Assessing & Purging your Wardrobe

Step 1: Purge 

Go through your closet with a fine-tooth comb. Take inventory of everything you own and start evaluating if you need to keep an item or not. I have a few guidelines that I use to see if it’s worth keeping or it’s ready leave my closet.

  • It no longer fits.
  • You don’t like it or you’ve never worn it.
  • It has unrepairable holes or tears in it.
  • You haven’t worn it in 6-12 months (or within the appropriate season).
  • You get confused by just looking at it.
  • You’ve never seen this item before and you’re not quite sure how it get in here.

If you answered yes to any of the above, there is only one answer: purge it. Get it out of your closet.

Step 2: Assess

Step 2 is assessing your closet’s needs. I didn’t say YOUR needs, I said your closet. There is a difference. Your needs are simple: to be clothed. But your closet on the other hand has a responsibility to cloth you every single day. This can only be possible if you stock your closet accordingly.

Make sure that everything on your need list fits into your current wardrobe. Remember, you want a working closet — a closet that you can walk into and create an outfit by simply choosing a few items. If everything works together, then this is possible. (Working together doesn’t mean everything has to match. It just means that you don’t throw something random into your closet that you’d never wear but you bought because it was one sale.)

Step 3: Organize

I know this more than anyone — getting organized will you help you get dressed in the morning as well as help save you money.

Step 4: Shop

  1. Get your list on.
  2. Be intentional.
  3. Shop more, not less.
  4. Choose quality over quantity, every time.
  5. Set a budget.
  6. Whatever you buy, make sure it fits.

Step 5: Remix

If I can’t remix an item at least 5 times, then it doesn’t belong in my closet. Let’s be honest — 5 times isn’t a lot. But it’s a good basis for me to start with on a new item. If I can easily think of 5 outfits off the top of my head, I know it will be a great addition to the closet. (Your number might be different than 5, it’s up to you.)

What she doesn’t include is any information about storing spring/summer clothes you want to keep but need to put away for the next few months. Fortunately, PTO has that covered. Consider it Step 6.

Before this arrives, it may be time to start planning for your seasonal storage of clothes. Storing your summer clothes away will help make room for your fall/ winter wardrobe, and help protect your clothes when they’re not in use for six months. To do this, however, you’ll want to make sure of a few things.

  • Wash or dry clean your clothes before you store them. This ensures that insects aren’t packed away with your clothes and that any food bits, which can attract insects, will be gone as well. I even give my clean clothes a good shake before they’re actually stored.
  • Check the pockets to make sure they’re empty. I also zip up the zippers and button the buttons, just to make sure things are in good order.
  • Get muslin or canvas garment bags for your trousers, jackets, and suits. I’ve found that these work better than plastic since they allow your clothes to breathe while keeping the bugs at bay. It’s also recommended that you use hangers with molded shoulders for your jackets and suits. Many people believe that this helps your garments keep their shape, though I’ve read credible sources cast doubt on this claim. Still, I’m not testing the matter with my clothes, so I play it safe.
  • For sweaters and shirts, store them in plastic bins with lids. Drill a few holes into the lid so that air can circulate. Failing to do so can create moisture, which in turn can cause mildew. Pack them away with the heaviest items on the bottom, and be sure not to over stuff things, otherwise you’ll ruin the fibers. I also wrap my favorite pieces in acid free tissue paper, but this isn’t terribly necessary.
  • Put cedar balls or lavender in along with your clothes to deter bugs.
  • Choose a storage space that is cool and dry. If you don’t, your clothes may develop mold, and if they do, they will have a smell that will be very, very difficult to get out. I’ve had clothes permanently ruined from being stored in damp areas, so be careful. Once you’ve chosen a place, vacuum and clean it out before your store your clothes there.
  • If you have silverfish in your home, and you’ve put holes in the lids of your storage bins, put those bins off the floor. This will lower the likelihood of having silverfish snack on your garments.

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