Why I’m NOT doing a major closet purge right now

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And what I’m doing instead…

Why I'm not doing a major closet purge this January. Closet with sweaters hanging above pants, shoes in boxes on shelves.

Why we want to “detox” our wardrobes

There’s something about a new year that makes us yearn for fresh starts. And clearing out and organizing our wardrobes is one way to get that “clean slate” feeling. A well-edited wardrobe makes getting dressed easier, and helps eliminate overwhelm and decision fatigue.

I’ll admit, I’ve been pacing in and out of my closet this week with itchy fingers. As cathartic as a major closet purge is, I’m resisting the urge. Here are a few reasons why:

I evaluate & edit my wardrobe on an ongoing basis

While our closet is big enough for our needs, it’s not huge, and closet “real estate” is valuable. A little over three years ago I began replacing and refreshing my wardrobe to incorporate more color.

During that turnover, I did a lot of experimenting to figure out what worked for me and didn’t. As part of that process, I regularly purged what wasn’t quite right when I found a better replacement. As a result, I have what I need for day-to-day wear, and have been purchasing less the last few seasons.

It’s mid-season

I’ve found the best time to do a serious closet clear-out is at the end of a season. At that point, what I did or didn’t wear for that season is fresh in my mind. I can pull those pieces that never saw daylight or any that are worn out or need replacing (which I’ll add to a “gaps” list for future shopping).

By purging mid-season, I may get rid of something I haven’t worn yet, but might have worn later in the season when I want variety or have a new styling idea.

I’ve over-purged in the past

It’s so frustrating to realize that The One Thing that you could really use right now was in your purge pile a few weeks or months ago. I find that when I do a closet detox out of boredom or for emotional reasons is when I over-purge.

What I’m doing instead…

I have been doing some culling and re-organizing in my closet this week, and it is satisfying.

Setting aside

I’m not touching any of my warmer weather clothing at this point, which I moved to a less visible and less accessible part of my closet a few weeks ago. While it feels like low-hanging fruit at this time, I’m leaving it alone for now (see “over-purging,” above).

For my current-season pieces, I’m putting aside anything I haven’t worn or wanted to wear in the last few weeks. Rather than consigning or donating, I’m setting aside in cloth storage containers on the top shelf of my closet* or hanging in the “dead zone” (least accessible rack of my closet).

That way they’re still available, but my closet feels lighter and more pared down.

*I make sure sweaters have been washed or cleaned before storing, and store with natural moth-repellent sachets.


I’ve moved a few things around to make all of my “wearing now” pieces more visible. And I have a few pieces that I’m still evaluating out on my rolling rack to remind me to either wear or store them.

Our closet is narrow and not well-lit, so it’s hard to get good photos. One thing I wish we’d done when we had the closet installed (almost 20 years ago!) was to add under-cabinet lighting. Oh well…


if your closet is bursting at the seams and yet you struggle to put outfits together, it might make sense to consider a wardrobe detox. I’ll be offering help via Zoom beginning next month; get the details HERE.

In frequent rotation

Here are some of the items in my wardrobe I’m wearing most often.

(Some of my personal wardrobe items are no longer available. In those instances I’ve shown and linked to similar items above.)

Jeans and sweaters are my default setting when I’m hanging out at home of just running a few errands. I tend to wear mostly cashmere from December until May, so like to have a few in rotation.

What I’ve set aside for the season: longer, fitted sweaters & cardigans (except the cotton turtleneck, which I wear as a base layer).
What I’m wearing: hip-length or cropped lengths with a relaxed fit
Favorites: J.Crew | Anthropologie | Sézane | J.Crew | Me & Em

I tend to wear jeans more than anything else, but I’ve also thinned the herd there too.

What I’ve set aside for the season: very slim styles, thinner fabrics, very light washes
What I’m wearing: relaxed straight fits, thicker fabrics, medium-to-dark washes
Favorites: Mother | AG | J.Crew

After a couple of years of not wearing ankle boots as often, I’ve been wearing them again for going out. But at home, I’ve been living in these shearling clogs, either with or without socks, and they are SO comfortable!

Do you edit and organize your closet seasonally, or do you tend to do a major closet purge annually (or less often)?

Stay in touch.

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