Does the idea of cleaning out your closet make you shudder?  You’re not alone.  It may be because you have so many clothes it feels overwhelming.  You may not have the time.  But there’s more to it.  Many items in your wardrobe have significance.  You wore it to your sister’s wedding and even though it’s out of style and something you’d never wear again, it’s tough to part with it.  It might be a pair of jeans you KNOW you’ll get back into some day.  I struggle with the same issues.

A few years back I was working with a client who still had the suit she wore to her husband’s funeral 10 years previously.  She knew she’d never wear it again and wanted to part with it, but just couldn’t.  She knew that releasing it would help her to move on in her life.  I suggested she donate it to a support group for widows of men taken by cancer.  You see, her husband had died from the disease.  Her willingness to do something meaningful with the suit freed her.  Read on.

This year, I challenged myself to remove 3 things from my closet every day for the month of January.  On the last day of the month it was a pair of jeans that I love, but were too small.  It WAS hard, but they were uncomfortable and it was time.  Yes, I had put on a few pounds but they had shrunk, too :). The second item was a skirt I had invested in years ago, but had only worn a few times.  Although it was lined the wool on the waistband was scratchy, again uncomfortable.  The third item was a pair of shoes that had a spider web in them.  Apparently I wasn’t wearing them :).  Now those items are in my donation bag.

Are you ready to take this daily, bite size challenge this month?  It can be 1, 2, 3 or more items per day, based on the size of your closet.  You choose how many and what it is.  Scarves, shoes, jewelry, clothes, etc.  It’s about being in forward motion.

Now to the question you may be asking yourself, “How do I know what to keep and what to get toss?”  Here’s your litmus test:

1.  Does it fit? If not, get it altered or get it out.

2.  Is it comfortable and something you feel great in?  Remember when you wear something that’s uncomfortable or just OK, that’s exactly how you’ll feel- uncomfortable and just OK.

3.  Is it a good color?  Keep in mind that the right colors make you look younger and more vibrant.  The wrong colors make you look tired and worn out.  If you’re not sure what your best colors are, check out our mobile app- Color Rx a color assessment and palette at your fingertips.

4.  How’s the condition?  Is it stained?  Does it have holes in it?  Is it pilled or snagged?  If it’s old and tired looking, out it goes.  Ok, save one sweatshirt (or sweatpants or cardigan) for those rainy/snowy Saturdays.

5.  Is it ready to wear?  Does it have all of its buttons?  Is it wrinkled, stained or dusty?  Don’t you dare hang it back up until it IS ready to wear :).

6.  Is it current*? Wearing clothes that are outdated tend to send the message that you’re stuck.  Staying current with your look reflects that you stay current, period- that you’re current with your field of expertise, too.  This is especially true in how others perceive your personal brand. *Keep in mind that classic is ALWAYS current.

7.  Do you have at least a couple of items to pair with it?  If not, and it passes #1-6, hit the stores and find some matching pieces.

8.  How may times have you worn it in the last year?  Again, if it passes #1-6, ask yourself why you’re not wearing it.  Is it because you have emotional ties to it?  Chances are it’s time to donate it and bless someone else.

At the end of the month your wardrobe will be a selection of clothes you KNOW work and you feel great in.  As the Spring/Summer trends hit the stores, you’ll know exactly what you need to refresh your wardrobe, too.

If you’re ready to take The February Wardrobe Challenge, post your commitment in the comment section below and challenge others to do it too!  Accountability and camaraderie create success!