Hillary Chybinski: Simplify Your Life - How To Audit Your Closet

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Simplify Your Life - How To Audit Your Closet

Tips to Help You Week Through Your Clothes and Keep What You Love

If you're on Instagram or Pinterest, you've probably seen a lot of information about Capsule Wardrobes. In a nutshell, a capsule wardrobe is a minimalist wardrobe approach to a season. The typical capsule consists of about 30-40 pieces that you mix and match throughout the season. While that is very appealing to me, I am all about the options and I purposely buy pieces that are season-spanning to get the most wear and options out of them.

A great alternative to the capsule, is simply auditing your wardrobe. Don't let the word "audit" scare you. All we're going to do is sort through every single piece you own and make some decisions. It's a big job, but the end results are worth it. I audit my own wardrobe each season and the more often you do it, the easier it gets. Whenever we cut unnecessary things from our life, we free up space. Space to breathe, space to move, space to be. The same thing happens with your wardrobe. Getting rid of the things that make you feel bad, will help you to feel good - and that's a very good thing.

So how do you get started on a closet audit? First you need a block of time. Depending on your wardrobe, this can take 2-4 hours. Next you need some trash bags, post-it notes, sharpies and a mirror. If you do this fully, you're going to be trying things on, so it's a good idea to put on your "good" undergarments and clothes that are easy to get in and out of.

Now for the fun. The first thing you are going to do is remove EVERYTHING from your closet. Sort it out around your room by type or season. The important thing is that you need to be able to see it all. When you notice that you have eight black sweaters, it will be easier to pare it down to your three favorites.

Once everything is laid out and sorted, it's time to audit. The first run is easy, you will end up with three groups - definitely keep, definitely toss (or donate, giveaway, etc) and the rest. The rest is where people run into trouble - this is the real work. Most of these items you will need to try on, and to make it a little easier for yourself, run through this series of questions:

Does it make you feel good? Are you constantly pulling and tugging on it? Then toss it. If it makes you feel pretty, keep it.
How many other pieces does it go with? My personal goal is at least three. In the case of a dress, can you add sweaters, jackets and multiple shoes?
Would you wear it again? If you need something to go with it, add it to your style wish list for future shopping trips.
Is it past it's prime? Does it have small imperfections that make it not look it's best? Then add a replacement to your style wish list and let this one go.
Is caring for it beyond your commitment level? Dry Cleaning, hand washing and other delicate care requirements can make a piece unattractive to actually wear. If that's the case, it's just taking up valuable real estate, so let it go.
Does it have sentimental value? Consider keeping (and limiting) these things to one storage box.
Still not sure about an item? How would you feel if you were wearing it and ran into an ex (boyfriend, boss, girlfriend, etc)? Would you feel confident? If not, let it go.

If you STILL can't decide, move the item to another closet or area and see what happens. If you don't think about it for three months, add it to your next donation collection.

Now are you left with clothes that you love, that look good on you, are in style and work with other pieces in your closet. Take a look at what you have, and how you can better sort them into your closet and drawers. I am cursed with a small 1930's closet, with your typical bar and shelf set-up. The closet isn't really big enough for much customization, so I try to make the most of it.

Since most of my wardrobe is versatile, I keep like items together and then sort by color.

Once everything is in place, getting dressed every day should be an easier and more enjoyable event. Run through this same process with your accessories too. That means shoes, scarves, jewelry and bags.

What tips do you have for maintaining your wardrobe and simplifying your closet?

catch you soon -


  1. I did this last year and I now need to do it again :) Thanks for the reminder!