If you read around this blog for a while, you’ll notice I’m a total thrift store junkie. Little excites me more than finding a gem at a dirt-cheap price. Though I love thrifting, frequent shopping trips mean my closet is always overflowing. Quite literally.
To keep it under control, I try to clean out my closet two or three times a year. But guys, it’s hard! How can I part with a dress that holds fond memories, or a skirt I used to love? I especially hate getting rid of something expensive if I don’t think I’ve worn it enough to be worth the price. But what’s worse is that avoiding tough decisions means I still end up with more clothes than I need.
So how can you clean out your closet when you’re attached to what’s in it? Read on for my five favorite tips to help you curate a closet you’ll actually wear. And scroll down to see these tips in action!
Let’s Clean Out Your Closet:
1. Your Honest Reaction
You’ve probably heard of the KonMari Method, which advocates for pretty ruthless de-cluttering based on whether an item “sparks joy.” While I’m not a huge fan of the method in general (I could never be a minimalist), I do love the idea of assessing your gut reaction. If you love a piece of clothing and can’t imagine your closet without it, keep it. If you haven’t worn it in years and think, “why in the world did I buy this,” it can go.
What’s tricky here is the middle ground. For pieces I have no strong feeling about, I make a “maybe” pile and come back to them later with the next tips. Sometimes I find something I want to love, but don’t really love. Wishing you loved something isn’t loving it. Those normally end up in the donation bin.Wishing you loved something isn't loving it.Click To Tweet
2. Make Outfits
After I’ve compiled the clothes I can’t decide on, I try to create a few outfits with each piece, using clothes I already own. Knowing the different ways you can wear a piece means that it won’t be out of place in your closet if you decide to keep it. I aim for styling three outfits that include my item in question. The key is to use only clothes already in your wardrobe–if you need to buy new clothes to make one item work, then you probably have no use for it now. And buying more clothes means you’ll just have to clean out your closet more often!
3. Try It On!
This one seems obvious, and yet it’s easy to overlook. I tend to assume that because I own an item, it fits me, but our bodies change all the time. There have been so many items I nearly kept, but then I put them on and thought…nope! In my experience, it’s hard to really love clothing when you’re not entirely comfortable with how it fits. If you can tailor it or find a way to make it fit, awesome! If not, it’s probably not worth keeping around. You won’t wear it.
4. Weigh Your Options
So you’ve gathered the clothes you think you can get rid of, but something is still holding you back from making the decision. Maybe some pieces have sentimental value, or you feel like you’re wasting the money you spent. When this happens, I like to consider my options: selling, donating, and trashing. For example, I feel better about letting go of something I over-payed for if it’s still in good condition and I can resell it. It also feels nice to donate something you loved, knowing that someone else can love it too. I try to avoid throwing anything away, and only trash what is beyond repair that no one else would want.
5. Forget Perfection
The idea of a perfectly-curated wardrobe is enticing: It somehow feels more fashionable to only own beautiful, awesome-fitting clothes that you wear all the time. But maybe there are some things that you just can’t get rid of, even if they don’t fit, or if you don’t need or love them anymore. A wedding dress, say, or a loved one’s jewelry. That’s okay! If getting rid of a special piece would cause you more pain than keeping it, keep it. I’m a firm believer that sentimental value is still value, even if it adds a little clutter to your closet. If nothing else, you have one cool conversation starter!
Watch Me Clean Out Mine:
The Retro Pumps
A major phase of my personal style was the vintage look. I was heavily inspired by fashion of the ’40s and ’50s (and I still love it!), and I tried to incorporate it wherever I could. I thought these Naturalizer Mary Jane-style heels had the perfect retro feel, so I wore them with all my skirts and dresses.
A few years later, and I’m no longer into the vintage look (well, not all the time). But I used to love these heels so much! After a quick try-on, I know they still fit, and they would go well with at least three outfits I have. But I know in my heart I won’t wear them–I just don’t love them as much as I used to. Sorry, darlings, but off to Goodwill you go.
The Watercolor Dress
I’ve been torn over whether or not to keep this dress for about two years now. I bought it when I went on a school trip to Italy in 2014, which was my first time ever leaving the country. Though I did spend far more Euros on it than I would have liked (definitely a “treat yourself” purchase!), I’ve worn it enough since then that I got my money’s worth. But, as with my heels, I just don’t love it like I used to. I’ve only kept it for its memories.
The dress still fits, and I can easily pair it with different jackets and cardigans. Although I’m not sure how often I’ll actually reach for this dress, I’m still not ready to let it go, even if someone else could cherish it. I’ll allow myself not to be perfect–the dress stays.
What helps you clean out your closet? Do you have your own favorite tips? Leave a comment below!