Last week, I went live on Instagram with Rosana Vollmerhausen, the founder and chief stylist at DC Style Factory to perform a remote closet audit on my wardrobe. You may recall I hired DC Style Factory to help me craft outfits for a fashion conference. While fashion is literally my job and I feel I do a decent job of cleaning out my closet each season, this experience sheds light on how much I was still holding on to, just in case. Just in case I was invited to a theme or costume party. Just in case that style of belt comes back in vogue. Just in case I decide I like pencil skirts or stiletto heels or button-front oxford shirts again. If it was so enlightening for me, someone who considers her closet her second office, I knew it would be enlightening for many of you as well. The Instagram Live was over an hour long; we edited it down to three 10-minute videos that are available for viewing at my Instagram profile. Click on the IGTV tab in my feed to access all three. And join us today on Instagram at 1 pm ET as we follow up with what homework I had from that remote closet audit. But I also invited Rosana to write her tips for performing your own closet cleanout:
Performing a Closet Cleanout: Tips from Rosana Vollmerhausen of DC Style Factory
I know I love closet cleanouts more than the average person, hence starting and running a business that is centered around that space in everyone’s home. Still, even if the thought of tackling that mish-mosh of hangers and clothing in your bedroom gives you straight-up hives, I think we can all get behind a home project that makes you feel renewed afterward. Cleaning out your closet and making decisions about your wardrobe is a home organization project that has a very clear beginning, middle, and end that feels so, so good at the end. You can do this!
We have a detailed process that is designed to get our remote and in-person clients a #closetgoals space that will make daily life easier. Wouldn’t you love to be dressed in five minutes? Here are my top 10 steps to not only starting this project but finishing it as if you had a pro (like us!) right there with you.
- Get “Huggable” velvet-flocked hangers in the black color. Hard stop. Promise, these hangers will change your life.
- Pull out everything. Yup. Everything. Pull out everything in your closet, out of drawers, under the bed, in the attic. Pile it all on your bed, Marie Kondo-style. You can't effectively audit your closet IN your closet.
- Make clear piles of clothing. You should have areas for Donate, Keep, Tailor, Consign.
- Get rid the following, no exceptions:
- Worn, faded, stained, have holes that cannot be repaired. Yes, I am talking about that favorite thread-bare t-shirt that you simply can’t find a substitute for. If you think another tee won't be good enough, you are overthinking it. Let it go. Find a new one that will most definitely be better than the worn-out one.
- Too small. There is nothing more soul-sucking than a closet full of clothing that does not fit. I have been there many a time with a client. Stop wishing you would look good in that pre-baby dress and embrace a new dress that will make you feel amazing today. If it is too big, but not two sizes too big and you love it, you can explore tailoring it down.
- Anything you had actually forgotten about and never worn. If you start a sentence with “Well, what if I have an XYZ event that I need this for?” it needs to go.
- Anything dated. Those True Religion low-rise bootcut jeans from 1997? Bye.
- Eliminate the seasonal swap. Did that make you shudder? Then you definitely need to hear this because it’s going to change how you shop and do style and wardrobe forever. Everything you own should fit in your closet space no matter how large or small it is. If you can’t fit it all, then you know you need to cut through more of the volume of clothing you have. PS You don’t need 10 pairs of black pants, pick your favorite 2-3.
- Get rid of closet contraptions. Clear your closet space of those hanging cloth shoe cubbies, waterfall hangers, scarf holders, etc. They don’t keep you organized. They add to the clutter. So how do you store all those things then? See next bullet point.
- Hang everything individually except sweaters. Yes, even your t-shirts and scarves should be hung on a Huggable Hanger. Increased visibility means increased utility of your clothing.
- Organize like your life depends on it. Don’t take shortcuts on the organization. It matters. Put all your keeps on the Huggable Hangers and organize by category, light to dark. Tops and dresses should be divided by sleeve length into subcategories and THEN light to dark. And here is the key — keep it organized! The system is designed to value your clothing, encourage you to care for it, and display what you own in a way that helps you shop your closet each and every day.
- Say goodbye to uncomfortable shoes. If you need to take Advil to wear them (true story that I had a client who took medicine to WEAR HER SHOES), ditch them. There are so many cute, stylish shoes out there that won’t hobble you.
- Enjoy your wardrobe before you buy anything new. Now that your closet is audited, resist the impulse to run out and buy new things to fill it right back up. Wear what you own, experiment, mix and match. Document the outfits on your phone and record thoughts. Identify true gaps in your wardrobe. Your new closet organization system will help you do this. This pause will help you make thoughtful, wise shopping decisions to curate a polished, authentic personal style.
If you would like professional assistance with your closet cleanout, DC Style Factory is offering this service and other methods of remote support for those across the country and the globe. Visit the DC Style Factory website to learn more.
I have to say I have learned a lot through this process. I don't need all my gadgets, no human needs the number of scarves and clutches that I owned, and I realized I kept a lot of pieces for “just in case” but when such situations arose I chose to wear something else instead. I know my situation is different from most because I've receiving free and discounted clothing as a blogger, but I can bet there are plenty of items in your closet that you swear you need but never wear, or honestly shouldn't be wearing. Style doesn't come from how much you own, but what you own and how you wear it. And if you have extra time right now, this is a great exercise to perform to get control over your closet. I'd love to hear your experiences with performing a closet cleanout on your own, or if you have employed a professional stylist (or a tough love friend)!