My Ten Commandments of Closet Cleaning

When it comes to closet cleaning, I think we've all heard the old adage that if you haven't worn an item in a year, you should toss it, about a thousand times. I know that organizational experts may beg to differ on this, but I completely disagree. While this may be a fair deciding factor for a lot of items, I think that there are some exceptions to be made to this rule. These are my 10 rules on closet cleaning out- 5 items you should always keep, and 5 you definitely need to pitch.

First, we'll start with the five items I think you should throw away (or donate!) right now...

1. Wire hangers. They ruin the shoulders of your clothes, and whether you're spending $15 or $150 or $1500 on a dress, you want to keep it nice. Buy nice hangers. Please. 

2. Anything that's stained, ripped, or otherwise ruined. If you couldn't get a stain out when you tried 6 months ago, it's not coming out now. Take anything that's ripped to your tailor, and if they can't fix it, get rid of it. 

3. Clothes that are more than one size too big or one size too small for you. I know every diet expert might tell you to only keep clothes in the size you wear, to motivate you to stay that size, but let's be real. Sometimes, we go on vacation, get broken up with, or have one too many pieces of pie. And all of those things can affect our weight. Keeping clothes in a size bigger and smaller gives you a bit of a buffer zone, so to speak. You should be able to find clothes you love in your closet, even if you did finish a box of chocolates. 

4. Last season's trendy pieces that you bought from Forever 21 (or the like). Forever 21 is a great place to pick up trendy items on the cheap, so you don't spend a fortune "investing" in neon spandex that is going to be out of style in six month. Hate to break it to you, though. Chances are, the piece isn't going to hold up until the trend rolls back around in 5-10 years. Toss it now, and make room for the next season's temporary trend. 

5. Shoes that are ruined. This may seem like tough love, but that pair of heels with the leather stripped all the way up the heel? Yeah, you know you have a pair in the back of the closet. Get rid of them. They're taking up space, and you shouldn't be wearing them. Try taking them to a cobbler to get fixed, but if they are beyond repair, please, do yourself a favor, and get rid of them. They look tacky. 

And the five things you should keep... 

1. This might make me sound crazy, but don't get rid of "emotional" pieces. Yes, I realize, I won't ever be able to fit in my 6th grade graduation dress again, but I still love looking at it from time to time, and I loved when my mom showed my sister and I her graduation dress. You may come to regret it in a few months, weeks, or years. 

2. A suit. I realize that not everyone owns a suit, but if you do, don't ditch it. Even if you're currently working in an office or industry that doesn't require suits, there's always a chance in the future that you'll need a classic suit, and it would majorly suck to have to drop a bunch of money to replace something that was timeless to begin with. 

3. High-quality trendy pieces. I know most of us don't drop a ton of money on super-trendy items, but we all know that we've spent more on that dress we somehow convinced ourselves was classic, but let's be real, it wasn't. If it's high quality, it may be worth keeping around for the next time the trend is in. Thanks to some trendy dress saving of my mom's, I'm the proud owner of several super 80s dresses that look new again.

4. Jeans that are a little too snug or a little too big. I know that this is similar to the "get rid of" rule number three, but if you're tight on space and can't save everything, at least keep the jeans. You can dress jeans up or down, and it's more noticeable if you're wearing a size too small in jeans than it is in a black dress. 

5. A few simple outfits that you feel great in, clean and ready to go. I personally think it's a great idea to keep  a few outfits that are clean, ironed, and that you know you feel great in, hanging in your closet ready to wear, at all times. That way, on the mornings you hit snooze six times in a row, you'll show up to work looking more rested, not frazzled! 


  1. Wow! Our commandments are so similar! I HATE wire hangers! Why does my husband insist on keeping them after the dry cleaner? I always have to sneak them out of the house. Seriously, what a pain!
    Since I have been pregnant for the past two years (well not totally but it feels like it)...I am allowing myself some wiggle room to fit into some shirts I just love. I am hoping to lose that last 20 pounds! Okay, maybe I won't. But there is still hope!

  2. love the first to keep rule except I keep the emotional pieces in a special little trunk (that's no so little!)

  3. Your idea about keeping things one size up or down is so smart!
    xo Josie

  4. I think this is good advice. But I do recommend *always* going to a cobbler first (assuming the shoes weren't crappy quality to begin with). I have saved so much money on replacing shoes by doing this!