9.04.2014

How do you clean out your closet?

I've been planning on reducing my closet to only the stuff I wear regularly (excluding fancy dresses I have to keep because people insist on having fancy events).  While I love my vintage batwing parrot shirt (seriously) and understand why I've collected 9,000 button-downs over the years there is no reason for me to hold onto them. I don't wear them.  I am not a parrot-shirt button-down kind of girl.

Outfit closet
^ this is stuff I wear all the time, actually ^

I've been reading Tim Gunn's A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style (shut up - it was a gift from someone who had multiple signed copies) and he has a fairly simple way of sorting your stuff:

1) Stuff you looooooove (it fits, you wear it, you love it - keep!)
2) Stuff you like but repairs are needed (you have 5 days to repair this stuff)
3) Give away (assuming this is what goes to resale shops, swaps and thrift stores)
4) Throw out (I'll assume he means textile recycling here)

What else would you add to this closet clean-out process?  I will probably give myself a month for repairs because 5 days sounds like some horrible Mission: Impossible movie.  What am I, an adult?


18 comments:

  1. I'd add some kind of holding ground; many times I've purged clothing prematurely and only later figured out a way to refashion the long-gone garments. Now I set things aside in a bag or box for a few months before giving them away.

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    1. Good idea. I have gone through the same woes so I appreciate this idea.

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  2. something i did that really worked was turn all my hangers around backwards, and then put them back to normal when i wash/wear the item. after six months i got rid of almost everything that wasn't turned around! it was really eye opening because i would think "oh i wear that all the time" i need to do it again. my closet is FULL but i wear the same five or six outfits all the time.

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  3. Tim Gunn's list sounds pretty straight-forward (and it's Tim Gunn! I don't know, call me crazy, but I have a soft spot for Tim Gunn.) I'd maybe add a storage box for clothes that you associate with important life events, or mom's old clothes, that type of stuff. Some old clothes are like old photos, and it's okay to keep them even if you don't wear them anymore. :)

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    1. I also have a soft spot for him but I'm aware that people find him too stuffy. Some of his advice in the book is a little too strict - for instance, not wearing cotton outside of spring/summer. I agree about these kinds of clothes. Maybe not keeping them IN the closet is a good idea.

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  4. I also vote for purgatory for anything you love but don't wear (doesn't fit, doesn't work, not sure, possibly out of style but might be on the verge of a comeback). Mark it with the date and if you don't rescue anything by the deadline, it gets sold/donated/recycled.

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    1. Good idea to have a date to check back in on that stuff. My coworker did that with cleaning out her apartment and at the 6 month mark, she started giving the stuff that she didn't miss away.

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  5. I like this list and agree it sounds straightforward (again I agree that the throw out clearly means recycle). The idea to keep a storage box for the clothes you are attached to but don't wear sounds good. I think I might try this as I reckon I my wardrobe needs it :)

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  6. The purgatory box, for real!

    I know that I don't live in the real, adult world but the "if you haven't worn it in 6 months" idea sounds like some deep bullshit. I go through "pant years" and "dress years". Just because I am on a pant year now doesn't mean that I can't have a stack of perfectly lovely dresses waiting in the wings for when I'm back in the non-bifurcated mood.

    I think that it's more beneficial to look at the stuff you have and do some moderate soul searching about how it benefits your life vs ho much space it consumes. Like, does wearing it always feel like a compromise? If you send it back out into the world, can you acquire another one? Was it from the period of your life when you liked to dress like a giant doll and maybe, now that you are 30, you might not really want to look like a giant doll? (Okay. that was pretty specific to me.)

    I've found it most useful to have a continued editing process instead of purging. And there is always a brown bag of cast offs at the back of the closet.

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    1. Woah, that wasn't specific to you, actually. I'm working on culling the Peter Pan collars from my wardrobe and anything that is too short or makes me look juvenile. It's less that I don't think it's age-appropriate but more that I don't like what it conveys, especially at work.

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    2. And yeah, I am happy to try the 6 month thing in rotation and put the stuff I'm insure of in limbo. If I don't wear something in the past year or two (and there's stuff on there tht I haven't worn in many years) it's probably a good idea to put it in limbo and then consider swapping/resale down the

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    3. Ha! The giant doll bit applies to a lot of us. I used to read Emily M. Martin's blog a lot, and unconsciously imitated her style... the babydoll dresses and shoes that look perfectly natural seemed preposterous on me. Took me awhile to catch myself!

      This winter I'm also planning to make a "use it or lose it" list of things I intend to wear but never do.

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    4. Oh man. I wish it just stopped with Peter Pan collars. Compared to my former lives, that style looks positively grown up.
      I guess the problem is that I dollish things tend to look a little TOO natural on me and, at this point in the game, I don't want to give people any extra reasons to discount or diminish me. I think that it would be different if I was less skewed to looking elfish. :(

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  7. Ugh - unsure, not insure and "down the line" - stupid phone

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  8. Haha I read the same exact book, found it practically for free (or was it free?) 2nd hand. Love it. Recently I've worked hard at severely reducing everything in my life and my closet is deliciously minimal, I adore it. I have boxes at where all out of season clothing lives so it's never in the way. If I don't absolutely adore something anymore it too will be tossed in a different box to be evaluated later. Sometimes you just need some time apart from it to love it again. Other things will be donated. I have a big to-fix pile to work on...meep. Right now i'm making a big thrift list for replacing some essentials with thrifted/free stuff :D

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    1. I agree that sometimes you just need time apart from something so you're not tired of it and you will likely love it again someday. I'm always so surprised at how often that happens.

      I am able to fit all seasons of clothing in my closet and 2 dressers - but that includes a sock drawer, underwear drawer, PJ drawer. I will be cleaning out the jeans/pants/shorts drawer, sweater drawer, long sleeve shirt drawer, plain t-shirt drawer, logo t-shirt/tank top drawer and probably the PJ drawer as well. It's been pretty nice having so little in my closet - looking at just stuff I wear makes mornings easier. I did leave a few things in my closet that I like a lot but haven't put in rotation, hoping that the low item count in my closet will inspire me to wear them more.

      Today I brought 5 bags to Housing Works thrift store and I have 2 bags of swap/resale stuff still. Plus the to-mend pile. I need to make a replacements/basics list as well. I had one on my phone but I think it's out of date.

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