Create a Working Closet, Part 1: Purge

posted on: 12/16/2010


One of my missions in life is to create a working closet. What do I mean by this? Well since we can't all be lucky enough to live inside of my creepy litle head, I'll explain. 

When I say working closet, I mean a closet that works for you so that you don't stand in front of your closet and feel lost.  A working closet is one in which you can remix what you own into infinite cute outfits. A closet that doesn't scream "go shopping now!" at you every time you walk in. One that knows when a new piece is needed and when it's time to let an old one go. In my experience (I've been conscious of my closet and wearing clothes since I was 5, so I'd say I have a good 21 years of experience) I've found a few ways to go about creating such a thing as a working closet:

Purging, Assessing, Organizing, Shopping, Remixing. Or PAOSR. I love a good acronym.

So over the next 5 weeks or so I will show you each week a step in the process. Hopefully, this crazy plan doesn't just work for me but can work for you too. I am NO EXPERT on this. I've just done this too many times to not share.  So we start this week with Purging. (Closet Binging is not a pre-requisite for this course.)


How to Purge Your Closet (and still have things to wear)

1. Go through your closet with a fine-tooth comb. Take inventory of everything you own and start evaluating if you need to keep an item or not. I have a few guidelines that I use to see if it's worth keeping or it's ready leave my closet.

It no longer fits. 
You don't like it or you've never worn it. 
It has unrepairable holes or tears in it. 
You haven't worn it in 6-12 months (or within the appropriate season). 
You get confused by just looking at it. 
You've never seen this item before and you're not quite sure how it get in here. 

If you answered yes to any of the above, there is only one answer: purge it. Get it out of your closet. 
Keeping items that you will never wear in your closet does you no good. Think of these items as junk mail, when you clean out your inbox you can see your other emails a lot better. Same with clothing you don't wear, clean it out and you'll begin to see your closet for what it is and can be.

2.  If you are struggling with throwing a few things out, start a "maybe" pile. I keep a (small) box in my laundry room, so when I find something that I just don't wear anymore, but I'm not ready to give away it goes in the box. If it's still there in a month or so (meaning I haven't missed it), then I donate it, sell it or swap it with a friend. If you are unsure about a few items, pull them to the side and try them on. If it fits and you can pair it with 3-5 other items in your closet, then keep it. If it doesn't, purge and move on.

3. Next, go through the clothing you've decided to give away. Figure out where these clothes are going to. Is it a thrift store like goodwill or salvation army? Is it to a friend for a clothing swap? Will you sell it to a consignment shop or online? Find a place for these clothes to go somewhere, don't just toss them out. If you can't wear them, someone will. Donating creates a great cycle. The more you donate, the more people can buy which creates more jobs. See? Who knew that cleaning out your closet could do so much good?

4. After your purge, go through your closet and start to pair items together without the clutter of the unworn clogging your creativity. Pair things together for the coming week and hang them in their respective outfit pairs.

Have any purging tips to share? Lend some below in the comments. Next week we will talk about Assessing Your Closet. I know, you can hardly wait.

145 comments:

  1. i just give my clothes to my sister, that way if down the road i am missing whatever article of clothing it may be, i can just go to her house and get it back. haha.

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  2. For those of us in climates with extremes (where I live it is HOT in the summer and COLD in the winter) the 6 month rule doesn't apply. A rule that you haven't worn it in the appropriate season works better, i.e. I did not wear these gloves last winter - out they go!

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  3. this is one of the hardest steps for me so it is always hard to get organized. i have to have a friend over to help me. when i am by myself i convince myself that everything is worth keeping where my dear friend will tell me it looks awful. and with that, i can not keep the item!

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  4. Good point! I think more than anything, set your own time limits on things. I wouldn't necessarily mean throw out a coat or gloves, that would be silly. But in Texas I can pretty much wear 70% of my closet all year round, so I tend to hoard things for a while. So my time limit is 6-9 months, if I haven't worn it. But of course season's must be taken in account! Great advice, anon.

    Also, I should point out that just because I have something for longer than 6 months doesn't mean I throw it out. No way! I hope that the things I buy now can last for years. I just want to make sure that I'm stocking my closet with timeless items, not timed ones.

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  5. I just did a massive closet purge a few weeks ago. Every time I picked up an item I hadn't worn in a year but was CONVINCED it was essential, I imagined myself on A&E's hoarders. Off to Goodwill it went.

    Can't wait to read your thoughts on the rest of the working-closet process!

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  6. i often cheat and bring my unwanted pieces over to my family's house where it goes into an old closet that i can still access. i tell my sisters they can have whatever they want, but it usually just stays there, waiting for me to come back and reclaim it after a season or two!

    my advice would be to get a full length mirror, and dress in all black to try items on and decide what will be kept and what will be purged.

    xo
    sami

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  7. I did several purges over the last year. A lot of stuff went to goodwill or my younger (and shorter) sister. I tend to shrink things no matter how I wash them, so my sister hit the jackpot a few months ago when I gave her a bag of laundry accidents to dig through.

    I would say, don't forget to go through your shoes in a purge. It's amazing how many pairs of black heels can sneak into your house if you're not careful...

