I know none of us ever expected 2020 to turn out like this. However, here we are. Working from home and (hopefully) social distancing. For me this looks like ordering take out instead of eating out, not going to movies, museums, concerts, and basically spending all my time hiking on weekends or hanging out in my apartment. A total drag, for many reasons.
The upside to my time from home is my ability to clearly think about what’s necessary in my life. From a great desk chair to ultra cozy blankets, it’s all about comfort. Sadly for my wardrobe, this has lent me a critical eye to complete everyone’s least favorite task – cleaning my closet.
I’ll confess, working in fashion and finding it a small comfort in these trying times, my shopping habits haven’t changed. My closet is stuffed. Last weekend I took some time to clear my closet and I’m hoping my tips and tricks can help you get organized and ready for a new season too!
1. Try everything on.
Yes, I truly mean everything. Shoes, jeans, dresses, tops. Everything. Put on some music, pour yourself your drink of choice, and dance (it really does help). Be completely honest with how you feel in the piece you’re evaluating. This brings me to…
2. Make sure you love what you keep.
In order to keep track of my wardrobe while cleaning, I kept four “piles”: keep, maybe, donate, and sell. The items I love or wear frequently went immediately back in their appropriate spot. This allows for less clean up later. The maybes are allowed to be maybes only for the day. 24 hours, I guarantee you, are all you need on your maybes. An easy question to ask when sorting through the maybe pile is “would I buy this if I saw it in a store today?” You’d be surprised what you’ll be ready to part with. Finally, I have my donate and sell piles. Donations for me are very important and I try to donate more than I sell. Growing up a broke, fat babe, it was always hard to find affordable clothing in my size. I consider it my opportunity to pay it forward. I try to keep my sell pile to items that are a) currently on-trend and b) that I invested in. That looks different for everyone and don’t be afraid to set the bar high (or low for that matter).
3. Store out of season clothing.
I used to keep everything hanging up year round. I liked options and everyone knows the Midwest is very fickle with temperatures. Being in the PNW now, I feel like I have a more defined and gradual season change. Concerned about not seeing everything and double purchasing?
4. Keep pictures of (at least) your off season items.
I have pictures in a folder on my phone with every piece of clothing, every handbag, and all of my accessories. Is it overkill? Possibly. Has it saved me from buying something similar to what I already own? So many times! It’s also a great way to organize outfits or try something new without having to try things on.
5. Be realistic with your lifestyle…
If you work remotely, like many of us will until 2021, do you really need a new blazer? High heels? Not on your life. Right now, comfort is key. If you wouldn’t wear it to the grocery store, a socially distant dinner, or lounging on the couch, it might not be the best choice right now.
6. …and your style!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought something that was “in” and it languished away in my closet. Why? I’m a punk rock gay cowboy. I’m not wearing off-the-shoulder dresses anytime soon, even if I think it’s beautiful on others. Being true to yourself is what makes you, and your style, unique!
7. Clean special care items.
When’s the last time you had your coat cleaned? Have you ever conditioned those leather boots you spent good money on? Caring for your investments is not only good for your garment and accessories, but it’s good for the environment. A well cared for item will last you much longer than something you neglect. A rule of thumb I follow is to take my outerwear in for cleaning at the beginning of Fall and the end of Spring. For shoes and handbags, I try to condition and treat them quarterly.
8. Find a cleaning schedule that works for you and stick to it.
I clean and organize my closet every six to eight weeks. Really. I also have a career in fashion and enjoy shopping. For you, quarterly might be a great start. If you only shop when you absolutely must, twice a year should do.
How’s your closet looking right now? Anything that you’ve recently discovered while cleaning that was shocking (good or bad)? Let me know in the comments!
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