Let's talk about the closet purge! What you wear can show your creativity, help you look professional, or let others know who you are. But maybe you've looked around your closet and felt like things are a bit...chaotic? Maybe your clothes no longer speak to the person you want to be.
Too many clothing items can mean it's time for a change. A smaller wardrobe has a lot of benefits, and you may feel a sense of relief after clearing up some space. That said, a closet purge is a perfect way to reshape your wardrobe to reflect your unique style.
You may also find that it's less expensive and time-consuming. It's so valuable that more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon of capsule wardrobes and minimalism in recent years. Check out how to do a clothing purge here, as well as why it will benefit you.
Benefits of a closet purge
Purging clothes offers enormous benefits and not many downsides. If you look at your closet, it's probably stuffed full, like most people's. You can probably get by with a fraction of what's in your closet and still have great style. Here are some amazing things about doing a closet purge:
Purging your closet saves time
Purging your closet gives you fewer outfit choices but buys you more time. You can spend two minutes deciding on your wardrobe instead of twenty. (This is where having a style uniform is super helpful!) Or maybe you come up with all your wardrobe combinations for the week on Sunday and don't think about it for days at a time.
Get back extra minutes of sleep by not having to spend as much time holding up outfits and examining them to see if they feel like the right thing to wear.
It can help you create a unique style
As you do a clothing purge, you may find items you didn't even realize you had. Maybe even a few things that work for your wardrobe when they didn't before. Holding up items and deciding what fits your personality and what doesn't can help you create your own unique look.
Plus, there is a legitimate theory that having less clothing can help you be more fashionable, according to Jess Cartner-Morley of The Guardian. The writer gives many reasons why capsule wardrobes are the way to go, plus ideas for clothing items that can help you make more combinations with less.
It saves you money
Yes, fewer wardrobe options can actually save you money. Why? Because the pieces you do have are ones that you genuinely love, and you'll think harder about adding new items to your collection.
Since it takes time to do a clothing purge, you will probably want to avoid doing it again, which will help you to spend more mindfully.
If you buy something, it may take a while to save for and be of higher quality. But one thoughtful item added now and then still beats going shopping every few weeks and coming home with a massive load of clothes that cost a lot and will soon be forgotten.
Purging your closet helps you be mindful about purchases
Think of your wardrobe as a carefully curated art museum where you get to decide what stays and what doesn't. This can stop you from impulse shopping and coming home with a dress you'll only wear once.
You will think more practically as you picture the items in your closet and what will go well with them. Ask yourself, "When purging my closet, what items are important to me, and which ones don't matter or don't fit who I am?"
Why do a closet purge
It's important to know why a clothing purge is essential to you. Do you want to be a more conscious consumer? Do your clothes not reflect who you are? Tired of feeling like you have nothing to wear? Knowing what the issue is and how to purge clothes will solve it.
This matters because when you're in the middle of decluttering and cleaning, you may be tempted to give up. If you remember why you're doing all this, it will help you to finish what you started and enjoy the process.
Many people may want to create a more streamlined wardrobe look or a capsule wardrobe. This is an excellent place to start. A signature style is a great thing to keep in mind when purging clothes because it will help you make decisions more quickly. You can think of the colors and style you're looking for and eliminate what doesn't fit.
You might decide that you are cleaning out your closet because a clothing purge will help you feel better about your outfits. It may help your clothing to align better with your lifestyle choices. For example, suppose you work remotely and often work at home.
A wardrobe full of comfy but still professional options might call to you. If you work in an office, you may need a look that is fancier. Pick clothes that align with your life and keep those.
Find out why it matters to you, and you'll be able to do a clothing purge easily. Knowing why you are making these choices, such as for a more streamlined wardrobe or having a minimalist closet, is good to remember, and it will help you succeed.
How to begin a closet purge
Now that you know why you want to do a closet purge and the benefits of it, it's time to get started purging clothes! Before you get started, commit to buying no new clothes until your purge is complete. Here are the steps I take when purging my closet:
1. Decide on a day and/or time frame
Depending on how full your closet is, this process can take some time. Our advice? Choose one day or one weekend when you can complete this task. That way, you won't be rushed, and you can still get it done in a reasonable amount of time. (You could make it your goal for the week!)
If you can't commit a full day or weekend to this, decide on a time frame instead. For example, for an hour every night this week, you'll work on your closet purge. That way, there's still a set amount of time, and you don't just decide not to do it because it's taking too long.
Once you decide on your time frame, stay committed to it. Remember that it will be completely worth it when you have a beautiful wardrobe filled only with items you love.
2. Make a list
Before you start taking everything out of your closet, it helps to have a picture of what type of wardrobe you're trying to form. Take a look around and write down or take photos of items you definitely want to keep.
Think of adjectives to describe the style you are looking for, so you can remind yourself later when you're looking at your wardrobe and can't decide what stays or goes.
A good old-fashioned list is a great way to track what you want to keep and toss and what may need to be added to complete your look later. You can make a list of items you want in your closet (for example, a cashmere sweater) and cross them off the list when you've added them to the "keep" pile.
3. Take everything out of your closet
Armed with your list and reasons for doing a clothing purge, begin taking everything out of your closet. This is important! If you don't remove everything, you could miss items you want to keep or give away.
Take your time removing things and placing them in piles for shoes, handbags, and clothing. This isn't quite sorting, but it will help you stay organized. Once everything is out of the closet, vacuum and dust. You might as well get the space as clean as possible for when you put clothes back in the closet later.
