6 Simple Rules for Cleaning Out Your Closet


6 Simple rules for cleaning out your closet from Inside Out Style Blog

So many women will lament that they have ‘nothing to wear’ yet their significant other may say ‘but you have a wardrobe full of clothes’ – so why the disconnect?

Usually this is because they need to do a big closet purge, get rid of what is not working, and discover the holes so they can shop more judiciously.
When I do a wardrobe audit, these are some of my simple rules:
  1. Do you love it? If it’s a favourite – then put it onto the ‘maybe’ pile (why maybe – because it still has to pass some of the next 5 steps to earn it’s place back in your wardrobe).
  2. If you don’t love it – but it’s a basic that makes your ‘love it’ pieces work together then put it on the maybe pile.
  3. Does it fit? If it’s too small – let it go – if you lose the weight that would make it fit – you’ll want to celebrate with a new wardrobe. If it’s too large – are you attracting back the weight so it fits you again? Can it be altered to make it fit better for you?
  4. Is it still fashionable – not the latest trend necessarily – but in the realm of current fashions? Clothes that are old fashioned make you look old and past it – is that what you want?
  5. Does it flatter – does it make the most of your current shape?
  6. Would you buy it from an Op Shop (thrift store, charity shop)? If you wouldn’t buy it from an Op Shop, it doesn’t earn it’s place in your wardrobe. Clothes that are worn out give off the vibe that you don’t value yourself and are worn out too.
Any garment that falls at more than one of the six rules needs to be let go.

The Maybe Pile

So you added some items to the Maybe Pile.  It’s time to give them a proper assessment.
  • Even if you love it, if it’s worn out, or doesn’t fit, you need to let it go.  This is often hard, but let these pieces go with a word of love about how much you’ve appreciated and loved them!
  • It needs to flatter you – now that may be flattering your personality (even if it doesn’t make the most of your body shape), but if it doesn’t make you feel good today, let them go.
  • Unless your style is vintage chic, if it’s out of date it will make you look old and out of touch.  Fashions change quickly and we need to move items on if they are no longer current.



Now you’ve purged, next step is to figure out where the holes are … more on that here.


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  • Brilliant ideas once again! My wardrobe is v e r y small. I remove clothes I don´t wear/like all the time. Once I have created a dislike to something, I just have to part with it asap. There is no going back. I have tried to, but it is a no, no for me. I won´t permit myself to fall in love with my possessions. I have written about this before ( dates back to my history ). If someone says like: Oh, that´s nice, I might as well give it away. I´ll try to keep the tags on longer, as you have told me, as I do buy new stuff too, but I am growing more and more critical. No old stuff for me. And this is going on with interior designing too. I have had my share of antiques. Btw, I too have found small holes in my cashmere sweaters. I believe, that it is caused by a worm of some sort, so I store my cashmeres in a bag.

  • brilliant timing! I'm just about to update my wardrobe. Will be scanning lookbooks this week and also hit the stores with a friend to check on new collections and find out what I need / want to buy.

    Awaiting your next post and then I'll use the next weekend to prepare my wardrobe for fall. Finally!

  • Imogen, when I worked with one image consultant, she wanted me to get rid of my small colllection of Hermes silk bouses because SHE did not care for prints.I'm so glad I stood firm! I am sure you are not the kind of consultant who imposes her won taste on clients. But other than that- terrific experience.

    Metscan: sounds like moths to me. You will need a box with airtight lid, and store woolens clean at end of season. I've batted moths on and off for years.

  • I've just finished taming my wardrobe- so when I do some more shopping I know what gaps I need to fill (mauybe your next post will help me) and I really feel like I can make so many more outfits now!

  • I love the 6th rule, if I wouldn't buy it "used" why do I think my "used" item looks good on me, just because I generated the wear??? Brilliant. Will help me purge so "oldies but no longer goodies."