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  8. Last week I cleaned out my closet for the first time in my life! I donated 16 bags of clothes to goodwill. I love your tips. Thank you! I purged anything that didn't fit, too old, worn out, unflattering, or that I don't plan to wear in the next year. I went through my closet and thought: "Would I wear this piece today?" If the thought was "heck no!" I put it in the donate pile. I realized I was holding on to pieces due to the memory I had while wearing the piece. Clothes aren't memories.

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  9. I purged my closet last month... well, except not fully. Everything I cleared away went into a couple of bags stuffed into the back! Many could be sold on ebay--but where I am going to find the time! I'd much rather spend it shopping for the new tops, belts, and tights I need!

    I do think a good closet can withstand another "box"--in addition to one for "maybes," there needs to be a box for "the next time it comes back in style." My ankle-length skirts from Paris, for instance, are finally stylish again ten years later. Saving the exquisite pieces is a good thing to do.

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  10. great tips! i need to get on doing this...

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  11. I JUST started doing this last night. I took a literal inventory of what I have and put everything into categories ie. long sweaters, cardigans, blazers. It's so much easier to get dressed in the morning. I have started to do DIY's on certain things I don't want to give away. check me out: www.littleredpurse.blogspot.com

    xo L

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  12. Kendi - your acronym PAOSR, reminded me one of my favorite books called the Radical LEAP (love, energy, audacity, proof). Which got me thinking - the story kind of reminds me of all of the recent developments at KendiEveryday. If you ever interested in a unique take on leadership I highly recommend it.

    26 and Counting

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  13. I JUST started writing a post about this too. I'm working on my purge at the same time. It'll be fun to see how we both approach it.

    -Suze

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  14. Ahh! You guys have SUCH great tips! Keep them coming!

    Liz -- Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll have to pick it up. I haven't heard of it, but it sounds interesting!

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  15. Just yesterday I wrote on my to-do list "closet!!" so this is some perfect timing.

    One thing I decided I'm going to do this time is use half the space for work clothes and half the space for other (I'd say normal life for me) clothes. This probably isn't necessary for many people but my work clothes are mostly conservative business attire so the two groups really don't mix!

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  16. This is great advice. I try to do a major closet clean out once or twice a year - usually once in the warmer months and once in the colder months...then I take everything I don't want and donate it. It's a cleansing process for me - I hate clutter! It also makes me feel good that other people can use what I'm not.

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  17. Thanks Kendi, I'm looking forward to this series! I recently "purged" my clost and ended up donatinf about 60% of my clothing to Goodwill. Before the purge I felt like I had NOTHING to wear. Post-purge, I feel like I have TONS! It's amazing how much it helps to get all the junk out! Love your blog!

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  18. I just reorganized my closet, and I found that it helps me a lot to see my clothes in categories : all of my jackets and cardigans in a section, pullover sweaters and button-ups, casual t-shirts, etc. That way I can look at one section for layering, and another for a plain piece and pair it with whatever bottoms I want. It seems to be helping already! Love your tips as well. I really love getting rid of clothes - it feels like a fresh start!

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  19. Something that has been a help for my purging is sharing a closet with my husband! We recently were forced to share since our family is growing but our closet space is not. At first I was dreading it, but it hasn't been bad. It's really forced me to take a hard look at stuff I keep in the closet that I probably shouldn't.

    It also helps me to keep a small "memory box" in the attic of sentimental things I can't part with. I always wish my mom hadn't thrown out all her stuff from the 70s so I try to keep a few special things just in case.

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  20. Kendi, this come at right moment when I'm thinking of doing spring cleaning on my wardrobe especially since I'm gonna change job & be traveling a lot, i need a wardrobe that doesn't give me headache! Thank you, will definitely use those tips!! Cant wait the rest Of yr genius ideas!!

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  21. I am horrible at getting rid of stuff. My parents live 120 miles away so what I do is put all the maybes in a garbage bag and take it to their place. I usually visit once a month or once every two months. I check the bag of maybes after a couple visits and more often than not, I realize I don't miss any of the items. At that point it goes to goodwill. In 2009 I wrote off more than $800 in donations! Nice little tax break :)

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  22. I have such a hard time getting rid of stuff (pack rat!!), so I always have my sister go through my closet with me - she's ruthless!! Works every time. :)

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  23. Great tips! This goes along with clothes that don't fit, but I've learned to NEVER hang on to clothes for when you lose weight. They just take up space and give you a constant visual reminder to hate your body. Even if it was the best dress ever, get rid of it. There are so many cute clothes constantly being made that when you do lose the weight, you'll have completely forgotten about your old clothes!

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  24. If you have storage space, let yourself keep a very few items for nostalgic reasons, but acknowledge that they are memories, not functional parts of your closet. As Aesthetic Alterations says, clothes you bought on Paris are clothes you may regret getting rid of. Trousers and skirts, for instance, go in cycles - something in a neutral color, well made from a quality fabric merits holding onto until the cut, length, or rise comes back into fashion, especially if you are over about 25 and have tended to stay about the same size as an adult. If you have space for a costume box, trendier or wackier clothes that you love may be able to find a home there. If you don't have much storage space, but have wall space, you might be able to incorporate a piece of fabric from a shirt or dress you made, were gifted, or loved but no longer wear, into a quilt, collage, or wall-hanging. You can put those memories where you'll see them, instead of letting them take up space in your closet. And if you sew or have a great seamstress, you can refashion items. Now that the natural waistline is back in fashion, I've taken in several skirts I wore low on my hips in the late 90's/early 2000's, and it's a pretty easy alteration that keeps prints/colors I already know work for and with my wardrobe in rotation.

