closet cleanse

What is a closet cleanse? 

A closet cleanse is the process of going through one’s wardrobe and identifying the clothing that is actively being worn, as well as, the pieces of clothing that have never been worn, are no longer being worn, are just plain out of style, or no longer fit.  I assist clients with this cleansing process because it is important to do this type of work in amindset and with plenty of support. I find (myself included) that sometimes we forget about pieces we have acquired, we gain weight, lose weight, and styles come and go. As the months or years go by, we accumulate more clothing than we actually need or can wear.  The cleanse can be done annually, bi-annually or as needed.  I usually do mine when I am switching from warm weather clothes to cold weather clothes, since I am already in organization mode.

My recent client Leila allowed me to share her story below.

Closet Cleanse With Leila

In Leila’s words: “What type of girl doesn’t like clothes and shopping? Strangely enough, me! But, I definitely had to “do” something to get my wardrobe in shape ,as I am preparing to make a major life change. I was so grateful to have Amy take me step-by-step through the process. She patiently went through my wardrobe and listened to all of my stories of how I owned a beautiful cashmere dress that I had never worn (too itchy) or pants that had been patched three times in the crotch (super-comfy). I left our session feeling confident, knowing what items I looked good in and even felt proud that we had found some clothing gems in my closet. And, yes, she made me get rid of the dress and pants!”

My friend Leila is making a big move from the east coast to Michigan to do her PhD work. Relocating can be a major endeavor and with it comes lots of organizing and packing. Leila was concerned that she had clothes she no longer needed, liked, or were not particularly flattering, mixed in with the clothes she intended to pack and take with her to Michigan.  Like lots of us, Leila keeps very busy and in her case she is juggling work and academia. Going through her closet was not at the top of her list for enjoyable and relaxing activities.

That is where I come in. I find that moral support during reorganization and change can make the process much more pleasant, and in this case even fun. Throw in my fashion knowledge and some good background music and we were ready to go.

On a Friday afternoon Leila and I began the process of going through her collection of clothing. My role that afternoon was to provide support and organizational expertise. Asking questions like, have you worn that in the past six months or year? Do you still like it? Does it fit properly? And providing advice on what pieces of clothing paired well together, which styles were most ideally suited to Leila’s shape and suggesting which pieces may be worn out, ready for consignment or donation.

Before beginning Leila’s audit, I created some categories that would assist me in sorting the clothes and keeping them organized:

  1. Give away: Used clothing in good enough shape to be worn by others
  2. Give away or consign: Never worn clothing in good enough  shape to give away or re-sell
  3. Needs mending: Clothing that is in good shape, but has a small hole, missing button, etc.
  4. Alterations: Need to be taken in, let out, hemmed, etc.
  5. Keep: All the clothes that would stay in Leila’s current wardrobe and make the move to Michigan
  6. Throw away/recycle: Severely damaged, stained, worn out clothing

This skirt had never been worn (tags still on)

This skirt had never been worn (tags still on)

I as so happy to see this blouse go!

I as so happy to see this blouse go!

At the end of our time together Leila and I had accomplished several things; we had pared her wardrobe down to items that she liked and enjoyed wearing. We identified items that she needed to replace and made a “shopping list”. Leila now knows what she needs to look for the next time she goes shopping. I also put together a list of a few professional outfit pairings from her current wardrobe that she could utilize for meetings and events. Leila now has “go to” outfits that she can put on without a lot of thought, effort or stress.  I also identified certain style features that are ideal for Leila’s figure, here are two examples; recommendation #1: select an empire waist detail when purchasing dresses and #2:  select tops, dresses, or jackets with bell sleeves to create more balance between shoulders and hips.

I also addressed Leila’s dislike for ironing. She loves button down shirts, but hates to iron (I totally share this feeling!). I recommended that she get a hand steamer. Hand steamers are great because you place your garment on a hanger and then use the steamer attachment to release the wrinkles. No more ironing boards! Steamers come in a variety of sizes, including a travel size that is easy to pack and can also be utilized at home.

If you want to read more about closet organization, here is a link from an organizational guru:


4 responses to “closet cleanse

  1. Next time you’re in Europe, consider yourself hired. My closet is in urgent need of your expertise, I’m afraid… 🙂

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