Tips for a Closet Cleanout!

January 2, 2018

I always feel like I need a good closet cleanout after the holidays.  It’s always so nice to start the new year with a fresh organized closet and wardrobe, right? I always find it’s best to start with what I want to keep first … and then I can see what I want to get rid of.

tips for a closet cleanout


My Tips for Closet Cleanout & Creating a Wearable Wardrobe


The best place to start tackling your wardrobe is just with some valuable questions.

*Which items are your favorite in your closet and why?

*Which ones got worn the most this year?

*Which pieces get reached for again and again?

Must-Have Basics

Next, make a list of must have basics for yourself.  You can read other people’s lists, but take their suggestions with a grain of salt, Ladies.  You know your life and your body best. I don’t know how many times I read that I needed a crisp white linen shirt at a time in my life when I never wore white or even owned an iron. (Just for the record, I do now!)

Start with a basic color scheme, including your favorite neutrals and a few favorite pops of colors.  My favorite neutrals have always been black, gray, tan, and denim with pops of red/berry.  Navy, brown, beige, white, and olive green all make great neutrals as well.

Next, make note of  your favorite and most flattering silhouettes.  For a pear-shape like me, I live for fit and flare dresses, including the ever flattering faux wrap dress. I also love flared jeans (long or cropped) and long jackets, coats, and cardigans to give me a long lean look. (I added my personal list at the bottom of the post in case anyone was interested!)

Make your own list.  Are you missing anything that you really need or would like to own?  Maybe some of your basics are ready to be replaced?

Now it’s time to think about your lifestyle, what you actually do and what you’ll be doing this next year.  (I’m all about positive thinking, so also definitely keep in mind what you’ll be needing when you get that dream job and take that dream vacation, Dolls!)

Now try on all your basics and must-haves and if they fit and are in good condition, put them back into the closet.

Then add back into your closet anything you just absolutely and totally LOVE, even if it’s for no good reason.

What to get rid of?

Anything unflattering (anything!)

Anything uncomfortable

Anything itchy

Any shoes that give you blisters

Anything that doesn’t fit right

Anything in a color that doesn’t look good on you

Anything that doesn’t go with anything else in your wardrobe

Anything you’re keeping for sentimental reasons, but don’t actually wear (take a photo or put it in a keep-sake chest in the attic)

Anything you’re just sick of (maybe you wore it and loved it … to death … now you never want to see it again)

Any projects that never actually happened (for me that means the bomber jacket I was going to cover with patches and the jeans that I was going to get hemmed … This also includes the jeans you’ll fit into someday … let it go!)

Costume jewelry that’s starting to look old

Earrings that are too heavy to actually wear (sidenote: if you REALLY love them, you might want to try earring backs before you give up on them for good.)

Bracelets that slide off your arm

Scarves in shapes you don’t know how to tie (and don’t plan to learn)

Anything you feel ridiculous wearing

Things you bought on vacation and have never worn since

Anything that shrunk or just never looked the same after you washed it

Anything that you try on from time to time and for whatever reason never seems quite right and always goes back on the hanger

Anything too low-cut that never looked right pinned or with a cami underneath

Anything that was a gift that you never really loved as much as you wanted to

It sounds like a harsh list, but it’s such a joy to open your closet and just see things you love and really want to wear!

What to do with all the rejects?  Give them to charity, or a friend, or sell them on eBay or Poshmark, or the local consignment store. (Sidenote: Check out our blogger friend Susan’s fabulous charity called Uncommon Threads). But whatever you do, don’t start going through them again and pulling things out to save!

I mean really, what are you saying to yourself if you keep these things?  That you must stare at the expensive shoes that are so ungodly uncomfortable for the rest of your life as punishment for your bad decision? Haha! Be kind to yourself and let the stuff go!  Let someone else enjoy your mistakes and make room for the perfect items in your closet!

