The Best Way to 'Shop' Your Closet

by Lynn B. Johnson on April 27, 2010

shop-your-closetWith the onset of spring blossoms comes the yearly fervor to transition one’s wardrobe from winter to summery looks. Here’s the best possible process for taking care of your closet.

Empty it. No cheating here. Take every single thing out of your closet. This is best accomplished with a not-too-complimentary friend. As you are taking things out, divide them into three piles: Keep, Donate, Throw Away. The Donate and Throw Away items should be placed in black plastic lawn-and-leaf bags, which are taken immediately to the porch once filled so as to minimize what I call “stuff-divesting remorse.” I love Peter Walsh’s tip: The garbage bags are hungry. Feed them often.

Note: I like to lean my floor-length mirror up against the wall for a slightly more slimming effect.

Tame Your Keep Pile: First, take your obviously wintertime clothes out of the pile, sort them into summertime-storage bins, and put them away. Then, hold each remaining warmer-weather item up against you and check yourself out in a full-length mirror. For the stuff you’re not sure about, try it on and ask your (again, n0t-too-complimentary) friend. Rejects go in the Donate pile. Once you have tamed your Keep pile, spread tops and bottoms out on your bed or hang them on doors. Try each item with every other item and see if you can’t find some on-trend options. If you’re a trendster, look for ways to inject splashes of animal print or metal accessories from years-gone-by. If you have something you love but it looks dated, take it to someone in your area who does alterations and ask for more modern suggestions. Also add anything with holes or frayed belt loops to the alterations pile. New belt loops on an otherwise serviceable pair of trousers spiff up the whole look.

Think “Hospitable”: How will the items in your Keep pile fit back into your closet? What types of organizing accessories will help you keep your “new” clothes in order? Sketch out a wish-list, including the height/length/width dimensions of your empty closet, and take your list to a (yes, I’ll say it) discount big-box store. I’ve heard Target has some of the best bargains around.

Save Time and Money: For maximum time-effectiveness, first empty and shop your closet, then go to your friend’s house and do the same thing there, and then go together to buy your new closet accessories (try to keep each other to a $10/$20 budget). The very next day that a tailor shop is open, drop off your items. Only once you have everything in your closet and spiffed up should you make a shopping list for items you need to fill in the blanks.


I have to go through my closet a couple times a year and it is something I have grown to loath but I know how important it is. Who needs that old baseball jersey from the d-3 1997 summer season anyway? Another nice thing is being able to give away what you don't need to people who might.

Thanks for the post!

May 3 at 16:31 pm
Lynn B. Johnson
I always feel a frisson of satisfaction when I see items I've donated on sale at the Goodwill store. Thanks for your comment!
May 4 at 07:39 am

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