The Edit: New Year, New Closet

How to edit your Closet

It’s a new year and that means a new start, the perfect time to dig in and give your closet a total reset.

I’ve touched on this topic before and it’s no secret that closet editing is one of my favorite activities (Hello, I do this for a living).

I edit my own closet twice a year and I can’t tell you how great it feels to open my closet door in the morning and see only the things that I truly love to wear. It’s liberating, inspiring and sets a positive tone for the day!

Whenever I talk about closet purges, I hear people say, “I’d love to get rid of some things but I’m still in the process of loosing weight” or “I have so much stuff I wouldn’t even know where to begin”.

People tend to start a closet edit on their own thinking of it as a reorganization rather than a thorough purge. It’s called a Closet “Edit” because it’s about correcting, condensing and modifying the closet not just rearranging.  Without the purge step you end up right back where you started in front of an overflowing wardrobe, frustrated with nothing to wear.

The biggest mistake most people make is to keep things because they were “a great deal”, “expensive”, “still have tags” or something you’ll fit into “one day”.

A good closet edit is really more like a counseling session. The truth is, whether we acknowledge it or not, we get attached to our clothes, I’d even say we develop a co-dependent relationship with them. Sometimes it’s a matter of nostalgia, like a vintage t-shirt from your first concert or the first big luxury purchase you ever made. Sometimes they represent a version of ourselves we don’t want to let go of, like a pair of tiny jeans that only really fit when you were 22. Whatever the reason might be, it can be hard to let go of these things. But what’s important to accept is that they are just that, things. And once they’re gone I promise you won’t miss them because the reward of a space to start your day that makes you feel good is far superior to the loss of unworn, space stealing stuff.

A true closet edit helps you see what’s really in your closet and rediscover pieces you may have completely forgotten about because they were buried under a mount of “stuff”. It helps you reinvest in your favorite pieces, achieve a much clearer sense of personal style and helps you let go of things that may have been holding you back like “skinny clothes”.

How to edit Your Closet

Please, please say NO to the skinny clothes- sell, donate or toss them but get them out of your closet.  Ladies, you know the ones, the pieces every woman holds onto that you swear you will fit into one day.  Stop waiting, you can look great and feel confident NOW, at any size, and as you do, you actually put yourself in the best psychological place to loose the pounds and keep them off.

You would be shocked by the amount of women who’s closets I have edited who have those skinny clothes lying in wait for them in the back of the closet. I had one client tell me she’s been the same size for eight years, and still feels like she shouldn’t get rid of the clothes from the size she was before she had kids EIGHT YEARS AGO, because she wants to get back there. And you know what? No one needs that kind of emotional punch when looking in their closet. GET RID OF THEM! You don’t need to be shamed by your own clothes. They work for you, not you for them. Embrace your size, get clothes that look great on you, and if and when you lose weight, you’re going to have an awesome time shopping for new pieces not squeezing into eight year old out of style jeans!

Alright, now that I have mentally prepped you for the purge it’s time to get started.

A Good Closet Edit IS achievable on your own if you use my simple editing strategy. So grab a friend and a glass of wine and let’s get to editing!

Empty it All Out, Yes all of it- Designate a staging area and empty your closet or drawers out. You can use your bed or a cleared-out corner of the room. This first step is super important and requires you to remove everything: clothes, hangers, boxes, piles of old magazines, shoes, handbags, candy wrappers (lol). This will create a clean fresh space for you to get organized.

Clean It- Now that it’s empty “clean” the closet.  Wipe the shelves down, vacuum, sweep and touch-up paint!

Organize- In your staging area organize your things the way you use it. Group like things together: Shirts with shirts, pants with pants. That way, there’s no question about where to find those items when you need them.

Sort and Purge- This is a tricky one for most people. You may want a friends help to decide what to toss what to donate and what to keep.  Start by placing your definite “keeps’ into a pile. These are pieces you wear on a regular basis, fit you well and make you feel good.  Then label three bags: Sell, Donate and Toss.  The Sell bag if for pieces in good condition but that don’t fit or you don’t wear like those jeans that are 2 sizes too small and still have the tags on them.  You can sell luxury goods on my favorite TheRealReal and other trend driven pieces on sites like Poshmark and Depop or locally at places like Buffalo Exchange. The Donate bin is for good condition items that might not be worth anything in terms of resale brands like Forever21 and Target fall into this category. The Toss bag is for things that are unrepairable, old, stained or ripped like disintegrating t-shirts, socks and undies that have been lurking around way too long? Toss those please.  I like to do this step twice.  The first time through it tough but by the second round you feel alot more willing to say buh bye to things that have just been taking up space.  On the second sweep try everything on, check to make sure it fits and look for rips, tears or stains.

Restock- now that you have purged it’s time to restock. Think of this as your go at visual merchandising.  You want this closet to be clean, sleek and user friendly.

Use coordinated hangers for a clean look that will care for your clothes and help you stay organized.  I prefer Velvet hangers because you get less “hanger marks” and clothing won’t slip off of them. Matching hangers, shoe boxes, and containers will transform your closet visually and make you more motivated to maintain the space.  You will also want to keep a few extra hangers on-hand at all times for new purchases or items that have just returned from the dry cleaner. This uniformity will eliminate visual clutter within the space, making it feel instantly neater.

When placing items back in the closet make sure to keep them sorted.  Blouses with blouses, dresses with dresses, etc.  I go one step further and organize by type and color. Arranging by color helps when making quick selects!  Where is that black top I wanted to wear?  Oh it’s in the black blouse section!

Store your most-used items at eye level, less-used items below, and least-used items up high. Keep shoes and handbags in dust bags and store pointy toes shoes with a bit of tissue paper in the toes to keep their shape.

If you have empty space leave it.  A little space is good.

Rotate Seasonally- I move summer clothing to back during Fall and then in the Spring back to the front row.

Style It- Make it Fancy AF.  Your closet should be a happy place not a sad one.  Add a decorative rug, a fun step stool, some art work even a chandelier if you have the room! A little pattern or texture will transform your space into a luxe boutique all your own. A place that you enjoy.

Don’t Limit Yourself– Feel free to move outside the confines of the closet walls. If you have a nearby nook or wall space, use it for added storage. “Hat Gallery Walls” are all over Instagram!  They look super cool, are totally artsy and keep your hats safe from crushing or damage while saving space!

If this still feels too overwhelming to do on your own you can always hire me to come help you out!

Here’s to a Happy, Prosperous and Organized year ahead!

Click to SHOP some of my favorite organizing helpers: 

Closet edit

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12 Comments

  1. It is so hard to give away your clothes. I have some designer jackets that I don’t wear but keep thinking maybe I will. Your article has given me incentive to clean out a disaster of a closet!

    1. Do it lady! You won;t belive how much better you will feel every morning starting your day in a happy clean space!

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