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  25. You should definitely participate in the Change Your Life Challenge a few friends and I have come up with!
    The newest challenge is called "Ditch & Donate"
    http://monicajustesen.blogspot.com/2010/12/65-pick-up-change.html

    I think it'd be an awesome way to encourage your readers to clean out their old clothes and make room for some new ones, while doing something positive post-holiday-season :]

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  26. Ohhhh and in regards to saving items for when they come back in style or painting...well, you only need one shirt to paint (and who am I kidding, I have never painted). I have learned to only keep truly timeless items or very good quality ones (i.e. cotton, silk, cashmere, wool stitched well). More often than not, when things come back into style, I want the updated version anyways because the styles rarely come back exactly as they were before.

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  27. I actually do something similar to this, I saw it on TV on one of those programs where people live in a mess and some woman comes over and helps them to organize everything, and it does work! ... My mom always says "you gotta leave space for the new to come" so purging is mandatory every 6 months! Great idea! ... I'm inventoring this weekend!

    http://blog.cessoviedo.com

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  28. I need to work over my closet, but I always have a problem with the rule of purging if I haven't worn something in a year. Maybe it's because I'm in my mid 30s and therefore have been shopping for a LONG time. I have items that I haven't worn in a few years, but still fit are of good quality, so I'll put them into storage bins (in my basement) and pull them out in a few years when they are "in" again. When I go through the bins I always find something old that now has some "in" element such as color or silhouette. I hear the 90s are coming back---I have some goodies left over from that decade in my basement! :)

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  29. This is seriously such a good idea! Thanks for sharing! I think I definately need to follow these instructions!

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  30. Good tips Kendi! I wish there was a blogger clothing swap.. or something. All my friends either are the sweatshirt/sweatpants kind .. or too itty bitty to swap clothes with my gigantic (kidding!) size 8 self.

    On an unrelated note- when are you styling that dress that ModCloth (I think) designed for you? OR did I miss that?

    xo,brittni

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  31. perfectly timed! I am working on my closet purge too. I was thinking about writing a post on it. Too funny.

    I love your tips and I look forward to the rest of the series of posts!

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  32. I am moving soon, so these closet tips will be of great help since I want to organize mine in the new place and make it exremely work-able. You should set up a shopof your purged items. :) I know I would enjoy that. Or arrange a swap. How fun.

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  33. I love that you're doing this!! I've got the purging part down (I think). I recently gathered up a large amount of clothes that I deemed purge-worthy and I put them into a photo album on Facebook and had a Facebook garage sale! It was so much easier than doing Craig's List or an actual garage sale. Plus, it gives people you actually know a chance to snatch up your things. I made $300 within two days!

    So anyway, I can't wait to see your next steps because even though I have aced the purging part, I'm forever on the quest to put together a fool-proof closet.

    Thank you Kendi! Love your blog!

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  34. My general rule is that I go through and get rid of anything I wore in middle school or high school. Low rise jeans are no bueno on my 20 something body.

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  35. Bookmarking this post! Love it!

    (I keep a box of my pre-baby clothes around though... I can't get rid of some of my favorite pieces!)

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  36. these sound like great tips. so you can come do my closet next? i'll pay you with christmas cookies.

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  37. I do this with my best friend! We are brutally honest and have the same style...she helps me see things from a different vantage point and vice versa. We also help each other styling too...she comes up with great things I would have never thought of on my own. Purging in Pairs. I like it.

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  38. this is a great series! i have to go by "seasons" instead of the 6 months rule due to the climate, but other than that you're spot on!

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  39. I thought I was the only one who makes 'maybe' piles!! I usually clean out my closets (oh yes, that's a plural right there) twice a year. If I haven't touched the maybe pile six months later, I'm throwing it out! No mercy baby!!

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  40. Great tip Kendi!!! thanks for sharing!
    www.pretty-girl-rock.com

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  41. I have a problem with purging my closet. I will throw only clothes that have holes or cannot be repaired. For one - all trends come around so I do regret now for throwing some clothes a few years back that I could have worn today. As far as the size, I keep clothes that don't fit me with the hope that maybe if I loose some weight I can fit into them. And I am glad I do because I recently lost 20 pounds and I was able to fit into some clothes I have had from 5 years ago. And on those days that I have no idea what to wear I sometimes turn to these clothes I haven't worn in a while and I feel I just found something new. Or those old pieces can work really well with something new in my closet. The short of it, it's a hard process to decide what to purge and be sure you won't regret it ...

    P.S. Please stop by my blog - I am hosting an amazing EmersonMade Giveaway, just in time for the holidays.

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  42. I do the same thing every couple of months. I think its about that time now, because i looked in the closet with the "i have nothing to wear" stare this morning! hahaa..

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  43. I purge my closet once a month.
    SO its not very painful.
    I give things ONE LAST TRY, put them on, walk around the house or even wear it to work.
    After I blog about it an look at the pictures on how it fits and how I have worn it before, THEN I decide if it has to part or not.

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  44. Such great tips! I really need to do this while I am off for the holidays.

