Out with the old, in with the new!
It’s almost January 1st and that means it’s time to hit the restart button and start anew. And we mean everything should be started anew — from your hair to your habits to your closet. Cue ominous music, please. Yup, the very same closet you’ve been neglecting and piling clothes in all year long needs to be addressed, cleaned and cared for.
If you walk into your closet to piles of clothes and still declare you have “nothing to wear”, it’s time to give it an overhaul.
If the pants you’ve been wearing started out as bootcut jeans and have now become capris, it’s time to clean out your closet.
And, last but not least, if everything you own was trending a decade ago, it’s definitely time to purge your closet of everything you don’t need or, let’s be honest, care for.
But, as we know, cleaning out your closet just isn’t that easy. I always resolve to get rid of shirts I haven’t worn in months, pants I didn’t even know I had anymore or dresses that haven’t looked good on me since high school, but every time I step in front of those looming piles of clothes, I find myself getting overly sentimental and rationalizing the hideous striped green tee with illogical explanations like, “Well, it still fits” and “Who knows, I might wear it.” I won’t. I know I won’t, but my rationality has taken a backseat to sentimentality and well, the green shirt stays.
If you’re like me and find the thought of parting with your clothes difficult, it’s time to put your foot down. How do you do that? By asking yourself these 6 questions whenever you find yourself in gear-grinding mood and ready to throw away that pink babydoll dress for good. Believe us when we say, you’re better off without it.
Ready for a whole new closet?
1. When was the last time you wore it?
If it’s been more than 6 months, it’s time to pull a Rose Dewitt Bukater and let go. It may be painful, it may sting, it may bring tears to your eyes, but just know that it’s well worth it and will actually help you grow in the long run. Maybe.
Unless your closet is the size of Kim Kardashian’s, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be re-wearing your clothes at least once every two months, so if it’s been more than half a year since you’ve worn something, you know you’re not going to wear it anytime soon so you’d do better to just toss it.
2. Does it still suit your style?
The great thing about fashion is that it’s constantly evolving and so is our personal style. What I wore in middle school (purple camo tanks) is definitely not what I wore in high school (audacious, bold, elementary school-like prints) and what I wore in high school is definitely not what I wore in college (what did I wear in college?) and so on and so forth. Your style is constantly evolving which means your closet should be too. So, regardless of how much you liked that striped mini-dress back in the day, it’s time to let it go and move on to bigger and better things.
After all, it just signifies that you’re growing older and wiser!
3. Is it still in good, at least wearable, condition?
This is one question you need to be as objective with yourself as possible because “wearable” means different things to different people and is one definition whose minimum requirements can be shifted.
By wearable, I mean, are there holes? Has the color faded? Is the hem still intact? Are the edges fraying? Are there any rips? Which all boil down to mean does it look (almost) as good as the day you bought it?
If the answer is no, it’s probably time to update it by buying a similar, newer piece or getting rid of it for good.
4. Does it fit?
This is a no-brainer, but if clothes that no longer fit you are still hanging out in your closet, it’s time to say Adieu to them forever and kick them to the curb. Clothes that are either too large or too small just don’t look good. EVER. So, please, do yourself and favor and just get rid of them.
If shirts are rising above your belly button or pants are falling to your ankles, you know that, regardless of whatever tailoring you get done to it, you just aren’t going to wear it anymore. Those clothes had their moment and now it’s time to let go. At least you’ll always have the great memories, right?
5. If you were shopping right now, would you buy it?
This is a great question that I and those who routinely set to clean out their closet need to ask themselves more. In fact, this may be one of the most important questions on this list. If you were shopping your closet, what would you buy? What would you skip over?
You definitely know you’re not going to wear pieces you wouldn’t look twice at if they were hanging on a clothing rack, so why keep them in your closet? It’s simple: keep the clothes you’d re-purchase and donate the ones you wouldn’t.
6. How does this make me feel?
This is another great question to ask yourself when you’re cleaning out your closet. Clothing has the power to make us feel frumpy, confident, shy, and uncomfortable, so when you’re deciding on what makes the cut and what doesn’t, inspect each article of clothing and ask yourself, “How do I feel when I’m wearing this?” If it makes you feel confident and sexy, be all means, wear it! As long as it’s in great condition, of course.
Conversely, if a piece is too small and makes you feel uncomfortable and exposed when you wear it, toss it and set out to find something similar that makes you feel good. You always want to feel your best in your clothes because if you didn’t, what would be the point of wearing them?
I know cleaning out your closet can be tough, but with these questions, you should be better able to say, “Nope” without feeling remorse or anxiety. And hey, with all the space in your new closet, you’ll be ready to do some New Year’s shopping!
P.S. Instead of throwing your clothes in the garbage, donate them to someone in need. Below are contacts for charity directories, as well as Good Will’s and Salvation Army’s donation information.