If you read my post about the benefits of cleaning out your closet, you’re probably saying, okay, you sold me Rachel, I’m heading to clean out my closet right now. But where do I start? First of all, thank you for that compliment! I do my best to help you achieve your wildest closet dreams.
Here are my tips for approaching your closet clean out like a pro. Ready, set, sort!
Grab a friend who can be an objective eye
We develop an emotional attachment to clothes, whether or not we recognize it. Unless you’re a total clothes hard*** like me, you’ll want someone there to provide emotional support and give you the gentle push (or tough love shove!) to let something go that needs to go. You can also feel free to reenact Sex and the City by gathering friends, funny signs and #allthechampagne. I mean, why not bring a little movie glamour into the mix?!
Have a treasure box (a.k.a airtight plastic tub) to store sentimental items
Remember, we develop an emotional attachment to clothes. For those items that hold a true sentimental value (wore it on your first date, a suit you wore when you snagged your dream job, etc.) but can no longer be worn or are outdated, move it to your treasure box for safekeeping.
Have another tub for “you’ll pry them from my cold dead fingers” clothes – what I call your security blanket pieces
We also develop strong attachments to “comfortable” clothes that become our security blanket. These can be pieces we throw on when we want to be invisible for the day. (Read more here on the benefit of getting rid of these pieces.) Or they can be pieces that we hope we’ll fit into again someday. Think about this one – do you really want to be reminded of how much weight you’ve gained every time you open your closet? Repeat this mantra with me – “If I can’t wear it today, I can’t wear it.” Therefore it’s useless and taking up valuable space in your closet. You can reduce the anxiety of giving it away by putting it in your special security blanket tub and storing it in the basement. I guarantee that within a few weeks, you’ll be having so much fun wearing pieces you love that you’ll forget all about that tub and everything in it (Hint: when you reach that state you’ve severed your emotional attachment to your security blankets. Donate them and be free my friends!)
Take out small sections at a time
Don’t do the Marie Kondo dump! To avoid being overwhelmed from the start, I always recommend taking out only about 10 or so items at a time, still on the hanger. Sort through them and then place what you’re keeping back in your closet. This way if you tire out after an hour, you aren’t forced to sleep on the floor for the next week until you finish. There’s nothing that says cleaning out your closet can’t be broken into parts and completed slowly but surely whenever you have time!
Organize your closet by item type and color
Yes, I want you to channel your inner Monica Gellar and as you put pieces back, group your clothes by item type, down to the length of sleeve, and within each item type by color from lightest to darkest. This is my biggest tip for keeping your style focused and avoiding falling back into a familiar style rut. When you go to your closet and can easily see that you have 10 long-sleeve plain black tops, because they’re all right next to each other, you’ll be less tempted to buy a long-sleeve plain black top the next time you shop because you know what you have. Then you can save your money for a special, unique piece you really love – or a glass of wine with the girls! Hey, you earned it after all that hard work!