Closet editing should be a straight forward exercise and I’ve written several posts on how to attack the process. If you’re not in the habit of editing regularly, set aside about 5 hours to create six piles. Here is a summary of the pile sorting strategy, which involves lots of re-trying of clothes, footwear and accessories:

  • Pile 1 for items that stay in your wardrobe.
  • Pile 2 for items that require alteration.
  • Pile 3 is the holding zone.
  • Pile 4 for items of sentimental value (stuff that you don’t wear, but cannot part with either).
  • Pile 5 for items that aren’t great, but serve their purpose for activities like gardening, home improvements and camping.
  • Pile 6 for items to pass on.

Unless the item is for Pile 5, get rid of stuff that’s soiled, ill-fitting, unflattering against your complexion, uncomfortable, doesn’t make you feel fab, or just not part of the current leg of your style journey. Seems simple, right?

For some people this process is dead easy, because they have a clear sense of their style preferences and what looks best. They also understand how items should fit, and don’t have trouble letting go of things that have seen better days, or never worked in the first place.

For others, closet editing is an overwhelming, time consuming and lonely process filled with doubt, guilt and the battle to pass on items that don’t work. It can even lead to negative body image, spinning people into a downward spiral because clothing doesn’t fit the way it used to.

There are many potential sources of frustration. Perhaps you’re not sure how items should fit or you can’t tell when they are dated. What if you can’t tell when a colour looks fab or drab? What if, heaven forbid, you get rid of things that have stylish potential? What if everything just ends up in the holding zone and you are back to square one? How are you going to get through the editing process without feeling like giving up all together? How are you going to find the time to do it?

These frustrating feelings are completely understandable and it’s one of the reasons I have a job. But hiring a fashion stylist or wardrobe professional is not essential. You can edit your own closet even if it’s sometimes hard to make the right decisions. Here are some ideas to ease the process:

  1. Round up a savvy closet mate: It could be a friend, sibling, child, parent, or partner. Two pairs of hands and a sounding board are effective and efficient tools for this process. Discuss editing dilemmas and fit concerns along the way and keep up the positive body image talk. Boost and energize each other along the way.
  2. Post questions on a style forum: If pairing with a savvy closet mate is not an option, post your questions and concerns on a style forum, like the one we have here on YLF. The help of a supportive community can make the closet editing process pain free and fun.
  3. Tackle one closet section at a time: Setting aside the better half of a day to closet edit might not be an option. Divide the editing process into a few shorter sessions until you’ve finally worked through the lot.

Practice makes perfect. The more you closet edit, the easier and simpler this process becomes. I promise!

Spring often motivates us to clean-up and get organized. Have you recently edited your closet? What types of closet editing challenges do you face, if any, and how have you overcome them? Do you enjoy closet editing?