Reader Response: How do you manage your closet?

Having been raised by a serial pack-rat mom who has saved every nightgown, every formal dress, and every picture day outfit I ever wore as a child/tween, I have matured (rather rebelliously) into a Purger. Last night, I went on my latest, possibly most manic purging spree of recent memory. That cathartic cleansing has inspired me to impart to you, dear Shop Talkers, my Top 5 Rules for Managing Your Closet:

1. If you haven’t worn it in six months, get rid of it (unless it’s a classic piece)! These wise words have been written a million times over in every woman’s mag imaginable… and with good reason – it’s perfect advice. The catch is figuring out if something is a “classic piece” or not. Here’s a hint: if you wore it to death when you first got it, it was probably a trend item. Here’s another: just because you paid a bundle for it doesn’t make it worth keeping. Sad but true.

2. If you bought it cheap and it’s lasted a season, say goodbye. Yes, it certainly is thrilling when you find something super cute at Target or Old Navy and get tons of compliments on it – especially when that something cost you less than $30. Bask in it while it lasts, but recognize that things that don’t cost much for you didn’t cost much to make, and thus aren’t made to last. Wear it, love it, and then donate it before your cheap find starts to look, well, cheap.

3. Purge while you pack. Picking out clothes to take on vacation is the perfect litmus test for your wardrobe. You should pack the things that you feel really good in, that mix and match well, and that always look great on you even after a long plane ride. You should pack accessories that add a punch to your look and a purse that can haul it all plus one that holds just the essentials. Once you’ve done that, look at what’s left in your closet. If you didn’t even CONSIDER packing something (like those jeans that are hard to sit down in or the cardigan that always seems to formal) then why do you still have it?

4. If what was once a dress is now a “cover up”, then consider the death knell tolled. It used to be worn with boots, heels, leggings and a saucy attitude. Now that dress is dowdy, stretched out, faded, stained, or slightly out of style. It has become a “cover up”. You throw it over your bikini on the way to the pool, you slip it on after a shower when it’s too early in the day for it to be socially acceptable to wear pajamas. It’s not wrong to wring a bit more life out of these past-their-prime frocks, but you should limit how many of your dresses have been relegated to this status. Give them one season as a second-class citizen and then cut the cord.

5. For the love of Louboutin, get your shoes fixed. I’ll be honest – this is the one rule on this list that I don’t currently adhere to. Perhaps by blogging it, I will now be held accountable, instead of letting perfectly good shoes rot on the shelf because of something trivial like a lost heel tap. I’ve even written about the Best Shoe Repair place for this very magazine! It’s cheap, usually pretty fast, and it will not only extend the life of your wounded pair of stilettos, it will also take the burden off your back up pair… the ones you wear into the ground because you have to wear them twice a much. (Sorry black BCBG sling-back pumps. I know it wasn’t your fault I am too lazy to get my other pair of black pumps fixed. You put forth a valiant effort.)

Those are my rules for keeping a tight reign on one’s closet, what are yours?

Categories: Reader Response