Closet Audit

While it may sound like a good idea to throw away all of your clothes and start over, most of us cannot afford that sort of deep cleaning approach. Short of that “all new” concept, the closet audit provides a method of weeding out and reinventing a new wardrobe from your existing pieces. This affords you the chance to develop a shopping list for making wise purchases as you add new items or replace old favorites.

Take stock before and after every season. Consider this a regular event like your dentist’s visit and put it on your calendar. Evaluate what worked, what didn’t, and what you will need to make ensembles more functional next time. This will give you the tools to assess what are successful purchases and what to focus on when planning new acquisitions.

Concentrate on the season ahead. Be ready to try things on, have the proper undergarments and a full length mirror. Be prepared to make the hard decisions, letting go of bad choices will free you to make better ones. Deal only with the wardrobe that fits now and is in “walk-out-of- the-door” status now. That means anything that needs mending or updating or shortening or lengthening is not included in the “currently working wardrobe”. Also, anything that has not been worn in the last year should receive serious review.

Ask yourself, as you consider each piece “Did I wear it last year? Did I feel great in it?” If you didn’t wear it chances are you won’t. Don’t waste your valuable time, energy and closet space on anything that is not:





  1. Put away out of season clothing.
  2. Pull everything else out of your closet and drawers and put it into three piles (the “Keepers,” the “Sleepers” and the “Losers”).

    Keepers: The clothes you actually do wear (not what you “want to wear”). These are usually the clothes we tend to “live” in. Their line, color, fabric, fit and personalities are good. If any need minor repairs, place in a “FIX IT NOW” pile. If there is something you adore and it is just plain worn out REPLACE don’t fix. The Keepers are the foundation of your wardrobe. Ideally, Keepers have more than one function, (day time to evening. work wear to weekend) They coordinate with several other pieces in your wardrobe. Keepers are quality pieces with staying power.

  3. A well-equipped wardrobe might include a good silk blouse, a crisp fresh white shirt, a great black
    dress, terrific fitting jeans, the perfect black skirt, and a black suit of excellent quality that fits perfectly.

    Place your FIX IT NOW pile and items to be cleaned in a separate bag. Do not allow them back in your closet until they are ready to wear. NO Exceptions. Sleepers: Clothes you don’t wear often and find yourself hesitant about keeping. Sleepers may not be currently fashionable, but may be good candidates for alterations or updating. For example, a good wool pant might have dated leg, yet be worthy of restyling. If items are worn or of poor quality, do not spend the time or money or effort involved in alteration. A Sleeper may be a piece that fits well and is in fashion but does not have the supporting pieces to make a proper outfit. Put the target items to complete the look on your shopping list.

    Losers: Clothes you have not worn in a year or more, can no longer wear (e.g. the lines are wrong for you, the item is dated, no longer fits, cannot be altered, the fabric is in poor condition.) Look at this pile most closely. WHY are they losers, be brutally honest Did they not work because of style? Because of fit? Were they an emotional purchase? Are they out of style? out of date? Sentimental but not practical? Try to detect patterns to avoid in your future purchases. Give away or throw away or donate these to Goodwill and don’t look back. Someone else will benefit. You will too when you are no longer facing a closet full of poor choices. Losers are most often items that haven’t been worn in a year. Be ruthless and you’ll be free!! Most women wear 20% off their closet 80% of the time. So, this pile is bound to be high the first time through. With practice and your focused attention, it will get better.

    Avoid the trap of thinking an item might come back in style. Fashions do come and go, but when they return there will always be some change (usually in the line or silhouette), and they will never be the exactly the same. Don’t hang onto a piece for sentimental reasons that you are not willing to wear today. Instead take a picture and let it go! (any exceptions you must be willing to purchase an heirloom storage box) Remember
    your Oath!

    Follow the same process with your shoes, handbags and other accessories- always keep classics. Good accessories can be repurposed and will serve you well in creating your own signature style.

  4.  Dispose of Losers immediately! And repeat the oath to only have wearable pieces live in your working wardrobe. That means removing wrapping paper and luggage and Halloween costumes(seriously?!) to another area of storage.
    Finally, as you put the Keepers back in your closet organize them by grouping like items together (jackets, blouses, skirts slacks, dresses etc.) Your eye naturally travels from dark to light. so, arrange each group accordingly for the maximum effect. Using all the same hangers will give a pleasing look and also save you space if you use the black flocked hangers available at Bed Bath and Beyond. Follow these simple guidelines to make better choices going forward and soon you’ll have a wardrobe that you love and find fully functioning.

I am committed to assisting you in achieving this goal and with the genius of Carlisle’s design team your dreams will come true, effortlessly and with timeless style and elegance. And if you cannot bear to do this will out assistance, face time me! I am a professional!