It’s closet clean-out time again. Time to go through your fall / winter wardrobe and discard any items that don’t fit, those you kept trying to wear but that aren’t quite right, and anything that’s worn out. Those things that are too heavy for spring need to be stored until the fall. By rights, everything should be cleaned before storing to discourage moths and it’s a good idea to put a few moth balls or dryer sheets (which work just as well) in your storage bins / bags with your clothes. Trust me when I tell you you do NOT want moths. Those things are a bitch to get rid of. I know… but that’s a story for another day.
Once you’ve put away the fall / winter stuff it’s time to dive into your spring wardrobe to see what still works, what needs updating and (yeah!) what you need to buy. If you were diligent in the fall when you packed all your summer clothes away this should be a really easy job.
When cleaning out your closet you should sort into four piles:
1.store – for those items that are not “in” but will likely come back, have huge sentimental value (such as your wedding dress) or are for special occasion
2. Keep – these are the clothes in current rotation and they should be organized by type (skirts, pants, tops, etc.), colours, and styles for easy access
3. give away – to charity, to friends, or through “swapping parties”
4. throw out – for those pieces too old or too worn to be given away
You have to be a bit ruthless about what you get rid of. Some things may come back… I hung on for years to a black cashmere sweater dress I spent a fortune on in college only to have sweater dresses come back in a big way the season after I finally give it away. Ouch! But really, will you want to wear those things the second time around? If not, they need to go. Out with the old to make room for the new.
You also have to be realistic. There’s no point hanging on to stuff that doesn’t fit in the hopes that you’ll get smaller unless you are actively on a weight loss program. Better to embrace who you are now and learn to dress her than pine for the person you once were. There’s also no point in hanging on to stuff you’ve outgrown. You will never be 21 again – sentimentality plays no part here. Keeping the clothes does not mean you’ll avoid aging. It just means you won’t have room to buy beautiful new, age-appropriate clothes.
There’s also no reason to keep things that don’t flatter you simply because you won’t have much stuff left if you get rid of them. You don’t need a lot of clothes to have a good wardrobe. You just need clothes that work together and suit you. If a piece of clothing does not make you feel beautiful when you wear it you shouldn’t own it.
Sentimentality also does not apply to pieces like bridesmaid or prom dresses. You may have had a lovely time at whatever event the gown was for AND you may have had the best intentions in the world to find a reason to wear it again but no one ever does. And there’s no good reason to let these dresses crowd your closet space. Donate them and make someone else’s day and make room for new stuff you can actually wear at the same time.
The other thing to remember is that you should replace basics regularly as they wear out of fall out of fashion. Once you’ve replaced an item though, the old one should go away. After all, how many black pencil skirt can one person wear?
Obviously, some pieces are worth saving even if you don’t wear or use them regularly. A great evening dress, a dressy skirt or top, a cocktail dress, evening shoes, a great designer piece, the sweater or sweatshirt you wear when you’re sick or depressed and which makes you feel so cozy… There should not be tons of these clothes though. The majority of the things you own should be in your closet being used regularly.
Once you’re done cleaning out and organizing you can feel really good about having a closet that’s functional and exciting to dive into. Now that you can see what you have (and, therefore, what you need) you can plan out sensational outfits for every day. Enjoy!