The rewards of a closet purge

8 September 2014

My friend and fab professional organizer, Geralin Thomas, came for a visit a couple of weeks ago. One of the services Geralin offers her clients is wardrobe organization, which includes closet organizing and wardrobe selection. She helped me six years ago (time flies!) and I leaped at the chance to have her help me with my wardrobe again.

We were on a tight schedule and we started with a couple of hours in my closet. We went through the whole closet and she weighed in on whether or not I should keep each item. The idea was that donating the clothing that I don’t wear or doesn’t suit me allows me to see what I do have to use as a base for creating wardrobe capsules.

For each item, we considered the following:

  • Whether I like it
  • Whether I wear it
  • If it’s flattering on me (Geralin’s very good at gently telling me when an item is unflattering)
  • If it’s still in style
  • If it’s age appropriate
  • If I have multiples of the same type of item, and if so, which to keep

In going through this process, I was amazed at how few items made the cut. We filled two large trash bags with donations. (I took them to the Scholarshop which will provide me with a valuated receipt for tax purposes.)

Then we went shopping. Unfortunately, we hit bad traffic and were left with only about an hour to shop. I purchased five terrific pieces of clothing under Geralin’s guidance and that was that.

In the section of my closet where I store tops, I put away the new clothes and moved all the empty hangers to one side. Here’s a photo.

The rewards of a closet purge

I have to admit that I freaked out a little that my closet was so empty. There are definitely some wardrobe gaps that need to be filled! (I was left with only one pair of dress pants, for example.) But Geralin guided me on the basics I need to buy to build a great capsule wardrobe.

After I moved the empty hangers to a spare closet and got used to the idea that the stuff was gone, I began to realize the rewards:

  • I can see everything I own much more easily
  • The closet contains only clothes I actually like and wear
  • Clothes hang more freely and therefore stay more wrinkle-free
  • It’s much easier to make choices because there are fewer options (which makes decisions so much easier for me)
  • I can put clothes away with virtually no effort
  • There are no clothes in the closet mocking me for my bad judgment or making me feel guilty for not wearing them
  • I know what clothes I need and I can shop mindfully

In looking around the web on blogs about wardrobe capsules and minimalist dressing, I came upon the Un-Fancy blog, which I’m enjoying. If you’re intrigued at the idea of dressing well with fewer clothes, you might want to check it out.

If your closet is overstuffed, consider letting go of those items that don’t make you feel fabulous. It can be a little scary, but it can also be really rewarding. If you want to take the plunge, Geralin offers personal style coaching over the phone!

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It’s always fun hanging out with you and building a better wardrobe / getting your closet in ship-shape condition. Plus, it thrills me to hear that you’re living without strangers in your closet – - keeping only your friend and acquaintance garments.

We all think our closets should be stuffed but the clothes in our closets are like the papers in our files – - we rarely need or use most of what we keep. So, why not keep a few “in case of an emergency” type items and let the rest go.

Thanks for writing about this and allowing me to help you create a closet and wardrobe that you feel great about.

Geralin Thomas 09/09/2014 05:54 AM

Janine – such a great post! It is funny how we help our clients but often feel stuck with our own projects. Sometimes a kick in the fanny or a fresh set of eyes is all we need & it’s great that you are showing people that Organizers don’t always have everything in order, sometimes our closets get a little too full too!

Laurie Meek 09/09/2014 07:45 AM

My favorite line: “There are no clothes in the closet mocking me for my bad judgment or making me feel guilty for not wearing them.” :-)

Hazel Thornton 03/11/2015 11:54 AM

Thanks, Hazel! They do have a way of mocking, don’t they?

Janine Adams 03/11/2015 11:59 AM

Love this! It’s best to have only what we love and feel fabulous!

Ellen Delap 03/29/2015 07:30 PM

great article! One thing I did in my closet was switch from wooden hangers to the thin hugger type hangers. Makes a big difference in the room that I have. I also get in my closet when my husband is sleeping and grab clothes . I started hanging all black pant s on the black hangers and blue pants on the white hangers. Might sound silly to some but it prevents the black shoes, blue pants outfit!

Vickie Sheridan 06/29/2015 08:42 AM

I agree about those hangers. Vickie. I love your colored hanger trick to help get dressed without waking your husband!!

Thanks for commenting.

Janine Adams 06/30/2015 08:32 PM

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About Janine

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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