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  45. This is perfect timing, just started this last night while lending some clothes for my sister in law. I like to have a pile of things that can be repaired ar altered. You can transform and bring alive an old item by just making it shorter, taking it in, embellishing it or even using it to update another one, like cutting leather elbow patches or something like that.
    Great tips, looking forward to next week ;)

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  46. I have a ridiculously small closet, so I definitely need to tackle it. My rule of thumb, however, for my closet is "I want to open up my closet and everything be an option". If it doesn't fit or if I don't LOVE it or feel fabulous in it....it's gone. I'm ruthless when it comes to purging. If it's not for me; it's against me and it's got. to. go! ~Serene

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  47. Kendi...I adore you for this. The past week, I've been staring at my closet in utter confusion with no clue as to how to fix my storage/organization problem.

    It's like you read my mind!

    Thank you!!

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  48. One of the most helpful things my mom and I decided to buy was a rolling rack to hang things on when we go through our closets. Instead of making piles on my bed, I can hang things up next to each other on the rack and compare.

    Also, I try very hard to purge things I don't wear anymore, but I do have a very small section of my closet that is reserved for things that are too sentimental to throw away. Its kept strictly very small, and over the years I've decided some things don't have the sentimental value they once had, and then I purge those pieces. But things that stay put are my very favorite prom dress, a sweater than my mother knit me when I was little (with kitten buttons!), etc.

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  49. One of the most helpful things my mom and I decided to buy was a rolling rack to hang things on when we go through our closets. Instead of making piles on my bed, I can hang things up next to each other on the rack and compare.

    Also, I try very hard to purge things I don't wear anymore, but I do have a very small section of my closet that is reserved for things that are too sentimental to throw away. Its kept strictly very small, and over the years I've decided some things don't have the sentimental value they once had, and then I purge those pieces. But things that stay put are my very favorite prom dress, a sweater than my mother knit me when I was little (with kitten buttons!), etc.

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  50. Great post Kendi! I totally agree with everything.

    I would add that it can be a good general rule of thumb to purge every season if you live in a seasonal climate. This can help you know EXACTLY what you need for summer/winter/fall/spring when the seasons roll around.

    Also - don't underestimate the ability to borrow awesome items from a good friend!

    Peace,
    Monique

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  51. i love you for doing this! this is going to make my life so much easier!

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  52. Great feature....Im always cleaning out my closet.....its probably more like "moving things around"then really cleaning...cant wait to see what you have to say!! yayyy, how fun!

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  53. found your blog through jasmine's. love your remix and your style (i own about half of the same stuff you do)

    your tips are really helpful and i like that you reuse so many pieces. i think this is more realistic than most style bloggers. and helps those of us who are out to save money over spending it....and reminds me that you can be creative with minimalistic living. duh.

    also, you're very funny.

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  54. but but but, i always want to keep stuff that MIGHT fit later, or MIGHT come back into fashion...i am having separation anxiety just thinking about doing this!!!!! :)

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  55. love the post! will you have photos of how your organize your closet in one of the posts? I'm having such trouble with that part. I purge my closet ~2 times a year (or more) and one essential question I ask myself is "do I absolutely love it/ must have it/ would be sad without it?" Sometimes the answer is maybe and that's hard, but it's nice to have a closet full of stuff you love and feel great in in stead of just like and looks not bad. :) thanks again for the post!

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  56. Great post and oh so appropriate for this time of the year. Out with the old before any new items come in with the holiday gifts. - Katy

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  57. great post. I do this all the time.

    I first try to sale the clothes I no long want to plato's closet. If they don't buy it. Then off to goodwill it goes.

    http://amyfashionblog52.blogspot.com/

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  58. Kendi, this post couldn't have come at a better time! I'm new to your blog and the 30 day challenge and I sooo need to do it. I have 2 weeks off and was planning to purge my closet but didn't know where to start! So thanks for this post, I'll be following POASR right along with you.

    You're my little closet "angel", LOL

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  59. What a great idea! If my closet gets too crazy, I get super stressed deciding what to wear!

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  60. This series is a brilliant idea, if I may say so. I wanted to start purging my closet a while back but I found it really difficult. Your tips helped me get rid of stuff yesterday night. Thanks! And I'm definitely looking forward to the next installment. :)

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  61. Great tips, I am such a clothes hoarder and need to come to grips with the fact that maybe those jeans will never fit me. Now if you could show me how to organize my crazed ball of tights in something organized that would be wonderful!

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  62. every 6 months or so i will take everything out one by one and inspect, if it is still questionable i throw it on really quick. if i feel fat, ugly, stupid or anything above it goes in the give away, if i put it on and think "my gosh why don,t i wear this more?" i keep! it takes a good few afternoons, but it works! pants are fun with this, its like a little workout! haha.

    hayley
    http://www.theweekendfile.blogspot.com

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  63. This is great advise. My boyfriend and I went through our clothes about a month ago. We ended up with 3 garbage bags of clothes that went to his family in Cuba.

    One of the things I have the hardest time with, is deciding how many of the staples (t-shirts, jeans, pjs etc) to keep.

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  64. So inspirational! I loooove clothing swaps after a good purge.

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  65. This is so great. I've been wanting to clean out my winter clothes and get rid of the junk I don't want and don't want to wear. :) Can't wait to read next weeks!

