Are you pulling a Lizzie McGuire with your outfit repeats? Do you have a lot of clothes that you PROMISED yourself you would wear but don't? Sounds like you need to clean out your closet!
I have been going through the same problem, where I have been so frustrated with my wardrobe. I work at TJ-Maxx, and I do my work and all, but I really want to look the part of being a "Fashionista." Other than the certain amount of clothes I can wear to work, I've been finding it tricky to create outfits that I could wear for multiple occasions.
I have clothes from high school, and even a pair of Hollister denim shorts from the 7th grade.
If an item still fits you and you STILL like it, keep it. That's my case with the shorts - they are a staple wardrobe piece.
But when cleaning out your closet, you need to be strict with what you're keeping, and what you're donating/selling, or whatever you do with your "no" pile.
This is the process that you should follow when purging your closet clothes:
1. Take EVERYTHING out of your closet.
This is the best way to show yourself how many items you have. I will forever admit that I own too many clothes.
The majority of clothes that are currently in my closet are for the spring/summer seasons. My fall and winter items are stored in drawers.
2. Divide into yes, no, and maybe piles.
Without trying anything on, make three piles of clothing: Yes, No, and Maybe. This is when you need to be strict with yourself, but it is also okay if you have more than one "yes" pile. Ask yourself these questions:
- Have I worn this in the past 3 years (think of seasons)?
- If yes, how many times? If no, toss it.
- If you're a college student reading this: How many times have I brought this with me to school? How many times did I make an effort to actually wear it?
- Is it the right size?
- Even if I have worn this a number of times, do I still like it?
- Is this a high fashion piece (doesn't matter the price) that I told myself however many years ago that I would save it for a special event that hasn't happened yet?
- Does this fit in with my current style?
- Does this make me look and feel good?
- Does it have any stubborn stains I can't get out?
I'm sure there are other questions to ask yourself during this process, but these should help you get started.
3. Try on the "maybe" and "yes" piles.
Try on the "maybes" pile first, that way you can decide on whether it will go in the "yes" or "no" pile, and it will make your "yes" pile process easier.
Sometimes we say yes to an item, try it on, and change our minds. Maybe it doesn't look how it did when you bought it. Maybe your body changed. Maybe it doesn't make you feel good anymore, or isn't doing anything spectacular for you.
Here are two pictures of two tops that I own. Both I got when I was in high school. I wanted to make the point that even though you may own items that are pretty, that doesn't automatically mean you are obligated to hold onto them.
The first picture is a top that I've worn a lot since high school. It has shrunk a little bit, but I still love it, and it fits great. The second picture is also a pretty top, but it doesn't fit me right. My bra peeks out no matter what. Because of that, it makes me feel uncomfortable, so I put it in the "no" pile.
4. Make a "fix or still not sure" pile.
There might be items that have stains or holes you can fix. There might be those items that you still want to hold on to and give it one last chance. If that is the case, place these items in their own pile.
5. Put everything back and organize.
Now that you've decided what you're keeping, giving away, and still aren't sure on a few items, you can organize your closet. If you don't have a "fix/still not sure" pile, good for you! But if you're like me, we're going to put everything back, but you're going to organize that pile separate from the "yes" items.
This is the fun part with your "yes" items. Since this is your closet, you can organize it however you want. Does everything need to be color-coded? Will you organize by the type of item? Will you color code after that or no? Or are you the type to just put in everything randomly and call it a day?
Now I'm not going to tell you exactly how to organize your clothes the "right" way, because we're all different here.
How I organized my clothes was by having first the "fix/still not sure" pile separated from the rest so I know to reach for those pieces more often. I also put two items in the front of that category because I need to "fix" them. Then it goes sleeveless or crop tops, short sleeves, three-quarter/long sleeves, cardigans/vests, outerwear, dresses, skirts, and then my more special event/work items at the very end.
After I separated those into each category, I then organized it again by length. Each category goes from the shortest length to the longest. I have organized my clothes so many different ways before, so I thought I would try something new.
6. The Discardian Method
Direct your hangers facing the wall of the closet. When you wear something, change the hanger direction so it is now facing you. If you are able to get them all to face you within a period of time, then you really know how to make the most of what you got!
With the fourth pile that you have separated, if this applies to you, give that pile about six months. After that, if you still haven't worn an item and the hanger is facing the wall, take it out of your closet forever. This is a great method to get you to stop repeating outfits so much and wear other items more often.