Seasonal Closet Cleanout

I don’t know about you, but as the weather changes, I rotate my clothes from the past two seasons to the back of my closet and bring the clothes for the next two seasons up front.

While you’re doing this, it’s a great time to consider what’s working and what isn’t.

Here are some useful tips for seasonal closet cleaning.

  1. Don’t do this when you are tired, emotional, feeling sensitive, or sick.  You should look at your clothing when you are feeling good, well-rested, and have the ability to evaluate your clothes without emotion and sentimentality.
  2. Don’t keep any clothing that is more than one size smaller than you are.  You can keep some “aspirational” pieces that you hope to fit into one day, but be really gentle on yourself.  Are you really going to lose 10 pounds with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Eve coming up? We give you permission to accept and love yourself in your current configuration.  Go ahead and donate or consign those too small clothes.
  3. It can be hard to let go of clothes that we previously loved or fit into.  I find it helpful to think about how donating or consigning my clothes will allow someone new to also love my clothes.
  4. Before you move the last two seasons of clothes to the back of your closet
    • Clean or launder anything that needs it
    • Is there anything that you haven’t worn during the last 6 months?  If so, consider donating it or sending it for consignment.
    • Are there items that don’t fit properly?  Get rid of the undersized ones, and consider whether it’s worth the investment to alter larger items down to fit.
    • Do you still love the styles, colors, and types of clothes you have?  Get rid of unflattering duplicates in that “strange” color that you bought in bulk (because there was a sale). 
    • Once you’ve touched, evaluated, and critically considered each item, move anything that you know you’ll love again in 6 months to the back of the closet.
  5. Looking at the upcoming seasons’ clothes can be like finding a long lost friend.  Take each item out of the closet or drawer, and see if you still get along.
    • Try on everything.  If it is too small, donate it.  If it is too large, and you love it, have it altered to fit.  If it is too large and you’re on the fence about it, donate it.
    • Check the style and color and be sure that you don’t have “orphans”.  By that I mean something that is a unique color that you have nothing to pair it with.  It’s best to give these items away rather than spend more money on something new to “match”.
    • Touch everything.  Refold it and put it away.  Move hangers to the front of your closet.  Now’s the time to organize by type of clothing and color so you can easily see what you have and it looks coherent.

Wondering about where to take donated clothing? Here are a few options from organizations that promise to recycle or donate your items responsibly:

ThredUp Closet Cleanout

For Days – Take Back Bag

Dress For Success Donations

And for those of you in the Philadelphia area:

The Wardrobe (formerly The Career Wardrobe)

Philly AIDS Thrift

To take your closet purge to the next level, look for my upcoming blogs on “The 10 Cooler Weather Clothing Essentials Every Woman Needs” and “The 10 Cooler Weather Clothing Essentials Every Man Needs”.