4. Start sorting
Begin looking at your clothes and items and decide what to do with them. This is often the most challenging part, so take your time. Look at each item and determine if you want to donate, sell, keep, or recycle it. Then place it in a pile, a box, or a bag to be dealt with later.
A donation pile is a must when you purge clothes. These are the clothes and wardrobe items that you no longer want but are in good condition.
They shouldn't have tears or holes, though they may show some signs of wear. Give these to friends or family if they want them or a thrift store or charity.
If you need more information about what clothes you can donate and how to do so, check out this article by Rinse. As you work, take photos of clothing and send them to friends or family you think might want them.
If they respond yes, place them in another pile of items that are claimed. That way, you don't forget and accidentally get rid of them.
These are the items that are beyond repair, too worn out to donate or sell. You can responsibly recycle your clothes from your clothing purge instead of just dumping them in the trash.
Check out a textile recycler in your area and see if you can give them your old clothes. The environment will benefit, and you know that your used clothing has a purpose still.
The great thing about a closet purge is that if you have items in excellent condition or luxury brands, you can try to sell them.
The website Gathering Dreams offers some great information about selling your clothes online, including what places you can consider selling your items. Also, check out our post on how to sell designer handbags!
Remember that selling can be a little time-consuming, but it can be worth it if you have some items that are unique or are from exceptional brands. Be honest when looking at your clothing collection to see if selling will pay enough to devote some time to it.
This is the pile of clothes, shoes, and accessories that matters the most. These are the items you'll wear each day, and they will make up your personal style. Before keeping something, ask yourself a few questions:
- Do I wear this item consistently? If you wear it a lot, you will probably keep wearing it a lot. Items that are classic styles or great colors on you are good options for keeping.
- Does it work well for special occasions? If you don't wear something often, that doesn't mean it should go. If you like the item and wear it for weddings or other occasions, it has a purpose, and you can keep it.
- Does it fit well? Any items you keep should look good on you and fit correctly. You should feel confident when wearing it. If there's an item you like but don't feel good wearing, give it to someone else instead of trying to make it work.
- Does it work with my lifestyle? This item should fit your everyday lifestyle and be something you feel comfortable wearing daily unless it is for special occasions.
If you find that the item works well with your lifestyle, you wear it often, or it has a purpose, the chances are good that you should keep it. You don't have to ask yourself every question with every article of clothing, but this can help if you're stumped.
Also, note how you feel about the item. Are you happy about it? Does it always work and look good? Really great clothing items usually have positive feelings associated with them.
5. Put clothes you are keeping back in your closet
The great news is, your closet is clean, and you can organize everything the way you want it. Try grouping items together that are similar, so you'll be able to find them right away. Or organize by color, if you wish.
Remember to wash any items that haven't been worn recently, and maybe even iron some of them if you aren't in a hurry. It will make getting ready even more manageable.
You may also take this time to come up with some outfit combinations and hang them up or fold them together so you'll remember to wear them. Remember to tidy your wardrobe as you put things away, too.
Meaning, make note if an item needs to be mended or sent out for dry cleaning, etc. These are the clothes you've kept on purpose and like the most, so take good care of them.
6. Deal with the other closet purge piles
After a clothing purge, you need to give away, donate, or sell these things as soon as possible so they don't end up back in your closet. Take photos and put up for sale the items you can, and put the ones that you want to donate into bags or boxes. Then place them in your car so the next day they can go to their new homes.
Anything you're giving away, make plans to drop it off or have friends and family come by to get it within a week. This may seem fast, but it's best to deal with the clutter immediately instead of it all going back into your closet because you don't want to deal with it later.
Tips to make a clothing purge more fun
It's a process for sure, and it takes time. While purging clothes can be interesting work, it might have its dull moments. These ideas can help make purging your closet much more fun.
Create a playlist or listen to a new album while you work. This will help you to focus and also stay motivated as you work through your wardrobe items.
You could also play a podcast or a tv show if that's more interesting to you. Keep yourself entertained, so you don't get bored and quit in the middle of everything.
Keep track of clothes
Try to sort things as you go and make sure you know where each type of item is. There's no need to be super organized, but knowing that all of your purses are in the corner by your desk will help you work quicker.
You should also remember the list you came up with earlier to help you stay on track while you purge clothes.
Ask a friend to join you
Sorting through your wardrobe will be way more fun with a friend. You'll finish the task more quickly, and they may even find some items that they like, and you want to get rid of.
Plus, it helps to have someone else's opinion when you're making wardrobe decisions. Just make sure to return the favor and help them with purging clothes in their own closet at a later time.
A closet purge can be a great investment of your time and help your finances
Purging clothes can be a fun and effective way to sharpen your wardrobe and create a new style. There are tons of benefits like saving money and making your own unique look. Plus, with tips like staying organized and asking a friend to help, your closet purge may not take long at all!
When you finish your closet purge, you may feel like you have a brand new wardrobe. It's a great way to refresh your style, and it can help you appreciate the great clothing pieces you have.
You'll create brand new looks and your own memorable style that fits who you are. Wearing clothes that are right for you can help you be confident, positive, and more organized.
Now you know how to purge your closet so it's time to purge your finances! Learn how to create a budget and purge bad spending habits with our completely free budgeting course! For more fabulous finance tips tune in to the Clever Girl Knows podcast and YouTube channel!