Now that school is out and the summer is in the air, it can be a great time for puttering about in the closet as you pull out your warm weather wear. On vacation, my husband and I took about an hour and a bit to go through our closets and see what could be taken out to make room for what really mattered. We both love functioning closets and functional clothes – my husband is so into function that he’ll often wear things until they’re really worn out and even though shopping can be quick and easy, he tends to resist me when I say, “Hey, it’s time for some new stuff.” However, since we’d recently purged, it was easy to see which items were required, so he was willing to take a look. Whether you’re clearing out and shopping for yourself or your family members, here is a quick guide to help you out:

Remove anything that falls into these five categories:

  1. “I haven’t worn this in a year”
  2. “I don’t feel right when I wear this”
  3. “This doesn’t really fit me”
  4. “I need to repair, alter, toss or clean this”
  5. “This is a winter or fall item” OR “This item is for a specific function”

Sort the removed items into these piles:

  1. “Store” – for winter/fall items or for items that aren’t used as frequently and don’t need to live in your every day closet.
  2. “Repair/Clean/Alter” for anything that needs work.
  3. “Donate/Consign” – stuff that can still be used and doesn’t serve you anymore
  4. “Toss” – obviously damaged items that can’t be repaired or cleaned or are just plain worn out. No digging through the “Toss” or “Donate” piles later.  If you’ve put the item there on first consideration, that’s probably where it should stay.
  5. Bag up the piles and send them to their respective places, whether that’s the storage locker for winter or function specific items or the trunk for taking out of the house, get them stowed away a.s.a.p. or you risk leaving them there longer than you need to.

Organize the rest:

  1. Organize the items that are left in your closet and drawers and by function or item type.
  2. Check your closet to see if you’ve got what you need – for a standard workweek, you’ll need at least two jackets, four bottoms, six tops and the accompanying accessories (shoes, bag, coat, hat, jewellery, etc.). This number of pieces can vary, depending on your lifestyle and personality, but this will cover the basics for most everyone.

Make your list:

  1. Check your items for mix and match – once you’re organized it will be easier to see what you need. Hopefully your two jackets, four bottoms and six tops all work with one another, but if not, you can figure out what you need to fill the gaps.
  2. For example, you might have three tops that work with one bottom, but not with the rest, so you can then decide if you want to purchase another bottom that works with those three tops, or purchase three new tops that go with two of the bottoms you have available. You might find that you only have four tops that go with four bottoms, so might need a few more tops to work with those pieces.
  3. Make the complete list, even if you only plan to shop for one kind of thing at a time. That way if you happen to be browsing at a later time, you can always keep your eyes out for what you need.


  1. Always go with a plan in mind.
  2. Pick stores that suit your style.
  3. Make a circle of shops, so you’re not backtracking, especially if you’re driving.
  4. Stay focused – if you’re looking for a top, only look at tops! (especially if your time is limited).
  5. Go only for two hours maximum at a time without a break – stop to sit for a minute, rehydrate and have a snack. You’ll be less cranky and more likely to keep focused.

If you’re not sure what to buy, or where to start, or just want some help, click here and we’ll see what we can do to get you started.