Closet Clean Out: Three Easy Steps to Organization

Closet Clean Out: Three Easy Steps to Organization

Closet shame…it’s real ya’ll and doing a closet clean out is one of the biggest reasons women tell me prevents them from feeling good about their wardrobes.

Want to know a secret? I used to suffer from a serious case of closet shame! A few years back one of the biggest GYPO reader requests was for me to do a closet tour. Problem was I didn’t want anyone to see inside my closet. It was a wreck from top to bottom and had become a repository for all sorts of things that didn’t belong there. Add to that the fact that I still had my old wardrobe from my corporate past life, literally collecting dust. I knew it was time for a drastic change but I wasn’t sure where to start. The prospect was all just a tad bit overwhelming. Are you feelin’ me?

I decided there was only one way to eat this elephant and that was one bite at a time. So I developed this closet clean out process that works like a charm every time. I’ve even taught classes on it and use it every single season to keep my closet in tip-top shape. The best part? After you go through the process once, it’s a cinch to keep up with it!

Alright, let’s get right to it!

closet clean out three easy steps to your organized dream closet

GYPO Three Step Closet Clean Out Process

Step One

Find three medium to large boxes and label them CASH, STASH, and TRASH. If you don’t have boxes on hand, trash bags will do.

In each box, you will categorize the following:

CASH: These are items that can be sold or donated. They are in good condition, but you haven’t worn them in a year or more and will probably never wear them again.

TRASH: Anything stained, worn out, or damaged beyond repair.

STASH: This is clothing purgatory. Put anything in here that you haven’t worn in two seasons but don’t want to part with. This will go into storage, at least for now. Let’s call this the “maybe” box.

Step Two

Pull every item out of your closet one by one, including shoes, handbags and scarves or other accessories. Find a category for each item and place it in its respective box. All items that you decide to keep can be put in a pile on your bed for now.


That’s the million-dollar question, right? Use the following as a litmus test:

  • Have I worn it in the past year?
  • Is it a classic piece that will stay in style?
  • Is it still in good condition?
  • Can I pair it up in more than one way?
  • Do I feel good when I wear this?
  • Does it fit?
  • Would I buy this again?

If you answered “no” to one or more of the questions above, it’s probably not a keeper. Remember it’s not a HECK YES, it’s a NO. You can always put it in the STASH box and store it for now. If you’re still thinking about it within the next six months, pull it out of the box and use it. If not, tape up the box and donate it.

Step Three

Once you’re done categorizing what you have, it’s time to organize what’s left in your KEEP pile.

Most people have a preferred method of organizing their clothing. Mine is hanging it in groups of like items (short-sleeved shirts, cardigans, blouses, denim, dress pants, skirts, dresses, etc.) Others prefer to sort by color. It really doesn’t matter as long as it makes sense to you and you know where to find everything.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have velvet covered hangers yet, run, don’t walk to replace and upgrade your hangers TODAY! I recommend and use this affordable set.

Once you’ve completed the above steps, you’ll be in a GREAT position to rebuild your wardrobe. Pay attention to items that you need to replace or upgrade and also any gaps in your wardrobe. These are the items you will want to have on your shopping list.

Free Closet Clean Out Download!

Take my instructions into your closet with you, and download my free Closet Clean Out printable.

It’s Your Turn: Carve out an afternoon for your own closet cleanout. Report back and let me know how it goes (and how GREAT it feels)!

Q & A Wednesday | January 2015

Q & A Wednesday | January 2015

It’s time for my monthly Q&A and as always, you girls brought it with your questions this month!  I’m so excited to tackle them so let’s dive right in.

Q. When shopping online do you have any tips to avoid becoming distracted and/or overwhelmed by the infinite options? I have a hard time shopping because there are so many choices I seriously begin to feel anxiety. At least a store is finite and the choices are contained within four walls. But the internet is infinite possibilities. – Wanda via Facebook

A.  Hi Wanda!  Ah, yes, online shopping can be VERY overwhelming but I have a mantra that keeps distractions to a minimum and it’s this…

ALWAYS shop with a purpose. 

This mantra works not only for online shopping but in store as well.  Never browse for clothes, always shop with a purpose.

So what exactly does that mean?  Anytime you shop, be armed with a list of what you truly need. Each season, I take an inventory of my closet and make note of what I have, what I want to add and what basics need to be replaced.  I keep it on my phone and then when I shop, I pull it out and try to focus only on what I need.  I try to make it as specific as possible to avoid any impulse buys.

How does this apply specifically to online shopping?  Pull out your list, go to the category of items that you need (sweaters, for example) and search through that category ONLY.  Add a few items to your cart that you love, then go back and pare down from there.  I usually add three items and allow myself to choose one – unless there’s a free shipping minimum, take advantage of that when you can.  Of course, there are exceptions to anything and if you see something you absolutely love that’s not on the list, you can still get it.  But the list acts as a guide to keep you on task, distraction free and shopping for what you truly need!

