I am all about a closet edit.

Truth?

Six months ago I didn’t even know what a closet edit was. I just had a closet. It was kind of sad. It was full of things that I was going to wear soon or about to wear when I lost weight or things that might fit me one day or things that I wanted to keep because they fit me once upon a time.

A lot of things.

A lot of clothes.

And I didn’t even wear most of them.

And then?

I lost weight.

The clothes in my closet started to fit and then most of them got too big. WAY too big. I was in a size 20 pants before. Yikes. That is a lot of pant for a short person like me. And now? I’m in a size 4. At first, I didn’t want to buy any new clothes because new clothes are expensive and just between us? I was worried I might gain the weight back and need all those old clothes.

But one day I looked at my over-stuffed, over-stocked closet….

….and decided it needed to lose weight, too.

Here are seven things I got rid of (and 5 things I think every closet should have).

Seven things to get rid of in your closet

1. Anything that doesn’t fit

Y’all.

I was holding on to clothes in the closet that I knew were going to fit again one day. I clutched them like a contestant on Survivor who just got new sheets. My closet was FULL of things I was going to wear one day.

I am cheap.

I am thrifty.

And I knew that I knew that I knew one day they would fit me again.

And they did.

But here’s the truth. When they did fit me? THEY WEREN’T EVEN THAT CUTE.

I’ll make one exception to this. If you paid a LOT of money for something and it fit once upon a time and you looked super cute in it and have photographic evidence of your cuteness to prove it?

Keep it as motivation to fit into it again.

2. Anything that’s damaged

Or stained.

Or ripped.

Or torn.

You are telling yourself you’re going to fix it one day.

You probably, in all likelihood are not.

All those damaged clothes are doing is taking up space that could be used for cuter, non-damaged clothes.

3. Anything that you haven’t worn in over a year

Here’s the thing about clothes that haven’t moved.

They get stale.

They get hanger creases.

They go out of style.

There is some reason why you haven’t reached for that outfit item in your wardrobe.

Maybe when you try it on you don’t look cute? Maybe it’s too short and you forget about it until you try it on. Whatever the reason, you don’t feel your best in it.

And you my friend are too cute to keep clothes around that don’t make you feel your best.

4. Anything that has a tag that hasn’t been worn in a year

This is kind of a version of number three.

But it’s harder. WAAAAY harder. You bought it. You paid good money for that thing still wearing its tag.

You can’t let go of it now.

You haven’t even worn it.

In super sad news, you have to let it go.

There’s some reason why you haven’t worn it. There’s something about it that doesn’t make you feel cute. There’s some reason why it’s still wearing its tag after a year.

Take a deep breath and donate it.

It’s time for someone else to remove that tag.

5. Something you wore that has a special memory

This is a hard one.

I get it.

I understand.

I have a dress in my closet that I wore to my father’s funeral. I couldn’t wear it ever again after that (even though I loved that dress). So it just sat there with all of its memories collecting dust.

For 10 years.

And every time I looked at it, it made me a little sad.

When I did my closet edit, I took it out and shook it off and let it go.

IT WAS SO HARD.

But here’s the thing, I have so many amazing memories of my father and I want to remember all of the life that he lived and the joy that he shared and the gifts that he gave to so many. And those things aren’t found in that dress.

(edited to add: If you can’t let it go, just pack it up out of your closet into a box in the attic and see how you feel after six months. We need to be gentle with ourselves sometimes.)

6. Something that someone gave you

This is kind of a special category. I’ve had people give me clothes before and I was so happy and thankful that they took a moment to think of me and I would thank them effusively for the gift.

But most of the time?

The clothes didn’t really fit.

And I kept them because I felt guilty and I was worried if I donated them, the person might see them at the local thrift store and get their feelings hurt.

Sometimes you just have to let those clothes (and the guilt) go and release them from your closet.

(total aside: I did drive them to a thrift store out of town just to be safe.)

