Wardrobe Purge: Closet Takeover!

Closet Takeover

The Victims: Two of my besties: Diana and Joanna. The only two brave enough to allow me into their closets!

The Place: Joanna's house. Diana brought her entire closet with her.

The Plan: To get both of their closets to a streamlined mix of clothing they will wear all the time! Both were completely over-assorted and frankly there were some scary pieces they were hanging onto (more on that later)!!

The Scene: Joanna's bedroom with three friends and lots of champagne. Oh and it took us a whole day to do! :o) It was worth every second.

This is the perfect time to start cleaning out your wardrobe - it's summer into fall! You can purge and transition at the same time. This is something I do 4x's a year and it really allows you to see and use all of the fantastic items that you have spent time building up! I first gave you guys some bullet points back in 2010 (click here for details). It's a lot of work - but worth it in the end!! I promise.

Step 1:  

Create three buckets: KEEP, THRIFT STORE, AND TRASH. 

Step 2:

Start with one category (skirts, blouses,  so you know exactly what you own, need to get rid of and what you have to work with in the future.

Step 3:

Analyze each item. Here are the most important questions to ask yourself:

Is the fit flattering or do you always feel like you need to "make it work"?

Is the color/pattern still something you feel good wearing?

When was the last time you wore it? Anything over 6 months (if a year-round item) needs to go!!

How diverse is your selection? For example do you have 3 maroon skirts? Do you really need that many?

Step 4: 

What kind of shape are your clothes in? Do they have holes? Wine stains? Pit stains? Are they worth repairing? If you decide they are worth keeping, separate them into a pile to go to your dry cleaner/seamstress to see if the cost is worthwhile.

Step 5:

As you edit your wardrobe, build it back up by category and by color. 

Buy matching hangers and make sure clothes are all pointing in the same direction.

Keep all clothes, shoes, handbags, and additional accessories as visible as possible (again see my original post here)

Step 6:


Joanna was first up - here are two skirts that didn't quite make the cut. Why didn't these make the cut? Well.... she hadn't worn either of these in a very long time, the styles were dated, and we laughed really hard when she put them on!! HAHA. Such a good sport, J!

Joanna's 2 Wardrobe Malfunctions:

1. She tends to purchase multiples of "novelty" style items. 

2. She holds onto old styles thinking she will "wear them again" or "they have sentimental value".

These looks both worked really well - look how cute Joanna looks! I am very happy that the white skirt worked out because it is a sentimental item! 

Joanna loves to buy multiples of the same item. If it's basics, like a white v-neck tee, then typically it's not a problem. But, for something patterned or with details like ruffles, I generally say keep it to one color. 

Saving a piece from the THRIFT PILE! Joanna looks gorgeous in this all white outfit. She hadn't worn these pants in years and when she put them on and styled them correctly, it completely worked. 

We decided this one was way too close to "The Puffy Shirt" episode of Seinfeld when Jerry committed to wearing Kramer's girfriend's (the  "low-talker") shirt on The Today Show because he couldn't hear her. ARRRRRGH Matey. GOOD BYE Puffy shirt. If you feel like a laugh - check out the episode here! :o)

Both of the gals owned some decidedly Shakespearean shirts that had to go as well! "Oh where for art thou, Romeo?" 

Next victim was Diana, who brought her entire wardrobe, including shoes. And Herc was completely confused.....

As we started diving into Diana's massive wardrobe we realized a couple of things immediately. 

1. Diana gravitates toward the same color pallet. As you can see above she had four almost identical tank tops in the same material, same variation of coral, and same cut. It makes sense that you would be attracted to the same styles and color over and over, but this is why I highly suggest having an internal wardrobe filing system. It could be as simple as picking up a piece of clothing you like in the store and before taking one step toward the cash register, you pause and mentally picture what is already hanging in your closet. Often times you will realize that you have something almost identical.

2. Diana buys in bulk from places like Old Navy and the Gap. Now - I don't have any problem with either one of those stores. In fact, some of my favorite bathing suits are from Old Navy and I completely love the idea of high/low mix, but let's face it - the clothes don't last that long! Before you know it they are stretched out, faded, or dated. So buying 5 of the same tee in every color of the rainbow doesn't make sense. We talked about "investment" pieces which cut down on the need for bulk purchases because they last longer and sub-consciously you take better care of them because you know you spent a little more. 

Now that she knows those are her two hot button wardrobe malfunctions she can do her best to correct them!

Here are two outfits that we put together based on items that D wasn't quite sure how to style! Super cute.

In the end the gals were such great sports and ended up giving away 4 huge bags of clothes and shoes to people in need. It was a pretty awesome day and I was super proud of them. It's not easy to get rid of stuff that "you think you will wear again" - mostly because YOU WON'T!! 

So these are 10 quick tips I will leave you with as you begin your closet journey....

1. JUST DO IT. It feels amazing to purge. You will wear 40% more of your wardrobe just by simplifying what you have! You won't miss your old clothes. I promise. 

2. MAKE LISTS. As you realize gaps in your closet, write them down. That way you have an ongoing list of things you need to purchase at some point. It will help you navigate and not overspend or duplicate, but allow you to build properly/efficiently.  

3. ONE FOR ONE: For every piece you purchase, give one away. Stick with this rule going forward and your purging won't need to happen in big chunks, it will be gradual and therefore you will never be overwhelmed.

4. IF IT DOESN'T FIT GET RID OF IT. 'Nough said. Don't keep it because you "think" you might be able to wear it again! Most likely it will be out of date and taking up unnecessary closet space.

5. IN VIEW. Keep your clothes in view once they are back in your closet. When things get tucked in dark corners you won't wear them!! Try not to double hang items. Biggest mistake because you can't see them!

6. ORGANIZE. Color code and categorize by type! THIS WORKS. 

7. BULK PURCHASING: Don't buy in bulk! Spend your money on 1 item that lasts longer vs. 5 that are a fraction of the cost, but don't last nearly as long. In the end (over time) you will spend way less then those massive trips to Old Navy! 

8. INTERNAL FILING SYSTEM. Have an internal filing system of your wardrobe as you shop for NEW so there is no duplication in color and style.

9. ASSESS. Every 3 months assess your wardrobe. What haven't you worn? What has gotten "injured" and can't be fixed (wine stains, holes...)? What did you forget about that you could be wearing?

10. HAVE FUN. Enjoy what you wear, everyday. Once your closet is culled down, take the time at the beginning of each week to lay out your clothes for the week. It will SIMPLIFY your mornings. Best decision I ever made years ago. Try out new combinations with clothes you have had for awhile. MAKE IT FUN.

...And if all else fails, contact me! I am happy to come over and help you get organized. I come at a cheap rate - you can pay me in wine!! :o)

A huge thanks to my gal-pals, Joanna and Diana!! Love you guys and thanks for allowing me into your closets for a day of exploration and fun! I hope you got as much out of it as I did! xoxo

Have a fun, fashionable week,