5 Style Lessons From A Closet Clear Out

wardrobe basics: tops and tees. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

A Wardrobe Spring Cleaning

Yesterday I began tackling a long-overdue closet clear out. I’ve learned over time to avoid doing this when I’m feeling:

  • distracted, stressed out or overwhelmed
  • frustrated with my wardrobe or style in general

Both of these tend to make me too reckless about getting rid of items, and I’ll often come to regret not having kept some things. I wanted to wait until I had a quiet day without a lot of construction going on.

I’ve also learned to go through my wardrobe in increments. While some people find the Marie Kondo all-at-once approach effective, it’s always felt too overwhelming for me.

Above: some of the tops that made the cut.

My closet is actually pretty well-organized. I keep types of pieces (tops, sweaters, pants, jackets) together, and arranged by color. It was just overfull in sections, with too many unworn items cluttering up both my physical and mental space.

Working one section at a time, I take everything out and put it on a portable folding rack. Pieces that I wear regularly that aren’t worn out or damaged go right back into the closet. I then evaluate what’s left.

Following A Pattern

Other than a few worn-out items, I culled several pieces that I’ve either never worn, or have only worn once or twice. (A few of which I’ve had for years.) I tried everything on first, just to gauge my current reaction. I realized there were a couple of common denominators with the items that I let go.

First, they were almost all pieces that had been intended to make my wardrobe more “interesting.” Patterns, shapes, and colors I almost never wear. I felt awkward in them. (I think in my rush to add more Show Ponies to my wardrobe, I lost track of my style.)

Second, every single one of them was something I’d either talked myself into or allowed someone else to talk me into. None of them were pieces that I’d loved the second I put them on.

empty hangers after a closet spring cleaning. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Style Reminders From Those Empty Hangers

  1. Trust your taste. It doesn’t matter if everyone else loves it…if you don’t love it, pass it up or pass it on.
  2. If you’re wavering about a piece, try it on at home by yourself before removing the tags. Go with your gut and very first reaction when you look in the mirror.
  3. Don’t hang onto something just because you spent good money on it. If you can’t return it, you can consign it, give it to a friend, or donate it.
  4. Our tastes, bodies, lifestyles can change. Shop for who you are *today* and don’t let your closet become a time capsule.
  5. We all make bad choices sometimes. Live, learn, and let go.

I’m fortunate in that I’ve built up a good wardrobe of basics over the years, and between those and my accessories have just about any situation covered. I can afford to be picky, and hold out for those “love it immediately” pieces.

Styles I’m Wearing On Repeat:

jeans (Plus) | little black pants (Plus) | little black jacket (Plus) | tee (Plus) | sweater (Plus)

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to hang a sweater without stretching or “shoulder bumps.”

These are the hangers I currently use.

Has clearing out your closet provided any insights that have helped refine your style?

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68 Comments

  1. Jill
    April 3, 2018 / 3:50 am

    Yes, I have fallen victim in the past to people telling me to buy things, then ending up with them hanging out only in the closet….no more….I politely decline when pushed….Also, I purge on a regular basis and send my items to my sister and niece, who adore their “Jill Me Downs”. I really have embraced your style and have put together some smashingly great outfits from reading your blog. You have a classy, elegant style, which I have come to embrace. Every now and then I will wear a little something sporty, short skirt, skinny jeans, but I always feel more polished and put together when I follow the classy lines that you share on your blog. Thanks again for your dedication to keeping us gals looking good! Time to purge the closet, Spring is here and in Florida, that means summer is next week! LOL.

    • vtaloni
      April 3, 2018 / 5:34 am

      Jill, I’m in Florida, too, and have a very tough time with my wardrobe for our steaming hot summers. Winter is great because I love layers, jeans, long vests, that quirky third piece. But when it gets hot, I’m at a loss and never seem to feel great about what I’m wearing.

      • Kim
        April 3, 2018 / 10:10 am

        I’m in FL, too. I have pretty good luck with shorts with a little styling, i.e., knee-length cargo or rolled cuffs, followed with a cotton tee top with some interest, maybe embroidery or peasant styling or a v-neck (no collars!), Birkenstock Gizeh’s and a simple necklace/earrings. And, of course, an interesting bag (in my case, usually, a floral Patricia Nash). I usually keep a light-weight cardigan in the car for cold A/C!