Q.  How did you get started with blogging? Do you have any recommendations of books to read or directions to go to get started? – Kathy via Facebook

Well, Kathy, blogging was kind of a happy accident for me!  After a few years of working from home, I had fallen into a MAJOR mom rut.  It wasn’t just effecting my appearance but everything else, including my home and family.  I rarely got out of my yoga pants and never wore makeup or fixed my hair.  One day I decided to get up an hour earlier than usual, worked out and actually got ready for the day even though I had nowhere to go.  I felt better and more productive than I had in a long time.  When I picked my daughter up from school that day, she said “Mommy, what happened to you?  You look PRETTY!”  That was my turning point and when I decided that I had to make an effort on a regular basis, not just for myself, but for my family too.

I started Get Your Pretty On shortly after that.  There were a lot of fashion blogs that I liked back then but none of them seemed to be exactly what I was looking for – simple, easy to wear outfits that looked cute and put together and worked for my daily life.  So I started my own blog.  The first version was kind of rough but it was a place that I could post my outfits and hold myself accountable for getting dressed on a daily basis – plus share the things I was learning along the way.  That was almost two and a half years ago.

Since then, I’ve learned A LOT about blogging, photography, fashion, writing, you name it!  Most of it, I’ve found through the Internet but one book that really helped, especially in the beginning was Blog, Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community by Joy Cho.

My best advice is to start where you are and start before you’re ready because you’ll never truly feel ready.  Don’t expect perfection in the beginning, your blog will evolve as you do.  If you’re passionate about writing and sharing what you love with the world, it will all fall into place.

Q.  I can’t seem to get a button down to work under a sweater. I’m thin and I think it makes me look 10 pounds bigger…and it is uncomfortable. What is your trick? – Sherry via Facebook

This is a lot trickier than it should be.  I love the look of a button down under a sweater but keeping the bunching and bulk at bay is key to pulling it off.  My best tip is to buy a fitted button down that tapers at the waist. The more fitted it is, the better it will work.  I have some button downs that I ONLY wear under sweaters.  They are a little too tight to be worn on their own but they work just fine as a layering piece.  This fitted blouse would be perfect, check out how much it tapers.


[Coquette Button Down Blouse]

 Q.  How do you suggest avoiding hat hair during the winter while still keeping the head warm? – Rhoda via Facebook

Here in Texas, we don’t typically run into this issue, unless you count cowboy hats.  🙂  But I can see how this could present a big problem in a cold climate.  I found this awesome article on Already Pretty that gives some great advice for you girls in cold climates.  The only thing that I would add is to stash a dryer sheet in a plastic bag inside your purse to run over your hair if you have any static or fly aways after taking your hat off. It’s one of the five winter hair care tips I shared in this post.
Winter Hair Tips

Q.  I want to get rid of clothes in my closet but every time I try I end up talking myself into keeping something I know I haven’t worn…thinking maybe I will eventually wear it! (Emotional attachment maybe??) How do you rid yourself of unworn clothes and do you donate or sell them? – Allison via Facebook

A.  Hey Allison!  Great name.  🙂 Organizing your closet and getting rid of stuff can be overwhelming but the pay off is totally worth tackling it.

I wrote this post and an entire chapter in my book dedicated to closet organizing and detailing my Closet Cleanse technique that you may find helpful.
The emotional attachment is a little tougher to handle.  But here’s what I do, I keep a “limbo” box specifically for items that I’m attached to or not ready to get rid of yet – pieces that I consider to be in clothing purgatory.  It stays in an upstairs storage closet – out of sight, out of mind.  If there’s anything in there that I’m still thinking about wearing during the season, I’ll pull it back out and put it into the rotation.  Once a year I go through it and anything that didn’t get pulled back out gets taken out of limbo and donated or sold at our annual garage sale.  If I didn’t think about it or need it during that year, chances are I never will.
Closet Organizing Tips
That’s it for this month’s Q&A.  Thanks so much for your awesome questions!


It’s the day of the week at GYPO where we celebrate what makes us feel pretty. Whether it’s a new outfit, hairstyle, or makeup, the I Feel Pretty link up is about anything and everything that makes your life prettier. Even if you’re not a blogger, you can still play along. Just tell us what made you feel pretty this week in the comments!I Feel Pretty Logo

There are just a few simple rules:
1. Follow GYPO. (Bloglovin‘, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest)

2. Link up your pretty post.

3. Link back to my blog (using the button above or your own link).

4. Visit other pretties. That’s it, now go have some fun!