Closet Makeovers Series Part 1: Cleaning Your Closet

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Closet makeover series: How to clean out your closet

First and foremost, I wanted to say thank you for all of the overwhelmingly wonderful feedback on my last post. I certainly have my work cut out for me for the next couple of weeks. I’ll be doing tons of research in upcoming weeks to address any and all of the questions and comments - I’m so pumped to get started!

However, before we buy clothes, we must get rid of some of the old ones. Goodwill is my charity of choice, but any place will do.

Let me first start by saying this task can take a while: you are probably going to have to take at least 3 hours out of your day to do this. You have to ask yourself a series of questions about each garment and if you can’t decide, throw it out. It’s also vital that you take each thing out and take a look at it. Get a good look at it away from the rest of your clothes and go from there. Also, I recommend trying on the “maybes” to be sure.

What you'll need:

  1. Trash bags: they’re cheap and easy to carry. I think that’s self explanatory.
  2. Pen and paper: to write down where the holes are in your closet.
  3. A good friend who has patience: a second opinion is always a good thing

One you've assembled all these things, it's time to get started. Go through your wardrobe by category and ask yourself the following questions as you do.

Underwear:

We need to start with the basics here. All good wardrobes begin with a solid foundation underneath.

Bras: When deciding whether or not to keep a bra, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Are all the wires still there?
  • Are there any noticeable stains or is it yellowing from being worn too much?
  • Are there any rips or tears?
  • Does anything dig into my skin when I wear it?
  • Is it too small or too big?

** This step is actually more important than you think. A good bra can really make or break an outfit. If you have not gone to a bra fitting recently, I recommend going. It will change your life, because if the girls are up where they should be, it can make you look 5 lbs thinner and change your posture!

Panties:

  • How long have I had this pair of undies?
  • Has the color faded dramatically?
  • Are they comfortable to wear?
  • Is there a garment of clothing I own that I can wear these under without there being a visible panty line?
  • Are they too small/big?
  • Is the elastic stretched out or ripped?

Tights:

I think tights are pretty self explanatory. If there is a run in them, throw them out. Unless of course you're into the holes in tights trend, in which case by all means reinvent your old tights.

The bulk of your closet:

I really think this is the hardest part. I recommend enlisting a friend to help you go through your shirts, pants, dresses, skirts, and shoes . It may be hard to let go of some, but I assure you, it will be beneficial in the long run.

Tops:

  • Is it stretched out?
  • Even if it’s worn, can I use it for layering?
  • Does my belly show? (in a “this shirt shrunk in the dryer" way, not a cute "look at my rockin' bod” way)
  • Is the pattern or style outdated?
  • Is the hem ruined?
  • Is the color washed out?
  • Is the neckline flattering?
  • Is there any pilling? (when the thread of a fabric, typically a sweater, is worn so it balls into little circles)
  • Do I still feel really amazing in it?
  • Is there anything missing from the top (like a button)? (If it's fixable, put it in the "fix" pile, if not, toss it.)
  • Is it too small?
  • Is the only reason I am keeping this because it reminds me of high school?

Pants:

  • Can I still button them?
  • Do they give me a muffin top?
  • Are they too short?
  • Is leg line or style still in?
  • Are they missing anything like clasps or buttons?
  • Do they make you look shorter when you wear them?
  • Do you feel self conscious of the hip or mid section when wearing them?
  • Are there any rips that were not there when you bought them?
  • How does them hem look?
  • Can they be worn with many different kinds of shoes?

Skirts and Dresses:

  • Does the color flatter my skin?
  • Does my booty stick out when I bend over?
  • Would I feel comfortable with the length without leggings?
  • Are the colors faded?
  • Can the zipper still close?
  • Is it missing any clasps or buttons?
  • Did you buy it only for the intent of it being a costume?

Jackets:

  • Is the zipper fully functional?
  • Does it fit in both the shoulders and the bust?
  • Does it close comfortably?
  • Is it way too long/short?
  • Is it outdated?
  • Is there a time of year when it’s practical?

Shoes:

  • Are there any tears anywhere on the shoe?
  • Is it being held together with super glue?
  • For flip flops: are they grey and dirty instead of white or pink like when you bought them?
  • Does your foot look cute while wearing it?
  • Are they practical?
  • Do they go with more than one thing in your closet?
  • Are they scuffed so much that you have to ask yourself what color they were originally?
  • Are they outdated?
  • Do they look heavy on your feet?

Accessories:

Here is what to give away, sell or throw away: (it's much more straightforward then the rest of your closet)

  • Broken necklaces
  • Anything outdated (and not in a cool vintage way)
  • Earrings that are missing a mate
  • Rings that are too big or small
  • Rings that are chipped
  • Bracelets that are bent
  • Anything with a broken closure
  • Hair pins that are falling apart (like a flower that is starting to become unglued)
  • Headbands that don’t flatter your face
  • Headbands that are falling apart or breaking

This is when the pen and paper comes in: write down everything that you want to replace in your wardrobe, and compile a shopping list (or a wish list if your birthday is coming up, and hey it’s never too early to start thinking Christmas) of the things that need to be replaced. If something just needs to be fixed, fix it - bring it to a tailor or get crafty with a sewing machine.

Once you've done this, you can enjoy all of that extra space!

Next week, I’ll go over how to organize the things that you have left. I’ll be providing pictures so you have more visuals to help you organize in a tiny space (and it will force me to clean my room!).

What are your thoughts?

What are your tips for cleaning out your closet? How do you keep yourself from being a pack rat? Where do you like to donate clothes? Leave your thoughts in the comments section!