      • Pam
        April 3, 2018 / 11:22 am

        I hear you. I also live in Florida and the hot humid days are a challenge for clothing, makeup & hair! Just spent the entire winter in Japan where it was extremely cold and LOVED wearing layers and boots and heavy scarves, same as you’ve mentioned. I came up with a solution for me dealing with Florida heat while at casual outdoor gatherings, pool and beach parties. At my age and with my extra weight, I feel uncomfortable wearing shorts or maxi sundresses, so I wear a fitted tank or tee over my swimsuit, with a beautiful long sarong tied around the waist and the opening slightly to the side. I feel more glamorous and playful, less self conscious and way more comfortable In the heat. Can be dressed up or down depending on shoes, jewelry, hat, hair scarf, etc. I’ve also added a short little sweater when the party moves inside to frigid air conditioned environment.

        • Barbra
          April 3, 2018 / 8:00 pm

          I too am overweight and this is the second year of flabby arms for me. That creates a problem in the long steamy summer. Any solutions out there? My go to are Sleeveless EF cotton or linen knit dresses with a low self knit linen or cotton cardigan

          • Kathy
            April 4, 2018 / 10:43 am

            I sympathize with all of you trying to dress like adults in Florida’s heat. When I moved here, two years ago, I was all about simple linen clothing from JJill. The actuality of ironing in the heat was too much. I’ve discovered athletic wear. I have tops and skorts from a golf and tennis clothing company called Tail. I love the items from IBKUL. The fabric is better than wearing nothing. I can cover my arms and not worry about sunscreen. These companies don’t have plus sizes but do carry some items in larger sizes. I also buy clothing from Athleta which does have some plus size items. One of my best discoveries was Undersummers by Carrie. This company makes cute short-like undergarments to wear with dresses which prevent thigh chafing. The fabrics are cute enough to be seen when your skirt/dress moves. These are not control garments so they are very comfortable. I always wear Undersummers when I’m out dancing in a dress. Hope this helps.

  2. April 3, 2018 / 4:27 am

    How timely…just wrote on my journal to do list that I need to work in my closet. I love the idea of NOT doing it all at once. Retired last year, moved to a great community and into a new apartment building. One of the perks is a breakfast buffet each morning on the top floor with gorgeous views. I need to get rid of many “work pieces” and when I shop I find myself thinking I need to by casual, comfy, stylish clothes for breakfast time. Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration.

  3. April 3, 2018 / 5:02 am

    I am beginning the 4th month of not buying clothes for a year. I have far too many clothes and when I changed closets in early November I realized something major had to be done. The one exception will be a new good everyday coat. But if I can’t find what I want, I can wear my trusty black pea coat. I also divide my closet into four parts. Pants & dresses, coats and jackets, sweaters and tops, special occasion pieces.
    I took 45 items to a refugee mission- remember I had already gone through this process in November. I have been very pleased so far.

    • April 4, 2018 / 4:41 am

      Thanks for your contribution. The people you helped will have decent clothing to wear

  4. Shybiker
    April 3, 2018 / 5:13 am

    It’s so smart to know not to tackle a job like this when you’re not in the right mental state. I’ve made grievous errors that way.

  5. April 3, 2018 / 5:20 am

    I know how you feel. You give things away and then wish you had them back! I have actually awakened from a dream at night thinking “oh, I hope I kept that top”, and then finding I did hide it in another dresser instead of giving it away! lol I am buying more higher quality pieces (Eileen Fisher) and will keep them for years!!!

  6. Chicki Atwell
    April 3, 2018 / 5:35 am

    For your “Styles I Wear on Repeat” you forgot to include the Plus size links! Please don’t forget us cause we love your style too! Hugs!

    • Susan B
      Author
      April 3, 2018 / 6:32 am

      Chicki, my apologies. Will add some now.

  7. Vicki
    April 3, 2018 / 5:40 am

    I would love to know more about how your closet is organized. Do you hang tee shirts and sweaters or fold?
    Do you keep clothes for all seasons (or at least warm / colder weather given Southern California climate) all in same closet?
    How do you organize your shoes.
    I have a closet clean out in mind when the mood is right.

