Most people only wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time because they get stuck in a ‘style rut’ and reach for the same old favorites everyday.
Cleaning out your closet might seem like the lowest priority on your already bursting “to do” list. Your cluttered closet may be keeping one hostage to a scattered and hurried image every time you get dressed. And if you are living in San Francisco (or any major big city…say NYC), closet space is limited, leave no room for your favorite worn out outfit you wore in back in 2007 to take up precious space.
There is a connection between holding onto clothes and accessories that one rarely, if at all, wear and your ability to feel unburdened to face your day or event. When I’m not blogging about Travel or Fashion here at Have Need Want, I’m helping clients regularly with Wardrobe Editing and getting their closets in order either seasonal or bi-annual basis.
I want to help you! Here is my expert advice on how to go about giving your wardrobe an audit and eliminate the clutter in the process:
Eliminate the surplus.
Separate items into piles by type (shirts, pants, jackets). Pitch anything that does not fit now or is a throwback to the ’90s. Reduce the total to what will reasonably fit in the closet—any more is overkill.
Remove from your closet everything that…
- Does not fit. Try clothes on to ensure proper fit. A common misconception is pant length: hems should end 1⁄8 inch from the floor. Really!
- Is worn out. Look carefully at button holes, cuffs, collars and hems.
- Is outdated. If the item is more than 5 years old, it is probably outdated. Check fashion magazines or ask people you admire to determine if your clothing items are current.
- You have not worn for a year. If the clothing item is for special occasions, move it to a separate storage closet so as to not take up valuable space in your everyday closet or move it to the back of your closet. If it is not a “special occasion garment”, then why haven’t you worn it? Decide if it is worth making it work into an outfit – or toss it.
- You do not feel wonderful wearing. It is better to have less clothing that you look and feel great wearing than a closet full of clothes that “will do”.
- Does not support your color, style, image and quality. Need help figuring out your best colors, shapes of clothing, style of clothing?
Partition closet space. Each linear foot of closet space can house 12 pairs of pants, 13 to 15 dress shirts, or 6 heavy jackets or suits. Assign space for each type of hanging item; use masking tape to divide the hanger rod into sections. This sets clear limits, and you will not be hunting for that one shirt.
Organize the clothes in your closet.
Anything that does not belong to “getting dressed” does not belong in your closet.
Your closet is a place for inspiration to clothe yourself; to reflect the image of whom you are and how you want to be seen. It is not a place to store luggage, unhung pictures, old school uniforms and medals, or the kitchen sink. Your closet is not a storage unit.
De-clutter. Keep it clean. Keep it tidy. Keep it simple. You will be amazed at your newfound anticipation to get dressed with a clear headspace.
Tip: Use one type of hangers. Eliminate wired hangers from the dry cleaners. Our personal favorite are the Black Huggable Hangers, which can be found at The Container Store, Target and BedBath&Beyond.
Remember the color wheel.
Keep like items (and in similar colors) together; that way one will remember what you own when you go shopping.
Organize each group of clothing items from lightest color to the darkest. From personal experience – and not to mention my fashion industry background – I normally refer back to the color wheel to keep things organized in color order.
Keep spring & summer together and fall & winter together. If possible, store out-of-season clothes in another closet. If not, put the off- season clothes in the back of your closet. Sections will be divided into: Business, Dressy, Casual, Leisure, and Active.
Do not forget the dresser. Store clothes you wear every day, like socks and underwear, up top. Stuff you wear to work goes next. Consider having your dry cleaner box your dress shirts—folded shirts are easier to store and pack, and there are no hanger creases. Rarely worn items go at the bottom. Don’t have a dresser? Utilize closet storage drawers. Container Store carries a wide range that work wonders!
Keep weeding things out. Before you put everything back, turn your casual shirts and pullovers inside out. When you wear one, return it right-side out. After 6 months, take anything that is still inside out—and not seasonal or for special occasions—and donate it.
Where to donate: You’re local thrift store! Since we are based in San Francisco, here are our favorite:
- The Community Thrift Store, 623 Valencia Street (Mission); 415-861-4910, www.communitythriftsf.org Choose from a rooster of non-profits to donate to.
- Our favorite is Raphael House of SF.
- SPCA , 201 Alabama Street; 415-554-3030 If you have bed linens, pillows, blankets, towls the SPCA is happy to accept them!
So, there you have it. Now, go get that closet in order. Happy Editing!
Originally posted on Valerie A. Lifestyle Management: How-To Wardrobe Edit Your Closet