It takes some time and energy to do this, but it really does feel great to get it done.  And can I be totally honest with you?  I ran out of steam and haven’t even tackled my jewelry chest yet!  One day this week for sure!

Thanks for all the nice comments I got on my closet cleaning Instagram story!  It always makes me feel so good to know that I’ve helped or inspired!

By the way, are you in the Bay Area and looking for a custom closet? I totally recommend Shari Krandel at Valet Custom.  Shari personally designed my closet and I couldn’t be happier with it!

And again, please let me know what I can blog about that will help you the most.  I’m still working on my 2018 goals, but being more helpful to my readers is on the top of the list and I need your feedback to make that happen! (Email me at or DM me on Instagram.)

Did you catch this post about how to build an outfit?  I got a lot of positive feedback and would love to know if you found it helpful at all.

Let’s make 2018 the very best yet!

Fun & Fashion,

Dawn Lucy

Here is my list of my personal must haves:
Pants – Jeans – bootcut and cropped flares, curvy fit,  slimming black pants
Tops – t-shirts in all my fav neutrals and pops of colors, including stripes
Sweaters & Cardigans – I love a long cardigan that covers my butt and gives me a long lean silhouette. I have black, tan, gray, and burgundy. A big oversized cozy sweater – Free People’s Swim Too Deep sweater this season was perfection to me. A black ribbed turtleneck.
Dresses – Fit and flare and faux wrap dresses – I count on my Karina dresses to cover this category
Jackets & Coats A moto jacket – basic black works for me. A long wool coat – my leopard print is my favorite. A denim jacket.
Shoes – Black booties – (live in my Jambu Anitas), black classic pumps, classic sneakers
Accessories – Bag – Large black leather classic tote bag, black leather crossbody bag.  Jewelry – plain hoop earrings, fun dangling earrings, long pendant necklaces, bracelets & watches for stacking.  Scarves – leopard print, other fun prints.



Link Ups: Visible Monday! Shoe and Tell!  #iwillwearwhatilike link up! Hello Monday! Mix It Monday! How I Summer! Creative Mondays!  Turning Heads Tuesday! Confident Tuesday! Bloggers Who Inspired Me! Tuesday Fashion Party On Trend Tuesday!  Style Perspectives! Trendy Wednesday! Style on the Daily! What I Wore!  Jersey Girl Texan Heart! Color and Grace! Thursday Fashion Files! Labour of Fashion! Thursday Favorite Things!  Thursday Moda! Top of the World Style!  Welcome to the Weekend! Passion for Fashion! Fabulous Friday!  Fab Favorites!  Friday Favorites!  Link Party with Osy! Flashback Fashion Fridays! Weekend Wear Link Up!  Edge of the Week! Nancy’s Fashion Style! Ladies Who Link Up!


  • Reply jodie filogomo January 2, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Gosh, I was just saying to my husband, that we really need to purge our closet—it’s crazy full!!
    You’re one step ahead of me!!

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 4, 2018 at 6:04 am

      Such a big job! I need to do this more often and not let it get so out of hand! :D. And I was thinking maybe in the mess I would find those embroidered jeans … remember that?! Somehow I think they got into a Good Will bag by mistake!

  • Reply Suzanne January 2, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    I’ve been meaning to do this for months! Your closet started looking cleaned out by my standards though! 🙂

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 4, 2018 at 6:04 am

      Shhh … I might have straightened it a bit for the before pic! LOL

  • Reply Mica January 2, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    I love how organised your wardrobe is in the after shot! 🙂 I really like wardrobe organisation psots, gives me inspiration for how I can tidy my overflowing wardrobe!

    I need to do this more regularly, I try to do it a little at the end of each season as I’m unpacking or packing away my winter things but I don’t spend a lot of time on it. It would be great to be more organised and ruthless and follow the tips you gave to let go of things that aren’t adding any value in my wardrobe!

    Happy new year! Hope that 2018 has started nicely for you! Mine has been so enjoyable as I’m still on leave from work so I’m taking the opportunity to relax!

