How To Clean Out Your Closet

As a follow up to my last post, this post is about how to decide what to discard from your closet. Hopefully, for some of you this will serve as an inspiration to tackle your closet for a fresh start in the new year. When I’m with clients it’s usually a collaborative decision as to what to discard, but in my own closet it’s very simple. In fact, you can say I’m a little discard happy, hence the permanent discard pile in the corner of my closet (pictured above). If I come across an item while looking for something to wear and I hear a little voice that says “I don’t like how that ____ fits, feels, looks, etc.”, it goes straight in the discard pile. You know that voice, listen to it. In my mind someone could really use those jeans that gape in the back, or that shirt that is cut a little too low for comfort. It isn’t right for me, but it may fit someone else perfectly.

I have 4 main questions I concentrate on in a closet:

1.) Does it fit? This may seem obvious, but this is VERY important. There’s so much that goes into fit, it’s not just is it too big or too small. Ask yourself the specifics…Is it too short, do I constantly pull it down? Is it gaping at the neck (showing my chest) or back (showing my undies)?Is it too tight, pulling at the buttons or smiling at the seams? Is it too big, making you look heavier/skinnier than you are? Are the sleeves too short? Are your shoulders extending way beyond the shoulder seams? Is the fit comfortable?

2.) When was the last time you wore this item?If you didn’t wear it last season you probably won’t wear it this season or any seasons to come. Unless it’s a classic which brings me to my next category…

3.) Is this item dated? Is the item a classic or does it have details that date it? Look at the cut of the piece, the buttons, the stitching and the graphics. Remember the pointed collar of the 70’s or the puff paint shirts of the 80’s…these are extremes, but you catch my drift. A piece of clothing can also be dated by showing signs of wear. Ask yourself if the piece of clothing has lost it’s shape, is it pilling, does it have holes, or does it have noticeable armpit stains?

THIS is the MOST IMPORTANT category!4.) Do you feel confident when you wear this piece of clothing?In my mind, as long as it fits, if you feel confident in a 70’s pointed collar shirt then I know you could totally pull it off. I truly believe this. Isn’t that what vintage clothing is all about?! There is nothing worse than wearing a piece of clothing that just makes you feel ____- you name it, matronly, pregnant, boring, not you, unattractive. Also, if the item has a bad association in your mind, pitch it. For instance, if you think, “this item reminds me of that really bad experience I had while wearing it”, do not keep that item, burn it– just kidding


In conclusion, only keep items that fit you fantastically and that you feel confident wearing. Donate the rest! I promise you won’t miss them!


  1. Ashley Taylor January 3, 2013

    This is a great post πŸ™‚

    xo Ashley

  2. Amy January 3, 2013

    Have you posted yet on essential pieces we should have in our closet? I want to fit into things that are a bit snug now and worry that if I get rid of them I will regret the $ I threw out! However, sometimes I’ve yearned for a mommy wardrobe…some good basics that I can wear with all my scarves…maybe less pattern and more boring = easier? Love your blog! Thank you!!

  3. CHAS January 3, 2013

    I agree with Amy! I’m having a hard time transitioning from my career-happy-hour-happy-girl to stay at home mom. I’m either in yoga pants too often or I’m too dressed up for the park. Would love a post helping me out!

  4. gypsy soul interiors January 3, 2013

    What’s your thoughts on post partum sizing? I had my second baby several months ago (c section) and most all my per pregnancy clothes are too tight in the middle and too big in the rear. I am fine with tossing everything that doesn’t fit but wondering what a good “grace” period is:)

    Love love love your blog!

  5. Joan Felix January 5, 2013

    I have started to clean out and rid my closet items I no longer wear this is a great blog for ideals. Thanks

  6. Joan Felix January 5, 2013

    I have started to clean out and rid my closet items I no longer wear this is a great blog for ideals. Thanks

  7. purecanesugarfashion January 7, 2013

    Great tips πŸ™‚
    Glad I came across your blog – Now following!
    ♥ xoxo Cori

  8. tenth avenue south January 7, 2013

    I love this…. and I wish, wish, wish you were in Birmingham to help me out! I have tons of pieces I love but I am always stumped as to how to put them together. Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Amanda January 12, 2013

    Thank you for this post… last Saturday I read this and it inspired me to do my own closet cleaning… and what do you know? Literally half my closet was full of things I don’t like and don’t wear. I feel so liberated and know I won’t miss them at all!


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