Q: My closet is FULL of clothing. I don’t even know what’s in there. Now that I’m working from home, my office clothing is gathering dust. How do I decide what stays and what goes?
Cluttered in Clam Bay
A: Dear Cluttered,
Cleaning out your closet is a struggle for many. There are a few approaches you can take when preparing for a purge. You can remove items one at a time and assess. I suggest creating piles: Donate, Consign, Pass to Friend, Return, Sell & Trash. If you plan on selling your items, take pictures and post ASAP. Plan to move donated pieces out of your home. Don’t let them haunt your trunk or porch either.
Alternatively, I recommend taking EVERYTHING out. Pile it on a clean surface. The bed works great for this kind of project. Group into categories, placing like items together. Tops, pants, sweaters, dresses, etc. You get the picture. Begin editing, category by category. Not sure if it fits or looks good? Find yourself a full length mirror and try it on. It doesn’t hurt to invite a friend over for an honest opinion.
I often work with owners of ample attire. The number one question I receive is “How do I know what to keep and what should go?” Much like style, rightsizing a wardrobe is unique to the individual. Here are questions to reference if you find yourself getting stuck with cleaning out your closet.
15 Helpful Questions to Ask When Cleaning Out Your Closet
- Does it fit? Does it fit your body as it is RIGHT NOW?
- Does it make you feel WONDERFUL? Do you LOVE IT and how it makes you feel when you are wearing it?
- Is it comfortable? Are you constantly tugging or readjusting when you wear it?
- When was the last time you wore it? Realistically, will you have a chance to wear it in the next 3, 6, 12 months?
- Would you buy it again? Is it an essential piece?
- Is it in good condition? Any holes, frays, tears or stains? *Exclude comfy clothing that you wear around the house!
- Would you wear it in public? IF IT FITS & FEELS GOOD, ROCK IT!
- Is it decades old, faded or outdated? Trends come and go, don’t hold onto clothes that might come back into style someday. Keep the basics & classics.
- Does it feel or smell weird? Fabric can be funky.
- Was it purchased ages ago-worn once or never at all?
- Does it belong to an ex or evoke unpleasant memories?
- Doesn’t belong to you? Return it!
- Is it too fancy to wear anywhere?
- Do you have multiples of the same item but gravitate toward only one or two? Pick a favourite.
- Is it made of material too heavy or light for the average temperature where you live? Keep seasonality in mind.
More Tips to Help With Cleaning Out Your Closet
Audit your accessories when you are cleaning out your closet-hats, jewellery, bags etc.
Remove clothing in need of alteration or repair. Fix it within a reasonable timeframe or let it go.
Keep a set of clothing to throw on when you are painting, gardening and working on dirty projects.
Still not sure? Hang it up, flip the hanger in the opposite direction. Set a time limit-if unworn then it should go.
Cluttered in Clam Bay, ask yourself these questions as you work on decluttering your clothing. Fits? Love it? Feels great? Keep it! If no, let it go. They will help you cut the clothing chaos!
Kelly Corkery is the Owner/Organizer of A Sorted Affair Inc. She helps people declutter, organize and simplify their spaces. If you’ve got a question you’d like Kelly to take on in her column, send her an email at [email protected].