7. Anything that’s not in style anymore

Sometimes we keep things in our closet that aren’t in style anymore, hoping that the style will come back around.

Sometimes it doesn’t.

And sometimes it does.

TWENTY YEARS LATER.

Y’all.

You could have rented out that space in your closet that entire time and bought yourself 10 new pair of stirrup pants the second time around.

And stirrup pants from 1991 never ever ever look like they came from 2021.

Let the stirrup pants.

And the prairie skirts.

And the concho belts go.

They have a life to lead.

And it’s not in your closet any more.

And now?

After you edited all that stuff out are you wondering what’s left?

Here are five things I think every closet should have

1. A pair of black pants

I love these pants from Walmart.

They are skinny and they make you feel skinny when you wear them. They are stretchy. They have the cutest little notch at the bottom and they zip up the side.

They are actually cropped, but I’m five feet.

You can see them here.

2. A pair of jeans

I don’t actually have that many jeans in my closet right now.

I just have a few pairs that I LOVE and wear over and over and over again.

You can pay a lot of money for jeans, but I found a pair on Amazon that I’ve bought in almost every color.

It’s from a label called Goodthreads. I cut off the bottoms and stuck them in the dryer to fray them.

You can see the jeans here.

3. A good khaki sweater

I love a good khaki sweater.

You can wear it with those black pants.

You can wear it with jeans like this.

You can wear it with white pants, too, and it looks TOTALLY different each time.

This is one of my favorites that I got at Ann Taylor factory.

I also just bought this one on clearance that is SO FLATTERING.

4. White tee

I love, love, love a white tee.

It goes with all the things and under cardigans and with jeans and khaki pants.

I found the CUTEST version of it at Target with puffed sleeves and I’ve been wearing it everywhere.

You can see it here.

5. A good statement earring

You know I never met a statement earring I didn’t like.

Ever.

In the history of EVER.

I just found these on Amazon and ordered them in two colors.

I also love these and these and these and these.

They are all in my closet right now.

Editing your closet is one of the best ways you can treat yourself. You probably have treasures waiting in there right now for you that haven’t seen the light of day in years because they are hidden under things that need to exit the door.

You got this friend.

TRULY.

Just put on a little red lipstick, pull out an outfit from your brand new edited closet.

And have a day….

….as amazing as you are.

PS All the pictures on this post were taken by the incredible Kenna Lynn.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.

Comments

  1. Image for Doni Doni

    This was an awesome post! Your wonderful suggestions and kind comments on how to execute, were great inspiration for me to do some editing myself on my closet.

  2. Image for Lisa B Lisa B

    KariAnne I know you've hared your diet before but could you please refresh my memory! I'm turning 66 and have put on 15 lbs in the past 5 years. I'd love to start my birthday (May 17th) with a new me! Thank you! Lisa

      1. Image for Diane Diane

        Me too . Wow , that is strong determination and self discipline! Say me cousin to the Cookie Monster stress eater. But looking a bit too thin. Be safe . I need to loose my COVID-19 (20) pounds!

      2. Image for Nita Nita

        KariAnne, it looks as though a lot of us want to know how you lost the weight. I'd love to lose at least 20 lbs but I don't want a starvation diet. Please help us out here :)

    1. Image for Christine Marek Christine Marek

      Great tips for closet editing. I have been doing that and it is hard to let pieces go that have a sentimental connection. I decided I want my closet organized and this gave me new points to use. I would love to learn about your weight loss tips as I desperately want to shed weight. I am heavier than I was 9 months pregnant and never imagined it would happen to me. After 10 years dormant from back issues and a car accident my goal is to get rid of this load I carry around. I never had major weight gain because I was very active and walked at least 5 miles a day. That option is gone now due to back and knee damage. Any starting point will be helpful. I want to feel normal again and wear cute clothes again. Thank you, your inspiration rang true to my heart.

