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10 Things to Take Out of Your Closet

Building a Wardrobe
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March 26, 2019

Hi there! And welcome to Dressed for My Day. Today we’re continuing with this year’s style series, Building a Wardrobe that Works for You. Before you we can build that hard working, versatile wardrobe, we’ll need to clean out our closets and start fresh. I’m sharing 10 things you need to take out of your closet with the change of the seasons.

10 Things to Take Out of Your Closet so you can Build a Wardrobe that Works for You

It’s not necessarily a fun place to start. I’d much rather go shopping! But because part of our goal is to streamline our wardrobe, it’s best to begin with a clean slate…um, closet.

I tackled my closet yesterday and changed out my winter clothes for my spring and summer wardrobe at the same time. I exchange my wardrobe like this every spring and fall, but I think this is the first time I completely cleaned out my closet. I highly recommend it.

10 Things to Take Out of Your Closet so you can Build a Wardrobe that Works for You

I took absolutely everything out of my closet. I piled the contents into my bedroom and began sorting. I went through both my fall/winter clothing and my spring/summer pieces. And that’s where we begin today.

When you’re building a wardrobe that works for you it’s best to begin by taking out 10 things that you don’t need.

10 Things to Take Out:

#1 – Sentimental Pieces

We might as well begin where it hurts some gals the most. It’s time to let go of those items you’re holding onto for purely sentimental reasons.

I discovered I still I had my bridal shoes from 31 years ago. Since the Smithsonian hasn’t called to ask for them, I decided it’s time to let them go. I plan to take them to a non-profit that helps provide formal clothing for women. Maybe someone can enjoy these vintage silk shoes that are in spotless condition.

Y’all, if I can let go of my bridal shoes, you can let go of your sentimental items, too. I also said goodbye to high school t-shirts, a t-shirt from my Appalachian Trail backpacking trip and another pair of formal shoes.

#2 – Gimme Tees

Speaking of t-shirts, do you have tees that you were given for running races, participating in charity events, etc.? Or maybe you’ve picked up t-shirts as you’ve traveled. I’m not advocating stripping your wardrobe of every single t-shirt, but I do suggest narrowing down the selection. I allowed myself to keep about three t-shirts from trips, but I let go of almost a dozen.

#3 – Worn Out Items

I tend to keep accessories longer than I should. My belts, shoes and handbags sometimes start looking worn and tired before I notice, I guess because I’m so attached to them.

10 Things to Take Out of Your Closet so you can Build a Wardrobe that Works for You

I’ve absolutely loved wearing these pink flats for about five years, but I probably should have gotten rid of them before last summer. They’re more worn out than they even appear in the photo above. And they’re gone!

#4 – Items that Aren’t Your Colors

In this post on choosing the colors of your wardrobe, I suggested restricting your wardrobe to 3-4 signature colors and two neutrals, along with either white or off white. Now is the time to stick to those color choices.

I suggest letting go of anything that isn’t one of your signature colors or neutrals if you don’t just love it and wear it often. There’s no reason to throw out an item that’s in a color off your list if you’re really getting some mileage out of it and it looks great on you. But choose wisely.

I did let go of some orange, lavender and brown pieces because those are not my colors.

#5 – Items that Aren’t Your Style

In this post, 9 Keys to Building a Wardrobe that Works for You, I suggested you consider your approach to style. I recommend factoring in your lifestyle, life stage, personality, etc. to decide your personal style approach. You might also want to read this post about How to Dress for Your Personality.

These were some of the hardest pieces for me to let go of because I felt like I had spent good money on them and I should just wear them. But then I realized someone else can wear them and enjoy them more authentically than I can.

Mostly I found myself letting go of loud, colorful pieces that would be more appropriate for someone with a dramatic style essence. I’m a more classic gal.

What's Your Style_ Quiz
Click the image above to take the What’s Your Personal Style Essence Quiz or click here.

#6 – Items You Don’t Wear

I also got rid of clothes, accessories and shoes that I just don’t wear. In several cases, I had kept these items in my closet for several years thinking that “this year I’ll wear it more.” But I never did. Often these aren’t “ugly” or poorly fitting clothes. They’re just pieces that don’t get worn. Maybe it has more to do with my life stage.

I’m taking all of the items I removed from my closet to a nearby community clothes closet. So I’m glad someone will actually wear them and they won’t just hang in my closet anymore.

#7 – Duplicates

Once again, I regret that I’ve spent money on clothing items I didn’t really need. But I decided to be ruthless. I let go of duplicate items unless it made sense to have them.

10 Things to Take Out of Your Closet so You can Build a Wardrobe that Works for You

When I purchased these button-fly cropped jeans recently I had forgotten that I already had a similar pair of cropped jeans. Since the button-fly feature is trending, I kept these and let go of the others. These are great jeans. But someone else will get to enjoy them.

