I think it is pretty safe to say that we have all been there, standing in front of our closet with the best of intentions and determined to rid our closets of the fashion faux past…yet, cannot decide what on Earth will actually make the cut!What is it exactly that makes certain clothes sooo hard to part with?! Recently I accepted the challenge my friend gave me to attack my closet and leave only 100 items standing, for a clothes horse like me I have only one word for you…Yikes! To be honest, I began sorting through countless articles that claim to help you clean out your closet but they all fail to address one crucial point…you need to know your signature style. This is a marathon not a race, so I started to take note of when I felt most comfortable in my clothing, and more importantly what items I was wearing. I have found that once you are real about your lifestyle and what it calls for, sorting through the options in your closet becomes much easier. Here are a few tips I picked up along the way to help you get started:

Set the Mood: A make-over takes time and with a closet there is no exception. Make sure you are in the right mood and have enough time before even starting this project. It also helps if you prep; make sure your bedroom and closet are in order, all of your laundry is done etc.Additional prep is up to you, personally I like to pamper myself a little by showering and styling my strands so I am clothing ready. A cup of yummy coffee and a playlist to help set the mood are a total plus. I also set up ‘storage’, ‘consign,’ and ‘donate’ stations using bins from The Container Store to  make it easier for me to toss pieces I am on the fence about (these are also great to use for storage later), I have found once they are out of sight they will be out of mind too!

Conditional Love: Take a thorough look at each item in your wardrobe as you go. Unless your destroyed denim was destroyed on purpose, everything that has a hole, stain, snag or tear gets donated. Everything. Think about what messages you are sending about yourself if you wear stained or tattered clothes…exactly. Make a list of any items that are worn, but you love so much you want to find a replacement. If it is repairable, assess the cost and get it fixed or get rid of it!

Like a Glove: Be honest about what size you are. Looking like a muffin top, or like you are wearing a potato sack is not flattering on any figure. If you have lost weight, chances are you need to lose your wardrobe too! Go to a store whose clothing you typically buy and try on a size down from what you are used to wearing. It might even help to get the opinion of an associate at the store.  If you have gained a few pounds, look at photos of celebrities or style icons that have your new shape. Make a mental note of what cuts, colors and fabrics they are wearing and search your wardrobe for similar pieces and assess the fit. Start listing items that are missing altogether as well as pieces that don’t fit but would look good if you had the proper size.

Style Savant: In previous posts I mention that a helpful starting point for creating your signature style is to create a look board. Mine includes everything from ad campaigns, models off duty, textures, and shades to name a few! The point is not to copy anyone but rather to gain inspiration! My personal style muses include  Kate Moss, Erin Wasson, Olivia Palermo and Julie Sariana.  I get so excited when I see the way they put things together in their own unique ways and find myself looking at pieces in my wardrobe differently as a result. They are not all the same shape or size but the common thread is that I like the way they dress. Now comes the hard part, everything that doesn’t fit the style you are aiming to exude gets the boot. Everything.

Multiplicity: Often times we gravitate towards the same style or color of clothing. For a while, I was obsessed with white and accumulated around 20+ white tops that looked almost identical save a few minor details. When you have multiples or similar items, make your selection by assessing condition and fit first. Then factor in your lifestyle, dry-cleaning etc. to help you limit your selection to no more than 4-6. It helps to ask yourself, if I was in a store right now would I buy this at full price?

Sale Syndrome: All sales are not created equal. I cannot even bear to add up all of the purchases I have made because they were ‘a good deal.’ I am all about trying new styles and trends that catch your eye and suit your style, but make sure they do just that. If you bought something just because it was “Insert Designer name here” and “$___ or ___% off” does not mean it belongs in your closet. Consign the items in this category that you would not buy at full price. Period. Personally, I love My Sister’s Closet and Buffalo Exchange.

Closet editing can only work if you’re honest with yourself. Keeping something just because it was a great designer score at a second hand shop doesn’t make it look good on you. It is truly better to have less items but have them fit perfectly than a closet full of ‘so-so’ options. Whether it’s last season’s trend of the moment, a t-shirt from your first love or your high school skinny jeans it doesn’t matter, be ruthless. Keep only what makes you feel and look good right now. I cannot tell you how amazing I felt hanging the items that made the cut back up in my closet. While I didn’t get down to 100 exactly I came prettttty close and must admit that I have been able to pull outfits together in a snap as a result! If you are still feeling hesitant just remember, next comes the fun part… shopping! On that note, stay tuned for Part II of my closet clean out on how to make your closet feel like your own personal boutique!