    • Susan B
      Author
      April 3, 2018 / 6:46 am

      Hi Vicki, we have very little drawer space, so almost all of my clothes are hung. Here’s my trick for how to hang sweaters to avoid stretching and shoulder bumps: https://unefemme.net/2016/01/how-to-hang-sweaters.html

      Our weather can fluctuate between warm and cool in any season, so I tend to keep almost everything “active” in my closet.

      I currently have more shoes than I have space for, so that’s my next section to work on.

      • April 4, 2018 / 5:02 am

        I have very little closet space. Vintage Montréal houses and flats often have very small and “quirky” closets: my bedroom closet has a small door and exends inwards sideways, with a hot-water heater at one end. I’ve cleaned it out ruthlessly. My coats are in the other closet. I’m looking for a narrow high armoire, but haven’t found it yet.

        So my t-shirts and pullovers are all rolled Kondo-style, in drawers. I’m not a naturally tidy person to put it mildly, but everything is not only tidy in the drawers but easy to access. Your sweater tip is very handy for travellers; I often spend a month at a research institute where there is only a closet with hangers.

        I’ve put some of the old clothing I wear when I’m painting or cleaning (with bleach etc) in another bin. Of course some items get discarded each time.

        Congratulations. Giving your “mistakes” a new life is a mitzvah. By the way, that linen pullover is beautiful, more fitted than many garments in that line.

      • Laura Lesieur
        April 11, 2018 / 7:30 am

        Susan, we have a small home like yours. Could we see some pics of your entire closet? I need organizational help and would love to see how you deal with space constraints. Love your blog!

        • Susan B
          Author
          April 11, 2018 / 7:41 am

          Thanks, Laura! Once I’ve finished the clear out, I’ll share some photos of how I have it organized. I should be upfront though that when we did work back in 2003 to create a master bedroom, we carved out space for a walk-in closet. So I’m not having to deal with a 1940’s-sized closet. 😉

  8. Carol
    April 3, 2018 / 5:41 am

    Brilliant advice, especially points 4 and 5 thank you for the inspiration.

  9. April 3, 2018 / 6:12 am

    I’m with you. Love to cull my wardrobe. I just plug in my i-pod with a good book on it and get started. I don’t have the option of having everything in one place. The small closets in our small home mean that spring/summer stuff is stored in one place and fall/winter in another. So I cull twice a year. Feels so good when everything is ship shape again. I love your phrase “Pass it up or pass it on.” Being persuaded to ignore my gut feeling, or getting distracted and not paying attention to the same feeling is why I usually only shop by myself. I love to shop with a friend or with my sister, but we’re almost always looking for something for them.

  10. Patricia
    April 3, 2018 / 6:22 am

    Question for you, Susan…have you had problems with your EF ultrafine merino sweater pilling? I absolutely love this sweater, but the first time I wore it, it developed pills all over the front. I was traveling, and I’m not sure if the pilling was from a camera strap, seat belt, or inside of a jacket. And, of course, I put a couple of small holes in the sweater when I “depilled” it. I have it in another color, but have been afraid to wear it. Hope you’ve had better luck.

    • Susan B
      Author
      April 3, 2018 / 6:44 am

      I have not noticed an issue with pilling. And I’ve been wearing mine often.

    • Ellen
      April 3, 2018 / 1:53 pm

      Take it back to any EF store, even if you didn’t buy it there. They will mend it for you for free. It will come back, clean and pill free. I had trouble with a similar sweater, including five mystery holes.

      Go to any knitting shop and they will have a variety of devices to remove pills that will not damage your sweaters in the future.

    • Cindy F
      April 3, 2018 / 3:15 pm

      One other thing that you might find is the culprit is a cross-body bag strap – I have had pilling from the strap across the chest and also on the hip where the bag section sits. Tough lesson learned there I’m afraid.
      Regards Cindy F

      • April 4, 2018 / 4:23 pm

        Then I guess the only solution is to wear something atop it while shopping or schlepping; a thin jacket or some kind of shirt that goes. I don’t carry handbags, and a load in a rucksack hurts my back.

  11. Meg
    April 3, 2018 / 6:27 am

    When I was young , group shopping was a thing. No more. I rarely do any real clothes shopping while I am with friends or sisters. There lies the path to Stevie Nicks clothes. ( btw, great on Stevie, but not on ME)

    • April 3, 2018 / 10:04 am

      Ha! I love the ‘Stevie Nicks clothes’ comment. We’ve all been there, done that! Thanks for the chuckle.