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  66. My "maybe" pile is called "being on probation". I have a drawer for those items. When it gets full, I go through. Once in a while I'll actually miss something but usually I talk to them like they're bad people and send them off to the local thrift shop!

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  67. I've been doing great with the purging lately (I've been to a few clothes swaps in the past year), but now I need to work on figuring out what I need. Can't wait for the next post!

    Also, is it weird to keep clothes for my next post-partum experience? I have two pairs of "fat jeans" that I'm hanging on to so I'll have jeans just after the next baby... I should probably put them in the basement with the rest of my maternity clothes.

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  68. Awesome post Kendi! I try to make myself purge before buying anything new....I share a closet with my husband and although it's a walk-in, his clothes are a lot bigger than mine and takes up more room (grumble, grumble not fair!). After the most recent purge I did my family had a garage sale. It was pretty awesome. We basically sold things for cheap cheap cheap! We were going to donate everything that didn't sell anyways....so it was more of the fun of doing a garage sale. It was actually really rewarding to sell things to families that maybe only have a $10-$20 budget for clothes....I felt so empowered telling them, "Yep, those jean are only $1!" :-)

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  69. Great post! I rarely do this. Lauren Conrad talks about editing your closet in her Style book so I've added it to my list of things to blog about. I think it's important to try on everything so you can evaluate exactly which pile it should go in. Having friends over to help would be fun, too!

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  70. omgoodness I'm so excited for these tips! I definitely need them :/ I shall try to purge.. I say "try" because I often have trouble letting things go.. Thanks for the great tips!

    www.ThePantryDrawer.com

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  71. This is definitely something I need to do before I move to NYC (gotta make room for new clothes right?) Thanks for all the great ideas, love your blog!!!

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  72. Great advice! I hope you talk more about pairing items together in the closet. Right now I have everything separated by shirt, pants, etc and within those sections they are organized by color. Too anal, right? Is that why I can't find anything?

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  73. My favorite closet purging tip is to put all my hangers facing the wrong way, and when I wear an item, put it back in with the hanger facing the right way. This means that it's really easy to identify what I don't actually wear. It's hard to justify keeping something if I didn't reach for it all year!

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  74. Brilliant idea! I definitely do not have a working closet, but would love to have one. Every morning it feels like my closet screams "ugh, buy some new stuff already!" even though I shop fairly regularly. Clearly I'm not buying the right pieces and just several of the same. I realized I need more skirt and shoe options recently.

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  75. My closet needs some MAJOR help and I have been putting off this overwhelming project. Thank you for starting this series, I am going to take this as a sign I need to get my rear in gear!! lol

    http://amberandgang.blogspot.com

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  76. great idea! I am such a pack rat with clothes!

    I have to organize my clothes by tees, then blouses, then quarter sleeve blouses, then long sleeve, then sweaters, then jackets, everything getting heavier as it gets further down.... I'm weird like that. I might just have to try organizing respective outfit pairs, but it might just make me go too crazy!

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  77. im a horrible purger...wow that sounded weird. anyhoo the last year or so i have been bagging said items and putting them in the garage (to save myself givers remorse) for a few months to see if i actually miss them and i usually dont. i no longer regret giving stuff away and my closet looks million times better.
    great post!!

    ♥ thesoundoflace.blogspot.com ♥
    ♥ thesoundoflace.blogspot.com ♥

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  78. This is great! I like to secretly sneak into peoples closets and see what they have.. well hopefully you show us tons of photos!

    I actually clean my closet twice a year. Since NYC gets all kind of funky weather. I do it at the end of the winter and summer seasons. This way I can see what I wore during the season and if it was left untouched out the door it goes. My relatives usually enjoy this as they get everything I remove from my closet. Oh and lets not forget the handbag department. Thats another section that sneaks up on you.

    Also, the having a friend around really does help. Oh! Brilliant idea, we can post photos of our "maybe" items and see what other have to say.. does it stay does it go. yes? no? maybe so?... ok ok forget it. lol

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  79. Kendi,

    I was just about to email you asking for some tips on this. You read my mind! I'm moving next week, and hope to create a better closet for myself than the one I currently am using. It's a wreck. I'm looking forward to your next post!

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  80. Fantastic post. After doing the 30-for-30 two times now, I know I really have more items in my closet that I don't really need. Here goes with the purging...wish me luck :)

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  81. I like categorizing. I try EVERYTHING on before getting rid of it. For some reason my brain won't let me get rid of it until I try it on.
    Also I take pictures of me in the articles of clothing lately. Sometimes I post about them http://scrapandrun.blogspot.com/2010/09/old-clothes-in-my-closet-take-1.html for some reason I need someone to tell me to get rid of something. Usually my husbands reads while I do this and I interrupt him for his thoughts.

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  82. oh my gosh, i feel like you wrote this post for me!! ha! i am that girl that stands in front of the full closet and feels lost. i'm always saying "i have nothing to wear," it's crazy. great advice, i'm excited to read the rest of this series!

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  83. Amazing ideas! Who doesn't need a work closet??!!

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  84. I love purging my closet!

    But, I try to be mindful that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of intervention. Meaning, I wouldn't need to purge my closet so much if I was more thoughtful about what I was buying!

