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South Williamsport, PA
United States

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Latest Issue

Winter Closet Clean Out

There was a point toward the end of last year when a twinge of anxiety would hit me every time I looked at my closet. Now that we are fully into the new year, a closet clean-out is at the top of my winter to-do list. Of course, it’s not a simple task by any

There was a point toward the end of last year when a twinge of anxiety would hit me every time I looked at my closet. Now that we are fully into the new year, a closet clean-out is at the top of my winter to-do list. Of course, it’s not a simple task by any means, and, while in years past I may have tried to accomplish a complete wardrobe clean-out in an afternoon or day, with work, kids, and activities, I need to take closet cleaning one small area at a time. Here are a few techniques I hope to employ beyond the basic, keep, donate, or throwaway piles from past closet clean-outs.

First, I want to be mindful of how many items I have of the same thing. I tend to stock up on multiple pieces that serve the same purpose, especially if I find a great product. It’s not as bad as the old adage “buy one in every color,” but there are a number of similar garments that are packed into my wardrobe. There’s a whole drawer just for striped t-shirts: Long-sleeved, short-sleeved, v-neck, crewneck, etc. So, I’m hoping to pare back on those multiple garments to just the ones I love and wear the most.

Next, I need to draw a hard line in the sand on fit and what flatters. I have many pairs of pants that are no longer my size. Many of those pants are also a size I don’t anticipate being at again, so there’s no need to save them for “what if.” Similarly, some pieces aren’t all that flattering on me. And even though I may have been attracted to their pattern or fabric, this is a closet, not an art gallery, so I will send them out into the world for someone else to enjoy. Same goes for maternity clothes; those days are over.

Besides getting rid of garments, a closet clean-out is also a good time to do a bit of maintenance on your clothes. Check pieces for rips, loose threads, missing buttons, stains, and pilling. Then decide what is fixable. Does that coat need a trip to the dry cleaners? Do you have the missing button? Can a split zipper be replaced? Pieces past the point of repair shouldn’t take up room in your closet and need to go.

On the flip side, there are pieces in my closet that are pristine because I’ve never worn them, and some with the tags still on! Yes, I have purchased pieces that I haven’t gotten around to wearing yet. This includes online shopping, in-store shopping, and thrift shopping. There is a vintage menswear plaid vest from a Goodwill trip that I couldn’t tell you how long ago occurred if you had a gun to my head. But it has the blue tag of $1.50 still on it, which will save Goodwill time in re-tagging it when I drop it off at the donation box. There is also a pair of gold paillette high-waisted pants from Banana Republic that are waiting for the right occasion to debut, and I may just need to make that occasion happen. Basically, for things I haven’t worn, I need to either bite the bullet and give them away or make plans to put these garments into action.

Speaking of action, one thing that has gotten little-to-no action in recent years are all of my super-high heels. There was a time and a place when I loved a stiletto and adding 4+ inches to my frame. Nowadays, these types of shoes just don’t suit my lifestyle. Plus, I’ve gotten so out of the habit of wearing heels I probably couldn’t even walk in most pairs. So, I plan to say goodbye to the majority of my uber-tall pumps, especially the ones I keep in my daughters’ closet. It is time for them to utilize that space.

For shoes and accessories, I want to focus on letting go of pieces I’ve held onto but now are outdated or feel cheap. Sure, there are investment bags, scarves, etc., that never go out of style, but for things that are faded or overly trendy, it’s time to toss them or relegate items to the dress-up box.

So often, we approach closet clean-outs as part of spring clearing, but there’s no real reason to wait for spring, especially if you’re taking a step-by-step, rack-by-rack, and drawer-by-drawer approach as I intend to undertake. Tackling my wardrobe in pieces with an hour or two here and there is actually a great winter activity. You’re stuck inside; why not try to declutter and organize? In fact, I’m not just cleaning out my closet here this season; I also have plans to tackle my children’s clothes, toys, and all of the pieces of paper in this house. Clear out, clean up, and get organized. I gave the kitchen to my husband to go through, and of course, I will second guess all of his decisions on what to keep and what to throw away.