The Fashionista is in: closet cleanse

Engage in the cathartic act of ridding the old to be replaced with the new.

Spring cleaning your closet can get rid of old clothes and out-of-style pieces.

Chelsea Gortmaker

Spring cleaning your closet can get rid of old clothes and out-of-style pieces.

Shannon Ryan

Maintaining a closet full of aged blue jeans and two times too many sweated tees from high school is equivalent to never washing your face at night: You’re clogging your sartorial pores, readers!

Throughout the years, clothes, accessories, heels and trivial trends find a home in your closet, and it’s easy to let them pile up without realizing it. Too often we leave that already tight space with little room to breathe or grow in the right direction: toward contemporary wardrobe staples and trends with shelf lives longer than fruit.

With winter on its way out, it’s appropriate for dead clothing weight to be booted out back, too. I did a trial cleanse with the goods in my closet, and readers, losing those extra wardrobe pounds felt delightful. I’ve got some advice on how to make the most of your armoire’s purge.



Only begin your closet cleanse in a clean and organized space. If the rest of your room is in a fury, your mind will be as well.

Set the ambiance. Light candles in your boudoir, pour yourself a glass of wine and play music you vibe with — this is a process of purification.

Have your organizational tools in tow. Make sure to have a notepad out to document items you need to replace; make labels for piles of “maybe,” “give away” and “alter,” and have a laundry basket nearby to toss in clothes that need to be laundered.

Be comfortable in your outfit. You’ll be putting on and taking off clothes all afternoon, so wear something that makes it easy to do so. In addition, make sure the item or items of your base outfit are not ones that you’ll be getting rid of.


Item removal

The cardinal rule to this entire process is: Thou shalt try things on. You may think an item is a definite keep or a definite toss, but put it on for one final decision. Will you really ever wear that ruffled blouse again? Several items will surprise you; this I vow.

Take however many grade school T-shirts you think you need and divide that number by three. You only need a few for nostalgia purposes.

After you glance at the height of your give-away pile and the fear of loss sinks in, remind yourself that this downsizing is in preparation for a major reconstruction.


The aftermath

Once your piles have been made and your hangers are less disheveled, physically remove all give-away items from your room. They no longer belong to you. Don’t tease yourself by dangling them in front of your eyes.

Sell proper brand names and recently on-trend items to consignment stores, spending the cash — which will not be copious — on clothing that needs to be replaced. Every penny toward newness helps.

Be mindful of the types of clothes you are letting go. This cleanse functions as a learning process for building a lasting wardrobe. If the majority of the items you’re getting rid of are low-cost, seasonal trends, then steer away from indulging in those purchases from now on.

Replenish your wardrobe with pieces that are unlike the current party hanging inside your closet. Ask yourself if another black blazer is imperative to your success. Be daring and go for navy instead.

A successful closet cleanse will soothe your wardrobe worries and make purchasing for the upcoming seasons much more enjoyable. It should be a revelation of your retail purchasing habits, unveiling tendencies to keep and to discard. I urge you to take a stab at this latest cleanse to hit the market — perhaps you’ll find a bit of solace in the process.


Places to donate clothing:

Salvation Army, 900 N. Fourth St., Minneapolis

Savers, 2124 E. Lake St., Minneapolis

Goodwill Industries, 2505 W., University Ave., St. Paul

Places to sell clothing:

Buffalo Exchange, 2727 S. Lyndale Ave., Minneapolis

Everyday People Clothing Exchange, 2912 S. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

My Sister’s Closet, 2741 S.  Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis