After the holidays and at the start of a new year, everyone is talking about purging, decluttering, and cleaning out, and September brings much of the same zeal for organizing and decluttering. Along with back to school season comes that same feeling of a fresh start.
STEP 1: EMPTY OUT YOUR CLOSET.
Yes. Take everything out, down to the bare walls. Do NOT skip this step. Taking everything out at once is first step to style clarity. Make sure to gather your clothing from all areas of the house — laundry, storage, etc. Don’t skip anything.
Try on anything you haven’t worn recently — yes, even that special occasion dress you’ve been saving for 5 years “just in case.” Before I did this, I had no idea how much stuff I was keeping “just in case”, and I was shocked at how many of my “just in case” pieces didn’t even fit anymore. What a waste of closet space!
STEP 2: SORT EACH ITEM INTO FOUR PILES.
- LOVE IT: If it is appropriate for the current season, and you absolutely love it and want to put it on right this second, hang it back in your closet.
- MAYBE: Is the fit a bit off? The color? Are you keeping it just because it has sentimental value, or because you paid a lot for it and feel guilty getting rid of it? Put it in a box and store it. If you find yourself wishing you had it, you can always go retrieve it. But if you don’t find yourself wanting it before the end of the season, it’s time to donate it and let someone else enjoy it. If you’re not used to purging, this can be hard to do, but I promise you, it is SO freeing!
- HATE IT: Self explanatory. Donate or sell to fund new purchases.
- SEASONAL: If it’s not in season, but you LOVE IT (and I mean LOVE IT), put it in a box and store it so you can add it to your wardrobe when the proper season rolls around.
STEP 3: ASSESS WHAT’S LEFT IN YOUR CLOSET.
You may want to live with your clothes for a little while before shopping for new pieces. If you’re struggling to define your personal style, this process will help. Peruse Pinterest, your favorite blogs (ahem) and fashion magazines, and keep track of what styles resonate with you. Pin them to a personal style Pinterest board, or keep a notebook with pages from magazines. Whichever method you prefer is fine, as long as it works for you.
Your goal during this phase is to determine your personal style and what you need to round out your wardrobe. Keep a notebook or a document on your phone with a list of clothing items you need or want, and then when you go shopping, you can shop strategically.
Step 4: Shop.
This last step is an ongoing process, unless you’re creating a capsule wardrobe, in which case you will complete this step and live with it for a season.
Shop for any items you need to complete your wardrobe. Make a list and shop intentionally. Consider your lifestyle. Make sure you have a good ratio of casual clothes to work wear. This varies from person to person and of course is based on climate as well.
If you’ve never done a ruthless closet purge like this, I challenge you to try it! Let me know your thoughts.