How To Purge Your Closet. Step 1: Set A Date.

["Vogue", "should you keep it", "closet", "purge"]
Vogue

Why is it that you can barely hang another shirt on your closet and yet find yourself screaming, "I have nothing to wear!" Cleaning it out sounds like a chore but these tips help make it more enjoyable and easy than you would expect.

How many times have you opened your closet only to feel overwhelmed? Many of us are met with an explosion of shirts, scarves, and dresses we haven’t worn for seasons every time we open the door. Yet, when it comes time to actually purging items, we start playing out scenarios in our heads as to why we need to keep those things. What if I need a denim vest for a country-themed party? What if I get invited to a gala and need this beaded gown from three years ago? It’s a mix of anxiety and nostalgia attached to the items we know we need to get rid of but have trouble with actually evicting from the closet. Thankfully, a mix of decluttering professionals and experts are here to help!

1. Set A Date With Your Closet

Romantic, right? But deep down you know that it’s going to take a few hours to seriously sift through all your stuff, internally debate whether to keep some things, and then get it OUT before you can backtrack and hang it all back up. Over at Be More With Less, they recommend putting about 5 hours in your calendar for this marathon! Once you add in the emotions that inevitably will bubble up though, it seems like a good timeline.

2. Make Your Rubric Before You Start

Don’t even open that closet door without making a list of non-negotiables of what stays and what goes!

You should create a closet criterion of what qualifies as an item worth keeping and what should head to a donation bag. Some items will be clearly ones you want to keep or lose but most of it will fall in the middle.

The goal isn’t to just shed a few things but to feel in control of your wardrobe knowing everything fits, is in style, and makes you feel confident. Vogue made the handy flowchart below to help you navigate if an item should be kept or tossed. You may also want to ask yourself questions like if you would buy the item today or would be willing to get it fixed should it break or stain.

3. Go By Category, Not By Room

This little piece of advice is from the acclaimed The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo. In her book, she recommends decluttering all your books throughout your home instead of cleaning room by room. Similarly, take everything out of your closet and organize into piles of jeans, skirts, dresses, and so forth. By knowing what is in each category, it helps you make decisions in another one. If you absolutely adore a skirt but realize you haven’t worn it, maybe the answer is you’ve never had any shoes to go with it. The editor over at One Kings Lane used the book’s techniques and also shows you how Kondo recommends folding your basics and hanging your fun clothes to create an accessible, joyful space.

4. Give Your Clothing A Happy Second Life

So now that you have a bag or five of clothes you no longer are keeping, what do you do? The Everygirl has a fantastic guide to your clothing’s afterlife. If you are on a budget or know that you have some high-value pieces, you can either take them to a consignment store of try one of the resale apps like Poshmark. If your closet feels bare post-purge, Everygirl brilliantly suggests having a clothing swap party with your friends! You can trade pieces with one another and it’s a fun way to spend girl’s night together. Finally, you already know about Goodwill but think of donating your clothing to charities close to your heart. For example, a local women’s shelter can help you bring joy to someone in your local community. If you have business clothes you no longer need consider donating to Dress for Success, which helps women who need clothing for work and job interviews. A little Googling will help you find the perfect charity to give to and bring you joy as you say goodbye to your former wardrobe.

Vogue

How often do you purge your closet? Answer in the comments below!

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