    2. Image for Gail Gail

      Me too!!!! I'm way more interested in how you went from a size 20 to a 4 than cleaning out your closet, although that is important too. Good for you!!! I can't lose a pound to save my life. Thanks.

  3. Image for Anne Anne

    Perfect timing! I'm now about 1/2 way through my weight loss (I was inspired by your success). 45 lbs down and many clothes no longer fit. Your comment "I was worried I might gain the weight back and need all those old clothes" totally resonates with me. I'll follow your lead and let them go : )

  4. Image for Maureen Maureen

    Lots of great advice! I love to sew. I can make skirts out of old sweaters. If I really like the fabric of something I bought I keep it for that. I also try and make a pattern of something I like before I get rid of it due to wear. Love Loft sales for earrings! You look like your daughters now!

  5. Image for Lynda Lynda

    Hi Kari You are talking to me!! I have soooo many clothes that I need to go through. Not only am I losing weight (you look fabulous BTW) but I am now permanently working from home. So all of those cute clothes I used to wear to the office, I don't need anymore. I will probably keep a couple pair of black pants and a few tops to wear with those in case I need to go in for a meeting but otherwise, I am in jeans or casual clothes everyday now. I need to get busy. Thanks for this post and all of those reminders. I still have the dress I wore to my son's wedding 5 1/2 years ago that I won't be wearing again as it is too big.

  6. Image for Patricia Kelley Patricia Kelley

    Great suggestions KariAnne! I try to do this twice a year, but just like you (in the past) I keep waiting to lose weight. May I ask what you did to do just that? You look fabulous!

  7. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    I love the advice to "just pack it up out of your closet into a box in the attic and see how you feel after six months." Letting go can be hard.

  8. Image for Ann Ann

    I just love your blog. You write in such a way, I feel like we’re friends. I am so proud of you losing all that weight! I am working on mine; doing WW with a coach and virtually. The pandemic was the excuse I needed to eat any old way. Ugh! I love your blue and white and neutral house. I admire how you get things done. I sure appreciate you!

  9. Image for Amber Shrader Amber Shrader

    You look amazing!! Please share how you lost the weight. You inspire so many and we'd love to hear what worked for you!

  10. Image for Teddee Grace Teddee Grace

    I donated five trash bags of clothes a few weeks ago after trying on everything in my closet...a very tiring process! I made an interesting discovery. I am shrinking in height as I age, like all of the women in my family, and clothes I liked and wore frequently just a few years ago looked strangely over-sized, too long in the body and sleeves, too wide across the shoulders and just too too. Very unflattering. So, if you have any other older women readers who see this, it might be time to try on some of those things you used to wear to work on a regular basis thinking you looked sharp and professional!

    1. Image for marilyn ackerman marilyn ackerman

      Uh oh. You really got me on the "used to look sharp and professional"... Body shapes change even if the weight doesn't. Thanks.

    2. Image for Nita Nita

      I, too, have shrunk in height by about 2 inches. Things I may have worn before are now too long for me. Tops in particular and if you're petite it really makes a difference. I guess we all, as we age, go through this and it's hard to find the right type of clothing.

      1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

        You are the sweetest! I'm on a program called Optavia! It's all about healthy eating and eating some of their food, too! Let me know if you have any questions! happy day! KariAnne

  11. Image for Amy Kaminski Amy Kaminski

    You are truthin' girl! I find it soooo hard to get rid of clothes. I have some things in my closet that my mother gave me and she's been gone for 20 years!! So here's my tip. When something is so hard to get rid of just put it in a pile and ask someone else to bag it up and take it away. I was finding myself pulling stuff out of the pile just for the memories and I know I would never ever wear it again. Having someone else do it for me took the pressure off and I found I didn't have guilt for getting rid of it. It was simply gone.

