Wardrobe Rehab: Phase 1 – The Purge!

Have you ever stood in front of your closet feeling like you have nothing to wear, even though you clearly have a ton of clothes? Or you just wear or buy the same few things over and over? *Rebecca raises her hand sheepishly* Then it is probably time for you to do a wardrobe rehab!

I started my wardrobe rehab last week and I have completed the first phase which is purging the unwanted items (I have also started on the second phase which is filling the wardrobe gaps, more details to come on that). I put a fair bit of time and thought into it, so I thought I would share my process and some good tips. I know for many people (including me!) going through their wardrobe is a big task that can be difficult due to emotional attachment to your clothes as well as fear of getting rid of things you paid good money for.

My motivation to perform a wardrobe rehab comes from several things:

  1. Lack of closet space: Sadly my master bedroom only has one very small closet. So when we moved into the house I told Eric he could have that closet and I would take over the small bedroom next to it with my clothing. That room came with shelving and plenty of hanging storage so I happily put my clothes in there and was quite thrilled with how much room I now had for my wardrobe. Fast forward to today, where my clothing has gotten out of control simply because I have tons of space for it…for now. The top floor of my house has three bedrooms: The master bedroom, my current closet/craft room, and the guest bedroom. Obviously at some point if we have kids I will not be able to keep this room for all my clothes so it is time to reduce the size of my wardrobe.
  2. Too many items:  My closet room is now very full, and sadly it is full of items that I rarely wear. This is wasteful and it makes it hard to see what I have properly.
  3. Stuck in a style rut: The last few months I have felt like I was just wearing the same things over and over in the same ways. Sure it was winter, but that is no reason to feel so stuck fashion wise!
  4. Not enough classic pieces: I had a sense that I had many trendy pieces but I was lacking foundational classic pieces -this became very clear once my purge was complete! Getting rid of the unwanted items made it very easy to determine what I would need to rehab my wardrobe.
My wardrobe before the purge – it was very full and hard to see what I had! By the way, this room is in it’s original state from when I moved in – that awful green colour is all over the house and I am slowly working at getting rid of it room by room!
Another shot before the wardrobe purge; some of these items haven’t been worn since I bought the house two years ago…

I completed my wardrobe purge over several days in manageable chunks. The first day I did all my outerwear, footwear, socks, and intimates. These items are located in the master bedroom and guest room closet and were pretty easy to pare down. The next day I did all my bottoms, jewelry, and items on the shelves (sweaters and shorts). By the third day I had a sizeable pile of items I had purged and it inspired my husband Eric to join in! I had him help me with the hard items – my huge collection of tops and dresses. Then I helped him purge his wardrobe.

Tips for wardrobe purging:

  • If possible have a close friend/partner/family member around so you can try on things for them and get their thoughts. I did the hardest parts of my wardrobe purge with Eric around and it really helped me out – he had a lot of insight and was good at helping me to let go of things that just didn’t work for me anymore.
  • When deciding to purge something always ask yourself the following questions: Is it comfortable? Does it fit? Is it something I will wear again? If the answer was no to any of these questions I would purge the item.
  • Donate the purged items that are in good shape; I tend to donate to Value Village since they give you coupons for your next purchase (and you all know how much I love thrifting!)
  • While going through your wardrobe take the time to try on each piece; this will give you a much better idea if it is something that you should purge or not.
  • Examine all your pieces to check if they need any repair, alterations, or cleaning – now is the time to get the items you will keep in top shape so you actually wear them!
  • While purging be thinking about what your style is; knowing what direction you want or need your wardrobe to go in will help you sort out what you need to keep (or buy!) to get it there.

Once I finished purging my wardrobe I had two entirely filled garbage bags to donate! It was frightening how much I had held onto for no reason. Eric also had two entirely filled garbage bags to donate from his wardrobe. Since the items were in good shape I donated them to Value Village.

My pile of purged items entirely filled two whole garbage bags!

The hardest items for me (and Eric) to purge were the sentimental ones – university event t-shirts and other t-shirts from our travels. We weren’t wearing these items anymore, just storing them all over our valuable closet spaces. What we decided was that we could have one small box for items we just couldn’t part with yet, which I am now calling the Sentimental Box (patent pending lol). We were able to get rid of all the less sentimental items with ease once we decided we could only have one box worth of those kinds of clothes.

The single most difficult item I purged was my university graduation ball dress; it had a lot of sentimental value, cost a fair bit when I bought it, and it still fit me. But I realized I would never have an occasion to wear it again, and even if I did somehow have an event to wear it to it wasn’t my style anymore and didn’t fit perfectly. Plus I recalled finding my high school prom dress at a thrift store and realized I could be giving it to someone who really needed it. So I donated it to Value Village with the rest of my purged items after trying it on one last time.

My university graduation ball dress was the most difficult item to purge from my wardrobe; I hope that someone who needs it will give it another time to shine!

Once I was done with my wardrobe purge it felt pretty good – I could now easily see what I had and I had more space free. This allowed me to display my purses so I can switch between them easier (plus it looks so much cuter!). Doing the purge told me I had a ton of patterned pieces, but very few neutral foundational pieces. Also I only had two pairs of pants, but 20 tops! This helped me to form a wardrobe shopping list, along with a few articles online about the classic pieces a woman’s wardrobe should have (spoiler alert: I’m missing most of them lol). I then moved into Phase 2 of my wardrobe rehab: the rebuliding. As you can imagine, this step involves a lot of shopping and I will be writing about it in Part 2 of my wardrobe rehab post so stay tuned!

My wardrobe after completing my purge – it is much more functional and easy to see what I have!

I hope that this post has inspired you to do your own wardrobe purge, and if you do a wardrobe purge let me know how it goes! Time for me to head back up to work, I will have more blog posts when I get back home in two weeks!


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