Divide & Conquer: The Big Bad Clothes Sorting Weekend

Divide & Conquer: The Big Bad Clothes Sorting Weekend

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Janel Laban
Sep 11, 2015
(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Welcome to the first full weekend of the Closet Cure! The next assignment won't be sent out until Monday, so you've got three days to get lots of good curing in. If you haven't gotten started yet, no worries - this is your chance to get on board and catch up with the group.

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Now that you've walked through the sorting process with your sweaters, it's time to work your clothing assessment magic on some other key sections of your wardrobe. (And if you haven't done your sweaters yet, totally fine, just do it first.)

You have today, tomorrow and Sunday to get all of this (admittedly big!) assignment done, and how you space it all out it up to you, but I'd strongly suggest not doing it all at once. Divide and conquer! Doing three distinct, discrete sessions of sorting will yield better results; you can focus on comparing items from within a specific group (which helps make decisions clearer and easier) and you won't feel as overwhelmed with doubts about how much you are keeping and getting rid of (Too much? Too little? Either way it can make you feel unnecessarily guilty. The key is to just follow the process and trust your judgement about what looks and feels good on you and what you you actually want to wear!). And, let's face it, this is hard work, so breaking it up a bit is less taxing.

I know this is plenty to get through in a weekend, but hopefully your experience with the sweaters yesterday (the comment thread on that post is great, totally inspiring) has shown you that spending time focused on specific items is an effective way to assess, pare down and feel good about your decisions about what looks good on you and what should be passed on. Setting up three sessions, completing just one at a time and taking breaks in between will yield your best results by Sunday evening.

After each session, or anytime you need a break, be sure to check in here. This is Cure Central for this big weekend, where we'll all be reading and sharing updates. If you need advice, moral support, to let off a little steam or want to celebrate a good find or share a successful moment, please do - we're all in this together.

Here are the areas to sort through and a suggested schedule:

Friday: Dresses and Skirts (and/or Suits and Dressier Pants for those Curers who don't wear dresses and skirts!)

Saturday: Jeans and Casual Pants

Sunday: Tops and Jackets/Outerwear

(For those who like to know what's coming up: Monday we're NOT going to be sorting (yay!), but I've built in time later for sorting socks/tights, lingerie, workout wear and (dun-dun-dun) shoes, so don't try and tackle them just yet).

Remember for each of the wardrobe sections you'll work on this this weekend you are taking out ALL of the items in a particular group for each session and doing the full sorting process. At the end of the session each piece should be in one of these places:

  • back into the closet or drawer
  • into a temporary "maybe" bag
  • into bags for dry cleaning, alterations or repair
  • into a bag for selling (or swapping)
  • into a bag for donating
  • into the rag bag or trash

I'm pasting in all of of the info on the sorting process here again, along with this link to the downloadable, printable graphic of the "keeper" decision making tree.

The Closet Cure Decision Tree

To decide if something is a "keeper", ask yourself the following:

  • Do I wear it regularly - and if not, why? If the answer is because its fancy and formal, but you wear it when the occasion is right, then that's ok. If the answer is "I'm not really sure" then move on and ask yourself the following:
  • Do I feel good, confident and comfortable when I wear it? Be realistic and extra picky here. Would I wear it on a date? To a job interview? To a class reunion? Yes? Move on to the next step. Meh, still not sure? Put it in a "maybe" pile for now - no stress, just don't put it in the yes pile just yet. No? Put it in a "no" pile.
  • Does it fit well (for real, right now, not a year ago or a year from now) - and if not, can it be altered? (Not sure? TRY IT ON. The few minutes will be worth it, I promise. Look in the mirror, turn around, put on the right shoes, take a selfie, be SURE.) Is it now a Yes? Move on to the next question. No? Put it in the "no" pile.
  • Is it damaged or stained - and if so, can it be repaired or cleaned? Yes? Move on. No? Put it in the "no" pile.
  • If something makes it through all of these with "yes" as the answer, then KEEP IT. Now you just have to either put it (neatly) back in the closet or the drawer OR into a bag for the dry cleaner, a bag for alterations or a bag for shoe repair.

Ok! So now that you've figured out what you are going to keep and have either put them back or in a bag for cleaning or alterations, you should deal with your other two piles.

If you have some "maybes" that's fine - we're going to deal with those later - just put them in a "maybe" box or bag for now and set them aside.

If you have discovered some "no" pieces, that is 100% FINE, too. (Actually, it's good!) Everyone has things in their wardrobe that are perfectly fine, but just don't work for them. You can let them go. Someone else (who it does work for) is going to be so happy with it and you'll feel great when you open up room in your closet and your wardrobe (and your life) for things that suit you. Don't feel guilty, don't beat yourself up, just recognize that there are things that you thought might be good for you at one point but now you know better and are simply going to pass it on. It's all good.

Everything in the "no" pile should be sorted into one of the following bags or boxes by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Is in good repair? Yes? Move on to the next question. No? Put it in the rag bag or trash. (One exception: if its a high quality item that is repairable that you think a friend might like to have, it's ok to hang on to it until you ask them about it.)
  • Is it clean and unstained? Yes? Move on to the next question. No? Put it in the "no" laundry bag/basket.
  • Is it high quality, still in fashion, in good shape? If the answer is no, move on to the next question. If the answer is yes then consider what you'd like to do with it. If you are interested in trying to consign, sell or trade it, put it in a bag for "selling". Are you considering hosting or attending a clothing swap with friends after the Closet Cure? Then start a bag for "swapping". If you are happier to donate directly to a shelter or other community service organization or plan to drop it off at a thrift store, start a general bag for "donating".
  • Is it in reasonable shape, warm, clean and totally wearable, but maybe not anything that will fetch enough of a price to make the selling, consignment or the swap with friends process worth it? Then into the "donating" bag it goes.

Good luck, stick with it, check in and update the group and - when you are feeling like giving up - just think about how good its going to feel to have all this sorting behind you and how full those sell/donate bags are going to be by Sunday night. You can do this!

Want to look back over the first two assignments? Here you go:

Assignment #1: Bags, Boxes & Big Plans - Getting Ready to Get Organized
Assignment #2: Slimming Down Your Sweater Collection

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