I got rid of 90% of my closet on my recent move. NINETY PERCENT! While I was prepping to move in with my fiance I had a good hard look at all the clothing items I had accumulated over the years, and the truth was, I wore so few items or maybe only wore something once that it was time to toss what I didn’t want and truly spring clean my entire closet. I’m sure we can all agree that throughout time, we’ve let things accumulate that we didn’t need to hold on to, so in this post, we’re going to dive into how to spring clean your entire closet so that you’re left with a wardrobe that fulfills you!
First thing I want to note is that I personally don’t think I’m capable of having a capsule wardrobe. I go to too many events and enjoy wearing patterns that I don’t like the thought of only owning thirty-ish items in my closet. I love variety, and I like layers. That’s a non-negotiable for me.
But through these techniques, I got rid of over 10 pairs of jeans, 30 button downs, 12 wool skirts, 70 tops of various sleeve lengths, 15 pairs of shoes, 40 dresses, 5 handbags, 10 jackets and plenty of un-worn scarves and accessories. And guess what, I still have a VARIETY of clothes to wear throughout the year!
This post is going to help you: pair down your closet, eliminate unnecessary items and help you make smarter clothing choices in the future. Heck, if you find that you’ve gotten rid of ninety percent of your closet like I did, then that’s AMAZING, and I will have considered the four hours of putting this post together worth it!
Let’s get down to business, are you ready to spring clean your entire closet?
One: Take Inventory of Your Favorite Items
What items do you continuously bring on vacation, find a way to dress it up for work, or is there a particular color you find yourself gravitating towards consistently in your wardrobe? These items that you frequently wear and always gravitate towards are your non-negotiables. They’ll make up about 60% of your keep pile, and the truth is, they don’t have to be expensive to be your favorites. Some of my favorite items I kept were clearance finds from boutiques who have long since closed their doors.
they don’t have to be expensive to be your favorites.
Two: Time to Make Piles: Keep, Donate, Re-sell, Trash
After you’ve taken inventory of your favorite items, it’s time to make piles: Keep, Donate, Re-Sell, Trash.
Your Keep Pile needs to be made up of your favorite items, closet staples in GOOD condition, and anything that brings you joy each time you wear it.
Your Donate Pile needs to be made up of: anything of low-value (intrinsic or otherwise) that is in an okay condition that someone else in need could use. Remember, clothing donation intakes are not garbage heaps, so please be mindful of the quality of clothing you donate. It should be good enough to wear for those who need to buy affordable clothing.
Your Re-Sale Pile needs to be made up of anything that is in VERY GOOD condition, that either doesn’t fit anymore or is slightly out of style. Stay away from trying to resale anything that is more than 3 years old that is not a high-end designer. The general rule of thumb is you can expect to make about 1/8 the retail price of a piece of clothing you bought when you resale.
Then ask yourself, if I bought a $40 top and can expect to resale it for about $5, is the effort going to be worth it? If the answer is no, it goes into the donate pile.
Your Trash Pile is anything that has a stain, rip, tear, button missing, incredibly wrinkled, soles have worn out, leather peeling, etc. If it is in less than okay condition, it needs to go to the trash. Donation centers can’t re-sell items that have any physical or structural damage so save them the effort of sorting through your things and make a trash pile yourself.
This was a LOT of stuff you just went through, and it can be scary looking at how empty your closet looks and it’s okay to feel worried about not having anything to wear. Chances are that the items in your closet that you just cleaned out actually didn’t bring you long-term joy and filled a short, sporadic need to fill a clothing void. Whether it was the palm leaf print top for your tropical vacation or the linen pants you wore four years ago on Spring Break, the truth is you already got joy out of the item, and it served its purpose! You have already gotten value out of wearing it, so don’t think of it as a sunk cost, it was enjoyed to it’s fullest at the moment!
Tips to consider while cleaning out your closet:
Don’t Get Hung Up on Expensive Items and Keep Them Because of Their “Perceived Value”
Just because something may be expensive doesn’t mean you need to keep it. If it isn’t something that you pull out regularly or truly love wearing every time you put it on (say it pinches or pulls or gapes or is too tight) get rid of it! Whether it’s a vintage piece or one-season old, consider reselling on Etsy, Poshmark or in consignment stores. Just because it cost you one month’s mortgage doesn’t mean you need to hold onto it for 40 years.
Take Your Questionable Items on a Farewell Tour
If you’re feeling “iffy” about an item, take it on a farewell tour. A farewell tour for clothing entails ONE final use for that item styled how you typically dress without excessive accessories. Then ask yourself: am I truly comfortable in this piece of clothing? Does it pull or stretch anywhere that makes it unfit? Do I like the way it flows with my standard outfit? Do I find myself to be more confident in this clothing? If you answered ‘No’ to any of these questions, it might be time to put it in the donate or re-sell pile.
I will say, getting rid of 90% of my wardrobe was due in part to not working in a corporate setting anymore so I could get rid of a variety of trousers, wool skirts, and “work appropriate tops” that I said I would wear on the weekend. I never wore them on the weekend. While I do think that my style is still on the more dressy side of casual, I still feel like my closet is brimming with options for when I need to go on a business meeting, or if I’m going out for happy hour with my fiancé. I have a more limited wardrobe but one that I can reach into at any time of the year and find joy in the pieces that I still own.