It’s that time of year where everyone likes to start out fresh with resolutions and annual goals. January brings with it a sense of renewal and hope for good things to come in the new year. And is the perfect time to clean out your closet and simplify your wardrobe. In order to successfully clean out your closet you’re going to need to be pretty ruthless. Cut ties with items that no longer bring you joy and are hanging there collecting dust. As someone who absolutely loves clothes, even I can say this, they’re just clothes. And if it doesn’t makes you feel like a million bucks get rid of it. I know a lot of women (heck, I used to be one of them) that keep items that don’t fit in their wardrobe as “motivation” to lose weight. For me, those pesky pants two sizes too small feels more like the annoyed lady behind me at the grocery store rapidly tapping her foot, willing me to move faster—which has the opposite effect, in fact, my defiant ass generally slows down just to tick her off, but I digress.
Here are the steps that I use to successfully complete my bi-annual closet de-clutter. Interested in doing a wardrobe purge of your own? Read on!
Start here: Take all the items out of your closet and/or dresser. Try on each piece and give it a hard look in a full length mirror. Divide items up into the following categories.
RECYCLE: Recycle anything that is irreparable or unwearable. What makes a garment unwearable? Stains that quality detergent, such as Tide, or Spray and Wash can not remove; large holes that are noticeable and can’t be patched or repaired. (Smaller tears, especially tears near seams can be repaired by blending the hole into the seam- see picture). In low-quality apparel, after many washes, items can fade. You’ll notice this especially in dark colored items. After many washes a black dress may look gray. A formerly bright blue top may appear washed out and muted. Pilling occurs in low-quality knit fabrics and sweaters. Sometimes a razor can be used to shave the pilling off the sweaters. Take your time if attempting this trick.
Identify these items and find a place that will recycle them. Clothes are 100% recyclable. I found this website here: Earth911 that suggests local places which will recycle your clothes. Animal shelters can turn old clothes into bedding for animals. Some places will turn fabric into rags for washing.
THRIFT: Anything that is in good to fair shape that could be given new life. You’d be amazed at the things people create from garments they have thrifted. Anything in decent shape that could find a new home take to your local thrift store. This could include t-shirts from an event that you participated in that’s in good shape but you wouldn’t wear anymore or out-of-fashion items like that bubble skirt in your closet. Thrift things that are functionally wearable, but not likely to sell via consignment.
CONSIGN: Anything that is either no longer in your size, style, or you’re just sick of, consign! This is a great way to make a little cash from your wardrobe. Generally items being consigned have to be in very good to excellent condition. If you’re curvy and in the Philadelphia area I recently took a few items to Curve Conscious. They take items sizes 12-24 as well as shoes and accessories. Earlier this week I took 3 dresses, a pair of boots, a sweater and a blouse. Each of these items were sitting in my closet for over a year being unworn. I traded them in for a brand new pair of Ugg Booties, never worn, original tags still in box, a pair of reptile and suede wedges and a button down plaid shirt. I absolutely LOVE consigning my items. Online options include Thred Up (which is currently looking for plus-size clothing!) and ReSell XL.
So what’s left in your wardrobe?
You could probably break down the things left in your closet into two categories:
- Things left in the closet that get plenty of air time
- Things left in your closet that you really like but for whatever reason aren’t wearing
I’m a firm believer that it’s ok that have a few items (and I mean a few, just 2-3 pieces) in your closet that you don’t wear anymore but keep out of sentimentality or other reasons. I have a faded purple bomber jacket that I bought at an H&M in Spain and wore on my first date with my husband. It’s terribly faded and I wouldn’t wear it out of the house but it contains too many memories to be discarded.
So what about the other items hanging around in your closet that aren’t seeing the light of day. Look at each piece, ask yourself, why aren’t I wearing this? Is it too big? Too small? Not your style? Items that are too big can be taken to the tailor, or adjusted yourself. Items too small can’t be altered very much. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re body has changed and your clothes no longer fit the same way. This is NORMAL! Consign or thrift these items and let them be a part of someone else’s wardrobe. Anything you’re unsure about place to the far right of your closet. In 3 months come back to that section of your closet. Are the items still there? Have you changed your mind?
Now that I’ve successfully cleaned-out my closet I’m off to make a list of the items I need to help fill out the gaps. Wide leg trousers for work, a great pair of jeans…my goal is to make the items I need using my sewing skills or purchase them from my local consignment shop.
What about you? I hope you’ll give these steps a try for cleaning out your closet. Trust me, it really is nice to let go!
Happy sewing and styling,