10 Things to Take Out of Your Closet so You can Build a Wardrobe that Work for You

Likewise, I bought these blue and ivory striped d’orsay flats this year, so I let go of the blue and ivory striped ballet flats I’d purchased last year. These were hard decisions, but I’m determined to keep only what I can wear with regularity. So duplicates needed to go.

#8 – Poor Fit

I tried on every skirt and pair of pants or shorts I’d taken out of storage. I haven’t gained any weight nor has my body changed since last summer, but I knew I had kept clothing from the previous year, so I didn’t really recall what fit and what didn’t.

Again I was ruthless. If an item kinda fit, but didn’t flatter, I didn’t keep it. I have plenty of clothes. So I only kept those pieces that fit well and beautifully.

#9 – Outdated Items

Unlike items that we keep for purely sentimental reasons, we often keep items beyond their expiration date because we truly, truly love them. But these items, while they may still be in good shape, are not in style…at all.

For me, these are often dresses that look more like vintage relics than stylish fashion. If wearing it or using it will make you look antiquated, it’s time to let it go.

10 Things to Take Out of Your Closet so you can Build a Wardrobe that Works for You

I decided it was time to let go of my Coach handbag. I don’t use it anymore, and I think it’s a little dated.

#10 – Items that Don’t Bring You Joy

Organizational guru Marie Kondo advocates keeping only those items that bring you joy. At first this seemed like quite a luxury to me. Surely not everything in my wardrobe could bring me joy. But, then again, why not?

That’s why I decided to let go of these double frayed ankle jeans I’d bought and worn last summer. When I tried them on I remembered that I felt “off” every time I wore them. They fit, but not great. They look okay, but not great. They just don’t make me feel great. And they don’t give me joy; they frustrate me. So I let them go.

After you take out the 10 things…

I gathered more than two huge laundry baskets of clothing, shoes and accessories to donate. Then I put away my fall and winter clothes and put my spring and summer selections in my closet.

If you’d like to learn more about how to build a wardrobe that works for you, I suggest you begin here. Also, if you’re a subscriber, you have access to my wardrobe essentials lists in the Freebies for Subscribers page. And if you’re not a subscriber, let’s take care of that today! You can subscribe and get the details here.


Blessed for My Day

Do you ever cry, “Woe is me?” Well, maybe not out loud, but in your mind? I certainly do. But honestly, I don’t suffer much in reality. And when I do face hardship I need to remember that God is working all things for good in my life.

What good can come of suffering? The most important benefit of suffering is that it gives us the opportunity to become more like Christ. We have the chance to learn from Him and to allow Him to shape us into His image. And, if we suffer well – remaining faithful to Him, leaning into Him for provision rather than pulling away in resentment and living in obedience – we have the opportunity to give others a glimpse of Jesus’ character, too.

For it has been given to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him. ~ Philippians 1:29

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xoxo, Kay
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36 thoughts on “10 Things to Take Out of Your Closet

  1. I had planned to do this over the winter break, but I just didn’t have the time (although I did do some smaller “clean out if it doesn’t bring you joy” projects.) So, first up at the end of the academic year – spring cleaning and my closet. I have to be more ruthless (although I think I will keep my wedding shoes a bit longer, as it is only our 6 yr anniversary this year 🙂 I so love those heels. I think I may have a few tops from when I was pregnant, and my daughter is 29 today. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Kay, I’m a t shirt girl. I wear t shirts working out. I’m sentimental when it comes to my tees! A friend recently suggested having a t shirt quilt made. I’m going to do that. Also we give them on our mission trips. I live on the Gulfcoast, so I changed out my closet a month ago.

    1. I get that about t-shirts. I keep them a long time too. I said I got rid of one from my AT backpacking trip but I kept one too. When a friend and I went to Maine a few years ago I managed to come home with 4 tees!! I kept 2. ?

  3. I really enjoyed this post. Makes me want to go and clean out my closet. You always have such practical advice. Thank you also for the encouraging words you are always sharing. Many blessings!

  4. Oh gosh – this was awesome! I keep shuffling a few things in m closet, taking them out, then thinking NO — I may wear it this year. I am going to do a serious closet dump! Thanks for the easy, clear, and important scoop!

  5. What a great and thorough post, loved it! Living in Texas we tend to have a year round wardrobe with a few warm things so my closet stays the same. Having almost gotten to a capsule closet I love having less and having items I know I like wearing. Thanks for the inspiration & have a blessed day!

