How To Create A Unique Style: Cleaning Out Your Closet

How To Create A Wardrobe That Is Uniquely You

Before you can even start thinking about creating a wardrobe that is uniquely you, you need to know what’s in your closet and you have to be prepared to clean out that closet. According to the lovely, Genevieve Gorder, a good closet cleaning (or any home/life organization project) will yield a 30% reduction in what currently occupies it. Scary thought right?

Here are the first three things you must do in order to accomplish complete closet organization. Be prepared to spend about 1/2 a day doing this.

1. Start with what’s in you closet.

I want to know what’s in your closet. Is your closet the closet that every modern woman has? Is it filled with shoes, belts, robes, clothes and more than a few random boxes that contain “You Life For The Past Five Years”? If so, read on.

If your closet has anything in it aside from clothing and accessories, it needs to come out. Nothing should be in the closet but clothing. So your taxes, photo albums and yearbook from junior high need to go. Put them in your living room and get them out of the way, you are gonna need the space they occupy.

Note: If you live in a studio apartment, you may be exempt because of the limitation of space. But it’s still good to assess what you have in those boxes. To great ideas on how to organize what’s in those boxes, check out Real Simple’s archives for Organization Strategies.

Once you’ve pulled our all non-clothing related items, you are ready reassess and rediscover.

2. Dear Lady, Let’s Assess.

Okay, this is the scary part – assessment. I find the easiest way to assess what I have and what I need is to pull our what currently resides in my closet and spread it across my bedroom (and part of my bathroom and living room). I also take out what’s in dresser drawers and under the bed. This way, you can visually move around and see what you have. Assessment starts with the obvious – so what you need to toss out; things that must go are:

•    Things that are too big
•    Things that are too small
•    Anything that is stained
•    Anything that is tattered
•    Anything that is worn-out
•    Anything that is piling
•    Anything that is really faded
•    Anything that has lost it’s shape

If it’s too big or too small but in good condition, then donate it to a local women’s charity.

If it’s just “gone wrong,” into the trash bin it goes. Say your good-byes and toss it!

When in doubt, I don’t believe you should throw it out! If you have something in your closet that you are quite sure if it’s okay to wear, then take a second and try it on. If it’s too big or too small, then it’s gotta go. But if you put it on, and realize that you haven’t been wearing some fabulous article, then save it, put it back on the hanger and put it aside. You will later want to accessorize this fancy frock. Likewise, if it was really expensive, and it’s a piece that you could work into a few different clothing stories (outfits) then keep it. Quality always gets farther than quantity.

Next Steps

Once you have pilfered your closet like you pilfered the fridge for some Ciao Bella Cabernet Sorbeto last night, you should have a clearly defined pile of  “Going to Goodwill” and a pile “Going To Clothing Heaven.” Load the bags into the car and remove all temptation to salvage that Snoopy t-shirt that your high school boyfriend gave you freshman year. You just don’t need it.

3. Closet Accessories

Let me start by saying, congratulations! You have just taken the first steps towards a more organized closet. It’s not easy, throwing out clothes, or getting rid of anything that may have sentimental value can take an emotional toll on the best of us. But it’s very liberating to let go of the past, and that is what New Year’s resolutions are all about – out with the old and in with the new.

Okay, before you can go any further with the inventory what is left and what it’s hanging on and stored in. Do you have crappy old plastic hangers that were 20 hangers for $2.00 at Target? Do you store shoes in a crate, in boxes or just randomly pile them in your closet? That’s not good.

You must remedy this quickly  – and that entitles you to a trip to home organization heaven a.k.a. The Container Store. When you organize your closet, you have to keep it looking good, you have to have the right accessories – and The Container Store is the best mecca of creating a storage solution on any budget I can think of. Yes, you can also go to Target – they actually have really cheap, more than acceptable, wood hangers.
What You Need

  • Wooden Hangers – Did you know the proper hangers can help you extent the life of your hanging clothes?
  • Drop-Front Shoe Boxes – Sturdy, attractive boxes allow you to keep your shoes protected. You can’t see through the original box they came in girls.
  • Fabric-Covered Boxes – This is where I put sweaters I don’t use, accessories that are out of season or just things I don’t need to grab every five minutes.
  • Wall hooks – need extra hooks to hand belts, bath robes or scarves, get our your drill and just do it yourself. A four pack costs about $8.00!

Once you have gotten these together, you are ready for Step Two. Stay Tuned For More!

Until then, here are some very useful resources.

Closet Accessory Sites

Newsletters & Articles:

Expert Village’s Video Series On Closet Organization

Deal with the Emotions of Closet Organization — powered by

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Lisa Amber says:

Thanks for this article. My closed is too smal for all my clothes. :)

By the way, take a look at my jewelry blog here –
I post my jewelry advices and different gems revues here.:)

Any comments are welcome.

Macala says:

I did it over the weekend, before I wrote the post, it was PAINFUL. It kills me to give away things that I never wore. It teaches me to be more cautious in my shopping. I have officially moved to timeless and versatile vs. that looks cool.

Ugh… My closet has developed into a room over the last few years. I just can’t seem to let some things go. I feel like at some point, I will lose weight or things will come back in style. And both of these HAVE happened!


She’s right about emotional hangups. We just can’t let it go.