23 In Wardrobe Wellness

Wardrobe Wellness Purging Tips: You’ll feel better soon!

Use consignment stores for purged items

Consignment stores like SAX will take some of your purged items


I think the biggest block standing in the way of women over 60 and them feeling vibrant is being set in their ways. Standing still, stationary, stuck in one place and not moving in any direction. By the way, feel free to insert any age in place of 60. It can happen at any age. Purging your wardrobe can help you get unstuck.

I was so proud of a client of mine that I saw last week. I’ve had her as a client for twenty-nine years. On the fashion risk taking scale (as talked about in the post How to face fashion that’s outside your comfort zone) she’d be around 1.5. Remember, 10 is the ultimate risk taker.

She plays it safe. She finds a pant she likes and buys multiples. There’s a fear that there will never be another solution like that pant so she’ll stock up. Sound familiar? It’s fairly common!

Her look doesn’t change much from one year to the next. She has several pieces in her wardrobe that have been there a long time and I approve. They still work for her. But last week she confessed, “I really think my work outfits are out of date.” She wouldn’t get a fashion citation wearing what she was wearing, but it just wasn’t satisfying anymore. She wanted a change.


It takes feeling uncomfortable before we’re ready to purge our wardrobes

I was really happy for her. There’s nothing worse than feeling stuck in a rut. There’s no juice there. There’s no energy moving. It’s stagnant.

My eyes lit up and I think my words came faster. I knew what would be her next step. We’d focus on changing her look from the waist up. Longer knit cardigan sweaters worked well with contrasting inside pieces and long pendants or scarves. (This was new.) She looked great and felt happier. We have a few things to shop for to get it all in place but the blueprint exists.

Where did this movement to try something new start from? A desire to weed things out of her closet that didn’t work. She was really sick of it all. By culling out the things that no longer had good energy for her, she was set free to move forward. She was ready to leave her 1.5 comfort zone and wear clothes in a new 4.0 way. From 1.5 – 4.0 is a huge leap! I was so proud of her.


Culling jewelry

People want to go through their jewelry and cull


Feeling good about your wardrobe is well within your reach

I’ve gotten lots calls recently for help to purge wardrobes. People are tired of the weight that’s in their closets. It’s the weight of clothes that don’t fit, that don’t suit their current lives, that belonged to a different era. It’s no wonder people who have purged their closet(s) will say, “I feel so much lighter!” All the parts that weren’t working are gone and what’s left are clothes that have energy.

It’s like cleaning out a spice cabinet. Or cleaning out the glove compartment in your car. Only when you do this with your clothes, the relief is far greater. It can be transforming, liberating.


Editing your closet

Edit one item type at a time: blouses, sweaters, pants, skirts


Some purging tips

If you’re taking time this weekend to do some purging, imagine I’m over in the corner cheering you on. The results will be so great!

I suggest you tackle one small area. It can be white blouses, or black pants, or colored sweaters. Break the task into bits.




Special occasion dresses.

Just one segment of a group at a time.


Use a rolling rack to purge your wardrobe

Pull things out of your closet and onto a rack or your bed


Use a portable rolling rack if you have one and pull clothes out of your closet and onto the rack. Tackle only what’s on the rack.

Take breaks.

Teamwork for purging

We help our clients purge their wardrobes


When we’re with our clients and they’re trying on items,they may know immediately, just by the feel of the garment, whether they want to keep it or not. Sometimes we ask clarifying questions. You can ask them yourself, questions like:

  1. Do I feel better or worse for having this garment on?
  2. Would I wear this this week?
  3. Does this garment make me feel bored or boring?
  4. Does this feel like me right now in 2018?
  5. Does this color make me happy to wear?


Prepare action steps for items purged

Have some large trash bags or shopping bags ready and separate the discards as you go.

You’ll have a Toss pile (worn out, stained, wouldn’t be helpful to someone else).

You’ll have a Donate pile. Do you have a favorite charity or would a simple drop off at Goodwill work for you?

You’ll have an Alterations pile. Some items will be refreshed by changing the hem, shortening the sleeves or taking it in.

You may have a Consignment pile, items you’ll take to your local consignment store and get money back when they sell.


Be kind!

Don’t overdo it

It may make sense to just force yourself to work all day on a project like this.

I worry that if you overextend you’ll end up feeling like you never want to go near your closet again. Don’t do that. At least take breaks. In other words, be kind to yourself, okay? Kindness goes a long way. If you start criticizing yourself for letting it get this far or buying things unnecessarily, or not wearing half of what’s in your closet, lighten up. WE HAVE ALL DONE IT.

