Evaluate, Purge and Organize

I am often asked where to even start when it comes to thrifting. The answer is not found in the thrift store—at least it usually is not.

The best place to start thrifting is in your own closet. It’s time to get your Marie Kondo on. Take everything out of your closet. Now sort through it. Create a couple different piles: keep, maybe and donate piles are a good start. Maybe you have another category. I’d keep it to just three or four.

Here are a few things to think about when sorting through your clothing:
• When was the last time I wore this?
• Does this fit?
• Is this age appropriate?
• Is this worn? In need of repair?
• What goes with this? Can I create multiple outfits or just one?
• And you can always ask yourself if it sparks joy.

Start with your keep pile and place the items back in your closet. I suggest keeping like items together so you can easily find them. (I even keep my items by color.) As you put these items back, continue to go through the questions above. You may find yourself adding an item or two to the maybe or donate piles.

Next sort through the maybe pile. Do you have a few items with strong emotional attachments? That’s fine. You don’t have to get rid of them, but maybe you should put them away in a keepsake tote so they aren’t cluttering up your closet. That extra clutter makes picking out an outfit harder and at times even overwhelming.

Now go through the donate pile. I rotate through my clothes quite often so I often have a pile of clothing that I sell on Poshmark. These are nicer items. You can always try to take these items to a consignment store or Plato’s Closet as well. After I remove the sellable clothing, I separate my donation items into two piles. One pile is for clothing that is in perfect shape that someone else could wear. The other pile is what I call scrap. It’s damaged or worn clothing. You can donate both of these piles to places like Goodwill. Just keep them separated. The scrap clothing will be recycled while the wearable clothing goes to the retail stores for sale.

Once you get through your closet, repeat the process for your dresser and any other places you store clothing. Now evaluate what’s left. Make a list of items you think you need for your wardrobe. My wardrobe list is dress pants, capris and short sleeved dress shirts. I am also on the hunt for brown wedges and black casual sandals. I also have a wish list of fun items I’d like to add in like overalls and a jean vest.

Repeat the clear out process throughout your home. You may have to come up with different guiding questions depending on what you keep stored in a closet or a cabinet. Don’t forget to check your shelves and knick knacks. When you’re all done, make a list of what’s missing. Do you need baskets for organization, items for a collection, picture frames, art, etc? Put it on your list!

And here’s something important…you don’t have to go through the entire house at once. Just go room by room at your own pace. Don’t get anxiety or feel overwhelmed by this process but do give yourself goals so you can successfully clear things out and feel good about doing it. But now that the clutter is cleared out—it’s almost time to go shopping!

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