Cleaning Out My (Non-Capsule) Wardrobe

This post is sponsored by thredUP, which if you’ve been reading for five minutes, you already know I’m the biggest fan of thredUP in the entire land

I know I’m completely original here, but I’ve been cleaning out all the closets in the house this month.

Isn’t it the best feeling to get rid of all the excess and streamline down to the things that actually work for you?

Although I don’t do a capsule wardrobe, I’ve definitely recognized that I like to wear the same things over and over again and that having a smallish closet really helps me streamline getting dressed.

Plus, I love having pieces that I wear a lot and FEEL like me.

So my goal for cleaning out my closet this month was to pare down (although not quite to the level of capsule wardrobe) so I wasn’t sorting through so many things that didn’t quite work for me.

I’ve cleaned out my closet many many times before, but this time I did something a little differently.

Instead of clearing out the rejects first, I selected all my favorite pieces first.

Tips for cleaning out your Non-Capsule Wardrobe and then filling the holes with thredUP.

It gave me a lot of momentum to make those choices right off the bat (and those are EASY decisions. I know exactly what items go through the wash every week and that I wear again as soon as they are clean) and set aside the things I wear week after week or grab every time I need to dress up.

Then it made it easier to look at what was left and identify why they weren’t in that top-pick category.

Tips for cleaning out your Non-Capsule Wardrobe and then filling the holes with thredUP.

Four basic questions made it easier for me to sort out the keepers and the pass-alongs:

  1. Have I, on multiple occasions, put it on and then taken it back off almost immediately? I had this great J.Crew shirt that I LOVED on the hanger, but when it was on, it was just a little too long and it wrinkled too easily and so although I liked it for the first five minutes I was wearing it, I basically always ended up changing. Time to go. It was embarrassing how many of these items there were.
  2. Is it damaged? WHY is it so hard to recognize when it’s time for things to go, even though they have holes or a tear or are stained?
  3. Do I not have anything to wear it with? I made a pile of the things I like but struggle to wear because nothing ever quite goes with them.  These were things I needed to deal with.
  4. Does it just not feel like me? I have some things that I bought because I liked it in theory, but it just wasn’t the right pick for my coloring or body-type or lifestyle.

I didn’t feel like I owned a ton of clothing, but it was kind of ridiculous how much stuff I ended up purging.

I pretty much always have a thredUP Clean Out Bag in the back corner of my closet so that I can add things as I decide I’m done with them, but this time I had so many items, I had to order a second bag.

I love that with the Clean Out Bag, I don’t have to worry about driving it anywhere (which actually means it sits in my trunk for weeks) but I can just hand it off to the mail lady and then get paid for any items thredUP accepts and they responsibility recycle anything that isn’t in good enough condition to resell.

Then it was time to fill any holes I had.

Tips for cleaning out your Non-Capsule Wardrobe and then filling the holes with thredUP.

And this is why I love thredUP. I feel like one of the reasons I keep clothing that I never wear is that I fear not being able to replace them. Knowing that I can find new-to-me items for my closet holes at a smoking good deal alleviates that fear for me and helps me get rid of the items that are clogging up my closet.

I started with items from question #3. What items didn’t I wear because I didn’t have the right item for them? Was it a pair of shoes I needed to make some skirts work? Was it a shirt that didn’t have the right pants to go with them?

One of the things I love most about shopping on thredUP is that it’s the perfect combination of planning and luck – I can go on and say “I need a pair of dressy but flat shoes in a size 6” and then after I put those filters in place (this is the planning, obviously), they show me the 150 options they have. And it’s like a game of chance to see what will show up.

This is how I ended up with these velvet lace-up flats from Banana Republic that I’ve worn a ton since they arrived – they’re the perfect thing to dress up jeans and a blouse or a casual dress when I want to look a little nicer, but don’t want to wear heels. And under $30 instead of nearly $120 new.

Tips for cleaning out your Non-Capsule Wardrobe and then filling the holes with thredUP.

Or this pair of Madewell pants – I was on the lookout for non-denim pants, but I didn’t particularly know what color or style I wanted, but then this pair showed up in my search and I snatched them up. Getting them for $17 instead o $90 didn’t hurt my feelings either.

Tips for cleaning out your Non-Capsule Wardrobe and then filling the holes with thredUP.

It also feels so much more fun than just buying something from a regular store with dozens of identical items all from the same brand. I love that instead of looking through many different stores, I can get a good variety of brands and styles in my closet all from thredUP.

Being able to see so much variety in one place and try a big selection of things over the past couple of years has really helped me hone in on what my personal style is (I’d say it’s something like casual classic) and been so convenient at a period in my life when going to the store to try things on is just not very feasible for me very often.

Having new items show up at my door and being able to try them on with anything in my wardrobe has been the best thing, and being able to easily clean out my closet as I figure out what I don’t want to keep anymore is a nice bonus!

Also, every time I share about thredUP, either here or on Instagram, I get people saying they’re dying to try thredUP but have question or don’t know where to start.

I’d love to help, since thredUP is hands-down the best thing that’s ever happened to my wardrobe, so let me know what’s holding you up and I’ll do my best to get you started!

Tips for cleaning out your Non-Capsule Wardrobe and then filling the holes with thredUP.

Photos by Christie Knight Photography

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  • Reply Carolen January 17, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Can I say how BRILLIANT this idea is — start by taking out all the clothes I actually wear. How come it took me 50 years to hear that idea 🙂 You’re a genius. S
    Starting today!!

  • Reply Brianna January 17, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Between this post and Merrick’s Wearable Wardrobe Guide, I think I’m ready to tackle my closet.

  • Reply Emma January 17, 2018 at 10:24 am

    I know you just cleaned out your closet, but I need you to try out ThredUp’s Goody Boxes! I’m so intrigued by the idea because the price points will likely be significantly lower than something like stitchfix, but am way too nervous to try it myself!

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw January 17, 2018 at 5:46 pm

      How have I not even heard of these? You KNOW I’ll be trying them out.

  • Reply Diana January 17, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Oh my goodness, I just cleaned out my closet this past weekend (even got my husband to do his part too!) but now I think I need to REclean it thinking of keeping my favorites first… I already have a massive bag ready to go to ThredUp, but I’m sure I could find more!

  • Reply Katie January 28, 2018 at 7:14 am

    Seriously need to do my closet clean out in this manner!!!! I have been avoiding it for fear when I remove things I’ll have nothing left. If I started with a rack of things I love, then I could actually visualize how many outfits I own that I know hands down will work and I can look at the rest with the mindset of building additional go-to outfits and moving on from the rest that is really just there to make me think I’ll have something clean to wear should the need arise.

  • Reply Laura January 31, 2018 at 3:22 am

    Have you read/tried the Marie Kondo method and her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? Actually, the how-to book that accompanies it, Spark Joy, is even better because it goes into detail how to apply the method. Such a game-changer for getting rid of life’s clutter.

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