  12. Image for Debbie Hernandez Debbie Hernandez

    Thanks for the tips. I moved my parents recently and we did NOT put into their closet without going through it first. We are still going through the items but almost done. Now I am working on mine some too. Thanks for the motivation. One other question I wasn't following you yet when you began your weight lose journey what plan did you use?

  13. Image for Sandy Sandy

    Hi KariAnne - Have you done a posting on how you lost your weight? Did I miss it? I admire the way you tackled the weight loss....you didn’t carry on about it, but just said you were going to do it and did so. How commendable! Thanks for being the perfect role model.

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      You are the sweetest! I'm on a program called Optavia! It's all about healthy eating and eating some of their food, too! Let me know if you have any questions! happy day! KariAnne

    2. Image for Molly Nance Molly Nance

      Yes! I want to know how you lost all that weight as well! And how you plan to keep it off. Help all of us follow your example!

  14. Image for Jan M Jan M

    Yes, please tell us how you lost all that weight, there are so many of us out here who would love to know. This past year has been so tough on everyone and weight gain has been part of it. Thanks so much and congratulations, you're amazing and you look it too!

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      You are the sweetest! I'm on a program called Optavia! It's all about healthy eating and eating some of their food, too! Let me know if you have any questions! happy day! KariAnne

  15. Image for JC JC

    This is such great advice, KariAnne! I was doing the capsule wardrobe approach until covid hit last year and it just didn't happen. I need to take everything out of the closet, try it on, and see what's staying, what's going, and what is needed. Here is the thing though, I have my mother of the bride dress from our daughter's wedding (and our only child), from four years ago, that has been hanging there in all its beauty. It is much too fancy to wear anywhere else and I'm having such a hard time letting it go. Any ideas? I was thinking I might cut a 8" X 8", or so, piece of it and frame it to hang in my closet. It is so special, and brings back wonderful memories of a such a gloriously beautiful and lovely day in every way. It's just so hard for this Mama's heart to consign it or put it in the give away bag. Any ideas?

    1. Image for Cathhy Cathhy

      JC, I kept my mother's dresses (all were made by my grandmother) when she passed away. I drew a shift pattern that mimicked hers and a friend used the fabric to cut my pattern and appliquéd them onto a lap quilt. Each quilt square had a different fabric for the dress appliqué. I had one made for each of my 4 children. They loved them!

    2. Image for Jillian Jillian

      JC, It is great if people want to clear clothes out and go all Marie Kondo...I also think it is fine to keep things you like just because you like them with no guilt or "shoulds". I am fortunate to have a large house with walk in closets and have turned one good sized bedroom into a closet. I have been collecting clothes and shoes for many years and am happy to have them. I still wear things that are 30 years old, or more. If I really want to let things go, I do, but only because I want to , not because I think I should. Hope you keep your special dress.

    3. Image for Janet Janet

      Hi, JC- My niece got married a couple of years ago. Her grandmother had passed away and she wanted a piece of her grandmother's wedding dress inside her wedding dress. We cut a heart shape from that dress and I handsewed it into her dress. That might be an idea you could work with.

  16. Image for Terese Day Terese Day

    That is a tremendous amount of weight loss! That deserves a post. Really amazing. I think we have the same white T-shirt. I cleaned out my walk in closet from top to bottom. It organizes your life. I never thought of putting jewelry in my closet. Great idea! In CA, the prairie skirts are back, lol. It's the Coachella effect.

  17. Image for Kris Kris

    All true. Yes, when you lose weight, one of the most fun things to do is to update your wardrobe in your new, smaller size. Your body proportions may have changed (along with the fashions) from when you were previously a smaller size, especially if you are exercising, which is another good reason to update. It's nice to see how much fun you are having with fashion these days.