You’re getting in there and moving energy around and it’s all good.

Tell me how you do with purging. Have you gotten stuck? Share with us and maybe we can help. Have you recently purged and you’re feeling the grooviness of it all? Let us hear from you!











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  • Reply
    Ramona Puckett
    April 26, 2018 at 5:05 am

    Thank you for these tips! I have lost weight (yay!) and have cleaned out my closet and only buying what looks and feels good. You have been, and are still, a great help on this journey. I have even colorized the clothes and have discovered colors I’m missing so that’s been fun. Since retiring I don’t need so much black but I still want to look stylish. Anyway, thank you so much!

    • Reply
      May 1, 2018 at 7:55 pm

      I’m so happy to hear it helps. You deserve a winning wardrobe!

  • Reply
    April 26, 2018 at 5:51 am

    Another good one Brenda! Lots of great suggestions and loved the cartoon. Have an amazing day.

    • Reply
      May 1, 2018 at 7:55 pm

      Thanks dear one!

  • Reply
    April 26, 2018 at 6:10 am

    Thank you for this. Trying to pack for a cruise to Alaska has been almost overwhelming and yet I have so many clothes. I can’t wit to get started once I am back home!

    • Reply
      May 1, 2018 at 7:55 pm

      Great, Sheila! A welcome home project for you!

  • Reply
    April 26, 2018 at 8:20 am

    As always, some very useful tips. I do keep a lean closet (mainly retired but do work p/t and live in NYC). For me, one problem is replacing garments for a quality product at a moderate price. I don’t wear thrift clothes (grew up with hand-me downs!) and have saved some great looking jackets that are hard to find these days. My uniform has become slim jeans, fitted t-shirts and jackets always accessorized. A good way to experiment, I think, is with new colors rather than the black default I gravitate towards.

    • Reply
      May 1, 2018 at 7:54 pm

      Your look is so classic. I never tire of that formula. True, you could introduce color to your wardrobe plan. I also grew up with hand-me-downs and haven’t been an avid second hand store shopper. But being around one of my daughters in particular is starting to change my view. She’s a real hunter and that’s not for me. I get overwhelmed in some of those stores. But if I have a little extra time on my hands, I may duck in somewhere and poke around. Always something new to learn, spread my wings!

  • Reply
    April 26, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    I know what I am doing this weekend!

    • Reply
      May 1, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      I hope it was successful, Lori!

  • Reply
    April 26, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    Thank you for these tips. I purge my too full closet at least once a year, giving stuff to Goodwill or my sister but somehow it manages to stay stuffed. I think my problem is that I am reluctant to give up nice clothes that fit my tiny frame as they are difficult to replace given the effort put into alterations. Also, when I find something I like that fits well, I buy it, even if it is for some future unknown event. I end up storing excess stuff in boxes. I wish it weren’t so because it is a hassle to take care of excess inventory but I can’t seem to find a way to get out of this pattern. Maybe I should ask my daughter for help…..

    • Reply
      May 1, 2018 at 7:51 pm

      Asking your daughter could be good! I see this often with my clients who have difficulty with their size. And yet, there are many clothes not being worn. There’s the rub. I too feel weighty when there’s too much stuff, excess inventory as you put it. It feels like a responsibility to own pieces and it’s a lot to keep track of. Probably why I like keeping a manageable amount of things that I wear and wear. I do have some regrets, I’ll admit. Things I wish I had not purged. I try to let go of the regret!

  • Reply
    Trinnie Q
    April 27, 2018 at 5:41 am

    I loved this warmly encouraging post Brenda. I am putting away a lot of my lightersummer clothes, and getting out the winter jumpers, and heavier weight trousers and jeans ,so it is a great time to take stock ! It is lovely seeing my cosy wool jumpers, and find myself greeting them like old friends ! Is ,this a bit odd ? I ask myself ! Anyway, a few items stand out as, only a maybe ,for the coming season, so I will apply some of your fabulous suggestions ! thank you . sending, warm love from Oz x

    • Reply
      May 1, 2018 at 7:49 pm

      Trinnie, you asked if seeing your winter clothes again and greeting them like old friends is a bit odd. No! I feel like this every seasonal change. It’s why I really like getting one season out of the closet until I need it next. For me it feels like Christmas!!

