Dear Lifehacker, I really need some new clothes, but my closet's already packed and a mess. Is there an easy Lifehacker-y way of getting rid of my clothes clutter? Thanks, Need New Duds
Photo by Zepfanman.com
We sympathise. Having too many clothes causes a kind of clutter that makes simply getting dressed or doing the laundry a hassle. It's a good idea to tackle clothes organisation when the seasons change. While there's no quick fix for clearing out your closet (you still have to go through all your clothes), we do have tips for what to keep and how to use your personal style to streamline your clothing choices.
Get Rid of Clothes That Don't Fit You -- Literally and Style-Wise
First, go through your clothes and find all the ones that you know you will never wear again because:
- They don't fit or fit poorly.
- They're damaged/stained.
- They were just bad decisions or hideous (though well-intentioned) gifts.
- You don't look or feel good in them.
When it comes to fit and clothing repairs, you have to be ruthless and honest with yourself: Will you ever really get around to getting the clothes fixed? And maybe you can go on a diet, but if you really need more space now for clothes that actually fit you, you'll need to find a new home for the ones that don't fit. (Try hosting a clothing swap or see below for resources to get your clothes picked up for donation.)
One of the best ways to streamline your closet is to discover your clothing style, as organisation blog Unclutterer suggests.
By sticking to clothes that match the image you want to present and that best reflect your personality and lifestyle, all of your clothes will go together better. You'll save precious time getting dressed in the morning.
How to Find Your Personal Style
If you're not sure yet what your personal style statement is or should be, consider which pieces of clothing you:
- Feel most comfortable in?
- Usually reach for?
- Pack for holidays?
- Get complimented on most?
You might also think about style idols or people whose looks you admire. (Are you a classic Audrey Hepburn fan or a romantic Scarlett O'Hara type? Do you dig Johnny Dep's bohemian style or Will Smith's more dressed up style?)
When picking your work clothes, just look to your boss.
Perhaps you like a mix of styles, which is great too. Focusing on one main style, however, while reserving the others for when the mood suits you might be another strategy.
To get a cohesive look for yourself, you might consider shopping mainly at one clothing store (the Gap, for example) or specific brands.
Explore Different Fashion Styles
Men: Esquire has a slideshow of 12 styles identifying different looks -- from workman to sportsman. Scrolling through, you can find some looks you might like. GQ's style section is also another obvious resource, though it espouses -- fittingly -- a particular GQ-look.
Women: Check out a nice overview of four different Fashion Personalities on About.com's Petite Fashion site: Classic, Romantic, Trendy or Casual. You can take a fashion personality quiz at StylistPick to identify your style interactively.
Go weed out your closet of all the clothes that don't fit the image you want to project.
Extreme Closet Decluttering
As an extreme measure, you can go on a clothing diet and wear just six items for one month to figure out which pieces are most important to your lifestyle. (Let's hope it doesn't come to that.)
Happy decluttering and shopping!