Closet Clean Out


This past summer my husband and my best friend stage an intervention with me.  No, they didn't send me to rehab but they helped me stop buying clothes I will never wear. These two taught me how to create a functional wardrobe and also saved me a ton of money.  Let me help you clean out your closet as a part of your spring cleaning.  Don't be scared! Read on my fellow shopaholics.

1.)    Divide and conquer

According to Tim Gunn, co- host of Project Runway and author of A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style, you should divide your clothes into four piles : throw out, give away, repair and soul stirring.  The throw out and give away piles are for clothes that don't work for you such as items don't fit, or you don't wear.   Repairable items are ones that could be fantastic but just need a little TLC. Soul stirring items are things that fit well, make you feel good and so on. Get rid of the first two piles; bring the repair pile to the tailor/seamstress and keep the soul stirring items.   If you have a strong emotional attachment to a certain item, like the shirt you wore on your first date with your spouse, keep it and think about getting rid of it at a later date.

2.)    Think about the must haves

Staples are key. The "meat and potatoes" of your closet that will keep you well dressed season through season.  These are trend proof items that everyone needs.  Now that you got rid of some items in your closet take stock of what you have or don't have.  Take a look at wardrobe essential lists for some guidance to see what's missing. The Chic Fashionista has a great one for women and has a good one for the fellas.

3.)    Buy for your climate

Living in the Boston area I have no need for 10 pairs of flip flops or so my husband says.  If you live in Florida you don't need as many coats as someone up here does.  Some people do live in places with four seasons so buy equally for the seasons.  But if you do travel often to locations with different climates then your own, be sure to have some pieces that will work for those locations as well.

4.)    Consider you lifestyle

You life dictates what you need.  If you're a stay at home mom versus a corporate banker your clothing needs will be different.  Also, your age comes into play as well. When you go shopping ask yourself, "Would I wear this now?" and "Does this work with other items I already have?" If you can't answer yes to both then it's a no.   It's better to buy items that you can dress up and down to get more wear.  Rather than buying that dress with beading, try looking for something more basic that you can add to for a formal occasion.

5.)    Fit!!

If it doesn't fit don't buy it.  I had 10 button-down shirts before my intervention but only wore 2.  Those 2 shirts fit like a glove. The other 8 had pulling and all sorts of unlovely things going on. My biggest pile was the give away because I had a bunch of clothes that don't fit! All those clothes could have been a vacation!!

  • Only buy clothes that fit. That means no gaping, no pulling, no Spanx and no holding your breath.  Buy clothes for what your body is NOW not for what you want it to be.
  • Make friends with a tailor/seamstress.  Alterations won't cost you as much as buying 8 different shirts in the vain hope they may look good one morning.  If you're lucky maybe someone you know can do them for you or show you how to do your own alterations later on.   Thanks to my mother in law I can hem all my pants and take in my skirts on my own!

Consider the cut, fit, material and the amount of use you'll get from an article of clothing before you step up to the register.   Don't be swayed by the price. Just because one pair of jeans is $100 and another is $30 it doesn't mean buy the cheaper pair.  If the $100 pair is a better fit, classic cut, higher quality and you can afford them then buy the $100 pair.  If you can't afford them then why are you trying them on? Common sense ladies and gents. I'm a sucker for buying stuff because it's on sale but just say NO unless it's the perfect item for you.

Now that you have some guidance, go forth, organize and shop!

Image courtesy of G & A Sattler

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