  6. We are totally on the same wavelength!! I just did a purge (my Poshmark account is STOCKED) – and I still have a few things to add. I have another stack to go to donation. I also have a pair of wedding shoes – but the ones I put in are Evan-Picone that my cousin had us all buy to be in her wedding. They are black, with a pretty heel, and I did wear them a lot IN THE 1990s!! BUT, now that I’ve had kids, I guess my feet grew a size and they hurt my feet, but I kept them because they’re pretty. I got rid of every pair of shoes that hurts my feet!! And since I’m trying very hard to only have more classic pieces/less trendy pieces, I got rid of lots of trendy stuff. My goal this spring/summer is to buy very little… I don’t need anything! I have 2 kids in college and my money needs to go there. Wish me luck!

    1. I hear you, Rebecca! And it’s amazing how much we already have that can be worn in new ways once we weed out the other stuff and can actually see it!

  7. I have been doing some of that too with closets since we are listing our home for sale. Declutter , throw away and take extra furniture to storage. We have 3 walk in closets so I went one by one……ugh. I have a lot of summer clothes with sleeves down already so might just wait to take it all down later. Your closet looks awesome! I use to be a Boutique lady at Stein Mart (part-time one day a week job) and would color coordinate from lightest to darkest colors but only if in the mood. That is alittle extreme I know. It never stays that way either very long. 🙂

    1. Hi Bonnie. Yeah, mine is color coordinated, but this year I grouped together tanks, short sleeve tees, 3/4 length sleeve tees, long sleeve tees, blouses and sweaters. I’ve seen others do it that way and decided to give it a try. We’ll see!

  8. Good job Kay! For lent this year I have been tackling my clothes etc. Several times a week, I tackle a category. Spring and summer went into my closet, fall winter got stored and blessings for others got bagged up for donation to charities. I have done sweaters, jeans, t shirts, button up tops, socks, bras. My wardrobe is shrinking and I am taking time to think of and bless others and recognize how fortunate I am to have a good job, a lovely home to store these wonderful clothes that I am not using. Less clothes is making my heart grow bigger.

  9. It always feels good to give a closet some breathing room. Your Coach handbag donation reminded me of my experience. About three years ago around Christmas I volunteered to help out at a local Thrift Store Charity. The store closed for 3 hours and brought in residents from a homeless/drug rehab shelter to come in and select anything they wanted to give as a Christmas gift. The residents could send gifts to five people if they brought the names and addresses. We wrapped the gifts and the store addressed and mailed them. My job was “personal shopper” to help residents find what they were looking for. I was humbled by how they all picked practical items like tee shirts and coats. If they had children, they could pick a toy too. Before the residents arrived, the volunteers were given a tour of the store. Behind the counter were designer handbags. We were told the residents could have anything they wanted except the designer handbags because those bags brought in the most money for the charity. I immediately thought of my Coach handbag I had not used for years but because it was so pricey I held onto it. Now I knew what to do. The next day I donated my Coach and a Dooney handbag without any guilt. Thank you.

    1. That’s exactly my hope. I’d like for some woman to get it and use it and feel special. I loved using it. And I want someone else to, too. Thanks for sharing your experience, Barbara.

  10. Hi Kay, I loved this post! A couple of years ago, I knew I needed to go through my closets, but found there were too many things I couldn’t part with. I had my 29 year old daughter go in, and go through everything. She got rid of everything that had duplicates, or anything that was no longer in style. She weeded out over half of my clothes!! I was not allowed to go through any of it when she was done. We called a couple of my sisters and had them take it all, keeping what they wanted, and donating the rest. It felt wonderful, and I love seeing my sisters wear some of the clothes they kept.

  11. Thank you Kay for your post yesterday. I tend to shop online a lot and keep things even if I don’t love them or they don’t fit correctly. I haven’t cleaned out my closet yet or switched to my summer clothes but I did send back 3 pairs of jeans, that were just ok, the $10 return fee just about killed me but I’m trying. I’m a senior (72) and I struggle to find clothes that fit me, are comfortable and age appropriate. Thank you.

    1. I totally get the frustration Kathleen. Fit seems to be all over the place. Or maybe sizing is all over the place! I’ve discovered that if I can find a brand that fits, then usually that brand fits pretty consistently. Press on! Thanks so much for reading. ?

  12. How do you store your off season clothes and accessories?
    I feel guilty having another closet with out of season items but I need them with temperature changes.
    Enjoy your Blog so much!

  13. I went through my closet quickly Monday as I have an appointment this afternoon at a consignment shop this afternoon.
    Found 2 items damaged or stained and got rid of them and 21 items to take to the consignment shop. I did this last fall too and got rid of 40 items. The trouble is I buy more items and my closet is still full. Next week I am going to go through everything again and donate some items to a charity. I am trying to buy more wisely too. Items that I love and maybe get back to the stores for try-ons. Haven’t done that much in the past couple of years because of the virus. Buy some on line but not as much. I heard that returning items at some retailers end up in a dump in Chili, etc. Disturbed me.

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