    Away From The Blue Blog

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 4, 2018 at 6:05 am

      I”m still on vacation from teaching … so nice to be on my own schedule for a change!! Enjoy, Mica! OXOX

  • Reply Cheryl Tucker January 3, 2018 at 6:44 am

    I LOVE a closet clean out post! Call me crazy but I love to organize my closet and you have so many great tips!

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 4, 2018 at 6:06 am

      That’s so cool that you love it! I think I might enjoy it more if I didn’t wait until the task was overwhelming, you know?

  • Reply MonicaP January 3, 2018 at 6:50 am

    Excellent list! I usually go through my closet each season and weed out the uglies .. lol.


    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 4, 2018 at 6:06 am

      Every season is a good goal, Monica! Happy new year to you too, Chick! OXOX

  • Reply Rosemary Davis January 3, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Great tips! Love a well organized closet.

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 4, 2018 at 6:07 am

      Thanks, Rosemary!

  • Reply Kellyann January 3, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    Great tips! I was feeling guilty about wanting to get rid of a couple of tops I wore ALOT in the Fall – I am tired of them. Thanks for helping relieve me of the guilt – they just need to go already!

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 4, 2018 at 6:08 am

      Yeah, I hear you … something I just ADORE something so much I wear it ALL THE TIME … and then I’m just sick of it! Let someone else enjoy them, right?! Happy new year, Kellyann!

  • Reply DeeDee January 4, 2018 at 5:04 am

    Great article and very helpful in the clean out process. Especially the put it in the trunk or take a picture of the sentimental pieces. Thank you!

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 4, 2018 at 6:08 am

      Aww thanks, Deedee … I have a lot of things that were my mom’s that I just can’t rid of, so I have a special big box for them. OXOX

  • Reply Elise January 4, 2018 at 7:46 am

    You have inspired me to purge and organize my closet! Great post!

    xx, Elise

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 7, 2018 at 4:39 am

      Thanks so much, Elise!

  • Reply Kristin January 4, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Isn’t it so funny how we have items that we love love love to death and then all of a sudden never wear again!? I’m always holding on to those items because I never know if I’m going to love it again, but it just takes up space in my closet! I plan on doing a big cleanout this weekend and these tips will help!

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 7, 2018 at 4:41 am

      Hi Kristin,
      I totally feel you. I do the same thing … love something so much that I want to wear it ALL THE TIME! Somethings I never get tired of … but then sometimes I feel like I just never want to see something again! Hee! Thanks so much for stopping by! OXOX

  • Reply Ruth January 4, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    I love closet clean outs. I do mine every season change to see what I did or didn’t wear. It really makes my wardrobe wearable!

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 7, 2018 at 4:41 am

      That’s a great idea, Ruth! I need to do it more often for sure!

  • Reply Susan Kanoff January 5, 2018 at 10:24 am

    What great tips and THANK YOU for including as a place to donate. You’ve been such a wonderful supporter XOXOXO Susan

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 7, 2018 at 4:42 am

      I totally believe in UT … and you of course!!!

  • Reply Nicole of High Latitude Style January 5, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    Great post. You are so right that’s important to clean up the closet and declutter it. Happy New Year and thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style.

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 7, 2018 at 4:42 am

      Thanks, Nicole!

  • Reply Shelbee on the Edge January 7, 2018 at 5:03 am

    Dawn Lucy, your list of what to get rid of was making me chuckle! I have all sorts of those things buried in my closet and I need to do a serious clean out. But I am self-admittedly a complete hoarder when it comes to all things in my closet. I have no problem getting rid of anything in my house that is unused, unnecessary, or whatever, but when it comes to my closet, I want everything to just stay where it is. And now I have an overflow problem! Hahahaha. And a clean out is totally overwhelming to me. But I am going to need to do it soon because I have run out of space. Thanks for the inspiration and for linking up On the Edge.

  • Leave a Reply

    I accept the Privacy Policy