Tuesday, March 3

Simple Steps for an Effortless Closet Clean-out

Clean-out in progress.

I was skimming Vogue’s March 15, 1931 issue a few weeks ago when I came across an interesting article called “Rejuvenating the Wardrobe”. The article offered readers simple ways to spruce up their closets for spring: “A little judicious make-up in the way of white piqué and cuffs… freshens a suit very nicely…If you find the dress you trailed about in last winter bears the scars of tripping, cut it off a little… Take old lace scarves and make them into jackets to wear with your evening gowns.” 

Although our views on clothing have changed over the past eighty or so years – from maintain, maintain, maintain, to buy new, new, new – the article inspired me to rejuvenate my own wardrobe (rejuvenate by today's standards, that is). Five hours and several piles later (more on those below), I have a fresh wardrobe and six tips to share so you can have one, too:

1.       Take everything out. First thing’s first – Empty your wardrobe. This does not mean just your closet, but all dresser drawers, bins, shoe boxes, jewelry boxes, and other storage containers.

2.       Group “like with like”. Pair similar items together to quickly take an inventory of your wardrobe. This will not only help you assess your wardrobe's strengths and weaknesses, but eliminate multiples. (You don’t really need five black pencil skirts, now do you?)

3.       Try on everything and then…

4.       Question everything. Does the item still fit? Have you worn it in the last 12 months? Would you wear it again? If you saw it a store now, would you buy it? Do you like the way it looks on you? Is it damaged, stretched out, etc.? And, most importantly, do you feel confident when you wear it?

5.       Divide and conquer. Separate all items into keep, sell, swap, donate, repair, and trash bins. If you have asked the questions above, it will be easy to find the keepers. But how do you determine which items fall into the other categories? Those fabulous designer jeans that are now too small on you are perfect to sell (I use Tradesy or local consignment stores); that dress that your best friend loves is perfect to swap; the fast fashion top that’s super cute -- but not on you -- is great to donate; and the price-y LBD that’s missing a few buttons is ideal for repair. Piled, stained, or otherwise in un-fixable shape? Trash it.

6.       Get organized. Group like items together and hang them neatly with everything facing in the same direction. Use garment organizers to separate items by category or season, and fold and store heavy clothes or items that can stretch out (i.e., sweaters and knits). I also recommend storing clutches and other small accessories in storage bins or containers, and keeping shoes in their boxes (with photos on their lids) for easy storage and styling. 

Happy cleaning!


S.S.W. Asks: Have your own closet cleaning tips? Share them below!

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