    • Belinda Manley
      April 4, 2018 / 6:12 am

      “Stevie Nicks” perfect description of my mistakes! Love shopping alone and not even trying on in store. At home you can try shoes , jewelry, etc.

  12. April 3, 2018 / 6:46 am

    Great advice, Susan. And quite practical. Most of all, your advice about “love it immediately or leave it” (my wording, not yours) is advice I can actually follow. Also, looking for similarities amongst those pieces I seldom wear is an obvious to-do. Thanks.

    I confess that I have the same challenges in culling my closet as culling my investment portfolio. I have inertia about editing both my wardrobe and financial investments. Maybe I just don’t want to admit I’ve made mistakes — sunk costs and all that.

    Finally, Meg’s comment that group shopping is “the path to Stevie Nicks clothes” made me guffaw. Yup. Been there.

  13. Patrish
    April 3, 2018 / 8:11 am

    My approach is to not make closet organization a ‘job’. I keep a ‘donate’ bag in my closet. If I pull out something to wear and put it on and it does not make me feel like me, it goes into the bag. When the bag is full, it gets donated.

    However, I cannot part with coats. Even the ones I no longer wear keep hanging in there…..my one organizational weakness. They have their own closet.

    I learned a long time ago that if someone turns my fashion-wise head on the street, I make a mental note as to why. I have picked up my likes by simple observation. My style has evolved and continues to. Less is more now. Always great jackets and coats, shoes and boots; usually monochromatic tops and bottoms….black and grey and jeans. Fabulous scarves when I feel like wearing one. Nothing fru fru. When I shop now, it’s to fill a specific need.

    Loved the Stevie Nicks comment. I have my Stevie Nicks moments but they are all in my head these days.

    • April 4, 2018 / 5:16 am

      Please donate your non-worn coats if they are in good shape and not out of fashion. They will keep someone warm. (Winters are bitter where I live).

      I adored the Stevie Nicks comment! Nice to start off the day with a laugh. One could also speak of music festival outfits.

  14. SusanG
    April 3, 2018 / 8:20 am

    I have six items that are going to consignment. These days when a clothing item is culled, I write down the reason why. Helps when I’m buying.
    With this latest bunch, it cones down to two reasons: 1) already have too many of the same thing, or 2) classic, but I don’t like it and won’t wear it.

    • TURNER
      April 3, 2018 / 3:13 pm

      That is a great idea!

  15. Laurel Hill
    April 3, 2018 / 8:45 am

    Great point about being in the right frame of mind. And I agree with all those who said they shop alone now. Over the years, I have purchased too many things that someone else liked and then never worn it.

  16. Lyn
    April 3, 2018 / 9:33 am

    This is inspiration I desperately need. My wardrobe is full of mistakes that I just can’t seem to own up to. On top of that, around the house I tend to wear my least favorite clothes to “save” my other clothes for good. This even applies to cotton polo shirts — I’m wearing a rather depressing milky blue-green one this very minute!

    I love the Stevie Nicks comment, but my particular “change-it-up” path leads straight to The Golden Girls!

  17. April 3, 2018 / 10:01 am

    bonjour , my name is Nancy but I am french , very french , Your style is very french

  18. April 3, 2018 / 11:38 am

    Hello Susan!
    I have just discovered your blog and Instagram and it is wonderful! My husband and I will be visiting Rome from May 6-9 and the Florence/Siena/Cinque Terra area from May 10-16. I’ve read your blog posts from last year around this time. It appeared to be cooler than expected when you were there. I had thought about packing my 3/4 sleeve JJill Wearever tops, Wearever black pants, jeans, and a black raincoat with hood. But now I’m wondering if I may need to pack warmer items? I hadn’t considered booties but am thinking that might not be a bad idea. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!

    • Susan B
      Author
      April 3, 2018 / 4:03 pm

      Hi Janice, thank you, glad you enjoy! We’ve visited Italy twice in the spring. The first time it was REALLY hot, and then last year it was much cooler (even chilly in the mountains) and more pleasant. You’ll want to keep an eye on the weather forecasts, and may want to bring one warm sweater or even a packable lightweight down jacket or vest. (Uniqlo has some good ones that aren’t a fortune.) I tend to pack booties because I wear them regularly, and will probably be packing some for our late May trip this year. If nothing else, they’re good for protecting your feet on travel days.

