It’s spring cleaning season, my friend! It’s around this time of year that my husband, Neil, and I start ransacking all the cabinets and drawers in our home, decluttering books and toys, and taking a cold hard look at what’s in our closets. You might be feeling the same urge to purge… or perhaps, you like the idea of having a neat and tidy wardrobe, but haven’t found a fast and fun way to get the job done.
Well, as always, I’ve got you covered. In today’s episode, I’m sharing my best advice for making your closet audits an effective and enjoyable experience. You do not need to throw everything you own onto a massive pile on your bed, you don’t have to hem and haw over what stays and what goes, and you definitely don’t need to block out a multi-hour marathon on your calendar in order to make it happen.
If you’re ready to make cleaning out your closet feel more like a party and less like a chore, then this episode is for you.
Why Bother with a Closet Audit?
You can’t build a wardrobe you love without knowing where you’re starting from and how you’re going to get there. It’s just like taking a road trip. You might know you want to drive to the Grand Canyon or maybe Saint Tropez if you’re living in Europe, or Hong Kong if you’re in Asia, or whatever bucket list destination you’d like to use for this scenario. You can’t get directions without a starting point.
So I can teach you the foundations of style and I can give you shopping tips, but you won’t know what you need to invest in if you don’t know what you already have. And more importantly, what you have that’s working for you and what’s NOT working for you.
You might not know that I’m also a Certified Transformational Coach. True story! I love being able to do deeper work with my clients when the situation calls for it. Because we’re not just addressing what’s happening on the outside, sometimes you need to up-level how you’re thinking and feeling on the inside in order to show up at your best.
And when you’re working with a coach, one of the questions they’ll often ask you is what’s working, what’s not working, and what’s missing. I ask these questions when I’m meeting with a new client as well, but specifically with regards to their wardrobes and getting dressed. The reason this is so powerful is because the past leaves clues.
When you take the time to look through your closet and evaluate it, you can see what’s working. If it isn’t obvious, you want more of THAT. You want to pinpoint your favorite pieces and what you like about them. I call this your style values and that’s part of my Signature Style Framework, so if you completed my Personal Style Quiz, this is going to sound familiar because it’s one of the follow up steps.
Then, you want to be really neutral about what’s NOT working. And not because it’s time to beat yourself up over your bad investments. I’d hate for you to do that, because there’s an incredible learning opportunity here instead! When you look at what’s not working in your wardrobe, you can #1 realize what you don’t want to bring in anymore – maybe your lifestyle or your location has changed, maybe your style has matured, maybe you’re more confident in your body and you enjoy showing off your curves more than you used to – you and your wardrobe is a constant evolution. So look at the evidence of what’s working and NOT working to figure out where you want to go from there.
And that’s when you can determine what’s missing and what you need in order to fill in the gaps and develop a thoughtfully curated closet you love.
You can’t get to that place without your starting point and without doing the work of a closet audit.
How Often Should I Clean Out My Closet?
I’m a big fan of doing this seasonally, especially in the spring! There’s something so satisfying about making space for new possibilities with the change of the weather. Depending on where you live, you might be starting to open up your windows, letting in the fresh air, and feeling the desire to lighten up your space.
So first, let’s figure out how much time you have available to take on this project. Because there’s nothing worse than setting yourself up for failure. Let’s be realistic about what you can do in the time you have!
For some of my clients, it’s easiest to block out an entire day or a distraction-free afternoon to tackle their closets and drawers. For others, you might just have a few minutes a day. Whatever you can do, it’s time to make the commitment on your calendar. Schedule in big or small blocks of time to start evaluating what you have.
Now, if you’re feeling resistance to this it’s probably because you’re looking at this as a chore. But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be?
You don’t need to make a terrible mess in the process. You don’t need to slog through your clean out for hours on end.
Let’s shift your mindset first and then rewrite the rules on how to do a closet audit second.
