Editing Your Closet: 3 Steps to Get Started

I don’t know how it’s possible, but no matter how many times I edit my closet, there is always just one more piece I can take out. I’m not sure how this works because I feel like I edit out a lot more than I’m adding, so hopefully I don’t edit myself out of a wardrobe someday! But really, you should constantly be taking a careful look at what you have hanging in your closet (or folded in your drawers). Here are three guidelines on how to edit your wardrobe to help get you started. 

1. How Long Has It Been?

I’m sure you’ve heard the rule: if you haven’t worn it in a year, get rid of it. This is a good rule for everyday clothes. If it’s a shirt that is meant to be worn to work and it’s just taking up space, either donate it or save it for your next clothing swap (and if you don’t know what that is, keep an eye out for an upcoming post on how to host one – they are awesome!). If you’re not sure that you’re ready to let it go, get a Rubbermaid bin to use as a “transitional home.” 99% of the time I think you’ll find you don’t miss it.

There are a few things that I will make exceptions for. Halloween costumes. Black tie attire. For things like clothing that doesn’t fit now but someday might, if you feel strongly about keeping it, pack it neatly in an airtight bin and store it. If it doesn’t fit you right now, it doesn’t need to be taking up valuable closet real estate.

2. Does It Bring You Joy?

About a year ago I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. One of the main premises of the book is deciding whether or not to keep things based on if they bring you joy. When it comes to your clothes this makes a ton of sense. As you look at each thing in your closet, consider how it makes you feel when you put it on. Confident? Attractive? Empowered? Great! Definite keeper. But if you’ve got things that make you feel frumpy, worn out, or just sort of “meh,” consider removing those things from your closet. Even if you don’t replace them right away, it’s still easier to get dressed out of a small selection of things you love than a large selection you have to dig through to find gold.

3. Three Strikes

I would suggest editing your closet more than once a year. If it’s an event, it becomes easy to make excuses for why you should keep something and then not think about it again for another year. I prefer to constantly evaluate what’s hanging in front of me. One of the best indicators is if I put something on and then take it off in favor of something else. If that happens three times in a row, in the donation pile it goes! One time, okay, maybe I just wasn’t feeling it, but three times of thinking that I wanted to wear something and then not liking the way it looks suggests that it’s the piece, not my mood.

4. One In, One Out (Bonus!)

This is a rule that I don’t actually follow myself, but it can be useful in a few scenarios. A) You have an overstuffed closet and sometimes forget that you own something because you can’t see it tucked away in the back of your closet. In this situation, you’ve probably already exceeded your max capacity in your space and don’t want/need to add to the problem. B) It makes you consider your wardrobe as a whole. If you have 3 new tops in your hand at the store, it will prompt you to think, “okay, what three tops am I going to replace.” It makes you shop more intentionally and thoughtfully. Like I said, I don’t follow this rule, partially because I do edit as I do, so frequently I’m taking things out without adding things back in. It all nets out about even in the end for me!

All this being said, I actually prefer a smaller wardrobe. I watched one of my favorite fashion blogger’s closet tours and for about 2 hours I really wanted to go buy about 100 more things to add to my closet. (If you haven’t already checked out J’s Everyday Fashion, you should. She has easily digestible posts and tons of inspiration for shopping your closet and recreating looks you’ve seen elsewhere with your own wardrobe.) Then I realized that probably won’t work for me right now. My whole closet is basically a capsule wardrobe. Most of my pieces mix and match and are all in generally the same style. It makes it easy for me to get dressed in the dark (or before coffee, same thing), and it’s also easy to create tons of different combinations because most of my clothes go together.

It took me a while to figure out what my style is, so when I started editing there were a lot of things in my closet that just didn’t support the image I wanted to project. If you haven’t done much closet curating before, you may find yourself in the same situation, which is fine! Take it slow. Enlist the help of a friend. Use that transition bin. Once you get started I think you’ll find it more fun than challenging.

When is the last time you edited your closet?

2 thoughts on “Editing Your Closet: 3 Steps to Get Started

  1. A good way to check out what you actually wear in a season is at the beginning of the season hang all of your hangers backwards. Then as you wear peices you hang them back up your normal direction. Then at the season change take a good look at the items still turned backwards and consider getting rid of those peices. That is unless your husband helps you out and turns them back around just to help you. Lol.


    1. Haha, so sweet that he tried to help! Because a man can’t imagine we would have done that on purpose, lol. Yes, turning hangars around is a great tool as well! I’ve done that with mine for the first time just a few months ago, so it will be time to cut a few items pretty soon.


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