  • I should have had you come to my house when you were here to help me clear out my closet. I know these rules but I am still staring at a closet full of things that I have no desire to keep or wear because the fear of being forced to wear the same thing everyday is killing. Which is ridiculous because I already wear the same thing everyday because everything else is garbage! Even the things I am wearing are time to be retired because I wear them all the time. Help!

  • since the topic of this post has to do with cleaning out, I'd like to kindly redirect you to my new blog. I've moved from embellessiment (for reasons written down there) to the following place:


    I'd be happy to still be included in your blogroll, and would also invite the commenting audience here to come and take a loog 🙂

    Sorry if that was too much advertisment, I didn't mean to missuse your blog!

    Still looking forward to tomorrows post on cleaning out the closet!

  • Great post, especially now that the seasons are changing and I'm about to exchange my summer wardrobe for my fall clothes.

  • I´m just thanking you Duchesse for the tip! Yes, I have washed the cashmeres and carefully examined them, and will store them now like you say. Luckily there were only 2 small holes in one sweater ; )

  • I have a pretty small wardrobe, which works for me until it doesn't, ha. I'm in Cosmo's situation of needing to replace worn-to-death stuff (seasonless wool pants with the seat worn out, mostly) AND
    I'm also sick of trotting out the basics that have yet to *quite* wear out. I'm afraid changing up accessories ain't gonna cut it this year….

    With my budget even tighter than usual, I'm opting to start with a few items that are a bit less staid than normal. They'll merge into what I have and hopefully keep me from falling asleep when I open that closet door!

    [If I'm lucky, one might even be what you call a Hero.]

    Will look forward to your next installment.

  • can't wait for the next post! I am currently editing my closet, and working on buying all new hangers. I love all hangers being the same… want to feel like I am stepping into a tiny boutique!!!

    Happy Labor Day! 🙂

  • Metscan – I hope you don't get rid of clothes just because someone has complimented you!

    Terrible about the holes in your cashmere – keep those nasty moths at bay!

    Jane – I'm sure it's time for your to really sort out your wardrobe – I was amazed reading your article that you still didn't wear lots of your wardrobe!

    Embellessiment – change of season often brings about the need to sort out sections of our lives!

    Duchesse – that I just don't understand – it's not about my taste, but the clients – I only ever insist on getting rid of stuff that is worn out – but Hermes silk blouses? Even if they were worn out I might have suggested turning them into scarves if there was a decent amount of fabric left!

    Claire – must be a mind reader!

    Tessa – glad to hear it.

    Luinae – great work.

    Anonymous – I love the Op Shop rule – it makes you assess your clothing in a new light!

    Cosmo – why not try : working out why you're not wearing what you're not wearing, move it out of the wardrobe so you're not looking at it every day, and then after a few months if you haven't wanted it – get rid cos you weren't missing it?

  • My over worn clothes are always my basics and I find them hard to replace!!!.I find the shape and style of my basics have much influence on my wardrobe!
    Moth? AARRRGGGGHHH!Hate them! I personnaly use few drops of lavender esencial oil in the rincing water when I wash my wool items, plus always wash before storing!

  • Thoughts – will have a look at your new blog

    Belle de Ville – excellent timing!

    Vix – hope you find that hero for your wardrobe!

    Ivy – I'm sure that your wardrobe will look so much better after this – and function better too! Thanks so much for coming by and commenting.

    Anonymous – good tips for keeping moths at bay!

  • it's time for a fall purge and while similar guidelines have rattled through my mind ay various times – i love your authority!! no more waffling – imogene says it's out!!

  • New information : It isn´t the moth, that´s making the holes on my cashmeres. It is an awful 5mm. long, dark brown, kinda roundish- yak- creature called-attagenus woodroffei in Latin ( I don´t know the English word ). It lives especially in apartment houses and lives by eating textiles and dead insects. Now I want to vomit. Hard to get rid of. It´s like wash your whole house and put it in a freezer -20 C for a week. Or call some firm to do the destroying of them. So sorry to print this all down, but I just had to let you all know.

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