    1. Image for Lou E Gipson Lou E Gipson

      Hi K~ Love the post..have been doing the Closet Edit recently.. from reading the comments, so does everyone else! <3 Everyone, and especially me, want to know HOW you lost the weight? We also know it was with hard work and determination..and you succeeded!! I know, but we all want to be our very best self..just like you! Please share! **Now a couple of requests.. I too wear RED LIpstick..which/what brand do you use? Perhaps you could do a post on what cosmetic products you actually use I've been using Lipsense for a number of years because it truly does last all day and does not smear off when kissing or using a glass.. I like the array of colors available..however , have learned it is not the best product to be using.. ** Your array of shoes looks like mine..we should own stock in that factory! I'm still trying to find nice summery sandals that are not ugly and clunky! Did you donate all of your shoes also? Okay.. back to the grind! keep on smiling and being just awesome!

  18. Image for Alene Alene

    I had gained a lot of weight. I had a box in my studio under the counters it said do not open unless you lose weight. Well I ended up losing 46 pounds because of diabetes that I didn’t know I had. When I went back to the box some of the things fit but most things like pants we’re just way too big. That felt so great. I hate getting rid of some of these really wonderful clothes but it was so much nicer being thin and healthy.

  19. Image for Karen Mary Karen Mary

    Oh, it must have been so much fun to get rid of clothes that are too big! I'm so happy for you (and inspired)! Thanks for the great tips! This is the perfect time of year to do a good closet edit!

  20. Image for Pam Griner Pam Griner

    I LOVE THIS POST! I love an organized closet...all of my cloths are in color groups, sleeveless to long sleeved and I have Marie Kondo'd all the drawers. Over the top,...I know....but it really helps me find what I'm looking for quickly. But, I still have a tendency to keep a lot of the clothes you mentioned. I'm 4'11" and recently lost about 10 lbs - bringing me to a tiny size 0 - not on purpose!!! (my mom's care is kind of kicking my rear lately). I am struggling with having nothing that fits right - everything looks baggy. I know at some point my weight will pick up and all my cute size 2's and 4's are going to be back in use.. In the meantime, I am purchasing just enough to get by for now. I'm definitely going to follow your good advice to make room for two sizes. If I didn't really wear an item when it and I were the same size I'm going to toss, donate, or take to a resale shop (always good - when things sell it's a message to buy something new!). I love your thoughts about the emotions involved in our clothes - from purchase price, to memories, to the desire to be someone different in the outfit. Thanks for all your amazing posts. I don't comment a lot, but enjoy every word. And PS, let's feel cute everyday ladies!!!

  21. Image for Nancy Nancy

    I've decided (after 26 years of marriage and two sons) I want a pair of statement earrings for Mother's Day. I just want one pair. 1 ct. diamond studs...that's a statement right? :0

  22. Image for Leya Leya

    When I read that you are a size four I literally gasped! I remember when you used to take pictures standing behind something. When you mentioned this in one of your posts I totally got where you were coming from. I am so proud of you. I am losing weight too and if feels so good not to feel so self conscious. Great job. Enjoy being healthy!

  23. Image for Rebecca Rebecca

    Can I just say how FABULOUS you look! Thank you for the great tips. I need to edit my closet as well. Did a little as I put up winter clothes for the season but I can relate to each and every one of your suggestions! I appreciate you candor. Keep putting out great content! I look forward to each and every email!

  24. Image for Renee Renee

    I have way too much! I need help. I don't have a lot of money and I need help giving and hopefully selling some of this stuff, for the extra $$. Not expecting a lot. Where can I find the help I need without spending money I don't have. That's why I would like to sell some of the clothes......

  25. Image for marilyn ackerman marilyn ackerman

    Wonderful post and you look beautiful and so happy. All those treasures in the closet that we never see or use can be someone else's treasures after we donate them

  26. Image for Cathy Loresch Cathy Loresch

    You look amazing!! I am very proud for you in sticking to your weight loss goals, no matter how hard. I know your family is so very proud 9f you!! Your weight loss has to be a big inspiration to others!!

