You know it’s time to edit your wardrobe when you can pick through a dozen items in your closet and toss them all aside because they’re missing buttons, stained, torn, too small, too big, don’t fit right, are outdated or just plain pug ugly—you don’t know why you bought it in the first place, you’ll never wear it.
Maybe it’s just me being female and growing weary of the same old stuff, but my closet reminds me of that famous misquote from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink. In my case, I have a boatload of clothes, yet nothing to wear.
I’m at a point where I find myself opting for the same outfits day-after-day and ignoring the rest.
Take a look at your own closet. Is it loaded with clothes you haven’t worn for ages? Do you have trouble choosing what to wear in the morning? Do you have clothes that don’t fit, you don’t like, or can’t wear because they are ripped or stained? How about your clothes drawers? Are they so overstuffed you have to rifle through and toss stuff out just to find what you want?
If your answer to any of these is yes, it might be time for you, like me, to edit your wardrobe and simplify—toss, donate, or keep only what you love and need—getting rid of all items no longer worn for whatever reason.
Empty your closet
Having a closet full of clothes you can’t wear for whatever reason, especially those that are one or more sizes too small, is bad for your self-esteem. Every time you go to your closet and mentally reject things . . . “Can’t wear this, it doesn’t fit” or “Can’t wear that, it’s too tight” . . . you are subconsciously picking yourself apart. It is far better to have a closet with less in it and clothes you can actually wear. You’ll feel a whole lot better about yourself.
First things first, clear your closet. Take everything out. Put it all on your bed and go through items one at a time, deciding what stays and what goes. Use the keep-donate-toss method and follow these guidelines:
- Keep everything you love and still wear.
- Consider donating anything you haven’t worn in months, don’t plan on wearing, and are probably never going to wear again.
- Toss any item that is stained or torn beyond repair. Keep in mind that t-shirts and other cotton clothing make ideal cleaning rags.
- Keep clothes that are simple in design and can be paired with anything.
- If an item is out-of-style or doesn’t match anything else you own, donate it.
- When in doubt, put items in a box or storage container. If you ever really want to wear them, they’re still there. When the box is full, write the date on it and store it. After a year, if you haven’t needed or missed anything in the box, it’s time to donate or toss.
- Keep anything you absolutely love and feel comfortable wearing, even if it’s torn, stained, missing buttons, out-of-style, or whatever. A stained t-shirt or torn jeans can be worn while gardening when you don’t want to worry about ruining good clothes. Your favorite, ragged sweat pants are great for lounging around the house, and there’s nothing wrong with curling up to watch TV in your comfy, old robe on a cold winter night.
- Donate anything that no longer fits. Sure, you plan to lose 10 pounds to get into that outfit. Well, when you do, celebrate and buy yourself something new.
- If an item you like to wear is torn and can be repaired, is missing buttons, or is stained and can be cleaned, put it in a bag to take it to a professional (or do it yourself). If that bag sits in your car or house for more than a week, chances are you’ll never do it. Just accept it and donate or toss.
- Keep a donation hamper in your closet, so you can toss items the minute you try something on and realize you don’t want to wear it, don’t like it, and will never want to wear it again. When the hamper is full, donate the contents.
- Think quality, not quantity. The fewer clothing you have, the nicer your closet will look.
- Refrain from buying unnecessary clothing and apparel.
- When you do buy something, stay in the same color scheme so that everything matches and you can mix and match with ease.
- When you buy anything new, toss out something old. This doesn’t have to be done every time, but continual vigilance will keep your closet neat and organized.
- Edit your wardrobe every six months or so. Carefully consider each item. If it doesn’t make you feel wonderful or look fabulous, let it go. You will be amazed how liberating—and joyful—it is to have a beautiful closet.