The Ultimate Closet Clean Out Guide…Just in Time for Spring!

It’s that time of year again to embark on your Springtime closet clean out! I use that exclamation point sarcastically for you clothes-hoarders out there. Most people dread it, but the uber-structured, minimalistic, wannabe-professional-organizer in me welcomes a wardrobe refresh. There’s nothing worse than having a closet so stuffed full that it takes muscle to push all of your clothes to the side to make room for just one more hanger (and if you’re making room for just one, you’ll soon be making room for just two, and twenty hangers later your closet will be bursting at the seams).

For those of you who dread recycling your clothes and are still hoarding that pair of Abercrombie & Fitch denim shorts from eighth grade – IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON. 

The number one rule before you even open your closet is to commit to Spring cleaning. Yes, it’s going to take some time. Yes, I know you’d rather be watching Vanderpump Rules. Nonetheless I promise you’re going to feel so much better once it’s done. For those of you who don’t do a closet clean out regularly (and by regularly I mean 4-5 times a year), it’s going to take you a few hours. But for everyone else, you’re looking at an hour tops! 

Pineapple & Prosecco - The Ultimate Closet Clean Out Guide

Here are my three essential steps to a complete wardrobe refresh:

There are five key questions you should ask yourself as you look at each piece (YES, you have to look at every single piece of clothing).

1. Does it still fit me?

Unless you’re in the middle of a committed work out program and are saving some of your clothes for inspiration (and by some I don’t mean your whole wardrobe), if it doesn’t fit, toss it. Yes, I’m talking about that skirt that you know is a little too short but think that maybe one day you’ll change your mind about. You’re not going to change your mind, I promise.

2. Is it in good condition?

And by good I don’t mean it’s a perfectly fine t-shirt except for those pesky little holes that have formed from the button on your jeans but you think no one can notice so it’s okay. People can notice. It’s not okay. If it’s worn out, throw it out.

3. Have I worn it in the last year?

I saw a news segment once where a girl did an experiment for an entire year. Every time she wore something from her closet, she’d turn the hanger to face in the opposite direction. Same thing went for her folded items; she’d simply flip them the other way. At the end of the year, she was shocked to find that she rotated the same 20 or so pieces. While I would never succumb to keeping only 20 pieces in my closet, I DO feel strongly that if you haven’t worn it in 12 months, you’re probably not going to wear it again. Yes, that embellished shift dress you purchased in 2010 is a statement piece that looks great in your closet. But clothes aren’t supposed to look great in your closet, they’re supposed to look great on you!

4. If I saw it in a store right now, would I have to have it?

As you flip through your pieces of clothing, if you find yourself thinking, “eh, maybe I’ll keep it”, chances are you don’t need it. No one ever purchases anything after thinking “eh”. You should love every piece of your wardrobe! We naturally go through phases as trends come and go, so if you don’t love it at the time, leave it behind.

5. Do I love the way it looks on me?

 Some pieces are going to fit you perfectly. They’re going to be clothes you and would buy again in an instant. But those pieces can also be pieces that just don’t look great on you. We all impulse buy – the smarter of us return if it doesn’t look great, but most of us let it sit in our closet and forget about it. #RIPforgottenpieces. It’s hard to let something go that you love, but if you love IT and not the way IT LOOKS on you, it’s through.

Once you’ve sifted through everything in your closet you’ll be left with a pile of clothes and a few choices to make. Depending on the item, you might find that it makes sense to sell it. I make a nice amount of extra shopping money each month through my Poshmark app. On the other hand, you’ll find that some clothes aren’t worth the time it takes to sell them, and that it’s better to just donate or toss them. 

Here are some tips to help you figure out what your best option is:

When to sell:

  • It’s a designer item

  • It’s an item that’s not your style but might be something others will like

  • It’s like new or very lightly worn

When to donate:

  • It’s worn enough for someone to stray away from buying it

  • It hasn’t sold in the last 2 months

Note: You can drop your stuff off at a local donation bin or schedule a pick up here or here.

When to discard:

  • It’s totally worn out or damaged

Pineapple & Prosecco - The Ultimate Closet Clean Out Guide

If you make it to step three, don’t let yourself walk away without a little reward for your committed hard work!

Buy yourself something new! However unless you got rid of your entire closet, “something new” doesn’t mean a new wardrobe – it means one piece.

Give your closet a refresh by buying new hangers! When all of your hangers look the same, your inner-professional-organizer will be jumping for joy.

Note: If most of your closet consists of folded clothes, think about clearing some hanging space! More hanging space = less folding & a better view! Simply pick up a closet flange and a tension rod and voila!

Pat yourself on the back! Eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream! Call in sick from work and spend the day binging on Netflix and oohing and aahing over your new closet! However you choose to celebrate, realize that cleaning out an entire wardrobe isn’t easy! It takes time, dedication and follow-through (no, you can’t leave that donate pile sitting in your car for two weeks).

So, as I now channel my inner-motivational-speaker, block out a few hours, put it on your calendar and start cleaning! You can dooo eeeeet.

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