From a recent Container Store flyer.  Click on any photo to enlarge.

As the year draws to close, I attempt what I always do every year-end…a major closet cleanout.

From the same flyer…and no, this isn’t my closet!!!  I wish!

This year I’m being particularly ruthless about it, and really taking a long and hard look at what takes up my most precious closet real-estate, and getting rid of things that I don’t wear, will not wear, and that just aren’t who I am anymore.

From a Spring 2011 Spiegel catalog.

From Lucky Magazine April (I think?) 2011.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit to the sheer amount of stuff that I’ve been hoarding for years, and never once wore.  I have to finally come to terms with the fact that these pieces were never really “me,” and I was trying to embrace a trend I could never figure out how to style properly in any other way.  My Keep It or Toss It Rules?

Keep It or Toss It? 7 Ways to Create a Curated Closet

{And when I write TOSS, I mean sell, exchange, or donate!  Or upcycle with some DIY only if you will wear it after its makeover…}

1. Keep only ONE item that is a certain shape, style and color, unless this one item is your signature piece.** (More on “signature pieces” below.)  If you never wear capes, how many gray capes do you need?  KEEP one, TOSS the others.

2. TOSS all your “skinny clothes” except for ONE or TWO pieces that you love and you want to keep as a goal.  (If you end up getting down to that size again in the future, you’ll want to buy all new things then in order to show the new you off!!)  In the same vein, TOSS all your fat clothes, except ONE to remind you of how far you’ve come.  Put both the fat and the skinny clothes in a box, out of sight…unless you want a daily reminder hitting you in the face every time you open your closet.  (Could be useful for inspiration…?)

3. TOSS all the clothes that are more than 2 sizes bigger or smaller than what you are now.  Or have them altered so you can still wear them.

4. KEEP basics, as long as they aren’t ripped or stained.  Ripped – TOSS!  Stained – re-purpose as workout clothes, DIY, or TOSS.  Try to pare down your basics to ONE or TWO of each kind (TWO white tight-fitting t-shirts, ONE white loose-fitting t-shirt etc.)

5. For every single piece in your closet, you must be able to visualize at least 3 different ways to style it (that you would actually wear!)  If you’re having trouble coming up with different ways to wear it, then you should probably TOSS it.

6. Make sure that every piece you KEEP is special in some way…either it has a little detail, or a pretty print, or color that looks fabulous on you.  The stuff that you don’t love to death but has a special story behind it and you just can’t bear to part with it? …Box it with your skinny clothes.

7. Stand back often and assess what’s left in your wardrobe.  Sometimes it helps to pull everything out and only put back items you love…but for me, there was just too much stuff!  Standing back from everything gives me a little perspective.

**And finally, to create your own identity within a mass of clothes and other items…

Develop your signature: a piece of clothing, jewelry, or accessory that is something you love and is uniquely YOU.  Though I have a ton of earrings, I always wear a bunch of mismatched gemstone studs in different colors and sizes.  It’s just something I’ve been doing this year that I’ve really begun to like, and if I lose one…hey! I have a whole bunch more that I can replace it with.

Also: a valet bar is a must!  Some people call them an “edit bar,” but even a hook will suffice.  Just somewhere you can stick clothes to put together outfits before putting everything on.  It seriously saves time!

Since I have limited space, I actually hang vests and button-front shirts on the same hangers as dresses and blouses!  Each item on a shirt hanger in my closet also gets a necklace, because I have a huge necklace collection and always forget what I own.  I have to see it or I will forget about it completely.

I’m currently being inspired by well-organized closets (cue Ikea and The Container Store catalogs), and beautiful photos of airy, dreamy spaces to house all one’s accoutrements.

From the US website.

A Pair and a Spare has a great series on paring down (see what I did there?;-) your own wardrobe to pieces that you love, and maybe, as FashionISing wrote, the current covetable closet is a well-edited and curated one?

I’m still working on that, but I’ll be at least a couple steps closer come this New Year.


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