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  85. I had plans to start purging/reorganizing my closet this weekend and I'm so glad you posted this because it is welcome advice! I can't wait to read more about this!

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  86. I'm so excited for the next installment of your series! I'm sort of a serial organizer; wherever I live I tend to find a consignment store that I build a relationship with. It's great because if you take good care of your clothes you can usually sell them at a consignment store (much less personal time spent than selling on ebay- although the returns aren't as high) and usually if you buy stuff from the store with your "credit" you get a discount. Clean out closet + shop at a discount with money you make from selling clothes you no longer wear? WIN!

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  87. I've done the thing where you turn all your hangers backwards then put things in properly as you wear them. I did this last summer then tried to wear everything but got ride of some things that I just didn't feel worked for me. It is a way to catch things that you think you like but never wear.
    Stephanie

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  88. AHHH! Thank you so much for this post! It couldn't have come at a better time, just this morning I thought to myself that I had to re-organize my closet as a mountain of sweaters came down and nearly knocked me over. I am looking for solutions for a smaller closet (unfortunately with living in a house built in the 1800's)

    I recently also donated a bunch of things to goodwill (thanks tax break) and sold a bunch of stuff to a consignment. I am going at my closet with a new eye and looking for the staples that i am missing.

    ps. I am SO loving your blog right now and its the first thing I check in the morning before i go to work! seeing what you put together gives me inspiration and ideas, so thank you!

    xxo Joline

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  89. Another qualifier for me when I go through my closet is style - style of the items itself and the style of who would wear it. If something just doesn't fit with who I am or who I want to be perceived as, it's out. I found this happened a lot when I left my office job and starting working for myself, so long 20 pairs of Express Editor trousers!

    I also host clothing swaps, called Ruffian Swap, in New Orleans once a month so I'm always looking for clothes I can contribute. It gets easier when you start staring at piles and piles of clothes on a monthly basis.

    This is a great series, Kendi, and I look forward to reading the rest of these posts, too.

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  90. This weekend I'm starting a new challenge. I'll divide my clothing into two sections (that which i wear and that which I don't). Once a week my boyfriend will pick an item from the unwearables and I have to make an outfit with it. at the end of wearing the outfit I will decide to keep or purge. check it out:
    www.multiplefactors.blogspot.com

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  91. When I'm going through the piles of clothes I no longer wear due to a) fit, or b) style, I try to figure out if it can be reworked in some way. Sometimes shortening a dress or turning it into a skirt or cutting off sleeves can really update a piece. But then, I guess that's kind of the opposite of purging... Also, when I do whittle items down to a purge box, I usually keep it in my dad's garage for a few months, then return to re-examine the items. Occasionally I'll find things in there that I decide I can make work after all (which is also not the point of closet cleansing). I'd be a horrible bulimic, I'm not so good at purging obviously.

    this is a great, original feature for the blog.

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  92. Completely off topic- but I love the black and white sweater on the top of that pile! Where did you get it!? :)

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  93. Kendi what an excellent idea!
    You've tapped into a really interesting part of your fashion blogging niche - or so it seems! I've recently done the purge so I'm looking forward to what's next!

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  94. Try not to have a friend come and help you purge your closet, especially if you're the kind of person who takes other people's opinions really seriously. Several years ago, one of my friends came over and helped me sort through my clothes, but due to her advice I ended up throwing out a few pieces I really missed later!

    I did my annual closet purge last week, and decided to try something a little different. Whenever I came across something that belonged in the 'maybe' pile, I decided to try and remix it. I spent 20 days wearing a different 'maybe'/never-worn item each day to try and figure out if I could incorporate it into my closet. It was my own personal 'Never Worn' challenge! I ended up rediscovering some pieces and throwing out others.

    Great tips, Kendi! :)

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  95. I have a purging problem. Mine is I throw out too much!! weird right? But I am often going, "Hey, remember that (fill in item of clothing here) the I had last year? It would look great with this. Where is it?"
    only to be answered with, "you gave it away, dummy." (that's my inside voice, it's a little Liz Lemon.)

    So, yeah...any advice for me?? ha ha ha.

    A tip though...any tee shirts that have special value, but aren't worn? roll them up, stick them in your tall boots. No more floppy boots, and that "race for the cure" shirt does some good...in more than the way intended.

    i am on pins and needles for next week. My closet has been on strike for years.

    mylilydarling.blogspot.com

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  96. What a crazy-keen idea! I'm totes excited to hear the rest of PAOSR!

    Cheers,
    George
    Raised By Wolves

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  97. I'm going through the same thing! Trying to clean out closets is such a pain. I'm looking forward to seeing the progress!!

    jenniwells.blogspot.com

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  98. Because I live in a university dorm I purge my closet almost every semester, or at least every time I move! I have everything with me at school (because I have no bedroom at my parents house...thanks mom & dad haha) so I know exactly what you mean by working closet.

    I only keep things that I've work in the past year, that fit, and that I don't have double of.
    For some reason I have a terrible habit of buying the exact same thing in 5 colors. I'm not allowed to do that anymore! haha :)

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  99. I'm so excited that you posted this and started this series. I just found you a few days ago and wrote yesterday about how inspired I was. I did ALL of my laundry, ironed EVERYTHING, and am ready to start with this purge and rebuild process. I can't wait to read more!

