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Inspired @ Home

Your Guide to Editing Your Wardrobe

By: Staff Published: January 29, 2024

Do you consider yourself a clothes horse, did you recently have a big lifestyle change or do you simply want to clear out your closet? Whatever your reason for editing your wardrobe, we have your guide to getting started, purging your old items and organizing what you keep.

Where to Start

You might find that taking the first step is the hardest part, especially if you have a lot of clothing or if you’re a sentimental person. If possible, ask an impartial friend or family member to help you with this stage of the process.

First, go through your wardrobe, including shoes and handbags, piece by piece and remove anything that’s out of style, damaged or no longer fits your body, your taste or your current life.

If you would still wear a damaged article of clothing or shoe if it could be repaired, consider how much money or time it would take to make the alterations. Most clothing issues can be fixed – such as missing buttons, a broken zipper or a torn lining. For shoes, replacing the soles and the heels usually makes financial sense. If the leather or fabric is worn or cracking, the shoes should go into the garbage.

sort your clothing into piles

Stack your keepers into piles, away from the pieces you plan to donate or sell.

Next, sort your pieces into five groups: keep, repair, sell, donate, toss. Read the next section for guidance on what you can sell, what can (and what shouldn’t) go to charity and where you might be able to recycle your old things.

Tip: Keep in mind that the items you choose to keep should coordinate with each other. You don’t want to end up with a ton of separates that won’t make any outfits.

How to Purge

Set aside your keep and repair piles for this next step. You might need to revisit your sell, donate and toss piles, however, once you’ve read this section. The categories could change based on the following recommendations.

modular reach-in closet

Start the purge phase with an empty closet.

Sell: Whether you’re planning to sell your items at a local consignment shop or online, most of the time, they need to be in excellent condition and relatively new (unless they’re vintage, of course). Take an honest look at each piece – and maybe have a friend give you a second opinion – before you decide to sell, rather than donate or toss. If you’re sure you’re going to turn your purses, clothing and shoes into cash, read our blog post, “How to Make Money by Cleaning out Your Closet,” for advice and ideas.

Read the blog

Donate: While donated items don’t have to be in pristine condition, you should still give thought to what someone can use. Anything that’s dated, faded or worn out should move to the toss pile. On a separate note, be careful to look inside pockets and purses so you don’t accidentally give away a valuable or sentimental object.

Toss: You might feel guilty about throwing away some of your things, either because you’re adding to the local landfill or the piece holds memories. In some cases, you could have another option – recycling. Some clothing shops will take old denim or other pieces of clothing in exchange for a discount on new items. Or, you could upcycle your sweaters, T-shirts and such. Not sure where to start? “Good Housekeeping” came up with more than 50 ways to reuse your clothes!

Once you’ve sorted all your clothing into its appropriate pile, it’s time for the final phase: reorganization.

How to Organize What’s Left

Putting everything back into your closet will take some analysis and planning. You might want to purchase matching hangers, shelf organizers or other closet accessories to create a more efficient system.

Also, consider the best way to store each item. Folding sweaters is often preferable to hanging them, for instance. You might notice that you have more closet space for pants and jeans so you can clear out your dresser – or even get rid of it.

freestanding closet

Arrange your closet with purpose, either by color, by style and/or clothing type.

If you have the room, dedicate a portion of the closet to your outfits for the week. That way, you can plan each day’s clothing ahead of time. No more wasting time deciding what to wear in the morning!

Lastly, organize your closet in a way that makes the most sense to you. Do you go by color or clothing type when selecting your ensemble? However you choose, be consistent and place everything back where it belongs.

You should find that getting dressed is much easier now that you have an edited wardrobe. Show us your before and after by tagging us in your social media posts.

Organize your wardrobe