      But again, keep an eye on the forecast and let that be your guide.

      • April 4, 2018 / 12:29 pm

        Thanks so much, Susan! This helps tremendously!

    • Lisa B
      April 4, 2018 / 9:37 am

      This post was so spot on. I am so overwhelmed by my closet(s)!! My kids are gone so I seem to have taken over their closets too. I too have clothing that were impulse buys with the tags still on them. Such an embarrassment. Also, have pieces, mostly Talbots and some Eileen Fisher, that I’ve worn once and probably will never put on again. They’re just not me. Sizing ranges from size 6-10P. I’m all over the place. I can tell when I try something on and I’m comfortable in it. Some of it means being comfortable with my weight which rarely happens. I will start tackling the closets one at a time and cull out what I never wear. Thanks for giving me the impetus to start such a daunting task.

  19. Karen
    April 3, 2018 / 11:48 am

    Aah — the last item on your culling rack — the black background, widely-scattered flower blouse — I love it! When I first saw it on your blog, I searched the link, but, alas — it was sold out. Nonetheless, I am new to your blog, and since our styles appear in sync, I’ve become a huge fan. Thank you.

  20. Tricia
    April 3, 2018 / 11:54 am

    Susan, I love your articles and this was particularly interesting. I put on a lot of weight and kept buying larger and larger clothes. Then I had a wake up call and so far I have lost 36 lbs since last September and still ongoing. I am down four sizes and have given so many clothes away. I have been keeping a minimal wardrobe and have been buying clothes in sales and when there are offers so I can keep to a budget. It could become too expensive otherwise. The biggest problem was finding a new style and this keeps changing too. The main criteria was to keep looking at my lifestyle and just buying appropriate clothes. I do find your ideas very helpful.

    • Angela
      April 3, 2018 / 1:30 pm

      The exact same happened to me when I lost a lot of weight last year. It is a very expensive process to replace an entire wardrobe but the positive aspect to it is sticking with a capsule type wardrobe. I also particularly liked the comment from Patrish about making a mental note of what someone is wearing that has turned your fashion head. I found this especially useful as a 66 year old who has found out the expensive way that styling in fashion magazines using young models does not translate to us mature ladies i.e. patterns and frills. Some can pull this off, but for me it doesn’t work and a downsized wardrobe with nice accessories is the way forward.
      P.S.
      Susan
      Would love to see what didn’t make the grade for you.

  21. Ellen
    April 3, 2018 / 2:10 pm

    I own fewer clothes than you do, but clearly many more sweaters. As a knitter, and an expert on all things wool, alpaca, and cashmere (seriously, I have taken classes) I would never hang a sweater, no matter how cutely it is folded over my hanger. I have one adequate closet, which has one shelf. It has 34 sweaters folded on it right now, in 5 neat stacks, separated by dividers from Bed Bath and Beyond. Thats just the winter ones; the summer wear is still in the cedar chest right now, waiting for the snow to go away. They will be switched at some point.

    A few years ago, I splurged on nice wooden hangers (18 of them) and12 pants hangers. That effectively limits the amount of clothing that I have. If i run out of hangers, its time to re-examine what doesn’t need to be there. The reality is, however, that not all of the hanger are in use. Some of the pants hangers are used to hold my three knitted dresses, all Eileen F, which i hang over the pants rod. In the garage, we keep a laundry hamper for discards. When it is full, my husband takes it to the Goodwill or Value Village. I have a couple of drawers full of knitted tops, tees, and tanks. I keep them folded too.

    In Minnesota, most of us have a ritual of “switching out the closet” once we know that spring is really here (definitely not there yet), and again in the Fall when the weather cools. That tends to mean that twice a year, you clean out the closet because you have to. It enforces a time to take stock and clean out. I wish it was time for that now, but its still snowing!

    • April 4, 2018 / 5:34 am

      By the way, Value Village is not a real charity, unlike Goodwill https://www.stalbertgazette.com/article/value-village-is-not-a-charity-20170513 I donate everything to le Chaînon, a charity that helps women in crisis. We also have a new charity shop nearby that helps intellectually disabled people.

