We hold onto things in our closet even though they are well past their expiration date for a number of reasons: we may be attached to memories associated with a particular garment, anticipating a gain or loss of weight to fit into the item once again, hoping they will come back in style, or feeling guilty that it was so expensive, and we haven’t gotten enough use out of it.
According to a recent survey, 43 percent of Americans keep clothing they rarely wear because they feel guilty getting rid of it.
I invited Jodi Holzband from SpareFoot to share six tips to guide you through a seasonal closet refresh:
Every so often I take stock of what’s in my closet and spend a few hours inspecting, trying on, sorting and purging. This usually coincides with the beginning of a season as I prepare for the change in temperature.
1. The 20/20 Rule
From The Minimalists, the idea is to get rid of just-in-case items that can be replaced for under $20 in less than 20 minutes. According to the authors, they have only had to replace a just-in-case item fewer than five times for the two of them combined. And, they say they haven’t missed the hundreds of just-in-case items they decluttered.
2. Divide and Organize
If you have a separate wardrobe for work, many professional organizers recommend placing work clothes and play clothes in dedicated sections,then arranging by color. Also be sure to separate jackets, sweaters, long sleeved shirts, t-shirts, pants, and skirts, etc. That way, you can see if you have too many of the same color item and can donate what doesn’t fit or you never wear.
3. Lead with Your Head
Your closet is not a museum, and it shouldn’t be filled with items that are there just because of the memories they evoke. Allow yourself to keep 10 items for nostalgia, with everything else being something you will wear. If you’re not sure about whether or not you’ll miss some of your things, box them up for a year. After that time period has passed, if you haven’t worn them, it’s time to let them go.
4. Go Shopping in Your Closet
Pretend you aren’t looking at your closet but instead shopping in a store. Would you buy the item today if given the chance? If not, then give it up. This is similar to the idea of asking if clothes bring you joy, but a little more practical than that. You may want to invite a friend to go “shopping” with you and help you make these decisions from a more unbiased point of view. It’s also great to have another person around to tell you if an outfit looks good on you or perhaps to pass items along that are no longer serving you.
5. Take Pictures of Your Shoes
If your shoes are a disorganized pile on the floor, one great way to organize them is to put them into shoe boxes – either the original boxes if you have them, or you can purchase inexpensive clear shoe boxes. I prefer cardboard for less visual clutter. Take pictures of each pair of shoes, print a color copy of the photo, and affix it to the side of the box. You can then stack the boxes and keep them organized, and easily see what you have and find the pair you need.
6. Hire a Stylist
A stylist can help you find ways to get the most out of what you already have in your closet and pick out new pieces to bring new life to your wardrobe. Be sure to interview at least two potential stylists and review some of their favorite looks to make sure that the relationship will be a good fit. You’ll also want to find a stylist that can work within your budget parameters.
An alternative would be to make an appointment with a personal shopper at a department store and ask for their advice. It won’t cost you anything for their time (although you’ll most likely make up for the lack of a fee with the price you pay for the clothes you buy).
Closet organization is personal; it’s important to do your research and identify a few closet tricks that work for you. Some organizers recommend turning all the hangers in one direction and then placing them back the other way once an item is worn. A little too tedious for me! How often do you find yourself cleaning out your closet? What works best for you?