Thursday, February 13, 2014

How to do a Wardrobe Cleanout

Well, it's February, the coldest month of the year, and also the month when I start thinking about Spring. Since March can go either way (hot or cold) you really have to be prepared around here for any weather!

Today we had a big snow storm (it's still snowing, in fact) and so I spent most of the day inside cleaning out my wardrobe. My goal was to eliminate items that aren't flattering on me, and make room for some of the new items I have coming in. Being a vintage seller I am always crawling thrift stores and consignment shops and so I tend to buy a lot of clothing for myself as well as the shop.  And my closet is relatively small, so I have to be proactive about cleaning it out regularly. Today I'm going to share with you a few of my tips for cleaning out your wardrobe at the change of season.

Wardrobe before cleanout

I clean out my wardrobe twice a year, once for spring and once for fall. Throughout the year I also pull and donate items regularly. Sometimes I will wear an item and suddenly decide I don't feel like I look good in it anymore (or maybe I never did!) and I will sell or donate it. So it's an ongoing process, but the two big clean-outs happen at the change of season.

I find that my taste in clothing changes from year to  year. Maybe I loved something last year, but this year I'm more into different colors, or fabrics, or texture. When you do a closet cleanout here are some things to keep in mind/ask yourself as you're going through the clothing.

Ask Yourself

- Does it fit? I mean REALLY fit...not like can you squeeze into it, but more like does it look good and flatter you. Are the proportions right? Can you move your arms freely or is it tight in the shoulders? Does the waist fall in the right spot on you? When you lift your arms, does your stomach show when you don't want it to? You need to be comfortable in your clothing, and sometimes even though you may love a garment, you just have to admit it doesn't look good on you and pass it on to someone else. Try it on and confirm!
- Is it something you wear regularly, or a special occasion item? If it's not something you wear regularly, and it's not a special occasion item, you should ask yourself it it's worth keeping. When was the last time you wore it? When do you think you'd wear it again?
- Would you buy it again today? Are you still obsessed with it or are you kind of over it? If you're kind of over it, do you want it clogging up your wardrobe, making it hard for you to get dressed in the morning?
- What would you wear it with? Maybe you love something but you never wear it because you don't have anything to wear it with. Well, either get something to wear it with or take the item out! No point having a useless garment hanging around in your closet.

Ask yourself, what would you wear it with?

Now that you know some of the questions you'll want to ask yourself, here's how to begin:

  1. Do NOT pull everything out of your closet at once and dump it onto your bed. Go step by step, so if you are interrupted or have to stop you don't leave your room in total chaos.
  2. Get some large bags/reusable bags and make these groups:
    1. Sell/consigment - is it worth selling on ebay or taking to consignment? Put it here.
    2. Donate - is it still in good enough condition but not worth trying to sell or consign? Put it here.
    3. Trash - is it dirty or torn? Don't donate it, throw it away.  
    4. Mend/Clean -  You may also end up with a pile for mend/clean items that you like but need a little TLC.
  3.  Start with one area of the closet - for example shoes, and go through all of your shoes, deciding what stays and what goes and sorting them into the 3 bags. 
  4. Organize as you go.
Organize as you go

It's really as simple as that! What's most important is knowing what looks good on you, and not being overly attached to items simply because they were a gift or you had them when your husband asked you to marry him. If it's not something you want to wear NOW, then let it go.  And for anyone who wants to hold onto items that they may one day fit into again.... don't. Unless it's super amazing/special like a vintage cocktail dress, you know that if you lose some major weight you are going to want NEW clothes, not the stuff sitting in the back of your wardrobe.

I know I look bad in slouchy clothing. I love it, because I think it all looks super comfy and cool, but I know I don't look good in oversized items. It's tempting sometimes to bring home an item with that style, but keep your closet full of items that look good on you. Sometimes it's just going to happen that you love a "look" or style but it just isn't for you.

Once you clean out your closet and everything is neatly organized, follow through with donating, trashing and selling the items you designated as such. If it's designer or higher end ready-to-wear (Think Anthropologie, Jcrew, Banana Republic, etc) , sell it on websites like eBay, Tradesy, or Twice. Or if you don't like to sell things online, just take it to a local consignment shop and get a little money back while letting them do all the work (note: Make sure you know what season your local consignment shop is taking and what their best-selling brands are! Right now, it's February but my consignment shop is taking only spring/summer items.)
Closet after cleanout - looks about the same, but all the clothes fit!

Other Tips

  • If you're unsure what looks best on you, try on your items as you go and have a friend there to yea or nay items for you. 
  • If you're not ready to let it go now, keep it for one more season - if you don't wear it, it's time to let it go.
  • Try to keep just 1 of each type of item - How many white long sleeve cardigans do you REALLY need? Which one is your favorite?
  • Other bloggers suggested hanging all your items with the hangers in one direction, as you wear the item, hang them with the hangers going in the other the end of the season you'll know what you wore and what you didn't. 
  • Make sure to clean out your wardrobe before you pack it away for the season. 
Good luck on your closet clean-out adventures! After my cleanout, I had given up 6 pairs of shoes, 5 grocery-sized bags of items to donate, 1 bag of trash, 1 bag if items to consign now, 1 bag of items to consign this coming fall, 1 bag of items to sell on Etsy, 1 bag of items to sell on Ebay, and a huge stack of items to sell on either Etsy or Ebay depending on age. I was able to get all of my clothing into the closet and my dresser, and made sure everything in the closet fits and looks good!

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