Reader Question: What do you do when you are finished with those clothes?

I love it when y’all ask me question that inspire new blog posts! This was a recent reader question:

What do you do when you are finished with those clothes? How long do you keep most items? Do you donate them? Do you have a “one in/one out” rule in your closet? How do you handle the emotions involved in clearing out the closet?

All great questions. Let me start with a little history about me. I have always loved to shop, but I hate clutter and I prefer to keep my closet as minimal as possible. If I don’t wear it, I don’t keep it. It’s that simple.

closet-featured

A few years ago, I showed a friend my closet, and she could not BELIEVE how few items I had in my wardrobe. She actually told me that I needed more clothes.

But not anymore!

Since that time, I have definitely expanded my wardrobe. No one but Imelda Marcos would think of telling me today that I need more clothes in my closet. But my life has changed quite a bit as well. I often have events that I need to dress up for, and I’ve definitely focused on building up that part of my wardrobe so I’m not floundering when I get a last-minute invite.

But with the fashion portion of my blog taking off as it has, I hang onto things a lot longer than I normally would because I never know when I might need something for the purpose of styling an outfit for a blog post. I like to have variety in my closet to keep my outfit posts fresh.

That said, I still hate it when my closet gets out of control, so I try to keep some semblance of organization, and I get rid of clothes that I don’t wear every spring and fall. I wrote an entire post about how I switch out my closet with each season that explains my process.

Now, to answer the specific questions asked above…

What do you do when you are finished with those clothes?

When I am ready to get rid of clothes, I donate them. I go through and pull out the best stuff and give it to my sister-in-law or a family at church. The rest I deliver to a local thrift store, or to our school when they’re collecting used items for a yard sale fundraiser. Sometimes I sell handbags or shoes on eBay, if they’re in good condition and I think I can get some money for them.

How long do you keep most items?

I keep most items for several years at least, but it varies. I have had some of my clothes for 5-10 years, but most of my wardrobe has been accumulated in the past five. Some things I wear once or twice and realize it doesn’t work for me, and I let it go. I don’t have any rules, like “one in and one out,” but I do a major purge at the end of each season.

How do you handle the emotions involved in clearing out the closet?

Getting rid of clothes has never been emotional for me. I’m not one to hold onto things “just in case” or for sentimental reasons. In fact, like I said, I’d love to get rid of much more, but I don’t dare because I’m afraid I’ll start a 30 Days of Spring Outfits challenge for the blog and wish I had more variety to feature. I guess this is what they call #bloggerproblems, ha!

My advice is always to get rid of anything you’re not wearing. If you don’t love it, don’t feel good in it, or don’t need it, ditch it. Of course, we all keep a few special occasion items in the back of our closet for a random event, but for the most part, I wear what is in my closet at least a couple times a season or I get rid of it.

The same is true of clothes that don’t fit. Don’t keep a closet full of clothes that you won’t fit in unless you lose that last 10 pounds. That’s depressing. Dress for the size you are. If you’re in the childbearing years and it makes sense to keep a few different sizes on hand, I get that. Put them in a box, label them clearly, and put them away until you need them.

It’s so much easier to put outfits together when the only clothes in your closet are those that you love and fit you well.

So you want a peek? Here it is. Behold, my closet!

Jo-Lynne-Closet-2

Sorry that the photos are such poor quality. The lighting in our closet leaves something to be desired. We have a smallish walk-in closet that we outfitted with an Easy Closets organizational system a few years ago. You can read about the process and see the before and after pictures if you’re interested.

This is my side. You can see that I still have some boots laying on the floor. I’m not quite ready to pack them away. I wore the grey suede UGGs over the weekend, that is how cold it was! I try to hang things by color. The stuff in the way back left is more fancy/formal things that I rarely wear but want to keep accessible.

Jo-Lynne-Closet

Sweaters, sweatshirts, and handbags go on the shelves. Underwear, socks, shapewear, bras, etc. go in the drawers. Ignore the wayward yoga mat hanging down from the top shelf. I’m kind of a slob. In the wintertime, these shelves are much fuller due to my extensive sweater collection.

Jo-Lynne-Closet-3

And this is my dresser, with my newly organized jewelry collection. I bought two of the jewelry displays from Stella & Dot. The necklace hanger is from Target. I find it so much easier to know what I have when it’s displayed like this. I also have jewelry in that little jewelry box.

jewelry-storage

AND, a few years ago, my husband gave me this stand-alone jewelry armoire for Christmas. Yes, I have even more jewelry stored there. Again, if I didn’t sell Stella & Dot and blog about fashion, I wouldn’t have nearly this much. I always feel the need to clarify that because, I mean, jeez. That’s a lot of stuff. LOL!!

jewelry-armoire

So that’s probably all you wanted to know and then some!

I asked on my Facebook Page over the weekend if people switch out their closets seasonally, and I was intrigued by the responses. Of course, some areas of the country don’t have such designated seasons, and I get that. But I just assumed that pretty much everyone does this. I guess not! I’d love to hear how you would answer these questions.