Closet Purge: 10x 10

We have four closets in our apartment, which I'm pretty sure is some kind of record for an NYC dwelling, and two of them are huge.  This is why I became quite concerned when my wardrobe alone was taking up 1.5 of the closets.  That's 37.5% of the storage space in our whole house devoted to only my clothing.  This was not okay with me.

I try to go through my wardrobe regularly and throw out things that aren't needed, but I usually do it halfheartedly and without much of a purpose.  That is, until I came up with what I think is a somewhat brilliant plan!

I counted everything in my closet, and it came out to 151 items.  WHOA.  I decided I wanted to get that down to a more manageable, and easier to work with/remember, number.  I chose 100.  Then I wrote down 10 categories of clothing, and allowed myself to keep 10 items of clothing in each category - 10 x 10.  That should provide me with PLENTY of options for mixing and matching, and still feeling like I have tons of clothes.  Which I still would.  Because I would still have 100 things!

Here are my categories:
1.  Tank tops
2.  Short-sleeve tops
3.  Long-sleeve tops
4.  Sweaters
5.  Cardigans and blazers
6.  Skirts
7.  Pants
8.  Summer dresses
9.  Winter dresses
10.  Casual wear (v-neck t-shirts, beach cover-ups, skirts I couldn't wear to work, etc.)
Extra:  I also added a bonus category for things that I needed or wanted to keep, but didn't fit well within a category.  This included things like formal dresses, the first suit I ever owned even though I no longer wear it but I cannot bear to part with, other things that don't ever get worn on a daily basis but still take up space, etc.

* *By the way, this was only for items that are actually hanging in my closet.  Things like jeans, shorts, pajamas, etc., I keep folded in drawers.  However, I went though and purged some of them as well!

In total, then, I should have ended up with 110 items in my closet.  I actually ended up with 113 - not bad!

I didn't beat myself up too much if I just couldn't decide what to get rid of to get down to 10 in a certain category.  As I sorted through everything, anything that I immediately thought "yes, must keep" to, I kept; anything that my first thought was "maybe" or "no," I let go.  Yes, some of these things included garments I have made myself.  I don't know for sure what I want to do with those yet, though, so I allowed them (8 things total) to keep space in my closet for now, though out of the way, until I decide if I want to donate them or hold on to them like an amateur hoarder.  The rest I either shipped off to a friend to see if she wanted them, put them in the donation bin in our building's mailroom, or saved to remake into something else.
That's a lot of neutrals.

I am going to let myself continue making garments or buying new and adding them to my wardrobe without having a one-in, one-out policy.  Twice a year (July 1 and January 1), I will go through every category and reduce back down to 10 of each.

I feel so relieved looking at my closet now.  Everything is easier to see, easier to sort through, easier to choose from.  How's your closet doing these days?


  1. Ummm... so... remember how that section of the floor that I took up for 5 days looked? You know, the section that took up most of the room with close piled EVERY WHERE... that's about how my closet looks. Yeah, that good. I guess that's what I get for having technically THREE homes, but still. I need to have a Valerie intervention like this pronto.

  2. Wow. Am I 5?


    And I'm sure there's more.

  3. i LOVE cleaning out my closet. i probably do it like once a month. but i am NO WAY as organized as this. I should try this. And you know what, this move is the perfect time to do it!

  4. oh my goodness. i am amazed and inspired by this. i need to clean out my closet so badly!

  5. OMG--this is the kind of thing I just love! It made me wish I would've been there when you were doing all that sorting. Remember when I made you go through all your clothes after you graduated from college?! or was it before you got married?