I encourage regular closet sweeps and there is no better time to do it than early in the new year. I notice on the forum that some people got stuck in before my annual reminder. Brilliant.

Your goal is to have a small, fully-functional and efficient wardrobe. This is how you alleviate “what to wear” stress and save money. Here are the guidelines:

  • Be ruthless: You’ll defeat the goal of the exercise if you’re not brutal about the process. Obviously, you need something to wear, so it might mean holding onto less-then-perfect items until you can afford to replace them.
  • Create a holding zone: Store items somewhere (like in the garage or attic) if you think you might miss them later. These are the items you are unsure about passing on. If you haven’t missed these pieces after one year, find new homes for them.
  • Keep a sentimental box: I’m not unreasonable. Unflattering items that are loaded with fond memories deserve a special place. We keep these items in a box in the garage so that they don’t clutter our small walk-in-wardrobe. Some of my clients have resorted to taking pictures instead of keeping the physical pieces as a way of optimizing space.
  • Keep everything in sight and on hand: It’s not ideal to swap out seasons, or use more than one closet (that’s why I encourage a small wardrobe). Try to have all your clothes, shoes and accessories in one place. It prevents repetition and encourages ensemble creativity and variety.
  • Create a closet system you can maintain: The crux is keeping your closet neat and manageable. There is little point in tidying up when your shelves are a shambles a week later. Create a storage system that works for you so that you know what you have at all times.

Once you have a fully-functioning wardrobe, adopt the ”one-in, one-out” principle. This forces you to keep things under control. Thereafter, the skill lies in updating your wardrobe with the right items and in the right quantities to keep your look current, appropriate and fabulous. Bring on the closet sweep!

Other posts in the closet organization category that you may want to consult: