I spent many years feeling like I had nothing to wear. I either felt like my clothing was so last season or was convinced it would look perfect if I could just lose fifteen pounds. Every morning I would open my closet and would feel like my clothes were saying, “lose some weight you fatty!” Of course, I never considered going out and buying new clothes, why would I when going on a 21 day juice cleanse seemed so much easier? Well, you know that story… I never lost the weight because as long as I was spending my days feeling uncomfortable, unconfident and uncool, I was a grumpy a–hole. And Ben and Jerry were the only friends who could soothe my bad mood.
When I decided to start living more to weigh less (instead of the other way around) I did all the things I was waiting to be thin to do and a big one was to invest in my wardrobe. A few weeks ago my personal stylist and dear friend, Melanie Kluger, founder of The Confident Closet and the popular style blog, Head Over Heels with Melanie came over to help me clean out my closet because I still had some lingering pre-baby clothes I had a death grip on that were taunting me daily. I knew that in order to fully embrace my new body, I needed an intervention.
Today, I invited Melanie to walk you through how to clean out your closet and create a great wardrobe with what you already have, so you only need to spend money on a few keys things. Don’t worry, this isn’t about going out and spending thousands of dollars, it’s about finding the gems in your wardrobe and creating an environment in your closet that promotes feeling confident in your clothes and falling in love with your body.
Look, I totally get how you could feel like spending time on how you look is a waste of time right now, I’ve totally been there. However, from personal experience, and coaching hundreds of women through this exact conundrum, I know that spending some time cleaning out your closet and curating a small wardrobe that makes you feel amazing is the best investment you can make in your health.
And don’t worry, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’re going to walk you through how to do this step by step right now.
Hello ladies! I’m Melanie Kluger Founder of The Confident Closet and I’m so happy to be here to help you with all your closet clean out woes. This is something that is near and dear to my heart. I have spent countless hours with women cleaning out their closets and helping them find new clothes they adore. I absolutely love how a new outlook and wardrobe can have such a lasting impact on a woman’s life. It’s preeeeetty awesome. I had such a blast helping Sarah, and I want you to know, I’m here for you too!
Step 1: Defining Your Vibe
Defining Your Vibe – Defining your look is one of the most helpful ways to gain confidence in your personal style. When you are trying to dress like someone else (sometimes even a younger version of yourself) it can be challenging to really know what your style is. Your personal style says a lot about you and gives you a really fun and interesting way to say “This is me.” Have fun with it, learn that it will change and grow with you, your lifestyle and the times. Otherwise we would all still be in Kelly Kapowski inspired dresses, and if that’s still your jam, you go forth and rock that side pony girl!
“If you are looking for ways to learn how to define your vibe and feel a little lost, these three things will help.”
Remove the clothes you don’t wear right now (don’t worry we aren’t throwing it away yet!).
There are a ton of questions that will help you clean out your closet… but there is one question that beats alllll the others out, hands down.
Do I love it?
If you don’t love it, get it out! If it’s something like a t-shirt that feels functional and in good shape but it’s not a LOVE, think about ways that would make you love it? Accessories, layers etc. Also, do you love how it feels? Do you love the fit? There should be things you love about your basics just as much as your favorite special dress.
Here’s the deal, when your body is going through a transition (gained weight, lost weight, had a baby, etc…) we have a hard time getting rid of our clothes. Sometimes we keep them for a loooong time just based on principle. We spent money on it, or we used to love it, or we even think we are supposed to like it! Whatever the reason is, sometimes we aren’t ready to throw these items away. That being said, it is REALLY important that you remove the items from your closet. Staring at things you can’t wear adds SO MUCH FRUSTRATION when getting dressed. It’s a constant reminder of a former self… and well… your new self is pretty rad.
I talk more specifically about this in my free training series “The Top Three Mistakes Women Make in Their Closets (and what to do about it)“. If you are someone who is having trouble letting go, there are certain questions to ask yourself to help guide you through this process that I talk about in this free training, you can click here to see it.
Quick note from Sarah: these questions were super helpful for me when cleaning out my closet and helped me get really clear on what I truly loved, and what I was just holding onto because I spent a lot of money on it.
Step 3: Separate into 4 piles
After asking yourself if you love every item in your closet, you are bound to have a lot of clothes that you don’t know what to do with. Take the clothes that have made their way out of your closet and categorize them. You can also do this as you go along. It’s up to you and how your brain works! Cleaning out your closet is a lot about instinct and what works for you.
A very important reminder is once you make the decision I want you to automatically put it into a bag. No one wants a tough decision lingering and staring them in the face. Make your piles and then immediately put them into labeled trash bags for the appropriate place!
Pile 1 – Toss || Pile 2 – Donate || Pile 3 – Sell || Pile 4 – Give to a Friend
Step 4: Create new Outfits
There may be a few items that you just don’t know how to wear. You feel like you love them, but they don’t seem versatile or functional. I’d like you to step out of your comfort zone with these items. Maybe take a trip back to your Pinterest board and get the creative juices flowing. For example, Sarah had a green shirt that she loved the color of, but she couldn’t button it up. I asked her to try it on open as an extra layer (perfect for San Francisco!) and we created a few outfits based on her new opened up button down.
I also helped Sarah style this cute “fancy sweatshirt” which still had the tags on it because she didn’t feel comfortable in it. You can see how we did a casual look with sneakers and a scarf, and a more dressed up look with fun accessories. If you feel totally lost about how to give clothes you’ve had forever a new look, you’ll love these videos.
Step 5: Go Shopping
As you are going through your closet, I’d like you to make a list. Every time you see an item that you want to get rid of, but you have held onto it because you need SOMETHING, I want you to write iit down. This will become your shopping list. I find it much easier to let go of old clothes if I know the goal is to replace it with something better.
Once you have your shopping list, you’ll be much more focused in the stores. Also realize that depending on the season you may have to order things online or hold off buying them until there are more options. For example, you aren’t going to have a lot of options for new winter coats in the middle of summer… but that’s ok! You won’t need your winter coat in the middle of summer!
Look, we both know this can be a lot. It’s like a mixture of going down memory lane and facing some difficult feelings around overspending, gaining weight and procrastination. In order to get through this, I’d like you to keep three things in mind:
Ask yourself: “How can I make this a party?” – By making the process more fun for yourself you are way more likely to enjoy the whole experience. Make yourself a snack you like, invite a friend over (only one who will stay focused with you!), or even create a playlist.
Focus on the end result. Omg… the feeling of a cleaned and organized closet full of clothes you love is HUGE. It’s a game-changer. When I have a closet that is easy to find things in and I like everything in it, I literally function better. It changes my mood, my whole day and my mindset. Let that be your motivation!
You aren’t in this alone. A lot of times we put off a task like cleaning out our closet because it brings up a lot of emotions. I want you to know that you don’t have to do it alone. I have tons of resources for you including a free challenge called The Confident Style Challenge which starts on May 4th, which will guide you through doing small things everyday to help you build confidence and discover your personal style. And as I mentioned, I have the free video training series The Top Three Mistakes Women Make In Their Closets (and what to do about it) which will help you to realize we all have these same habits but that doesn’t mean we need to be stuck with a closet we hate! If you are reading this post and you really want more support, I hope you use one of these free resources.
Sarah and I both know first-hand what amazing things cleaning out your closet can do for your self confidence! I hope we can stay connected, so I can give you that added boost you need.
Photos by Rosa Delgado