Shift Your Mindset First
If you are NOT feeling the idea of doing this, let’s get curious. Maybe grab a journal or just take a minute to get honest with yourself about why. What’s stopping you from getting started? Write out a list of all the negative thoughts that are coming up. Just get it out so we can address it.
Your thoughts might sound like: I don’t have time for this. I don’t even know where to start. This feels overwhelming. I don’t like the way I look in anything right now. I don’t want to look at all the clothes I have with price tags still on them. I feel ashamed about my wardrobe. I just want someone else to come in and do this for me. I don’t have extra funds to replace my clothing right now. What I have is good enough. I have more important things to do. This feels selfish.
Once you’ve gotten it all out on paper, it’s time to question what’s true.
You don’t have time for this? How can you make time? What could you get done in just 5-minutes a day? How would cleaning out your closet save you time in the long run? What if you did have time? You might not be able to sort through everything, but could you clean out one drawer? Or evaluate your denim collection? Instead of believing you can’t do this, think about what you can get done.
You don’t know where to start? What if you did? What would you do then? (Our brains love solving questions like these, so ask and I bet you’ll come up with some very interesting answers!) I’m also going to give you tips on how to get started, so keep listening.
This feels overwhelming? How would you like it to feel? How can you make it feel that way instead?
Do you see what I’m doing? I’m getting curious and challenging these limiting beliefs. Again, not from a judgmental place, but from a neutral one.
Ways To Make It Fun
If you want this to feel like a party, what could you do to make it fun??
Can you find or compile yourself a great playlist? I love singing and dancing when I’m cleaning my house. It makes it SO much more fun for me! Music can definitely set the mood for a more enjoyable closet audit, too. Maybe you have some great pump up jams you can play to hype yourself up. You might want some relaxing sounds to help soothe you and avoid stressful emotions as you’re weeding through your wardrobe.
Why not invite your best friend over to help you? You can share laughs together, ask her opinions, and feel like you’re not so alone in the process.
You can pour a glass of champagne or treat yourself to your favorite healthy snacks. Make yourself a charcuterie board to keep your energy up and celebrate your success along the way!
Or come up with a reward for when you’re all done! A sort of bribe, if you will, for getting the job done. Maybe you could go for a pedicure or take a long, hot bubble bath, or have dinner at your favorite restaurant. It’ll make cleaning out that much easier if you have something to look forward to when it’s all over.
There are no “rules” to completing your closet audit. YOU get to decide the when and how. If you want to pout and suffer through it, be my guest. Personally, I vote for making it fun. And that just comes down to the right attitude and setting yourself up for success.
Don’t clean out your closet on the first day of your period. Or when you’re not feeling 100%. Or if you’re in a bad mood. It will not go well for you.
I recommend that you style your hair and makeup as you normally would before you start trying on clothes. You want to be looking and feeling your best!
Steps For a Faster and More Effective Closet Clean Out
Now, let’s talk about how to actually complete your audit! I have a special little cheat sheet for you, it’s my free Closet Audit Flowchart. It’s going to walk you through my exact process for a highly effective closet clean out and it eliminates a lot of the guesswork and second guessing of what to do with your existing pieces.
This process will help you sort your pieces into one of three categories:
- Donate or consign
And remember, what no longer suits you might be just what someone else is on the hunt for, so whenever you can, donate, consign, resell, or recycle your clothing and accessories rather than throwing it away. It does take extra time, I’m not going to pretend it doesn’t, but it makes a bigger difference to the environment and to others who could really use what you have.
In next week’s episode, we’re continuing with the spring cleaning theme as I bring in my real life gal pal and home organization genius, Emily Wehrle of Love Organizing Company to share how to organize your wardrobe and keep it that way!
So take some time this week to start auditing what you have and eliminating those pieces you’re no longer wearing or that don’t fit with your newly refined style. Don’t forget to download your free Closet Audit Flowchart and then come back for the next episode as Emily and I walk you through how to keep it looking neat and tidy so you can feel PEACE instead of stress whenever it’s time to get dressed. I know you want that and I’m right there with you!
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