The Six Questions I Ask Myself When I’m Closet Cleansing

How is your wardrobe working out for you lately? If I’m in a funk wardrobe-wise, it’s usually time to go through the old closet. And friends, that time is now, as I am not too excited about many pieces in my closet currently. As I mentioned on the blog’s Facebook page, I clean out my closet at least twice a year, once for spring/summer and once for fall/winter. I’m actually in the process right now, so I thought it would be fun to talk about how I go about it. I am actually showing you through pictures of actual items from my closet…if you read the captions, you’ll hopefully understand my thought process so you can apply these principles to your own closet!

When I say closet, I mean anything that I wear on my body is fair game. That means any clothes (camisoles included), shoes, or accessories. I store it all in my closet so I can see everything I have when I get dressed each day. My workout clothes are in drawers, though.
Yesterday I went through my closet. I take it one section at a time, so I will do pants and dresses, take a break, then tops, take a break, then shoes and jewelry so I don’t get overwhelmed. First, I take all of the pieces that I feel lukewarm about and separate them from the rest. Then I go through the evaluation process with each piece. And as you read, you may think, dang, this is a daunting process. But honestly, it goes quickly once you get the hang of it. 
As I evaluate each piece, here are the questions I ask myself:
1. How is the condition? Do I see any snags, rips, discoloration, etc.? I am actually kind of a snob about this one, so if I see the condition is poor, the piece is out of the rotation. Case in point: I am getting rid of four pairs of Target flats because the condition of each pair is poor. I’m not super upset about it, though, because…duh…I spent $8-$12 on each pair. I know if I get two years out of them, we had a great run together…
The wear on the toe…especially if I want to wear these to work, this wear won’t do. Bye, camel flats!
I know there are different schools of thought on this one..many people think if the “defect” in the piece isn’t super visible, then it’s a keeper. I would say for me, especially in the work place, I want to avoid the potential notion of looking unkempt. But again, that’s just me, as harsh as that may sound.
If the questionable piece is still intact, I go on to my next question…
2. How is the fit? How does this piece fit my body at present? By all means, hang on to the piece if it’s tight right now but may fit in the future. It all depends on where you’re at in your journey. I advise only keeping clothing that fits you at your current state hung in your closet. I know that storing away may seem like a hassle, but chances are, you may end up feeling a little sad that this piece doesn’t fit currently, and there’s no time for those feelings! It’s time to feel good about what you can wear now! And clothing that is too big…I got rid of mine so I would not be tempted to say, Oh, what’s another ten pounds? I have bigger pants… But. I understand that weight loss is a touchy subject. I’m just telling you what works for me. Obviously, do what works for you. Keep the clothes or don’t keep the clothes. I’m just saying only store what fits you right now in your closet.
For me, since I am so tall, my sizes don’t fluctuate a ton any more. But what does seem to be a game changer is how the clothing washes up. Case in point: I am getting rid of some tees and cardigans because they are too short on my torso. But at least now I know that when I buy tees and cardigans in tall sizes (like at Old Navy and GAP, only online, though), those seem to last longer. 
I love the print on this cardigan, but when I wore it out versus just trying it on in the dressing room, I realized it was too short for my torso. Sigh.
If the fit is still decent, I ask myself:
3. Have I worn this piece in the last year? Some bloggers even say if you haven’t worn the piece in six to eight months, it needs to be gone. I usually operate in the “year” rule. 
Yeah, totally understand this one is sideways…sorry about that. But anyway, I bought this dress nearly two years ago to wear to a business benefit. Loved the ruching for a newly pregnant belly and jazzed it up with sparkly stilettos and a ton of bracelets. Haven’t worn it since, so bye, dress!
If I have worn it in the past year, I go on to the next question:
4. How can I style this piece if I wanted to wear it today with what is already in my closet? I titled my blog Rock, Style, Repeat for several reasons, one of them being that a major fashion “do” for me will always be re-purposing pieces (putting them on “repeat”), wearing them several ways. That’s why I love stocking up on basic tees, for example. I can  wear a tee with workout leggings and sneakers for errands, with shorts when I’m playing with my kids, or tucked into a pencil skirt with a long necklace for work or a date. 
So at that moment as I’m trying to decide if this piece makes the cut, I try to visualize how I could wear the piece. If I can’t come up with at least two ways in a decent amount of time, it’s time to part with it.
If I can think of ways to style it, I move on:
5. How do I feel when I’m in this piece? Do I feel good when I’m wearing this piece? And I’m not just talking comfort. I mean, am I excited to wear this piece? When I look in the mirror while I’m wearing this piece, do I like the way the piece looks on me?
I did not feel super pretty when I wore this necklace, mainly due to the color. Though the mint color works on a ton of other people, it did not work well for my coloring and with the tops I had. Bye!
If that’s still a yes, then I move on to the final question:
6. Does this piece help me project the image I’m wanting to project? I STRONGLY suggest you figure out how you want to come across to others. My image consulting mentor always tells people that we can’t control the fact that we are judged by our appearance, but we can control how we are perceived. I love that. (Thanks, Carolyn…I hope I got that right!) 
Having an image coach work with me to determine what I wanted to project literally changed my life. Not to sound dramatic or anything, but it really helped me solidify my style. I can now shop at stores and pretty much instantly know if a piece works for me or doesn’t work for what I’m trying to accomplish.
I have found that I like to go edgy with my shoe selection. I also found that I was wearing these wedges with pants, so the part that attracted me to the shoe was never seen (the ankle strap). So…bye!
So basically, if the piece has survived these six questions, I keep it. If I say no to any of these questions, it’s gone. So what do I do with these pieces?
1. Sell them. I belong to a local private Facebook group where other women can buy and sell clothing, children’s items, home decor, etc., and it is pretty much the greatest thing ever. It’s a site that functions only for this purpose, so I don’t have to post too many items on my personal Facebook page. I posted the items pictured above (and more) in our private group and just made about $50 so far. Now I don’t expect my profits to function as my entire budget, but every little bit helps.
2. Donate them. Whatever I don’t sell, I donate. Kind of a no-brainer, but the important thing is to get the stuff OUT! Don’t be tempted to wear it again because you will have defeated the purpose of closet cleansing!
So there it is…that’s how I clean out my closet. The next step is taking inventory of what I need to put back in the closet/wardrobe rebuilding. I’m excited to share that process with you very soon! (I am actually working business casual pieces back into my wardrobe now that I landed a teaching job.)
And sorry about the cheap plug…but…hi, I have helped several people clean out their closets as an image coach. If you would like some help determining what does and doesn’t belong in your closet and/or determining your personal style and the image you want to project, I would love to work with you! Obviously, Iowa friends, I can do this in person, but Illinois friends, I am coming back to Illinois in July and August! I would love to pencil you in! Even if you don’t work with me personally, I highly recommend working with an image coach. But please contact me if you’re interested.
Until next time, friends…
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