You’ve got five minutes to get ready. 

You’re looking through your closet and you see a whole lot of nothing. 

More tops than you can count; a handful of bottoms that don’t match with anything; and don’t even get me started on the accessories. 

Sound familiar? 

Having a wardrobe that instigates anxiety over inspiration is a reality for many. 

But it doesn’t have to be. 

Having a system in place wherein you can easily put together tons of fabulous outfits by browsing through your closet instead of the aisles of a store doesn’t have to be as unrealistic as it sounds.

If you’ve read A Beginner’s Guide to Sustainable Fashion, then this is step one in your sustainable fashion journey. 

In fact, since this is one of the most important steps in that whole guide, you might not need to go beyond step one for a very long time. 


Because nothing is more sustainable (or budget friendly) than utilizing what you already own.  

Below you’ll find post one of The How to Shop Your Closet Master Guide Series.

Doing the Prep Work

Yes, I know this aspect can be a little bit boring but it’s important to develop a good foundation. 

After all, how enjoyable will your “shopping” experience be if half your clothes don’t fit and are hung up haphazardly everywhere?

Retail stores don’t do this, so why should you? 

1. Know Your Why

When you’re in the middle of this process with clothes strewn all over the place (although I promise it will not take that long!) you might ask yourself, why am I even doing this? 

Are you trying to be more sustainable? 

Tired of the time it takes you to put together an outfit? 

Overwhelmed just looking at the sheer volume of clothes that you have? 

Whatever your reason keep reminding yourself of it during challenging times. 

There will come a time down the road when you’ll feel uninspired and make a few or a lot of impulse purchases (we’ve all been there). 

This is when you’ll want to remind yourself of why you’re prioritizing shopping your closet in the first place. 

And trust me, it gets easier. 

2. Work in Sections

For the purposes of taking inventory and decluttering, I separate my garments into: 

  • Tops (t-shirts, blouses, tank tops, cardigans, exercise tops, etc.)
  • Bottoms (skirts, shorts, pants)
  • Dresses (including casual dresses, as well as any formal wear)
  • Jackets and coats (I had a lot of coats in this category, if you’re familiar with a Canadian winter 😐)
  • Undergarments and pajamas (bras, panties, socks, shapewear, pantyhose)
  • Shoes 
  • Accessories (scarfs, hats, sunglasses, bags, belts, headbands, jewellery)
  • Swimwear

3. Pick One Section and Try Everything On In That Section

You might be thinking, is she crazy? 

Trust me, I’m aware of how much stuff you’ve probably amassed and yes it will take a bit of time to try everything on. 

But hear me out. 

Even if you have an item that you wear weekly, when was the last time you stopped to analyze the fit and feel of that item? 

Probably not since you bought it. 

Why is this important?

You want to ensure that every item that goes back into your closet fits and is something that you love. 

When you go into a retail store, do they have items hanging on the rack that are worn out or have stains or holes? 


So again, why should you? 

Items with Sentimental Value

If you’ve come across an item that has sentimental value or maybe it’s something you’re holding onto in the hopes that one day you’ll be able to fit into it again, what do you do? 

Put it aside for now. 

When you start the 30 Day Shop Your Closet Challenge (explained below), see how much you wear that item or if you even reach for it at all. 

If you don’t wear it at all, it might be time to consider donating it or repurposing it in your home. Check out thispost for repurposing clothing. 

Where to Start with Each Section

When choosing a section to start with, I’d recommend starting with tops. 

It’s usually the largest section in someone’s closet so it’s nice to get it out of the way. 

My hack for making the process a little faster: try on multiple items at once (ie. a tank top and cardigan). 

Just make sure you can clearly see both items. 

When analyzing each item look for: 

  • Does the item have any rips or holes? 
  • Can those be easily repaired?
  • Does the item have any stains? 
  • Can those be easily removed?
  • Does the item still fit right? If it’s too big or too small, it might be time to remove it from your closet. 
  • Note if the item is sagging or stretched. 
  • Can this be fixed by wearing it differently or accessorizing? 
  • Does this piece need to be tailored? 
  • Do you still love it? How does wearing this garment make you feel? 

If you’ve considered all of the above, and you love the item, go ahead and put it in the ‘keep’ pile. Don’t worry about adding it back into your closet just yet. 

Any items that you no longer love or are beyond repair, will need to be put in the ‘repurpose’ pile. 

If you have any items that need to be tailored, get on that!

Be sure not to put those pieces back into your closet until they are tailored. 

Repeat this process for the rest of the sections. 

Okay so by now you’ve gone through every item in your closet and after analysis, have put each piece in either the ‘keep’ or ‘repurpose’ pile. 


That wasn’t so bad, was it? 

So what’s next? 

4. Get Everything Ready to be Put Back Into Your Closet

Any items that have holes or stains that need to be addressed, do that now. 

I also like to re-wash any items that haven’t been worn in a while, so all of my garments are fresh and clean before they go into my closet. 

Make sure to iron out any wrinkles and ensure all your items are in tip-top condition before they are put back in. 

5. Organize Your Closet

Check out this next post in the series on how to beautifully organize your closet for both functionality and style so that you feel inspired and excited to wear your pieces. 

You are now one step closer to a sustainable closet and one step further away from #closetanxiety

Throughout this process continue to remember your why and envision what your dream closet will look like and how it will make you feel. 

This process may be lengthy, but it will be so worthwhile. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is PREV-12.png
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is PREV-11.png

Leave a Comment