You’ve moved your winter clothes out of your closet (right?). You’ve had a chance to wear some of your spring/summer clothes. You have at least a few months left in the season. What better time to think about decluttering? Trust me, when the clothes are out of your closet that aren’t earning their keep, you’ll find it MUCH easier to find the cute outfits that are in there.
Here’s how to do it. Standing in front of a full-length mirror, try on each item, and if you’re unsure about whether something should stay or go, ask yourself some clarifying questions. Once you answer them honestly, you’ll be able to move past your ambivalence (and possible feelings of guilt) and let go of past mistakes, has-beens, and clutter … so you end up with a wardrobe that suits you perfectly.
Here are your questions for qualifying keepers.
Does it fit NOW?
Tell the truth — will it take a six-month exercise and diet plan before you fit into it? It may not be in style by the time you lose the weight. Move out the things that don’t fit and free up space.
Does it flatter my figure?
Has your figure gone through some changes? Skirt lengths or jacket shapes that were flattering ten years ago may be less than flattering now. Your body will look better in new shapes and silhouettes. Donate the things that aren’t working.
Does it make me feel sexy, attractive, or confident?
Your clothes ought to make you feel fabulous! When a piece does, you’ve got a winner on your hands and you’ll want to make sure it gets into constant rotation. If not, time to get find it a new home. Your clothes should enhance your image.
Does it bring out my favorite qualities?
A ruffled blouse can bring out your femininity. An architecturally designed dress can say “I’m edgy and modern.” Are your clothes saying what you want them to about who you are right now? If a piece in your closet represent an outdated image of you, they should go.
Was this made for me or someone else?
When you try an item on, does it look as if it’s just right for you? Some of your clothes may be better suited to your sister, your cousin, or your best friend. Recognize the distinction between “just right” and “so-so” and pass along those that are just okay.
Is this the right piece for my current lifestyle?
Do you look at your clothes and see lots of choices for the type of events you used to go to but don’t anymore? Recognize the past but plan your outfits for present. Recycle anything that doesn’t have a place in your lifestyle.
Has it lost its luster?
It might be your favorite but just too worn out to wear in public. Time to discard that one and search for a replacement. (Finding a replacement is easier when you focus on what you loved about the piece and how it made you feel and seek out an item that replicates those things rather than trying to track down the exact same thing.)
Would I buy it again?
If the answer is no, let it go. If the answer is yes and you love this piece but don’t know how to wear it, it’s time to give me a call.
(Ketura Persellin is an image consultant and writer in Washington, DC, and surrounding suburbs.)