Fresh starts for my wardrobe happen multiple times per year, usually at the peak of every new season. January is one of those fresh starts. Maybe it's that getting new clothes for Christmas makes it easier to let go of some of the pieces I don't wear. Maybe it's that new year feeling of "this is the year I get my life in order" that just makes me want to overhaul my closet. Whatever the cause is, I embrace it, because it gives me the energy to get rid of things without looking back.
I just want to talk about purging my wardrobe and de-cluttering my closet. If you want the full scoop, read How to Create a Working Closet by Kendi Skeen, or How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe by Caroline Joy.
how to purge your wardrobe
Get in the purging mindset.
1// Do this during free time when you have no other plans for the day/night. Having to stop to go meet friends for dinner will cause you to make rush decisions or never come back to finish.
2// Compliment your purge with something that puts you in a good mood. For me this is turning up good music, but sometimes it can be the promise of fresh brownies when I'm finished.
3// Do this at a time when you are actually in a mood to get rid of things, not when you're feeling sentimental.
4// Decide why you want to purge your closet. For me, it's to feel less weighed down by all the "stuff" that I don't need or don't wear anyway. I know that purging is taking a step towards loving everything in my closet even if it doesn't get me there immediately. I know that I have too much and someone else could benefit from it more than me.
Make criteria for keeping items.
1// I've found I'm more productive if I first focus on the items I want to keep rather than items I want to get rid of. I start by taking everything out of the closet and laying it on our guest bed. Then go ahead and hang back up the items I wear all the time.
2// If you would wear it right now, keep it. If you would wear it right now if the weather were right (like a wool sweater in January or a sleeveless maxi dress in June), keep it regardless of what season it is, you know you love it.
3// Start making a pile of things you like but you're not sure if they fit. This is the try on pile, which you can keep, for now.
4// If something still works but needs minor repairs, put it in a spare box or basket. If two or three months go by and you haven't mended it yet, you probably won't. Get rid of it then.
5// If something has extreme sentimental values, keep it and put it in a storage bin (but do not keep anything solely based on how much you paid for it or how many times you got to wear it). I keep a storage box of a few things for my future daughter(s) because I loved going through my mom's vintage things. Every three or four years, check back on the box to make sure everything in there is still worth keeping and holds the same sentimental values.
Make criteria for getting rid of items.
1// I make three piles for the items I get rid of. A pile to consign, a pile to donate, and a pile to toss. Sometimes you can limit it to two piles, just donate or toss because consigning can be a hassle.
2// If you know it doesn't fit without having to try it on, go ahead and put it in one of the toss piles. If you're not sure if it fits, it can go in the try on pile, but only if you would wear it right now assuming it fits.
3// If you haven't worn it in over a year, you probably won't wear it again. Don't wait for it to come back in to style. Don't hold on to it just in case you need something in that color. You can learn to make do with what you have and having a stressful, cluttered closet isn't worth it.
4// If you love it but you're not sure how to wear it or what to wear it with, it's probably not the right style for you. Seek immediate counsel from a friend if it helps, but chances are you won't feel good enough about it to actually pull it off the hanger again.
5// Don't hold on to things that were given as gifts just because you know someone spent money on it. If it's hanging in your closet not being worn, it's being wasted anyway. Donate or consign it to someone who will enjoy it more than you.
6// If it fits but it's not your style, get rid of it. I used to keep things I didn't actually like just because they fit, but I still didn't feel comfortable in them. Get rid of them so you can make space for things you do like, and so you can get a clear picture of what things you need to add to your closet to fit your style.
Deal with the maybes.
1// Go through the try on pile. If it fits, keep it. If it doesn't fit, don't keep it. Sometimes we like to excuse this because we think it will fit if we just lost a little bit of weight. If you are actively doing something today to loose that weight, then you are likely justified enough to keep it. If you haven't been actively doing anything to make those jeans fit better, then you don't have a solid reason to keep it. You can't base it on "what-if" claims.
2// If you couldn't decide if you loved an item enough to keep it or toss it, allow yourself to hold on to it for one more season (of the appropriate season). If I decide in January to keep a tank top and by the end of September I never wore it, summer has passed and the tank needs to go. Make a designated space in your closet for these maybes if that helps.
I hope this helps gives you guidelines if you not sure where to start with purging your closet. The point is just simple. As women we need less fuss in our lives. Less stress over clothing and our appearance. Get your wardrobe to the point where you don't have to focus on these things so you can focus more on the things that matter. Haley Morgan of the Tiny Twig says, "Every woman should be able to choose an outfit in less than 10 minutes
regardless of the plans for the day, the state of the weather…or her
// Read: "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 1 Peter 3:3-4
// Listen: Every Bit of Lovely by Jamie Grace
// Pray: Father, I pray that you would give me a heart to let go of the unnecessary things and focus more on the things that matter. I'm grateful that I have more than I need, please help me to not abuse this and to let go of these things that may be enjoyed by others. I pray for a heart of contentment with less things, less pieces of clothing in my wardrobe. Please help me to see myself the way that you see me, not valued by the things in my closet but by my inner beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.
This post is part of the Fresh Start series: INTRO // rest // quiet time // contentment + gratitude // goal-setting // home // wardrobe // hair, skin, nails // work habits // friendship + fellowship // marriage // wellness