How I Edit My Closet

It’s that time of year again to switch over my closet, so I thought I’d refresh you on my process for “editing”. I wrote this post back in 2016 about it, which much remains very similar, but wanted to add a few new thoughts that I’ve gained!

With each new season and closet transition, I like to go through and edit all of the clothes that I have. Since they will be stored for 3-6 months, I want to make sure that I’m holding on to them for a reason. Some things I know will transition easily, like a simple tee or pretty blouse for layering. Other things, like dresses and lightweight camis go through my “list of questions” to see if they will make the cut. They will either be stored away for the season or put into my “donate” pile.

Here are the things that I ask myself as I go through every single item in my closet.

Have I worn this in the last three months? If so, how many times?

The first question I always ask is if I’ve worn the item during the season it’s meant for. If no, then it goes in the donate pile immediately. If yes, I think about how many times. If it was once, then I consider if I still like the style, fit, color, etc. and will potentially want to wear it again in a year. If I wore it multiple times, it stays.

If I’m looking at special occasion items, like a dress for a wedding or event, and haven’t worn them yet but still like them, they’ll stay.

Is this a duplicate of other items in my closet?

A subquestion here is about how many similar items I have in my closet. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a penchant for buying white tops. I love a crisp white top. The white section in my closet is definitely the most populated. Since I tend to procure quite a few throughout the spring/summer, this is the time when I need to assess which ones stay and which ones go. If I have three white v-neck tees, I try to narrow it down to just the one that I wear most often.

Do I still like this item?

Once I’ve determined how many times it’s been worn, I look to see if I really like the item still. Do I like the color, the cut, the style? Does it fit in with the rest of my wardrobe, or is it something that I wouldn’t normally wear? Is it something that I can transition easily into the next season, or will it be out-of-style in 6 months? If the answer to all of these is yes, then I go for the try-on test (more on that below!).

Can I wear this in other seasons, or is it just a seasonal item?

If a top has passed the first two rounds, it’s time to decide just how valuable it is. If it’s something I can wear in multiple seasons, it’s an automatic “stay”. If it’s something that I can only wear in the summer or only in the winter, I have to decide if it’s worth taking up space on a hanger or in storage. Is it something I could find again? Is it unique enough that it’s worth holding onto?

At this point, I’ve answered a few questions and narrowed down my “keep” pile. I’ve found the things that I really like and want to hold onto. The true test, though, comes with trying them on. Yes this can be a little tedious and will take a little more time, but it’s an important element to determining what is really worth taking up real estate in your closet!

The Try-On Test

I don’t try on every single thing that I’m keeping, but the things that I’m on the fence about or feel like I need to justify keeping go through this next round. I’m a firm believer in only wearing clothes that you feel good in. Because when you feel good in your clothes, you wear them with confidence and confidence looks good on everyone.

When trying on each item, if I fidget with it, try to adjust it, or feel the need to layer over it, it doesn’t feel like it needs to be kept. I like fuss-free clothing that I feel comfortable in, so I want to get rid of anything that feels high-maintenance or not quite right. The real question is, “Do I feel good in this?”. If there’s any doubt, it goes.

How many ways can I wear it?

When I’ve pared it down to only things that fit well, make me feel good, and will last for more than one season (in most cases), I like to assess how functional it will be. If it’s something that can only be worn one way and for one occasion, I think about if it’s really worth keeping. Will there be another scenario that will call for this, or am I just holding onto it in case of the 5% chance I’ll want it? Can I find something like it, if that occasion arises?

If I can think of multiple ways to style it (physically go through the styling process, if you need to!), it’s made the final cut and can find it’s resting place in storage (or still in my closet).

I don’t just do this with clothes, either! Bags, purses, jackets, scarves – everything that is stored in my closet gets put through the test. That way, at the start of a new season, I have a simplified wardrobe that can be built on. It’s inevitable that I’ll want to add a couple things each season to my closet, so I like to have just my favorite, best-fitting pieces left, so that I have something to work from. If I’m shopping, I can think through what I already have and determine if the thing I’m looking at is really worth adding to my wardrobe. Will it fit in with my style? Will it pass my test in 3 months?

Similarly, when I’ve purchased a new item, I like to style it a couple different ways to see if it will really be worth keeping. If it’s going to be one of those things that I wear once and end up donating in 3 months, then I return it. This whole process helps me to be a little more intentional when it comes to my closet, which is never a bad thing.

Hi there!

Welcome to my little corner of the Internet! I'm a small business owner, wife, and mom currently residing in Raleigh, NC. In sharing my love for fashion, beauty finds, and interiors, I hope that you feel inspired and encouraged to express your own style and feel confident!

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