I suggest creating six piles of items when you edit your closet. I’ve mentioned them when writing about closet editing challenges in the past, but in this post I’d like to go into a little more detail. 

Here they are:

  1. Keep: These are the items that you love and are aligned with your current style preferences. They make you feel great when you wear them, are flattering, and fit well.
  2. Temporary Keep: These items aren’t quite right, but you rely on them to pull together daily outfits. The plan is to replace the items when you have the time and budget, or when a good substitute comes your way. For example, I will wear extra comfy shoes into the ground because finding a replacement does not happen overnight. Or, you recently found out that most of your trousers are too short. You can’t let down the hems or purchase another six pairs straight away. So you’ll rebuild your trouser collection step by step, getting rid of the ill fitting pairs as you add in the updates.
  3. Alteration: Sometimes a little hem, nip or tuck is necessary in order for an item to fit or look updated. Shorten or lengthen hems and sleeves, have shoes resoled, take in tops at the side seams, sew on new buttons, alter waistbands and remove pocket linings. All items that need altering end up in this pile.
  4. Holding Zone: This is an interesting pile that is hopefully not too large! It’s made up of items that are questionable, but you’re not entirely sure they should be banished from your life forever. Pop them into an area that is out of sight. Give yourself a season to gauge whether you really miss them. If so, haul them back into your closet. If not, pass them on. 
  5. Sentimental: These are the items that you don’t wear, but they tell a story, bring back a fond memory, or remind you of the good old days. You don’t want these items cluttering up your closet, especially when space is at a premium, but you can’t part with them either. So pack them into a “sentimental box” that you’ll store out of the way. That said, occasionally it’s nice to keep the odd sentimental pieces in your wardrobe even though you don’t wear them. I used to keep my late Mum’s brocade jacket, the one that she wore to our wedding, in our closet because it made me smile each time I looked at it. I finally moved it away when I was ready to do so. 
  6. Pass On: These are the items that you don’t like, have outgrown, are beyond alteration and are unflattering, dated, ruined, don’t fit, or are no longer in line with your current style preferences. Pass them on by donating them to places like goodwill, the Salvation Army and non-profit organizations like Dress For Success. Consign them, sell them on eBay, pass them on to friends and family members, or have a swap party. 

You’ll greatly reduce the closet editing process by making it a more frequent event. And if you do a fast edit every few months like I do, you’ll create fewer and much smaller piles. 

How often do you edit your closet? Are you challenged along the way? Please post your closet editing questions in the comments section and we’ll get you sorted. If you are a seasoned closet editor, do chime in and share your own tips.