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  100. I need to put these tips into use! I semi cleaned out my closet today, but it's still a mess! I am so happy I found your blog today! I just became your 3000th follower!

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  101. Thanks for doing this series! I have a feeling that once I have access to my entire closet again, I will be way too overwhelmed to put on anything creative. I can't wait to purge my closet this weekend!

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  102. Thanks for doing this, I will probably be doing this to my closet after the holidays are over! I always feel like I have nothing to wear, but clearly that's not true!

    Emily//TheLesserPanda

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  103. this post is amazing. i need to do a serious purge cause i'm def out of room in my closet and i'm sure theres tons of things needed to be thrown away. cannot wait for more to come!

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  104. YESSSS. Thank you for doing this. This is exactly what I need!!

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  105. I am really excited for this series!! thanks for sharing your tips : )

    If you have any T-shirts, sweatshirts, tops, etc. that are memorable pieces, you could always make a quilt or pillow out of them. That way, you can hang onto them without crowding up your closet.

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  106. I take my clothes I no longer wear to a consignment shop - what they won't take I'll pass along to friends or family. I know it's selfish, but if I can get some $ from my old clothes it makes me feel better about getting rid of them!

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  107. Do ever find that your mood changes after you do your pairings for the week? That's my downfall. :(

    Thanks for all the great advice!

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  108. Thanks for the push I needed to clean out my closet!!

    Sarah at Classroom Chic

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  109. I just actually did this a month ago. I finally got rid of clothes that were the wrong size (smaller or larger) but I got them because they were cute and things I've had for many, many years. It was tough but I did it-- although my "Maybe" pile was a little big. I'll have to go through that pile again :)

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  110. ahhhh this is too perfect! i was perusing anthropologie and sighing at my closet (my usual routine), and i just know that all of these clothes are three years old and just dont suit me anymore. i'm ready for my own style to come through, as corny as that sounds.


    guess who is doing this tomorrow! wahoo!

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  111. I'm helpless at tackling these tasks on my own.

    My sister drove for three hours to spend a day helping me do a multiple closet purge. She was a godsend. Repeatedly asking me, "do you wear it?" "does it fit?" "why the heck is this still in your closet?". We trashed the truly unusable, we donated the mediocre and sent two large suitcases of quality clothes to Panama with my fiancé. He assures me that delightful underpriviledged woman are now wearing my too small skirts. I feel so much lighter... and I'm SUCH a do-gooder.

    pat my back. :-)

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  112. you should change your acronym to ROPAS, because its easier to say and it means clothes in spanish =) haha

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  113. ^^nevermind, then it wouldn't be in order

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  114. It's just so hard to let go. Sometmes I think I might wear it later. Like when it comes bcak in style....haha

    Just Better Together is having a CSN giveaway!

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  115. I am so excited for this! I actually started reading your blog to teach me about style and help me find one of my own. You're amazing!

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  116. My closet is tiny, so I have to rotate seasonal items, i.e., only winter clothes during the winter etc. The non-seasonal items get stowed away in a box under the bed. I love the idea of using an item until it is no longer wearable, but I've had to change my thinking after I've discovered thrifting. Now I wear it for a while, then donate when I no longer feel fabulous in it. And I have to admit, because I'm so attached to my clothes, donating them feels like an even more heartfelt deed than if I were to just part with some cash. I do keep some favourite clothes in a suitcase in the garage as part of a 'vintage' collection for when my 8-year old daughter grows up. If she doesn't want them then, well, it's up to her to donate them. On that note, it would be great to hear tips on how to store clothes for posterity without them going mouldy or fragile or smelly.

    Love your blog, your style and your sense of humour!

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  117. I do a big purge in summer, when I have more time for myself, and in winter.

    My rule of thumb is "If this was in a store, would I buy it?" If the answer is no, I give it away. That goes great when it comes to size, color and style.

    My big problem is, my mother loves to buy clothes for my daughter and I, and she doesn't always choose things we love. But, I have been learning to say "Thank you mom, but I know I won't wear it".

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  118. I love these tips! I am a huge fan of purging my closet, but being as I'm not really a fashionista it's not so hard for me. I do still love those few times I have literally 2 outfits to last me for a weekend, because it promotes so much more creativity. I'm all about having less stuff in my life, and a closet purge is a perfect way to clear head space.

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  119. I love cleaning out my closet. I like to think it's the ultimate chance to define myself. Take everything I don't agree with anymore and give it away to someone else that will love it as much as I once did. Can't wait to see what you post next!

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  120. And this is the reason why I'm so glad I follow your blog! My closet gives me a headache and leaves me aggravated every time I step in it. Thanks for the tips and can't wait to finally get the closet of my dreams, all thanks to you!

    Beverly @ simplybeverly

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  121. Soooo clever!Bet you have the most organized closet ever!!
    -xoxo-
    http://becauseitrocks.blogspot.com

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  122. This is a great series you've started! I look forward to reading the rest of your tips. I actually just went through my closet today and purged a bunch of items. :) It feels good to clear some closet space.

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  123. You're hilarious! These posts never cease to make me laugh :)

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  124. I've been struggling with the whole purging process. Your simple tips have given me the inspiration to do this over the days off I have next week. Thank you thank you thank you!

    I can do it!

