Winter Closet Clean Up!

closet purge

Here we are, post holiday season, and on our way to take on the New Year.

This is a perfect time to clean out your closet, literally and figuratively, to make space for a fresh start, a new you. Often times this ritual purging of clothing that no longer serves you is aligned with resolutions you have made for the New Year, ie: lose weight, tone up, dress age appropriate or in a way that represents you, etc. For me, it is all of the above. I tend to clean out my closet with each big seasonal change, but at this time of year I take stock of my wardrobe with deeper focus. It is work, and I allot a good chunk of time to delve into the process, but somehow it is extremely cleansing. Maybe it has something to do with my astrological make-up, but I actually enjoy it!

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you take on your closet:

Stay focused. Having a clear focus for your closet purge is essential. Is it to dress more age appropriate, or is it to rid your closet of tired trendy items, have you had a weight fluctuation that you have to accommodate? Whatever the case, staying focused on your goal will help you decide what stays and what goes.

Block out time. To tackle your wardrobe in one session, you really need to put it into your calendar. By that I mean you need to block out time. No distractions. I get into the zone and am oblivious to time or hunger when I go at it. I would say 2-3 hours at a base minimum. Living in the land of seasons, I pack up all off-season clothes and store them in the basement – so my process takes substantially longer. To make this run smoothly, I make sure I have lunch available, plenty to drink, and my favorite tunes going on in the background.

The 12-month rule. Personally, I go by the 12 month rule – If you haven’t worn the item in the last 12 months, it goes! I’ve heard this rule applied to 4 month to 18 month terms, but I figure if I spent the past year without it, I really don’t need it. Now, there are exceptions of course. I have boxes of old designer pieces that I hold on to, and when I was pregnant I held on to my pre-pregnancy clothes for a while. But needless to say, by the time I could get back into them I was ready for a wardrobe change!

Divide and conquer. I would suggest making separate “piles” – I keep the Yes pile hanging in the closet and pull out the No’s and Maybe’s. From the No pile, I break it down to clothes that need to be disposed of and clothes that can be donated, and then clothes that can be consigned and resold. If clothes are too worn or damaged, they can’t be donated. Items that still have life in them I happily donate to the local Salvation Army and hospital resale store. High-end designer items can be consigned as a way to make a little extra money. When it comes to the Maybe pile, it is time to revisit your focus. Does it really have a place in your wardrobe, right now?

Mindful shopping. Having a cleaned-out closet helps me take in my wardrobe as a whole. I can recognize the items I don’t need, and where the holes are. The benefit of this is that my future shopping is focused. By shopping with intent, you will prevent over spending on items you really don’t need – or no longer serve you. I wish you good luck with your closet purge, and taking charge of this New Year!