Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tough Love Closet Clean-Out

If you're anything like me, fashion is somewhat of a hobby for you. You love the creativity and artistic expression that putting together an outfit gives you. We can all admit it's shallow but hey, we're not trying to solve world hunger here. Everyone has hobbies and interests that don't have to be meaningful to everyone else.

Since moving a few weeks ago, I realized more than ever that I really needed a closet clean-out. With the 330 Swap & Shop coming up and the look of my closet, it really needed to be done. I mean, this is what it looked like.. how embarassing. 

Here are my tips to for getting an organized and well thought-out wardrobe. This is the tough-love version that I used with myself, maybe you need some tough love too.

1. Be honest with yourself. You have way too many clothes. 
The first step is admitting you have a problem : you are powerless against hoarding clothes and accessories. Denial stops now.

2. Get real. Do you really wear all this stuff? 
No, you don't. If you can't remember at least a handful of times you wore said item in the past year, lose it.

3. Don't hold onto "someday" clothes. Lose that whole mentality. "When I lose 5 pounds these will fit great!". Let's be real.. if you're not actively trying to lose weight, that muffin top is not going anywhere. What's that saying about getting what you've always gotten if you're doing what you've always done? You get the idea.

One of my own issues with this one are maternity clothes. I find myself holding onto things because: "this top will look so cute when I get pregnant!". Sure, it might be.. but right now it's making you look pregnant, so get rid of it.

4. Cut the clutter. Anything you don't wear regularly is just taking up space. Don't think that because it's "just a hat/belt/bracelet/tank-top" that it won't take up too much room and it can stay. If you never wear it and you don't love it - it's clutter.

5. Get rid of the sentimental stuff, or at least keep it somewhere else. If you need to hold onto your high school soccer jersey or your college sorority shirt, keep it with your other keepsakes, not taking up valuable space in your closet.

6. Set aside clothes you borrowed from friends or family members and actually give them back! They will appreciate it too.

7. Get rid of clothes with qualifications. For example: I love this blouse, but it has a stain on the side, so I only wear it with a cardigan. Lose it.

8. Cleanse yourself of clothes you're not comfortable in. I had two short skirts I really loved, but every time I wore them, I just didn't feel comfortable. I had to get really honest with myself to admit I'm really not a short skirt girl.  I end up tugging on them and sitting awkwardly all day. This is really going to come as a disappointment to my husband.

9. Know your style. Sometimes I'll pick things up from swaps because: "I saw X-blogger or Y-celeb wearing this and they looked great!". Typically I rarely or never end up wearing said item because it just doesn't feel like me. Embrace your style.

10. Know your body. The items in your closet need to fit your body correctly the same way they need to fit your personal style. I have this amazing Ann Taylor Loft skirt that I never wear because it doesn't stay up high enough on my waist. I've come to realize and accept that high-waisted skirts fit my shape the best, so the skirt goes.

And finally, just let it go
Have you seen hoarders?

 Once you've decided what you want to get rid of, you need to decide what is swap-worthy and what just needs to be donated. If you're not planning on attending any swaps anytime soon, go ahead and donate it all. This is why people like me can find great things at thrift stores, people like you donate good stuff! (Thanks).

Swap - A good rule I heard somewhere is : if you would lend it to a friend, it's swap-worthy.
Donate - Old workout clothes, stained or torn clothes.

*Be sure to check out the Swap & Shop Blog because I posted a preview of some of the items I'll be swapping here.


Now that you've gotten real and cleaned out your excess clothing and accessories, get the keepers organized. I organized mine according to category, some do theirs by color.

Put things back where they belong daily. Sometimes I get home from a work event late and I just want to change into yoga pants and park it on the couch with R as quickly as possible. I had gotten in the habit of setting my clothes on the dresser to put away the next day. Come on, are you 13? Just quickly decide what gets thrown in the laundry basket and what can go back in the closet.

Take 2 minutes a day to straighten and reorganize. Sometimes I'll even do this while I'm brushing my teeth at night - just peak in your closet and straighten shoes and make sure everything is in it's proper place.

I'm still in the process of making my closet pretty. Right now it's organized, which is good enough for now. Heck, we just moved and I'd rather decorate the actual house, not the closet. Someday though, it will be beautiful. :)

I hope this will inspire you to get real about a closet clean-out. If you're in the Northeast Ohio area (or if you're not but want to travel!), we'd love to have you at our 330 Swap & Shop coming up in May. Clean out your closet and join us!

Here's to staying organized,


  1. great post! thanks for sharing the details!

  2. Awesome post Rachel! I've had to come to similar conclusions myself in the last few months as we moved too! It's worth it though, getting dressed is far easier with a well edited wardrobe.

  3. Such good advice! Just yesterday, I had the same situation as #8. I was wearing a dress that I really liked, but it was too short and driving me crazy. Luckily, I lent it to my friend once, and she really liked it, too, so it's going to her for good!

    And I've done #9 so many times and regretted it later. It's fun to try new things, but sometimes I should just be faithful to my style. Not only that, but I also impulse buy things just 'cause they were cheap or I found a designer label at the consignment shop. Not a good reason to buy something, self!

  4. The closet looks great! I had to do that not too long ago, and I basically made myself go through it as if it wasn't mine, to remove myself from the sentiment of the clothes. It was so freeing! I got rid of so many things I knew I wouldn't wear and it made room for me to properly utilize my good pieces.

    Your tips for deciding to keep, swap or donate are so helpful, and this allows someone reading to really make a decision by asking these questions.

    Secondhand Magpie

  5. I am crazed about my closet being organized - i used to do it by style, then color. I re-organize it that way every now and then but only keep it truly organized by style now.

    i REALLY wish i could go to that 330 swap - it just fell on the wrong weekend. SO sad - i had stuff to bring too :(

  6. I really need to clean out my closet at some point. It's getting bad. I'm afraid that I will get lost in there.
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  7. Blog is good, but pics are really messy and cool. house cleanout is really a hectic job.


  8. I wrote a post like this and never finished/published. I need this or I need to hire you to come clean my room/closet. Mine lasted for maybe a month. Biggest slob, ever.


Thanks for stopping by! Your comments make my day ♥