Julie Morgenstern's Closet Truth

An overflowing closet yet nothing to wear

Click here to read the whole article on the Beyond Today blog

A woman I worked with a few years ago began mysteriously and rapidly gaining weight. Ten pounds turned into twenty, and after ten months, she had added thirty pounds to her petite frame. As the weight piled on, she bought new clothes — cramming the 12s and one-size-fits-alls in alongside the old 8s and 10s, until her closet was so overrun, she couldn’t find a thing.

Closet chaos often occurs during a transition: new job, home, lifestyle, weight change, etc. The transition prompts the purchase of a new wardrobe, but you neglect to get rid of the old one. The chaos leads to confusion, lost items and lots of shopping (you have a closet full of clothes, but nothing to wear) resulting in hundreds, even thousands of dollars wasted. Your closet should reflect who and where you are at this moment — make sure it’s telling the truth.

Click here for the 4 steps to get an honest picture on the Beyond Today blog

Editor’s Note: New York Times bestselling author Julie Morgenstern is an organizing and time-management expert, business productivity consultant and speaker. Her company, Julie Morgenstern Enterprises, is dedicated to using her philosophies and methods to provide a wide range of practical solutions that transform the way people and companies function.

5 Responses so far.

  1. avatar lisakitty says:

    Julie:  I love your advice!  However, I would like to add another layer about what to do after you weed through the clothes with the leftovers:

    When going through your clothes to see what to throw away, what to donate, and what to take to consignment (more in a moment), here’s an easy guide.
     *   If the clothes are in bad shape, throw them away.  Charity shops get used routinely as dumping grounds for people’s “ickies” and it takes a lot of time for them to sift through the stuff that you donate.  Save everyone a lot of trouble and just throw stuff out that has rips, is stretched, etc.

    *  If the clothes are in decent shape (not outstanding) or are casual (sweats, jeans, tshirts), donate them..  You can donate them wherever you want, but it may be worth the time and effort to see if you can find a battered women’s shelter or someplace that will get the clothes directly to people who need them.   Wherever you donate, make sure you get a receipt so you can write the expense off on your taxes

    *  If the clothes are in outstanding shape (possibly with price tags still on?) and of quality fabric/styling, consider signing up with a consignment shop.  These shops are doing outstanding business in this economy and are a great place to sell your higher end clothes.  Got a ton of those old bridesmaids dresses in the back of your closet?  Consignment them out and make some DOUGH!  Same with leather jackets, wedding gowns, formal attire, purses (the consignment stores I shop at often have brand new purses at deep discounts), shoes….     the beauty of consignment is that you ultimately (hopefully) get money for your clothes, the frustration is that this can take awhile.  Make sure that whereever you consign is clean, non-crowded (meaning it’s easy to see the merchandise) and busy.  Again, get those formal gowns/wear out there NOW because prom season is not so far away and people are looking at those shops now for options.

    Thanks, Julie for a great article!


  2. avatar Chris Glass` says:

    I go through my closet every six months dumping the things I can’t or won’t wear. I have to admit that some of those items were sale mistakes. If they are new or gently worn I give them to the women’s shelter or the SPCA thrift shop. If they are old or past their prime They go to a place that recycles them for rags.

  3. avatar Joan Larsen says:

    Hi Julie . . .

    Most of us have that “to do” list . . . and I am guessing that “cleaning closets” is always near the top for many of us.  But it takes a firm reminder — as you have given — to give the added “push” that is needed to make the effort.  For me, having that pile of hangered clothes wobbling into mountains on the beds, ready to be sorted becomes an emotional issue.  VERY embarrassing.

    You see, I travel a great deal.  .  . and so, embarrassing as it is, I will tell you why I keep certain things in my closets and my drawers.  You may find fault with my rationale, but it works for me.  Very often – once I get there – I am in the wilderness, hiking or otherwise not trying to impress anyone.  What I do for packing is pull out an assortment of my serviceable but oldest undies — and other very very casual clothes that have been around for a year or more.  Then, as the days go into weeks, I wear the clothes and then drop them into the nearest basket.  In other words, I cram a suitcase full to begin with, but for the majority, they do not return home with me.

    Instead, guess what?  An almost empty suitcase is now left — and I have a few days of sheer pleasure in shopping at places one doesn’t see at home at all.  Recently I improved the economy of Carmel and Monterey a great deal, arriving home with essentially a new “up-to-date and then some” wardrobe that we just don’t see in the look-alike shopping centers of my home city. 

    Long ago I found this plan to be perfection for the kind of life I lead . . . and my rationale seems so reasonable that there is no hemming and hawwing at all.  (Maybe a little, but not much!)

    I can see you rolling your eyes .  .  . but – as they say – “whatever works”!!!!!!!!!


    • avatar Mary says:

      Joan,  good for you to treat yourself!  Further, I am so happy to see you here, I have missed you and worried about you so much!  Nice to see that you continue to travel and live life! 

      • avatar Joan Larsen says:

        Mary . . . I too think often of you as one of the special people you want to keep close to your heart for a lifetime.  That is how I feel.  A fast update:  I still hold political office after all these years, giving me that home base that needs my attention . . . but faraway places – remote places – are number one in my heart and always will be.  I need to touch base with Antarctica – which draws me like a magnet – but you know that. 

        So glad Julie is back on WoW once again . . . as she is a spark for our site as well as drawing card.  Look who I found?  YOU.  How good is that???  But I am into the “inspiring” that she does well — and dying to put in my own two cents on some other topics we all need right here.  Let us hope the time is right soon — as my mind is a whirl with articles almost ready to go.