      Of course we do the same “switch” in Québec. If you have time, there are parts of that spring/autumn clean that you can do now. Some wet gunk is falling…

      • Ellen
        April 5, 2018 / 10:08 am

        I was not aware of that. Thank you for p0inting it out. Checking their website, i see that they are the same company as Savers. I’m not sure that that was always so. But I do know that many of their employees are disabled or in recovery, and my understanding is that clothes donated directly at the store are usually sold at the store. My husband is in charge of the drop off, and usually has gone to the Goodwill store that he passes several times a week, but i will share this new information with him

  22. valletta
    April 3, 2018 / 3:23 pm

    I just found a site called ThredUp where you can request a “cleanup” bag and then you clean our your closet and either donate the items or consign them on their website. They handle all the details after they receive your bag. https://www.thredup.com

  23. Nicole
    April 3, 2018 / 3:52 pm

    Clothes organization is a good motivation to stay fit! With weight gain over the years added with not parting with my smaller size (where my favorite clothes live), it’s been a challenge to keep it organized and frankly, find space for it all. I managed to empty two very large (3 ft. long) plastic tubs and a couple of large ones so I’m getting there. I know one is earmarked for donation when I get to it – it’s all the wool sweaters from my home in NH that I have not touched in CA. By now, they are LL Bean vintage. I still do the season switch in my dresser drawers to put away long sleeves and install the summer short sleeves. It gives me a chance to vacuum out the drawers and a wipe down in case any cobwebs or worse settled in for a long winter’s nap. Old habits.. All that said, folding tops is the worst. My least favorite thing to do and often, true confession, I drape the tops once dry into a nice pile on the trunk in my room. My dream closet would have spaces to just lay everything flat, no folding. 😉

  24. Rita Blanks
    April 3, 2018 / 5:05 pm

    Everything you said was “right on”, but that is not why I am writing. I can see on your blog side panel you looking into a magnifying mirror with a light around it. Where did you get it, and what is its magnifying ability? I need one badly as my ages old one just broke. Thanks.

    • Susan B
      Author
      April 3, 2018 / 5:10 pm

      Hi Rita, that mirror was in a timeshare condo in Colorado (where I was when I was writing the post). I have this one at home: http://shopstyle.it/l/EeQR and love it but it’s on the pricey side. Here’s one that’s a bit less and is well-reviewed: https://amzn.to/2InuwP1

      • Joyce
        April 6, 2018 / 10:55 pm

        Susan i have the big one and the travel …couldnt live without either! Still find, jjill.com for plus the most reason able…EF just is annother whole league of it own. Id rather have more to spend on accessories ….

  25. April 3, 2018 / 5:12 pm

    Great post, Susan! I’m inspired to start Spring cleaning, and my wardrobe is where I’ll start. These days, I’ve been wearing workout clothes at home. Instead of setting aside half an hour to workout I just grab 5 or 10 minutes here and there to do little strength training or jump on the tread mill. Since I started doing this, I’ve gotten a lot stronger and a bit leaner, so when I dress to go out my clothes look a bit better. Your style is helping me to develop my style. Thanks, so much!

  26. Nancy Klein
    April 3, 2018 / 5:27 pm

    O yes, be true to oneself, so hard to figure out…..once I bought a beautiful navy and red silk suit, for a court appearance, because it made me look like a different person, more in-charge, somehow – the appearance was cancelled, I wore it at a lesser appearance once, forgot to remove the price tag from the armpit, and ended up giving it away because I looked like a different person in it.

  27. April 3, 2018 / 5:31 pm

    One thing you didn’t mention was that you have invested in some really good hangers. That truly makes a difference, and I know it’s not a major investment (especially over time)(I’ve done the same thing).

    • Susan B
      Author
      April 4, 2018 / 7:31 pm

      That’s true, it makes such a difference when everything is uniform!

  28. Lily
    April 3, 2018 / 5:52 pm

    Boy, do I make clothing purchase mistakes!
    1. Yea! Finally, something that fits! (but is it something I like?) 2. Not appropriate for my climate (it is snowing right now!) 3. Something I am “supposed” to own (again, do I like it?) 4. The piece that goes with everything in my capsule wardrobe ( I’m looking at you Vivienne Files) but I don’t love it.

