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How many of you step in to your closet and pluck out something fabulous and then go about your day? Not many of us.

Most of the time, it’s because our closets are crammed with items we don’t wear because they don’t fit, they are missing buttons, are the wrong season, or from the wrong decade. If you can’t see what you have, you might believe that you “don’t have anything to wear.”

Like many of you, I’ve read a lot about minimalism and decreasing consumption. Like many of you, I still love clothes and I am not yet ready to commit to a 30 piece wardrobe. If you are ready to commit to a 30 piece wardrobe–bravo!! In reality, most of us only wear a small fraction of the clothes we own. The others are just taking up space.

You need a large chunk of time for this. Trust me.

Basic Advice for organizing a wardrobe.

  1. Take out EVERYTHING YOU OWN. No–I’m not kidding…All of it.
  2. Immediately separate anything that you know you will never wear again. Put it in a pile. If you are OCD like me….you might even have a piece of paper or an index card that states “NEVER”
  3. Do you own clothes from a previous life? I’m not talking reincarnation…but I am talking maternity wardrobes for those who do not plan to procreate. Same goes for a full closet of business attire for the stay at home mom, sparkling ball gowns that you will never wear again…and in my case, camouflage and some green polyester Army suits complete with combat boots and shiny black shoes. If yes…please make a pile or piles. Some of us are keeping a few previous lives in our wardrobes. Again, index cards or post it notes can clear things up. Label and separate accordingly.
  4. Now, look at what is left. Arrange into piles according to season. You might also separate into categories: work, casual, dressy or going out, etc.
  5. Try on everything to make sure you still love it. If it doesn’t make you feel good–get rid of it. Make a trash pile for stained/unusable items. Make a donate pile for the things that someone else might love. Make a consignment pile for awesome stuff that you could make money off of. I tend to get emotional on awesome stuff…so sometimes I keep it in a box for a few months until I can let it go.
  6. Look at the quantity of what you have. Ask yourself some questions. How many white tee shirts do I need? How much is ENOUGH? When I began to purge my wardrobe I was astonished to count how many of each item that I owned. Once I realized that I had 25+ sweaters, it was easier to let go of most of them. I mean…who REALLY needs 25 sweaters? I asked that question over and over–How much did I need to feel like I had ENOUGH?
  7. At this point, you’ve probably been at this for a while. Look at all of the piles on the floor and ask yourself–trash or treasure? I gave old maternity clothes to mom friends who were expecting. If you have a lot, you can spread the love. I gave business clothes to working friends or donated to help women in need of work clothes. The military stuff? I kept my dress uniform and gave my camo to my dad for his deer hunting friends. The combat boots went to a neighbor kid who thought that they were awesome.  I loaded up all of my super special things–expensive boots with heels so high that I had worn them maybe once a year, good quality bags that I didn’t use, pretty things that I just didn’t wear. These went to the consignment shop.
  8. Now–you are left with clothes you wear. These clothes are separated in to seasons or purpose. You can put them back in your closet. We will continue to work from here. For now…pat yourself on the back.

**The hyperlinks provided are suggestions for local organizations in the Capital Region area of Upstate NY, with the exception of Dress for Success, which is a national organization with local donation points. Visit the website to find yours!

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Stay Fabulous! 

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