My husband and I are self-identified minimalists. We hate clutter, superfluous items in our house, and adore simple, clean decor (hence my passion for Scandinavian design). I also apply this mindset to my closet. I love a tidy, well-manicured wardrobe and go through it regularly to keep it that way.
To keep my clothes under control, I reassess what I own every 6 months.
I ask myself the following questions and keep/purge based on my answers:
1) Have I worn it in a year? If the answer is no, it goes directly in the purge pile. If I haven't worn in a year, I probably won't wear it again. This simple rule keeps my wardrobe in check for the most part. *Note* - This does not include clothing stored as a result of life changes (pregnancy, post-natal, injury, etc).
2) Does it look fabulous on? If the answer is no, out it goes. I have bought many things at thrift or on sale simply because they were cheap regardless of if they looked great. If it doesn't make me say "wow, I look awesome in this" or I don't feel confident in it, I'm done with it. As my mother always says, "You only want fabulous and if it isn't a [resounding] YES, then it's a no."
*Note* - this does not include my "playground gear" because that gets destroyed no matter what.
3) Is it comfortable? If it is fussy, hurts, pinches, itches, squeezes or provides any other discomfort, I let it go. I hate uncomfortable clothing, regardless of if I'm with my kid or out to dinner, so I am happy to put these in the purge pile. This is a good assessment for shoes too. Anything that cause squeezing or blisters are gone.
4) Is it way out of fashion with little to no hope of returning to style? I have purchased many trendy items, so when the season is over, out it usually goes too. To this point, I tend to avoid buying items like these because it becomes a waste of money in the end.
5) Does it look cheap or too well worn to look good? I make it my goal is to wear classic garments that look well made. I carefully select fabric types like cotton, wool, linen, or silk because they hold up well, can wash easily (not the wool or silk though) and look elegant wear after wear. I tend to avoid other materials that don't have the timeless aesthetic like polyester (especially shiny polyester) and acrylic because they pill and snag easily and look worn out quickly. This question also applies to any items with stains, armpit wear, that bad kind of rips, excessive, unintentional fading, misshapen items and anything else that makes the piece look old.
*Note* - again, this excludes playground gear because I tend to toss those items out anyway.
I have a lot of fun organizing my closet (and yes, as seen in the picture, I really do color coordinate my garments). So if you feel overwhelmed by your clothes, try cleaning out using my 5 question test.
Soon to come, a blog about what I do with the garments/shoes/etc I purge.