  27. Image for Zolane Zolane

    Such great advice and I can’t wait until I start summer hours! My.first project is going to be a closet edit using your tips! By the way, you look absolutely amazing, though you always have to me. AND you have inspired me to begin my own weight loss journey. I had reached the point of just giving up on ever losing any weight again. I’ve searched and searched but am unable to find if you’ve shared what has worked for you. Thank you, KariAnne, for continuing to inspire in so many aspects of life!

  28. Image for Pam Pam

    I am another of your fans who want to know how you lost your weight. You look fantabulous! Help! Any encouragement will be greatly appreciated!

  29. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Goodness! I did this, too! It all went! All the zillion pairs of shoes, favorite clothes, all of it. Jewelry is the next to tackle. The best feeling of freedom and fun to buy new that fits! Yay!

  30. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    Well done, KA! I need to tackle my closet again. It just seems to get out of control easily and quickly. You have inspired me big time. Keep up the good work! ♥

  31. Image for Sherry Sherry

    Such a fun post! You are truly amazing to lose all that weight. You were always lovely but now you are healthy too. Enjoy!

  32. Image for Dee Dee

    KariAnne, Girl, it was certainly time for you to do a closet edit and get rid of all your old clothes!, You are a size 4!!!!! There are some excellent advice here, I think for me the hardest thing to get rid of is the top and cami that my sister bought me on her last trip to visit us just a couple months before she was tragically taken from us. That's 14 years next month. Maybe my heart will be ready to let go now. Also, I have a crazy question to ask did your shoe size change at all?

  33. Image for Scarlett Scarlett

    Such great closet edit suggestions. I do a major “closet cleanse” about every two years and also a mini “closet cleanse” once a year. *Major = everything including shoes & bags! I also go through & edit things in my closet as I bring in new items all through the year. It does force me to deal with the many things I haven’t worn in awhile (or ever) & probably never will. I totally agree, it’s SO hard to get rid of things that still have the tags on them. But, so right...if you haven’t worn that tagged item in over a year - let it go & allow someone else to enjoy it. Instead of feeling badly about wasting money & not actually wearing an item...pass them along & let it be a blessing to someone else who it could bring some joy to.

  34. Image for Lorraine Bydalek Lorraine Bydalek

    First you look so happy and healthy. Good for you. I can identify I was a size 20, 5'7" 5'7".. I dropped to a 10 now a 12. I have clothes from stores that aren't even opened anymore. Plus I really dislike the fabrics they are using today. I live in Fl. it's hot, I sweat, polyester and I don't get along. Cotton blends are what I look for, I sew and I alter items. I'm tired of those stretchy jeans you look great in them, me not so much. I've also purged my closets. Some I sell/donate. I've decided this is my summer for sundresses, a few Palazzo style pants/capris, with a tee, or linen blouse, hat and sandals I'm good to go. Thank you for sharing. My best. Lorraine

  35. Image for Vicki Vicki

    Great post. But what I really want to hear more about is HOW you went from a size 20 to a 4! What was your secret to losing the weight. I'm not having any success at it and would love to hear.

  36. Image for Susan S Cheij Susan S Cheij

    I too have the problem of getting rid of clothes that are too small. “What IF I loose weight and can wear this again”?? You are an inspiration for me to release all those clothes!! Now...I need your inspiration to loose weight😂 How did you do it? Thanks so much for sharing your story!! Susan

  37. handmade savvy saturday - The Handmade Home

    […] • 14 books – everything I read in march and april • melting glacier reveals ww1 cave shelter and artifacts • building a culture of appreciation • this fun colorful veggie board • this diy rainbow wall hanging • these tips for adopted dogs from the cottage market • these cute brunch ideas • 7 things to get rid of in your closet […]

  38. Image for Edie Edie

    Please do a story on how you lost weight! I was so sick in 2019 & lost weight, but it all came back during COVID (& brought “friends”)!

  39. Image for C C

    You look happy and healthy! Would you mind sharing exercises that you used to help your skin contract back? Thank you!

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