  29. April 4, 2018 / 8:31 am

    You are right in everything you say. Unfortunately I just own a lot of different things I really like, as I do not really have a one style. As I often say, my style is all over the place.
    But I have given three tops to a friend today which are not good for my current body or taste. I have developed a high stomach bulge, so tight tops which emphasize that… gone (they looked so good on her… rats). And a flowery top which I haven’t really worn for years and flowers… hmm not really me… again looked very good on her. A teeny weeny bit more space in my very full closets…
    Greetje

  30. Alison M.
    April 4, 2018 / 10:22 am

    I love purging my closet and I love even more reading about other women doing the same! I just did a big clean-out and yes, it hurts to imagine money badly spent walking out the door but the square footage is worth more than any item of clothing (especially in Southern California with our high housing costs!). The Salvation Army came and picked up my discards. I have recently discovered common denominators in clothes I rarely wear. These are unique to me, but they will inform future clothing decisions: no dresses/skirt, no open or low v-necks, no blue/navy. I am sure that being disciplined about doing a clean-out yearly or twice-yearly will reveal one’s own personal ‘no-go’ list!

  31. April 4, 2018 / 1:36 pm

    One take away from the Marie Kondo that spoke to me is “downgrading old worn-out clothes to loungewear is taboo”…a pilled sweater will not “spark joy” by wearing that ratty old thing “only in the house”. What I wear in the house does impact my self-esteem. I got myself 2 “lounge outfits” and interchange them…when I come home from work, I pop one or the other on and decompress. It has really made a difference for me – very much a part of a new, self-care ritual. Thanks, as always, Susan, for these gentle reminders!

  32. Dale
    April 4, 2018 / 4:10 pm

    I love your column. After reading a sister mature blogger’s comments today about how she did not ask for our opinions and that it was impolite to give them, I was wondering if you feel the same way.

    • Susan B
      Author
      April 4, 2018 / 4:17 pm

      Hi Dale, thank you! I always welcome feedback and sharing of ideas and opinions as long as it’s constructive and respectful.

      • Dale
        April 4, 2018 / 4:39 pm

        Well, in my opinion, the feedback from her all her commenters was respectful and, truthfully, it was not ad hominem. Certainly in no way did they need to be told they were impolite for giving their opinion without being asked. What is the comment section for? I certainly won’t be giving business to any of her “gifters.”

  33. Elizabeth
    April 5, 2018 / 7:37 am

    Another interesting and helpful blog, Susan. Here’s what I do before donating or consigning clothes. After packing up in a box/bag, I let it sit for a week or two. Then I empty it out and check over the discards in case I’ve made a hasty mistake. Usually that results in keeping a couple of pieces, or, everything goes out. Makes me feel better to know that I checked again, and, rechecked pockets, too!

  34. Carol Frey
    April 6, 2018 / 5:10 am

    I see on your rack of “keepers” the striped Majstic Paris tee and was wondering (as I always do) what size you got it in?

  35. connie
    April 6, 2018 / 3:22 pm

    A few years ago, I ordered dinner at a nice restaurant and it was the most disgusting thing I had ever eaten. I tried to suffer through it when my husband said “You’ve already had to spend money for it. Why make it worse by insisting on eating it?” I thought that was very good advice and I took it to my closet. I got rid of several items that I didn’t like but hadn’t been able to part with simply because I had spent good money on them. But he convinced me that I shouldn’t have to make it worse by forcing myself to wear them!

  36. Duchesse
    April 8, 2018 / 5:44 am

    I love closet cleanout posts and your summation echoes “Simple Isn’t Easy”, a bible to me. However I’m a Kondo-type purger, because I can •always• rationalize keeping an item “for one more season” unless I take the bigger view, at least the entire season at once. If I look at just a couple of things, I chicken out.

  37. Beverly Barker
    April 17, 2018 / 3:46 pm

    Any suggestions with regard to the best portable folding clothes rack to use?

    • Susan B
      Author
      April 17, 2018 / 3:49 pm

      Hi Beverly, I can’t attest as to whether it’s the best, but this is the one I have and it gets the job done. Sturdy, easy to set up and fold away. https://amzn.to/2qJFiYO

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