Tips on How to Purge Your Closet: What to Keep and What to Toss

I’ve mentioned before but I’m not a minimalist when it comes to clothes and accessories–I have a lot fo stuff.  It’s part of the job, partly because I worked in fashion for awhile, and mostly because I’m a huge clothes lover.  I DO keep things for season after season; but I also let things go when they no longer serve me.  My goal is to always add something to my closet that I can love for years to come, but of course, that doesn’t always happen.  As a result, I do know how to purge your closet every so often.

So many of you reacted to my closet “before” and rightfully so–it was an absolute mess!  That was about two weeks worth of me throwing crap in there haphazardly.  But you also loved the “after” once it was nice and clean.  It took me about an hour in total.  And when I mentioned I was going to clean out the closet and purse, SO many of you asked for my tips, so here are my closet cleaning guidelines on what to keep and what to toss:

  • Have you worn it in the last year?  If not, it goes straight into thee toss/donate/sell pile…EVEN if the tags are on. I know it’s hard if the tags are eon, but I’ve found that if you haven’t worn it in a year, you never will.  There are exceptions: event dresses, pieces with sentimental value, costume stuff–and keep that stuff out of your normal closet anyway and in the attic or something.
  • Start a “don’t know pile” and make sure you try all those items on before deciding. Don’t be afraid to get rid of stuff that you once loved that no longer ‘serves’ you.  It’s ok to be sad, too. (I get weirdly sentimental about clothing)
  • Make sure you can style everything that you keep.  It can be a simple combo, but you need to make sure you can pair the item with other things in your closet if you intend on keeping it.pair it with things in your closet if you want to keep it.  It’s also helpful at this point to make a list of ‘closet needs/what to buy’
  • Make sure you purge your athleisure stuff.  This one is tough for people like me who don’t have a huge workout wardrobe (and it may be hard if you DO have a huge workout wardrobe).    It’s so easy to hold onto yoga pants and realize you have 12 pairs but only wear like 4 of them regularly.  It’s also super cathartic getting rid of socks that don’t have a match that you keep around “in case you find the other one” (oh, am I the only one who does that?)
  • Speaking of socks, purge your underwear and bras, too.  You know you have underwear that you hate to wear that you’ve been holding onto for far too long.  That also applies to bra.  Don’t keep a bra that’s uncomfortable or that you hate wearing just to keep it.  Let it go!
  • Don’t wait for it to come “back in style.”  You know you’ve hung on to some Seven jeans from 2004 in case low-rise bootcut jeans come back in.  Oh no, just me?  Well, I did that and there’s really no use.  Unless something is truly a vintage gem that you want to toss in your “sentimental” closet, don’t keep something thinking that you’re going to wear it in 15 years when it makes its resurgence (because hint: you won’t–the fashion industry is good at making tweaks to keep things fresh).

I hope you picked up some good tips on how to purge your closet and decide to tackle it soon!  It’s a solid project to take on during this unprecedented quarantine AND bonus–it’s pretty cathartic.  You’ll definitely feel better afterwards and my guess is you’ll find some gems that you forgot you had–and it’ll be like falling in love all over again.

how to purge your closet

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