chances are, if you're reading this, you're ready to make a change! maybe you're newly married, just had a baby, or starting a new job and want to start fresh with a wardrobe that feels a little more "you". maybe you're on the path to simplifying your lifestyle and need some pointers. you're in the right place, so let's get started!
first things, first: time to clear that overloaded closet of yours! this is a straight to the point guide and everything is a suggestion. take what you want from it and make this process work for you and your lifestyle. we're happy to help you along the way and answer any questions that come up.
step one : let it go
the first step is mentally letting go of your wardrobe as a whole and each piece within it. this may seem simple at first, but you might have to come back to this throughout the process and remember that your clothes are just material things. you can, you will, and you probably already have been living without many of these pieces.
a couple of pointers for this step...
let go of sentimental value. now, there may be a few exceptions here like your wedding dress, for example. but do you really need to keep your rehearsal dinner dress or that fun romper you wore once on your honeymoon? probably not. these things got you through some special memories, no doubt, but remember that it's the memories that are valuable, not the clothing you wore to create them.
begin journaling this process here. jot down a quick statement about why you’re clearing your closet and some wardrobe goals for you to refer back to when you're in question about certain items. this will help you hold yourself accountable.
step two : sort it out
without thinking too hard about it, pull ten pieces you love wearing. these should be things you gravitate towards on a daily basis and are worn repetitively and often. (if you already have a fairly slim wardrobe, pull just five.)
this small group of items, regardless of what styles they are, is very important. these are your current core staples and it's time you recognize why you like them so much.
spend time analyzing each of these pieces. while it's recommended this entire process be short and sweet, you need to invest your time here because these five or ten styles are going to answer a lot of questions about your personal style you may not have even realized you had.
put each piece on (individually) and write down the following:
category (ie: shirt, pants, dress, sweater, skirt, etc...)
color (if it's a print, list what kind of print and the colors within it.)
fabrication + description (you should be able to find this on an inside label, otherwise give it your best guess. is it heavyweight or sheer, knit or woven, write down whatever qualities about the fabrication that stand out to you as you're wearing it.)
three things you love about wearing it (ie: how it fits, the versatility, the color...) and one thing (if there is one) you don't love about it.
for bonus points, snap a photo of it and save it in an album just for keeping track of your personal style.
pull three more pieces you love and wear regularly while making mental notes on what you love about each thing. if you're up for it, you can record the same details from phase one for these pieces as well, but you don't have to.
repeat until you're done! here's where it can get a little tricky. you have to STOP pulling AS SOON as you start thinking whether you should pull something or not. this step is over at this point. since you already “let go” (or should have, this may be a good time to check in with yourself) of all of your clothes in STEP ONE, you should not overthink this process. think “love it or let it go.”
step three : elimination
now, if you’re 100% committed to completely capsulizing your wardrobe and really starting fresh, your next step is simple - remove everything you did not pull in STEP TWO and get rid of it!
how you choose to eliminate these things is up to you, but here are some suggestions - and these totally depend on you and your life - feel free to reach out for more guidance here (or anywhere else, for that matter)!
quick release: donate all immediately. you won’t have time to second guess anything and this is by far the easiest way to really get a clean slate.
give to any friends or family.
consign or sell to places like Buffalo Exchange or Plato’s closet. if you’re going to take this route, just remember you’ve already “let go” so any cash you can make off your clothes is a major bonus. and realize you are not going to make nearly close to what you originally paid for these items! we recommend selling what you can within one day and then donating the rest right away. otherwise you’ll continue holding onto them and you’re doing this to get rid of them… remember?
sell on Poshmark or another online reselling platform. this will earn you more money than the previous suggestion but takes a considerable amount of effort on your part. however, if you’re up for it, it is a fun way to earn back some spending money to reinvest in your wardrobe!
step four : merchandise
time to organize what’s left in your closet. with this method, it’s recommended you store as many pieces of clothing as possible on hangers so you can visually see your collection all together and easily build outfits. if you can’t hang certain pieces like delicate knits, do your best to display them on open shelving next to your hanging clothes.
group your clothes by style and hang them in this order : BOTTOMS | TOPS | DRESSES | SWEATERS/OUTERWEAR
if you’d like to merchandise your closet in more detail or have quite a large wardrobe, hang them in this order: SHORTS/MINISKIRTS | TANKS/CROP TOPS | MIDI/MAXI SKIRTS | SHORT SLEEVED SHIRTS | PANTS/JEANS | LONG SLEEVED SHIRTS/PULLOVER SWEATERS | DRESSES | CARDIGANS/OUTERWEAR - this order really breaks your wardrobe up while allowing you to see coordinating pieces and styles to make a lot of unique outfits whether you have twenty or fifty articles of clothing.
you can get real technical here by organizing each category from light to dark and breaking up same colored solids with prints. if you’d like more help with merchandising your closet, please let us know! we would love nothing more than to get all up in that business!
merchandising pro tip : buy pretty and functional hangers. and if your space and budget allows for it, purchase a simple clothing rack you can display your regular wardrobe on. ikea has great options!
bonus styling tips
we have an additional resource for helping you refine your style so this is just brief to hold you over! we want to let you know that it is ok to to have more than one, or even lots of something similar as long as you wear them all equally. do you love wearing high-rise, medium wash, ankle length jeans? great! you should totally have a few pairs to rotate through. there’s no rule of numbers to filling your closet here; it’s only important that you love each piece within your wardrobe and that they all get worn regularly. you should consistently pair down and add new pieces in. new and fresh is good as long as you’re eliminating old and worn!
ok, this is a good stopping point and each of you is unique so we fully expect and anticipate questions specific to your process! get started and let us know if we can help you along the way. when you’re done, check out our next resource A GUIDE TO REFINING YOUR PERSONAL STYLE so we can turn the blank slate that is now your closet into the wardrobe that perfectly fits you and your lifestyle.
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if you have any specific questions about this topic or would like us to dive into it more thoroughly, don’t hesitate to reach out. we’d love nothing more than to help you personally!