How do you Purge your Closet?

I have been intrigued by Jewish Girl’s “Use it or Lose It” challenges recently. The gist of it is you wear items in your closet you haven’t worn in a while or never within 30 days. If forces you to figure out how to wear that pencil skirt or embroidered blouse and let’s you ultimately decide whether or not it’s a keeper.

Her first challenge was skirts and her current challenge is Cardigans/Jackets and Shoes. To keep herself on track with what is in the challenge she added a green mark to those hangers holding those items. It would be interesting to participate but I don’t dress for work like those who work in an actual office so I’d probably “use” 2 of 10 skirts or something like that. It seems like a good way to purge your closet one or two clothing categories at a time. To be honest, any more than that at a time can be too overwhelming and you’ll want to keep everything.

I am blessed to have a closet that allows me to have ALL my clothes out all year round. I store my cashmere and heavier sweaters in boxes during the off season that I keep on the floor or top shelves of my closet. Unlike most ladies, I do not have to switch out Summer to Fall or Winter. Unfortunately, seeing everything at once also causes me to 1) be indecisive on what to wear and 2) think I don’t have anything to wear. To help with that I re-arranged my closet again, moving around the shelves, placing the shoes up front-and-center and, my purging trick, turning all my hangers around, which I probably saw on Clean House or some HGTV show years ago.

Logically, you place all your hangers so you can retrieve them from the front. As you can see, I reversed the hanger so the curve of the top of the hanger is to the back wall. If I wear something I hang it back with the curve to the front. At a glance, this shows me exactly what I’ve worn and what I need to wear. Then, after each season, I can assess what I have not worn and decide if it really is a keeper or if it finally needs to go. The only things I don’t use this for are classic items – the white button-down shirt, LBD, black pencil skirt, wool trousers, etc.

Another idea I looked into was a “Wear-Minder Tag“. You place a tag on a hanger and each time you wear that article of clothing you remove a “petal”. You would have to give yourself a cut-off date so you don’t have clothes in your closet with three petals missing in three years. They also look like they are easy to make, with some scrap-booking paper, a design, and scissors. By making them yourself, you can also add the article of clothing to the center of the flower so you know which hanger it goes back on.

I don’t have a definitive way to purge my shoe portion of the closet yet but right now I am just doing a once-over every few months. I finally purged some shoes that were too cute to let go but that I hadn’t worn in over two years. Because of this, as you can see, I now have a front-and-center shelf for my sweaters. Maybe if I have them out Mother Nature will notice and keep it cool for a while so I can wear them.

Jeans are another issue I have. I don’t hang them so I only get rid of them when they don’t fit.

My question to you is – “How do you purge your closet?” Especially shoes. I’d love to hear your ideas and tricks on what you do to keep your closet from exploding. Do you participate in the “One in, One Out” concept? Are you participating in Jewish Girl’s “Use it or Lose It” challenge, even secretly? Do you purge at the beginning of a season or re-assess what you haven’t worn when you change seasons and purge then?

Go check out Jewish Girl’s blog, if you haven’t already, and read up on her “Use it or Lose It” challenges.

Have a great day!


  1. October 25, 2011 / 5:30 pm

    I love the idea of this tag! I think I would like to try it! I will also check out the blog…thanks

  2. October 25, 2011 / 6:10 pm

    OK, seriously! I have almost the identical shoe shelf with my shoes all in boxes. I should not be surprised really. LOL I don't have photos on the boxes though, I have them all memorized. It helps that Chie Mihara has a stock photo of the shoe on each box, that takes care of memorizing almost half my shoe wardrobe.

    I purge twice a year when I have to flip my closet over every spring and fall. As I'm putting away the past season's clothes I purge things that were not worn and don't expect to wear next year.

    I like your idea of turning the hangers around and I'm going to try that with my sweaters this season. I seem to gravitate to some of the same ones repeatedly and I should try to use those neglected ones or purge them away. My twinsets stay out year round as most are cotton or silk blends. For that reason they are seldom purged and I keep collecting. The hanger trick should help, thanks for sharing.

  3. October 25, 2011 / 6:32 pm

    I can't beIieve the amount of shoes you have!
    I don't have that many clothes, I'm trying to rebuild my wardrobe at the moment, I didn't buy anything for a few years until about 18 months ago and I always clear things out that I don't wear, so I've never had the problem. Same with shoes, I just don't have that many to keep track of.
    I can't wait for the day I have to declutter!

  4. October 25, 2011 / 10:06 pm

    Can I say that I LOVE to see the shoes neatly arranged in their boxes? I do that too, although my collection is much smaller. I have heard some people take photos of the shoes and stick them to the box for easier decision making on what shoes to wear.

    It has been almost 3 years now, but I purged my closet of everything I hadn't worn in a year. I was merciless, and felt really good after doing it.

  5. October 26, 2011 / 3:04 am

    I have a really hard time getting rid of clothes because I am too sentimental! When I turned over my closet at the beginning of the summer, I kept a bunch of summer clothes I don't wear often in my "winter" box. I didn't open my box at all this summer…so I'm getting rid of them!

  6. October 30, 2011 / 3:12 pm

    OMG, this is an awesome post!! a) because your closet looks like something I dream about; and b) because those "wearminders" are a fantastic idea.

    Also, I'm pretty sure I had a minor heart attack upon viewing your shoe collection. So many, so well-organized. *wistful sigh*

  7. October 30, 2011 / 7:25 pm

    Pam – Thanks for reading! I hope the suggestions help.

    xoxo – I would love to see a pic of your shoe shelf!

    Tabitha – Husband thinks it's excessive, naturally, and used to make me feel embarrassed about it but I got over that. I really try to wear them all. I think the hard part of purging is when you come across something that is sentimental to you.

    Rose – Thanks! The pics really do help, especially since I have a lot of the same shoe boxes.

    memtex – Good job! I know how hard getting rid of sentimental pieces is. And if it doesn't fit any longer I really want to hang on to that item. You'd think it would be the opposite. I'm getting better though and the hanger trick helps.

    JewishGirl – Thanks! I've had small closets all my life so when Husband was house-hunting he knew a bigger closet was on the in-between list of must-have/need-to-have.