Sometimes I just feel like I'm in a clothing rut, you know? Here's how it usually happens. I realize I'm wearing basically the same thing everyday. I simultaneously realize my closet is basically full. My closet isn't massive like Cher Horowitz's. As if. But I still feel like if my closet is full, then I have enough clothes. So then I start to feel really guilty for owning plenty of clothes but wearing the same thing all the time. And I feel like I shouldn't buy anything new since I already have tons of stuff... I just don't wear all of it.
This is how I know it's time to clean out my closet. Cleaning out my closet accomplishes two main goals. First, I can get rid of anything ill-fitting or that I just don't feel confident in. Second, it forces me to go through all my clothes, which reminds me of what I already have (and love!) and need to wear more.
Here are four steps I usually go through when I clean out my closet (usually twice a year).
This is tough as it involves getting rid of stuff. The cheap gal inside me wants to keep everything. I feel like I'm throwing money away if I get rid of something that I didn't wear very many times. More guilt! But the truth is, if I keep lots of clothes that I don't wear, then I'll never have room to store clothes that I do wear. It's that simple. So I try to keep this in mind while I go through everything.
I love these seven questions to ask yourself while you clean out your closet. I could not agree more. I try to go through all my clothes, shoes, purses, tights, swimsuits, and jewelry asking these types of questions. One thing I learned this time around was that I got rid of quite a few items I had thrifted but never wore. This bummed me out because I LOVE thrift store shopping. I've been addicted since high school. But I need to make sure that items I buy are either the perfect fit or I need to learn to alter clothing. I had a lot of items with cool patterns or that were really interesting garments that didn't quite fit, but they were so inexpensive I just couldn't pass them up. But then I never wore them. So, I need to pay attention to this more next time I'm thrifting. I did keep a really amazing black velvet dress I thrifted but haven't worn yet simply because it's long sleeve and kind of fancy. So I plan to wear it to our company holiday party this year.
The other thing I learned... I don't need to buy any more tights this winter. I think they get buried and I forget I have them, but I have plenty in lots of different colors (and about five different black pairs too). So next time I see some cute tights, I'll remember this and skip it. I don't need anymore right now.
2. Evaluate Where Clutter Should Go.
I very rarely throw an item away. Usually it has to be really stained or just generally trashed before I'll throw it in the garbage. I usually sort items to give to friends or take to the thrift store (and then go shopping, circle of life!). Another great option is to sell items.
Random story: We actually had grand plans to host an IG sale (for charity) from donated items from our staff at ABM. Everyone at the office brought their items in, but we've just never found the time to take all the photos, post them, run the sale, and then we'll have to ship stuff. So, it's kind of turned into an ongoing clothing exchange, which has been pretty fun. I guess my point is, get creative with donating clothes, and when all else fails, take it to a thrift store.
3. Organize What's Leftover.
I feel like most people stop here. Or at least I have before. I clean out the closet, donate those items I don't need, and then I'm done. I've learned over the last few years that it's best, for me, if I take the extra time to organize my closet. I've tried different things, but this time around I organized everything by what the item was. So all my dresses are hanging together, all jackets together, all tops together, and all skirts together. I also have a dresser for underwear, pajamas, and sweaters that I don't want to hang because they will get stretched out.
You could also organize by occasion (all office wear items together, etc.), by color, or whatever method makes the most sense to you and will help you find your clothes quickly. I don't like standing in front of my closet for ten minutes in the morning before work wondering where my X is. Make everything easy to find, accessible, and (if possible) visible.
4. Make Some Goals.
Here I go again talking about goals. Sorry guys, it's just how I understand the world. Maybe you're wondering what the heck kind of goals I might need to make at the end of cleaning and organizing my closet. I mean, that was just a goal we finished, right? Let me tell you the two goals I made this time around and maybe that will help.
First off, I decided that sometime this week I'm going to spend a couple hours one nigh to make up a bunch of outfits, and then take cell phone pictures of me in them. Lots of ugly, dimly lit selfies are in my future this week. :) The idea is, I have lots of clothes I love, but sometimes I pick out a skirt in the morning and feel totally stumped on what to wear it with. My brain just doesn't work well until I have coffee. But when this happens, I can just review my library of dim selfies and find something that works. No brain power needed.
Second, I identified a need in my closet. I need to purchase a pair of tall black boots that will last me multiple winters. Last year I wore the same pair of black boots over and over again. I wore them with jeans, leggings, and over tights with dresses. They kept my feet warm and dry while also matching almost everything I like to wear. The only problem was, I bought a pretty inexpensive pair last year (around $50), and they did not hold up to all the wear I put them through. They were coming apart and some of the faux leather was flaking off. I still feel like I got my money out of them since I wore them so much, but this year I think I'll save up a little more and try to invest in a pair of black boots that I can wear for lots of winters to come (provided I care for them).
Ok, that's about it. Thanks for letting me ramble on about cleaning out my closet. If you have any closet cleaning experiences or tips you want to share, feel free. xo. Emma
Credits// Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.