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Cleaning Out Your Closet

The weather is finally cooling off a little here, and while I will certainly miss Summer, I’m looking forward to Fall (not that we really get much of a change here)! In preparation I’ve started pulling out my warmer clothes, and what I’ve found is I don’t have any room for them. I’m not sure how it all fit before, but it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen this year. So, I’ve decided to do a little cleaning, or “closet editing” as my stylist friend, Cynthia Carr Gardner, calls it.

blog38_2When I shared this idea with my daughter, she recommended I try Poshmark – a fashion app that allows women to buy and sell clothes/accessories to millions of online shoppers. You all know I’m not the most technologically savvy, but I’m trying … so I downloaded the app and gave it a try. And it really is pretty cool! There’s a simple sign-up process – in which you include your sizes and the brands you like – then the app curates a feed full of your favorites. In addition, you can set up a virtual closet where you can post and sell your own items. It’s such an great way to clean out your closet of the stuff you’re not wearing, as well as find great deals on the brands you love! And you just might make some money!

So following in Katie’s footsteps, I’ve now set up my own Poshmark closet (follow me at @marybethevans); and while I’ve only put up a handful of items so far, I have started going through my stuff to see what else can go. This is where I always run into trouble! I have clothes I almost never wear, but I’m reluctant to let them go because I never know when I might have the perfect occasion for them. With this challenge, I turned to my friend Cynthia for help, and she shared some great tips!


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What are some guidelines we can use for closet editing? How do we know what to toss and what to keep?

blog38_5Have the proper tools on hand: Hangers that are the same size (dress and pants;  I like the thin, felted version); padded hangers for delicate sweaters and blouses; good shoe racks; a vacuum and bucket of cleaning product and sponge. Rule of thumb is to go about editing each season with patience. It’s when we dive into the project with little time that mistakes are made. In our haste to get it done, a piece that hasn’t been worn in a while is tossed … only to be regretted months later.

Start with shoes. Take all the shoes out, separate ones that need repair or are too worn to recycle for another season.  Store the rest. Clean the bottom of the closet before you replace with the new season’s collection. Once the bottom of the closet has some order, it’s encouraging!
Start on one side of the rack and review each piece. When in doubt, keep it. Any item that is of quality fabric should be kept or consigned. If you’re looking at the same blouse three seasons later and haven’t worn it, it’s time to go.  Go down the closet pole with this in mind, replacing hangers so that they’re uniform. Try anything on that is questionable (which is why this requires time and patience). Update a favored skirt with a new blouse instead of giving it away because it’s not worn often enough. Closet editing can be humbling because it shows you how much you’re spending on clothing that never sees light, as well as how often the gym isn’t visited.  Don’t forsake a beloved dress that’s a bit snug.

What are the basic wardrobe pieces we should all have?
  • Perfectly fitted black pants
  • White blouse (silk or cotton)
  • Simple dress in beautiful fabric
  • Updated shoe (of preferred heel height)
  • Coat that can be worn day into night
What styles/trends will be big this Fall and Winter?
  • Mixing textures; leather/suede and soft, chunky knits
  • Bohemian chic (unearth your 70s trunk)
  • Luxe details; Fur accents, leather and beaded trim

With Cynthia’s advice in hand, I’m off to my closet to do some serious editing. Check out my page on Poshmark to see how I do! And take a look around elsewhere on the app … there are so many great deals (I even found a great dress for $60!). Let me know if you sign up – we can all follow each other!

7 Comments

  1. This one’s tough; I hang onto all kinds of pieces that are meaningful/don’t fit/will never hope to fit again/might fit one day that still have tags on them. I still have a stack of maternity clothes… Just in case… I know they really need to go, but the minute I donate them I’ll get pregnant or something, it’s just how it is with me. That said I have been wanting to clean out my closet for a while. Interestingly, I’d already done the shoes before this blog, and that was huge progress. Next step, a better strategy on hangers,cuz you’re right, I’ve found that to be a real must.

  2. Andrea W

    I really liked this blog Mary Beth. I have the hardest time cleaning out. I can get my closet neat and clean but not “cleaned out.” By the way, I use the same hangers you talked about. They’re the best. I have so many clothes, some I haven’t worn others the sizes are wrong. :/ I’m really excited to use your tips and start cleaning. I’ve also joined Poshmark. It might take me awhile before I start putting items on there but I’m excited about it. I started following you today, I’m under anewel same as this and my Twitter. Thanks for always inspiring us!

  3. Lorraine

    Marybeth,
    So funny your topic today is about cleaning out the closet. I just thought to myself today as I tried hanging up some clothes on a walk-in closet rack that is too stuffed already. Visions of last year’s incident of the entire rack coming out of the wall popped in my head. Clearly I do not want a repeat incident. It’s definitely time for some closet editing.

  4. Jennifer Brock

    Thanks for sharing this new app, Mary Beth! It looks like a really great way to sell items that are just taking up space in the closet. Almost like an online consignment store. Is it similar to selling/buying Items on eBay?

  5. Heather Kelley

    Great read! Cleaning out my closet is one of my least favorite things to do! I did check out Poshmark (and am now following you there!) and wow, looks like fun. I have several items I need to add so looks like diving into my closet is in my future.

  6. Christine

    I had to laugh when I read your post this morning because I had planned to clean out my closet today. The weather has started to get cooler here in Colorado Springs and I wanted to get out some of my fall clothes out as well. I’m going to look you up on Poshmark!

  7. Susan Nolen

    Great blog as always!…thanks for sharing your ideas!

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