Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tips: Cleaning Out Your Closet

I don't know about you, but with a small closet and creative solutions for organizing the overflow, I forget what I own. In some cases, I've purchased something similar to what I already owned. To keep wardrobe sprawl under control, at least once a year (typically twice) I go through my wardrobe with a critical eye asking three questions.
 
Controlling Wardrobe Sprawl by Answering Three Easy Questions
 
Before I begin appraising my wardrobe, I do two things. First, I make sure everything is back from the dry cleaners and that nothing is in the laundry. Then, I empty out my closet as well as any other spaces where I have clothes stored into a large well-lit space, aka our living room.
 
Cleaning Out My Closet
 

Phase One: Pull items that no longer fit or are in need of repair.

For this phase you'll want to have some paper grocery bags (or boxes) on hand. Label each bag or box: Trade/Sell, Clothing Swap, Goodwill, Repair. This will make sorting much easier.
 
Sort Unwanted Items into Labeled Shopping Bags
 
Now, take everything you own and group items by type: sweaters, pants, shirts, and so on in their own pile. As you touch each item, ask these three questions:
  • Do I love it? Yes, keep. No, put in appropriate bag.
  • Does it need to be fixed before I can love it again? Will I fix it? Put in appropriate bag. If you're sending to a clothing swap or Goodwill, make sure the next owner can easily repair it. If it's as simple as sewing on a button, take a safety pin and secure the missing buttons to the item.
  • Is it my current style? If not, does it go with anything? Put in appropriate bag or hold for phase two.
Clearly Identify Needed Repairs
 

Phase Two: Shop your wardrobe.

Once you have removed the obvious items, it's time to whittle down any orphans. What do I mean by orphans? Here's an example. I have a brown skirt with cream polka dots that I love but that no longer matches any top in my closet. I've been searching for a new top for almost two years. It's time to stop. The coordinating top gets removed from my scavenger list and the skirt gets added to the appropriate pile: Trade/Sell; Clothing Swap; or Goodwill.
 
Give A Dress New Life as A Skirt
 
This is also the time to get creative. Love an item, but the needed alterations are a little advanced for your sewing skills? Hide the imperfection. I absolutely love this thrifted polka dot dress. The only time it fit was shortly after I gave birth to Gates, and I wore it tons because I was so excited it fit! Now, it doesn't fit and it's not worth it to get it altered; the material is beginning to pile in a few spots. My solution? Cover the worn spots as well as the slightly too big top with a fitted tee from H&M. Voila! New life.
 
Want to make this phase really fun? Invite a few of your girlfriends whose opinions you trust over for happy hour. Then have everyone camp out in your bedroom and help you mix and match items to make outfits. Change into them and get a yay or nay. Record the outfits; this is important, as you'll be test wearing the outfits to make sure they fit your style. If after wearing an outfit you're not convinced, the orphans are gone, added to your appropriate pile.
 

Phase Three: Update your wardrobe inventory and your scavenger list.

I prevent buying unnecessary items by keeping an inventory of what I own and where in the flat everything resides. In the inventory, I've noted any item that needs repair along with what type of repair is needed, a button sewn back on, a hemline restitched, and so on. If an item has been in the repair pile for over a year, I force myself to make a decision: will I pay someone to repair the item? If not, it automatically goes into the Goodwill pile. If the item is a wardrobe essential, it also gets added to my scavenger list.
 
My scavenger list is crucial for keeping on budget and recognizing a steal when I find one (if I don't need an item, it's not a deal at any price). The list identifies what I need to buy along with the reason, for example, wardrobe essential, replacement for worn out item, and so on. Items are also prioritized so that if I find multiple items at the same time but don't have the budget I can make a rational decision.
 
How do you keep your wardrobe under control?
 
Recently I've seen people have #ShopMyCloset sales on Instagram. Have you tried doing this? Is it worth it? Any tips?
 
Ciao Bella!
Eden!
 
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.

2 comments:

mooflyfoof said...

Great post, Eden. My wardrobe needs all of this, and badly! I love the idea of a cocktail party to brainstorm outfit ideas. I'm terrible at coming up with novel outfits and making it a team effort sounds both fun and effective.

Eden Hensley Silverstein said...

Thanks @Mooflyfoof. Lindsay of Hello Hue illustrated three ways to style dresses as shirts or skirts which I found really helpful: 1. Layer it up; 2. Fold it down; and 3. Belt it around. Jean of Extra Petite expands on how to layer shirts over dresses with belts, which gave me some more ideas for expanding the range of my wardrobe. Hope this gives you some ideas.

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Thank you for taking the time to join the conversation. - Eden

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