Clean Out Your Closet in 1 Hour: 30 Days to Gorgeous Mom Style


I get it all the time.

“I’m afraid for you to see my closet.”

People who say this have clearly never seen mine. They are under the misconception that, as a stylist and an overhauler of other people’s closets, mine is perfect. It is not. Sift through the clothing in my closet, and you will find random Target purchases sharing precious real estate with my favorite Diane Von Furstenbergs. You will find yesterday’s outfit in a heap on a stool, waiting for company from today’s just-worn items. They will be dealt with tomorrow, or maybe the day after that. Life moves quickly, and there’s not always time to be on top of it, day in and day out.

And you will find bathing suits in one bin and nightgowns in another, because I hate folding and avoid it whenever possible.

So, no, my closet isn’t perfect. It is neat-enough and current-enough and, most of all, it is functional. I enjoy getting dressed in the morning, because I have options. Not too many, but enough. Enough to make outfits. Enough to mix it up a little. And it’s easier than it looks. And it begins with a purge. But don’t worry. This isn’t the kind of marathon closet session that turns your wardrobe into a war zone for days. This shouldn’t take you more than an hour, unless you’re something of a collector, in which case it might take you two.

Don’t worry. This will only hurt a little bit. And it’s as easy as 1-2-3.

1. Eliminate the Has-Beens

These are the items that don’t fit, are stained/damaged, or are otherwise unusable. Toss them into your to-go pile. Better yet, designate a hamper next to your regular one for donations, consignments, alterations, etc. Use it.

2. Eliminate the Once-Wases

I will never again wear my Betsey Johnson babydoll dress. Or the yellow linen Juicy Couture scalloped short romper. Or the pants that never fit me when I was at my taut-est and tone-est. That ship has sailed. Ditto for maternity clothes (when you are sure you’re done!) and professional attire from your former career (they will date you). In they go.

Pro Tip: If you have an extra clothing rack, or even a valet rod,  pull out small sections of clothing and sort through them quickly, using a yes-no-yes-no system to eliminate the unwanted items. I do this with clients and it’s very effective. Don’t overthink it. If your first instinct tells you to let an item go, then let it go.

3. Eliminate the Never-Will-Bes

Sometimes I dream I am an excruciatingly hip French art student, reclining in a jardin in Paris, reading poetry and eating cheese. Sometimes, I even shop for her. And when I stumble on this evidence in my closet months later, I am forced to admit that, triste as it may be, that ship has sailed. Again. Don’t shop (or horde) for the life you think you may someday have. Shop for now. Later, shop for later. (Don’t worry. The art student and I have called a truce. And I got to keep the sweater.)

And that’s pretty much it. See, that wasn’t so bad. If you want, I can hold your hand through this process. (Not literally, of course, because that would be a little inconvenient, since we’d both be short a hand, but you get the idea.) Or you could do the above steps alone, and then call me. And then we can move on to the fun stuff.

Like filling in the gaps in your closet with an easy-to-pull-together Capsule Wardrobe. You know, by shopping.

And owning your unique mom style. So you can go shopping.

And discovering your own unique body type, and checking out the cheat sheet. For, you know, shopping.

Yes, I said shopping. Again.

See? I told you it would only hurt a little bit.

Here’s another post you should check out.  5 easy tools for closet organization.


The reward for the hard work of purging your closet? Shopping. I look just like this when I go shopping. All relaxed and kid-free. Don’t you? 😉


  1. Cyndy says

    I am a nut about organizing but don’t have a clue about what I NEED to have in my closet! My Closet is picture perfect but have of the stuff I don’t wear because I’ve gained weight and am afraid that throwing these things out will mean that I’m giving up on trying g to lose the weight!!

  2. says

    Oh Cyndy I wish I had your organizational skills! That is truly a gift! I have a suggestion for you. Take an honest look at those pieces, and ask yourself if you truly see yourself back in that same size. Maybe there is a size that you would be just as happy with that is somewhere in the middle. If that smaller size is really the goal, then look at that wardrobe as a separate wardrobe and edit accordingly. Ask yourself, honestly, which of those clothes you love and which you actually wear, when they fit. Remove all of the items that you don’t love, don’t wear, and no longer suit your lifestyle. Then, if you have the space somewhere else, move that smaller wardrobe in your alternate size to another closet. Now you can see the clothes that you actually wear and that fit you where you are at, right now. Do the same thing with this wardrobe. Make sure everything in it fits, flatters and is something you love and wear. If it doesn’t, it should go, and if you’re reluctant to let go of it, hide it in another closet for three months. (Write the date on your calendar and check back at that time. Chances are, you won’t remember what is in there and it will be easier to part with those things.). Then, to fill in the gaps in your wardrobe, check out my Capsule Wardrobe ideas. And let me know if you need any other suggestions!

  3. Tara Jones says

    I really need to go through my closet with this mind set. The hardest for me is the “has-beens”, there is just so much sentimental value!

  4. says

    I know it’s hard Tara! If it helps, just get it out of the closet and into a really inconvenient place for a while. Then hold on to only the truly sentimental pieces, in a special box for sentimental clothes. Take pictures of the rest before you donate them. 🙂 Good luck!

  5. Lauri gleaves says

    I always make sure to get the “rejects” out to my car so it doesn’t take up closet/storage space or risk being re-filed. I donate everything to a local charity re-sale shop. Also, i use a large clear storage tub for questionable items and often just seeing it in the tub every day makes me realize someone else might actually enjoy wearing this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Anti-Spam Quiz: