The Lean Closet Edit

The Lean Closet Edit

I love the feeling of a freshly edited closet. However, I know how hard it can be to part ways with items that often hold sentimental value—or worse, impulse purchases and those pieces that you save for "when it fits."

Paring down your wardrobe to the items that you actually love and wear is an incredibly liberating feeling and a great way to get ready for Spring. So set aside a low-key evening, grab yourself a glass of wine and get your plastic bins at the ready. Here are my tips for lightening up your wardrobe.

Take it all out

First things first. Pull everything out of your closet and drawers, and I mean everything. You can't sort through things if you can't see them. This also gives you a better idea of how much stuff you actually own or forgot about.

Pull and sort

Next, you'll want to go through your items and group them by category—clothing, bags, accessories, shoes. This is the best way to make sure you don't lose sight of anything. I usually go a level further and sort by item type, i.e. jackets, tops, denim, etc.

Grab a friend

Enlist the help of a trusted friend or partner that can give a valued opinion. (It helps to lure them over with pizza or beer.) It helps to have someone who can be honest with you and knows your lifestyle. You're going to need someone who can talk you out of keeping those boots you haven't worn since college.

Prep your tools

Set aside three bins to help sort and manage your edit. One for keeps, one for reselling and one for donating. I buy mine from The Container Store or Target.

Divide and conquer

Start with clothing, as this takes up the bulk of your wardrobe. Ask yourself some key questions: Does it fit? Does it make you feel good when you wear it? Are there any rips or stains? Your answers to these will help you make an honest call about where they should go. 


Any items that don't fit properly but are in great condition can be consigned or resold. (If you really love them, there's a chance they could be salvaged by a good tailor.) I use The RealReal for high-end and designer items and Poshmark for more casual brands. I used to work at a consignment store, so I have a pretty strong understanding of the types of items that have resale value.  I've made over $10,000 selling my gently used clothing! (I plan to write a post spilling my secrets soon.)


Give your items a nice home to people who could use them. We recommend Goodwill, United Way and Dress for Success. Pieces with rips, tears or stains can still be salvaged—many thrift stores will take pieces and sell them as bulk fabric. Not only will you have a cleaner, more organized closet, but you'll be doing good in the process. 

Rinse, repeat

Repeat these steps with all of the categories.

Keep an eye out

Start to notice any trends or gaps in your new wardrobe. This will help you find balance. Do you have a penchant for stripes or floral prints? Are you in need of a pair of jeans that fits properly? Think about your lifestyle and how your wardrobe fits into that. I spend 70% of my time at work, so the majority of my closet should reflect that.

Take a break

It's understandable that some items will be harder to part with. For those pieces that you just can't be without, store them away in a separate bin or suitcase and stow them away in the top of your closet. Revisit these items in six months to see if you still feel the same.

Store Properly

For all of the pieces you've decided to keep, try finding a more organized system to make sure all of your items have a proper home. The phrase "out of sight, out of mind" holds true in this case—it's easy to know what you have when everything is displayed nicely. I use a simple white bookshelf to give my closet a custom look for a fraction of the cost. Artfully arrange your pieces to decorate and bring in a boutique-like feel. For any items that hold sentimental value or heirloom pieces like jewelry, store them away in a where they'll stay protected and free of tangles.

Fill in the gaps

If after your closet detox you still feel like you have gaps in your wardrobe, check out my roundup of capsule items that every wardrobe should have:

What pieces are you adding to your wardrobe this season? I'd love to hear!


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