out some old & outdated items before I add anything more to my closet.
Regular closet purges remind me what I already have, what coordinating accessories or complimentary garments I want to purchase, helps to reduce duplicates of what I already own, and helps make room for it all.
What is a Wardrobe Check-up?
I encourage a wardrobe “check-up” at the beginning of each season. A wardrobe check-up is a targeted clean-out and purge. This can be broken down by season, business wear versus casual wear, athletic wear, or any other category that you are willing and ready to sort & organize.
Trying to go through an entire closet all at once is quite daunting. I prefer to tackle one season at a time. Start with the upcoming season and pull everything out. If that is still too much, then divide into smaller categories.
Try Everything On!
Try stuff on! Pull everything from your check-up category out, then one by one try each piece on including, skirts, pants, shoes, tops, everything! Be honest with your self, and solicit input from friends if you are just not sure. Ask yourself (and a friend if necessary):
- Is the fit and cut of the garment flattering?
- Is this age appropriate (applies to everything; work-out gear, professional attire, date-night clothes, etc)?
- Is it a classic style or totally on-trend right now?
- Is the garment in great condition with no signs of wear or distress?
Keep Those Wardrobe Staples
When all of the questions above are YES, then Keep it! These are your wardrobe staples so consider reorganizing these items to the best viewed section (usually the front) of your closet or drawer. If the item is a smidge too big or small (one size up or down), AND it is high quality, classic style, then I keep it and put it towards the back of my closet or drawer. My weight fluctuates enough that I like to keep smaller sizes around when I am having a “thin” day, and I still have great options for my “fat” days.
If you find that you have several garments in similar cut & color, then pick your favorite one or two to keep.
You may discover some great clothes hiding in your closet! Pull those out front and center. Plan out your next week of clothes by incorporating some of these long lost treasures into your current wardrobe. I like to move these to the front of the closet, so they are some of the first clothes that I look at.
Sometimes we just need to try on those awesome items to remember why we purchased them in the first place, then immediately incorporate them into your current outfit rotation.
Repair and Alterations Pile
Consider an alterations or repair pile for those high quality items that just need a little love and attention. Items with missing buttons or broken zippers are often less expensive to have repaired than to replace. Long skirts that are ripped or damaged at the bottom can be hemmed to a shorter skirt. Dresses can be converted to a fabulous top or great skirt (depending on what is wrong or bad fit with the item).
Craft and Upcycle items
If you are crafty, or know someone who is, consider creating a re-purpose or recycle pile for those items that just break your heart to get rid of. For any unfortunately shrunken items, before you decide which pile consider this “unshrink” method. Would the item make a great Halloween costume for next year? If the fabric is super cute, consider making a fabric scrap covered picture frame, scarf, headband, gift wrap, craft projects, or other accessory. Choose your projects and be fearless – what is the worst that can happen to a garment you were going to get rid of anyway?
Now, you are ready for the Purge process!
Even if the item is the correct size, if it is a bad fit get rid of it! If you honestly look at the items and ask yourself “what was I thinking?” it needs to go. If it was on-trend or funky years ago and the style has not held up over time, then it needs to find a new home. If the item is way too big or small (more than 1 size up or down), then free up that space for clothes that you will actually wear.
High quality or designer brands can be taken to resale or consignment shops. Resale or consignment shops will give you more money for items in season, and may not accept out-of season clothes. Online resale sites like ThreadUp or eBay are also a good item for designer clothes, but tends to be more time consuming than dropping off for consignment.
Another great alternative to selling your clothing is for a clothing swap. Invite a group of friends to do their own closet purge and bring the leftovers over for a clothing swap.
If the item is not a candidate for resale or swap, then group for donation to charity shops. Charities and thrift shops appreciate in season donations, which benefit people right away rather than being stored for months. Many of these charities will pick up your donation at your house. This is a great opportunity to donate household goods (decor, mis-match dishes, etc).
The seasonal purge will keep your closet from being too cluttered, and may help you “remember” all the great clothes in your wardrobe.
Pro Tip: Add a calendar reminder twice a year (Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter) for your seasonal closet purge.