  • Reply
    Jacqueline UK
    April 27, 2018 at 10:13 am

    I’ve just spent 6 days in Russia with just a carry on suitcase. Basically 3 sweaters, I dressy shirt, (not really needed) 3 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of shoes and undies. All based on a navy base so I also packed a couple of scarves and some jewellery. Every other woman on the trip had large cases and appeared to wear something different every day.
    I hate lugging huge cases on and off coaches and trains and through airports so was comfortable with my choices. One man on the trip even said he loved my style!
    Downside is that I am really fed up with navy now and am tempted to purge. But I am like your client Brenda, a bit set in my ways. I know that if I do it now – just because I am feeling jaded with navy – I might make decisions I will regret. So I’m going shopping for some new accessories and jewellery. And will try on some tops in colours other than navy and try to up my risk score.

    • Reply
      May 1, 2018 at 6:37 pm

      Jacqueline, that sometimes happens to me too. I love a compact travel wardrobe but when I get home I don’t want to look at those pieces for a while. Curiously, when I had only 45 minutes to pack and catch a plane when my mom was in ICU, I didn’t know how long I’d be there but I managed to pack a few things that were practical and also that I loved. I added some jewelry and away I went. I was there at her side for a month and when I got back, I actually was NOT sick of those clothes. Odd! Maybe they were just neutral enough but varied enough too. I had enough while I was there and was happy with what I’d brought. I think what I changed when I got home were the shoes. I was certainly sick of those! Be patient. Don’t toss the navy. I think you’ll fall in love with it again in due time.

  • Reply
    April 28, 2018 at 5:43 am

    How nice to see myself in all of these responses. I purse then I hoard. I give something away then have pain the following week missing it dearly. I appreciate your helpful advice . I have two bags of clothing ready for goodwill as I write. They are the product of a purge effort two weeks ago. They are making their way slowly out the door.

    • Reply
      May 1, 2018 at 6:33 pm

      Sounds like you have a system, Kathy. I know they’ll be helpful to someone else. And do remember, there are always more clothes to be found. There will never be a scarcity of clothes. That sometimes helps my clients.

  • Reply
    April 28, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Brenda, this is perfect timing as I just purged and went through my closet yesterday. What do you advise for items mainly pants that don’t fit because you’ve gained a few pounds? Right now I just have them in a pile because I don’t want to hang them up and waste time finding out that they don’t fit when I take them off the hanger. Please advise Thank you

    • Reply
      May 1, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      I really am a stickler for keeping in the closet only what currently fits. So if you think anything’s going to change about weight, then I might put them in a storage box and pack them in the garage or an attic and wait and see. Often these boxes get forgotten about and styles change by then anyway. Hope that helps.

  • Reply
    Donna Kline
    May 2, 2018 at 4:57 am

    Hi, Brenda — I think this was your most helpful post yet, at least for me! I wanted to add another thought on what to do with discarded clothes: find an upcycler! Some of your followers may have read about the glut of used clothing in our country, so much that only a small percentage of what is donated to places like Goodwill is actually put out in their stores, the rest ending up in landfill. Not good. There are hundreds if not thousands of women around the globe who take old clothing and give it new life by taking pieces apart and putting them together again in re-imagined ways. The results can be very creative and quite lovely. Please, everyone, try to find someone in your area who does this and keep our landfills a bit more open!

  • Reply
    Kathie Adams
    May 19, 2019 at 5:34 am

    Hi Brenda. I find I love shopping and styling myself now. I spent so many years mid life dressing poorly just to get by. Lack of money, time constraints, body image, etc all played into that and I convinced myself it was vain to put myself first. I have done a turn around in the last few years and your posts have been a major help with that! I lost a lot of weight on my way to becoming healthy. I am now proud to present myself well. It’s a whole picture of health, physically and mentally! I have struggled with “finding my style”. I have finally realized, thanks to you, that my style can be many different looks. So I haunt boutique sale racks and mostly TJ MAXX. I purge often, and do not feel guilty. Mine all goes to Goodwill. If it doesn’t make me feel good, or I just can’t get it to work, out it goes. Thank you so much for being a game changer for me! I

    • Reply
      June 5, 2019 at 10:08 am

      Kathie, I am so happy you shared your transformation with us–mentally and physically! Wow! I love that your style is many things and more than anything I LOVE that you are pleasing yourself with how you look. It means everything to me to have been a small part of you finding joy in dressing. Thank you!

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