Spring Cleaning is around the corner (end that sentence with the emoji of your choice – mine would be the face of grief mixed with disgust and turmoil). If you’re like the majority of people, you see this as an opportunity to get rid of the things in your home you no longer use or need. Easy peasy if we’re talking about old issues of magazines and expired pantry items, right?! But when it comes to the clothes in your closet that still have tags on them or the pieces you loved but haven’t worn in a while, the task becomes more difficult – ok, if we’re being honest, it becomes emotional and kind of impossible. So let me help you break it down into easy, actionable and turmoil-free, steps that work for you either as you go or all in one shot. All-at-Once: If you like to tackle a task and have it done in a day, this method is probably for you. Be prepared to make some decisions, get in touch with your feelings and free yourself of clothing that is dragging you down!
- Have a bag or box ready for trash and another for items to donate.
- Take everything out of your closet and dresser drawers. You heard me. Everything. (I wasn’t kidding when I said this would take a day.) To make this process go quickly, don’t start sorting until everything is out of your closet and dressers.
- You will now take one item at a time and ask yourself this question: How does this item make me feel? If the answer is anything other than positive (for example: guilty, fat, pale, gross, irritated…) it needs to go in the trash or donate box. If the answer is positive (happy, pretty, powerful, optimistic…) ask yourself the next question – When was the last time I wore this? If it’s been over a year, figure out why. Does it need repair? Is it a special occasion item that you will use this year? Is it no longer in style, but it was one of your favorite things? You’ll need to be honest about wearing it again and decide if it’s time to let go.
- After all the questions have been asked, place the item in either the trash (stained, ripped, or otherwise inappropriate to donate), donate box, or back in your closet or dresser.
- Repeat these steps for every item you own, and make sure the trashed clothing goes in the trash and the donate box makes it to the donation center. If you want to take the next step in using everything you kept, follow the directions in the As-You-Go section below!
As-You-Go: This is my personal favorite method. It takes no extra time, but it isn’t done in a day and takes a little more creativity. Your plan of action is to:
- Commit to a minimum of 30 days of unique outfits created from the clothes you already own (no shopping retail – you’re shopping your closet!).
- Find your favorite way of keeping track of what you have already worn (my favorite is the fastest way by Hilary Rushford called the Ribbon and Record. Tie a ribbon (yarn, string, or actual ribbon) on the bar at the end of your closet and get a “record” (piece of paper or notebook) for each stack in your dresser. Everything you wear either goes behind the “ribbon” or under the “record”. Then try not to wear that item again during the 30 days. (Please note: I said TRY. I definitely wear my favorite jeans more than once a month – ok, week – but I could swap them out skirts on some of those days, for example.)
- Choose your outfit the night before you wear it, including accessories (jewelry, shoes, bag, outerwear – ALL of it!). This ensures you have time to use your creativity, choose something unique and try it on together. Don’t skip trying it on – just because it looks good in your head doesn’t mean it will look good on your body – I speak from experience.
- At the end of 30 days (or longer for a more abundant wardrobe), assess what you didn’t wear. Ask yourself why – if the answer is remotely negative (I don’t like the color, it doesn’t fit right, etc.), take it out of your closet and donate it. You will seriously feel better when you do! Your brain won’t use up mental energy cataloging it as you pass over it every day, and you won’t spend any emotional energy on it (feeling guilty that you don’t wear it because of the amount of money you paid, or having received it as a gift but it’s not your style). Taking those things out of your closet will free your mind, and after they’re gone, you won’t think about them any more! It’s truly amazing.
If you’re looking for a little motivation, accountability and community during this venture, join my #springcleaningclosetremix under that hashtag on Instagram and on Facebook here. (It’s a closed group, so only the people in the group will see what you post, not all of your Facebook friends and family – unless you invite them to participate, which is totally welcome – the more the merrier!) You’ll be welcomed by a host of encouraging women, sharing their closet remix creations and what worked for them when cleaning out their closets. I’ll also be chiming in with stylist secrets, tips and tricks to remixing your wardrobe, finding/refining your style and shopping! The challenge begins March 1, so go join the group on Facebook and start outfit planning now!