We've all got a little bit of a hoarder in us, which is why it's so hard to find ways to purge our closets when the time comes. The feat itself usually takes a couple of months of convincing to work up to it. You open your closet doors day after day, skipping over dated tops from 2007 and trying to hold the grimaces back from the flash of spaghetti straps and tapered pleats. You've got a whole lot of "no" happening in the depths of your shelves, but for whatever reason, it's hard to let go of the clutter.
Even though you know this will never ever happen, what if you want to end up wearing that ugly shirt next time you go out with your friends? Or what if that terrible dress your mom bought for your birthday will be just the thing for a first date? All these thoughts are irrational, but still pretty hard to let go. What you need here is a list of tips that will help you jump those hoarding hurtles — you need to arm yourself with a few tactics that will make it impossible for you to keep the stuff that really should be packed away and sealed in the "donate" pile. Well, help is here and I have those strategies for you! Ready to love the wardrobe you have? Here are seven sure-fire tips and tactics to purge your closet, and ruthlessly.
1. Lay It All Out
When purging your closet, you have to make yourself realize how much stuff you actually own. We like to gloss the numbers to make ourselves feel better, and sometimes the real answer is sobering. So take out everything you own, and toss it into the middle of your room. Just make one giant mess and see how the numbers don't lie.
Associate editor Victoria Dawson Hoff at Elle shared, "Although this will likely require a large plot of floor, we can't properly emphasize the value of doing a grand dump of the contents of your closet and drawers. With this all-encompassing view, you'll be able to immediately see how much stuff you have, which is a rare moment of self-reflection that few of us are brave enough to afford ourselves."
You'll never use the phrase "I have nothing to wear" — look how much you own!
2. Create A Cut Off Point
Now that you have everything in an overwhelming mess on the floor, it's time to dig in. One great way to begin to decide what to toss and what to keep is to create a cut-off point of what automatically gets tossed. No discussions, no back-and-forth — just a clear ticket to the discard pile. The only decision you need to make is what that cut-off should be: three months, six, or a year?
Hoff pointed out, "If you haven't worn it in a year, what makes you think you're going to wear it now? Don't hoard items under false pretenses. Let your experience dictate your actions—if it's been a year and it still has the tag on it or if you can't think of at least three ways to style it, it's time to let go. " So clear lines: If you haven't worn it in X amount of time, out it automatically goes.
3. Rate Your Pieces With A Number
Alright, now that you have some pieces folded away in the discard pile, you have to keep the momentum going. Another great way to help you decide what stays and what goes is to rate each piece with a number, and then create groups with those ratings.
According to Debbie Roes, style blogger and author of End Closet Chaos , "I’ve written before about using a scale of 1 to 10 for evaluating wardrobe pieces. While it’s not realistic to expect all of our clothes to be “10”s, we need to set relatively high standards for what gets to stay in our closets, especially when we’re trying to pare down an overly crowded wardrobe. I generally recommend that we should aim for all '8's or higher when determining which pieces to keep."
And after you rate each piece, group them together with their numbers so you can visually see how you feel about your wardrobe. If you have a lot of "8's and "9"s, awesome! You've been shopping smart. But if you have a lot of "3"s and "4"s... that's kind of telling. If it doesn't add joy into your life, then it really shouldn't be taking up space, right?
4. Realize That Your Style Changing Is An OK Thing
When cleaning out your closet, you might be tempted to keep some pieces that you no longer enjoy but feel you should still like. They might be great quality or barely worn, and so you think there'll be a time in the distant future where you just might feel like wearing them. But the thing is, if it no longer fits your style, you shouldn't feel guilty. Our tastes change, and keeping pieces that no longer make us feel excited or beautiful doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Roes explained, "A few of my tops used to be '8's or above but aren’t anymore. Our style preferences change, so what we used to love may no longer strike our fancy...All of these things are OK and valid reasons for letting closet pieces go!" You can't expect yourself to stay the same forever, and the same goes for our likes and dislikes. If it no longer fits your new sense of self or your new style, toss it, and guilt-free.
5. Be Straight With Yourself: Would You Buy That Piece Today?
Another great trick to help you keep purging rather than hoarding is to ask yourself, if you were standing in a shop right now, would you buy that piece in question? If the answer is no, then why would you want to keep it around? It doesn't' excite you, which means it's not helping your wardrobe out in any way.
Roes elaborates, "Keeping things because you spent money on them won’t bring your lost dollars back. You’ll either force yourself to wear things you don’t really like or feel guilty when you see them hanging in your closet. In either case, you won’t feel happy keeping your ill-advised purchases around."
6. Ask A Friend Over
If you have a real hard time making decisions and forcing yourself to let go, enlist help. Hoff points out, "Go through this process with your friend/roommate whose opinion you trust. A second pair of eyes will be handy when you're debating over keeping/tossing that body-con crop top that you think you might wear but 'just haven't gotten around to.' Not to mention, you'll probably have a lot more fun doing it." Bribe a girlfriend over with the promise of wine and go through the pile together, weighing the pros and cons of each piece.
7. Plan Ahead
Now that you've got everything sorted, it's time to plan ahead for the next purge. Say you've kept some pieces you were on the fence about, but weren't sure if you'd regret tossing. So for the next time, collect some data so you have facts backing up your decisions. And the way to do that is to keep track of what you decided to wear for the next six months (or however long it takes you to clean out your closet next.)
Janel Laban, executive editor at Apartment Therapy, shared, "Turn around all the hangers in your closet so the hooks are pointing towards you (wrong way round). When you wear something, put it back with the hook the normal way. In six months, any hanger still facing the wrong way is holding an item you haven't worn, ready for the donation bag." If you see proof staring back at you how many pieces you haven't touched — and didn't want to touch — the next time you purge the decisions will be easier!
More room for new clothes is never a bad thing, after all.
Images: Sex And The City/New Line Cinema