Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How to Edit/Purge Your Closet Part I

I've seen a lot of people on various blogs/forums ask how to do a purge. Since I've done this so many times, I figured I would put the method I have found that works for me out there in the hope it works for you.

I really think that the entire process should take a few weeks, not just one day. Of course you can take and leave parts of my advice and do a mini edit in much less time, but this is particularly designed around a full and thorough review for someone who needs to do so. I'll do this in a few posts because it is such a wall o' text!

Preparation (every time you edit)

1. Do your laundry! Having things in the laundry just confuses me on how many things I have, and that is a pretty important thing to know for part II.

2. Clean up everything and organize. Put your pants with your pants, tops with tops, shoes with shoes, necklaces with necklaces. Pick up those spare things (or stuff in other closets) around the house and put them all in the same place.

A benefit to having everything in one place where you can see it- it can help you let go of sub-par items when you see you already have several really great ones. It also helps to see what you are short/missing in your wardrobe.

Do a Quick Review (1st Edit)

1. Pick an item category (pants for example) to go through. For immediate satisfaction, pick the smallest category so you can feel accomplished! Pull all of them out and pile them in front of you.

2.  Do a quick sort into the following categories- A) I love these and they fit, B) These need repairs/tailoring, C) These don't fit, D) These are 'OK' or I don't like them. Anything not salvageable should go straight to trash.

3. Put category 'A' back into the closet. 

4. Look at category B and if there is anything that you love and want to save via repairs or tailoring and is worth the expense. Get a bag and place these items in there to get fixed. The other items should go into trash  (needs repairs) or donate/sell bags (needs tailoring).

5. Look at category C. If your weight fluctuates a lot a few of these items may be worth keeping, but honestly I think you are better off purchasing new when it does. While you may have loved those jeans in a size smaller/larger last year, you may not like them as much if and when they do fit again. In particular, cheap items really are not worth holding on to when compared to the space and stress they will give you. And I hate to stress this, but stop trying to make too large or too small items 'work'. Properly fitting garments are the core foundation of being stylish and put together. Fit is everything! Put what you decide not to save in donate/sell.

6. Look at category D. Divide into two sections- A) I don't like these at all and never wear them, and B) These are just 'OK'/I wear these frequently despite not loving them. 

Donate/sell the items in (A) regardless of what you've paid for them or how many times you've worn them. 

The items in (B) will be the most challenging to sort through. Basics (items you need to make other items work but don't LOVE) and/or items you wear a lot should go back in the closet for now. For the other items- if you can't make a decision quickly whether to let them go or keep them, put them in a special place or bag away from the rest of your items that we're going to call 'purgatory'. We'll talk more about purgatory in the next two phases.

7. Get those items in the sell, donate, trash, and repair/tailor bags outta there! If you don't get those items repaired or to the tailor in a set amount of time (give yourself a day, week, or month but stick to it) then they have to go in the trash or be donated. They do you no good sitting in a bag waiting to be fixed so you can wear them. The same goes for the donate bag- and worse, it's tempting to go through it once more. Don't do it and trust your gut instinct. You're not likely to be wrong, and even if you are there are always wonderful pretty things available for sale.

8. Count up your items in each category including 'purgatory' and repair/tailor items. If you want to feel accomplished, count up what you've let go too! I recommend dividing each category out like this:

Tops: 96 (Had 115 but let go of 19)
Work-Appropriate (Dressy): 60
Casual: 30
Evening/Date: 6

Don't combine sweaters or layering camisoles/tanks with your tops- make sure each separate category has its own function.

Make sure you do this edit to every category of clothing, shoes, and your accessories. It may take a couple days so don't stress yourself out. The next post will discuss the period in between your first edit and the second edit, and what you'll be doing with those numbers you counted up.

Check out the next posts for How to Edit/Purge Your Closet Part II and Part III.

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