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  125. This is great! I love doing this and try to make a habit of purging the closet once a month. I've even worn something one day, only to toss it in the "going to Goodwill/Savers" pile, the next.
    My tip: Do not trap yourself into keeping things just because you say they are "good to sleep in/wearing around the house/working out." This is a horrible trap. Narrow these things down to one or two tanks, one or two short sleeves, and one or two long sleeves. That's it.
    Another tip: Clothing swap!! I don't want to oversell this, but they are the greatest and most fun thing to host/attend. I have several gems in my closet for which I can thank various swaps :)

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  126. Not sure if anyone has suggested this, but my friend's taught me a really useful trick.
    Put all your clothes the same way on the hanger and hang the hangers backward with the open, hooked part facing toward you instead of toward the wall of your closet.
    Then, when you wear something, put it back on the hanger and hang it the opposite (or normal) way with the open hooked part of the hanger pointing to the wall of your closet. In six months or so, take an inventory on what items are still hanging backward. You might find out some interesting things about your closet.

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  127. If something doesn't match at least two other pieces in my wardrobe it's not versatile for me. These are usually impulse buys where I love the colour or structure but they don't work with anything else in my closet. These either go to my sis or sold online :)

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  128. i did this recently. you might enjoy reading my post: http://lalaisonit.blogspot.com/2010/11/cleanin-out-my-closet.html

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  129. I'm pretty much a little fashionista pack rat. I hate throwing out old clothes, but what I do is mix it up or what I call fashion remix: I take out my sewing machine and revamp it into either my size, or something much cuter... btw: just posted my closet pics if u want to check it out. (http://tinyurl.com/232fdg8) Also I followed cuz ur blog is pretty awesome! Stop by my blog and say hi! if you get the chance.

    -Reyna
    www.glamglory.blogspot.com

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  130. hey kendila & friends,
    i did this.
    cleaned out my closet.
    big time.
    49 items!!
    check out my blog post about it :
    http://onequirkysister.blogspot.com/2010/12/closet-cleanout.html

    & cheer me on, haha i'm proud of myself

    thanks for the tips

    ab

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  131. I've been meaning to purge for a LONG while now, so I bookmarked your post to get inspired.

    Another thought on favorite pieces & clothes that come back in style - we've had a closet for "dress up clothes" at my parents house. It's where all of our favorites/just-can't-give-them-ups go to be reloved one day. My mom did this when she was young and growing up we had the best dress up closet around.

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  132. ah i need to do this! but it will be so time consuming! but this is genius!

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  133. I actually felt the urge to purge (ha) my closet a couple of nights ago! If it's old "fat pants" or old skinny pants I'll never fit into again I usually donate them. Anything cute that's just too small, or is brand new and I've never bothered to snip the tags I put aside for my older but skinnier sister.

    Now I have a trash bag full of tops, dresses, work pants, and sweaters for her to look through! I feel so much better when I peek into my closet, MUCH less overwhelmed =)

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  134. I am 100% doing this over the holiday weekend. I've lost some weight and have been planning on doing a closet/dresser drawer purge. I cannot WAIT for the assessing the closet post - I'm in desperate need of trying to figure out how in the world do I put together a closet that actually works!

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  135. this is great! especially the idea of putting the "maybes" in a box. i moved into an apartment for school this year and found that i definitely didn't want to bring some of the clothes with me--guess what made it into the give-away pile!

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  136. My goal is to be able to fit all my clothing winter and summer in my dresser with a few select pieces such as dresses, coats and blouses on hangers. We'll see how this goes.

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  137. Hi Kendi,

    For the new incoming season I think I'll follow your step-by-step working closet series.

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  138. Just spent sevetal hours purging and cleaning/organizing my closet...who knew i had so many clothes. My guest room is filled with clothes, shoes and purses to donate. This blog is my new best friend sorry i didn'tfind it sooner! Thanks Kendi

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  139. I've been reading this series over and over again for the past few months and for some reason, never got round to actually doing it properly until last night. I'm purging my clothes over the next couple of days, otherwise I feel a bit overwhelmed with the amount of clothing I'm chucking out. I've decided to be the most ruthless I've been and this includes asking myself: Do I love it? Do I feel good in it? And the one question that made me realise how long I've been holding onto some things is; Does it have criteria for me to wear it? For eg. I have some jeans that never quite fit me the way I like my jeans to fit, especially around the crotch area so I've made the criteria to wear them as "only with longer, loose tops". That already cuts their 'wearability' by at least half. I've found I wear these items less and less and makes more sense to buy jeans that fit me well so I can wear them with ALL of my tops, not just a few.

    Thanks so much for your simple to follow and easy to read tips! My head's already feeling much clearer with the less clothes I have. I'm determined to do all of the steps properly this time :)

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  140. Thank you so much for these articles. I am in the process of building a solid wardrobe for the first time. Out with the old and in with the well fitting, versatile and new!

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  141. I have just graduated college and have been able to have essentially "two" closets. I have been putting off organizing my closets for four years! I keep holding onto the fact that maybe someday, I will fit into those super cute shorts from high school or my favorite pair of SevenForAllMankind jeans from high school. But it doesn't look like that is going to happen! And it in no way reflects who I am! Time to stop looking to that past, and allowing myself the ability to move forward!

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