Five Step Guide to Refreshing Your Closet on a Budget

clothing on clothing rack

Spring is approaching and with that, spring cleaning will be in full effect. Well for many of us, that means giving our wardrobe an update. If you’re like me, there is nothing better than filling your closet with some new pieces that can totally revamp your style. If you’re also like me, you’re quickly downtrodden by the fact that buying clothes can get expensive, fast. When looking to freshen up your style, you know that you have to plan for some expenses, but luckily (and with the help of this article) there are some ways to lessen the financial burden AND a few things that you can do to maximize your closet without starting from scratch.

Out with the old

First step in refreshing your wardrobe is looking long and hard at what is already in your closet. If you haven’t cleaned out your closet in the past year or two, I guarantee there are things in there that need to go. Set aside an afternoon or evening to go through your entire closet (yes, the whole thing) and try each and every thing on. Does it fit? When was the last time you wore it? Is it damaged in some way? Anything you haven’t worn in over a year put in one pile, anything that is damaged put in another and anything that doesn’t fit put into a third pile. Now, evaluating the piles. If you haven’t worn it in over a year the odds are you aren’t going to wear it now (unless it’s a special occasion garment), it’s time to get rid of them. The items that are damaged, are they unwearable or is it just normal wear and tear. Be honest with yourself, are you going to take the time to repair them or take them to be repaired? If not, time to get rid of them. Finally, things that don’t fit. This is tough because we are always trying to lose the ever elusive 5-10 pounds. Again, be honest with yourself. If you love the piece of clothing enough to keep it until that happens, by all means then do so, but if it’s just taking up space then it’s probably time for it to go. Follow the same steps for shoes, accessories, and jewelry, too!

Get in the money

Once you’ve decided what clothes and accessories you’re going to part with, don’t just throw them out! There is money to be had in used clothing, and there are many options depending on the time and resources that are available to you. We talk about these options in depth in a previous blog article, see here. You’re going to get more money if you sell directly to someone, so I would recommend starting that route first. Going through your clothes, if you have something that has hardly been wore, in really good condition or is a name brand all have better chances of being sold this way rather than generic items. Posting these on local Facebook marketplaces or Craigslist or use an app like Tradsey or Poshmark for the highest chance of return. Second stop is secondhand stores. I have sold my clothes to second hand stores and had a lot of success. (Pro tip: bring your clothes to them neatly folded and in a nice hamper or plastic bin rather than a trash bag, they tend to take more). Another tip is to take your clothes to more than one secondhand store until you’re pleased with how much you’ve sold. After this, I usually let my friends and family go through the clothes and see if there is anything that they want or just donate to a local caring center. This is completely up to your discretion. Make a party out of it! Invite your friends and family to clean out their closet using the above rules and have a party where you get together and everyone goes through what people are getting rid of. You can do swaps or put price tags on things that you’re wanting to part with.

What do you need?

Now that you’ve had plenty of time to have a thorough understanding of what clothes you have and you’ve got some money in your pocket it’s time to figure out what you actually need. Odds are you recognized some gaps in your wardrobe when you were cleaning it out OR on the flip side you noticed how you have several items that are very similar. (I think I could outfit an army in black V-neck tees). So what do you need to update your wardrobe while filling in holes and not buying something that you probably already have? I like to analyze my closet by occasion. First, what do you wear to work? Do you find yourself wearing the same thing over and over again? Maybe it’s time to invest in some work wear. What do you wear during downtime? Do you find yourself never having anything to wear for weekend excursions or playtime with your kids? Might be time to invest in something you can wear on a more casual basis. What do you wear to lounge? Find yourself wearing the same pair of sweatpants that are ridden with holes (they’re just so comfortable!) that you can’t wear out of the house? Maybe it’s time to invest in some lounge wear that you wouldn’t mind leaving the house while wearing.

Shop smart

Shopping smart is no problem when we have access to all kinds of deals, you just have to pay attention. Taking advantage of customer deals, buying seasonal items in off season for big discounts, digging through the sale section of the store for hidden gems. If you’re shopping online, do a quick google search for current promo codes that you could use at the store for free shipping or some other discount. Sign up to email lists to get discounts on your first purchase (you can always unsubscribe later). If you’re more the brick and mortar type, there are discount stores EVERYWHERE. There are crazy discounts at stores like Nordstrom Rack if you want designer goods for cheap. TJ Maxx, Target, Kohl’s all have really stylish clothes for reasonable prices as well. Go back to the second hand stores that you sold your clothing too. There are always great finds in stores, but you have to have the patience to look. I love going to thrift stores or vintage shops to find unique additions to my wardrobe that are sure to be one of a kind and are usually very inexpensive.

If you don’t love it, you won’t wear it

Don’t you hate when you’re ready to go shopping and spend some money it always happens that you can’t find anything that you love? I swear it happens every time. If this happens to you, don’t worry there will always be another day. Just because you want to refresh your wardrobe doesn’t mean that you have to go out and do it all in one day. Take your time and find pieces that you actually need, that fit correctly and that you love. It’s pretty much guaranteed that if you don’t love something in the store that you won’t wear it. Also, make sure that you’re investing in items that you can wear multiple times and in more than one way. If you get a great button up top you can wear it tucked into a skirt for a more polished look or unbuttoned with a tank top and jeans for a weekend look that is still really stylish. Think about CPW (cost per wear) when shopping as well. Splurging on a pair of jeans that fit perfectly or a purse that you know you’ll carry for years is more valuable than that $30 top from Forever 21 that will fall apart after four trips through the laundry.

Finally, your style should represent you and your lifestyle. You don’t have to follow the latest trends to look stylish. Finding clothes that make you feel great will always be the best look. Spending gobs of money isn’t necessary if you take these steps to ensure that you’re adding value to your wardrobe.

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