Over time, our lives and our closets get bogged down with things from the past. As a professional stylist, I know how important it is to shed the trends of past seasons and focus on what’s hanging right in front of you. It’s a daunting task, but the benefits of cleaning out your closet should inspire you to try it! Imagine waking up each morning and instantly knowing what you want to wear for that very important presentation. You can go into your closet and see all that you have and even mix and match to create a number of fun, new and stylish outfits. If one of your New Year resolutions was to clean out your closet and step up your style in 2013, then get ready to do it!
Since this is a big project, it’s important to enlist help – whether you ask a good friend with an unbiased opinion, and of course, great fashion sense, or an expert who can really see the potential for your wardrobe as well as suggest ideas for maximizing it.
It’s also important to make this a fun experience. Turn on some tunes, pour yourself a glass of wine, and grab some snacks. This could take awhile.
Cleanse your closet, edit your pieces, style your wardrobe, and donate what you no longer need.
When I work with clients, I like to start with the items they’re already questioning (whether it’s the fit, cut, style, color, etc.), so we can get through those pieces quickly. Often, we’ll find gems in this pile around which we can create a number of new outfits. Most of these items will be removed from the closet.
Go through your wardrobe by category (sweaters, blouses, pants, skirts, etc.) and review each item. Try everything on. Inspect your clothes. When was the last time you wore it? Why haven’t you worn it? Would you wear it now?
If you haven’t worn an item in a while but you feel like you would still wear it, try to create 2-3 outfits around the item immediately. Take pictures to document the outfits. If you love your new looks, it’s a keeper. If you’re indifferent, it’s time to move on.
Throughout the process it’s important to be ruthless. Take no prisoners! If you want to streamline your style and your morning routine, it makes no sense to keep pieces that will only confuse you as you’re getting dressed. You should only own pieces you love and that make you feel fabulous – even your boring black pants!
Make note of what you have in multiples – white tees, black cardigans, black pants, etc. Find the pieces that are the best quality, shape and condition and keep those. Donate the rest. Make a note to find replacements for some of these items, but in color.
Finally, it’s time to find your old pieces a new home. If you have an item you find it hard to part with because it’s a good quality, designer piece that’s in good shape but it just isn’t your style anymore, think of a good friend who would love it. Some items might also be a good fit for eBay or a consignment store (if it’s still in season, on trend and in salable condition). I guide my clients to donate the rest to their local battered women’s shelter or Dress for Success (as opposed to a thrift store) to be sure that the clothes go to women who really need them. Plus, you get to keep on giving long after the holiday season is over!
Do you regularly update your closet? What are the hardest items to part with?