Closet Audit!

I conducted my first closet audit for my dear friend, Lisa, about 8 years ago. I will never forget our heated debate over a silver dress with the snake silkscreened up the thigh. She fought valiantly for that dress, which is why I love her. Since then, I’ve audited Tamie, Cheryl, Jessica, Jessica, and Eric’s closets too. So when Erin said,

“Debbie, can you help me clean out my closet?”

I said HELL YES.

If you haven’t audited your closet in a few years, I suggest you find some time and make it happen. It usually takes me about five hours, beginning to end. It’s cleansing for the soul! I think that Erin’s closet is perfect for this post because she has Classic American Closet Challenges – a little tight on space, great items are hidden amongst the rifraf, and the slight feeling of malaise that comes from seeing the same stuff put together the same way too many times.

Here’s how a closet audit works:

We pull everything out of the closet and sort it by type. This part should move quickly – don’t agonize over which category an item belongs in – we’ll get to everything eventually.


  • Shoes: Day, Evening, Athletic. Sub-sorted by color.
  • Tanks, tees, Long-sleeved t’s
  • short sleeved sweaters, long-sleeved sweaters
  • cardigans
  • skirts
  • pants, denim
  • Day dresses
  • Work dresses
  • Party dresses

Immediately discard items that you already know you hate.

We hate you now, because you rub us wrong.

Create three piles: Donate, Alter, and ??? The ??? pile is where you put clothes that you love, but can’t figure out how to wear.

Try everything on. You might want to wear a tank top and boy shorts so that it’s easy to get changed.

Along the way, we look for opportunities for a Wardrobe Remix, where we take items that you love, and find new ways to wear them. Here are some highlights of Erin’s closet audit:

  • That pair of pants she thought she hated were actually great when paired with the right shoes (which happen to be the red patent cuties above).
  • Erin had a ton of great stuff that just happened to be about six inches too long. Once she gets those dresses and skirts hemmed, she’s going to have a whole new bag of tricks to pull from her closet.
  • All that black skirt needed was a belt.
  • Brooches are our friends.

There are three items in the ??? category, and we didn’t have time to tackle them during this visit. So once Erin gets her tailoring done, I’m coming back, and we will figure out how to get that leather jacket, plum strapless number, and those boots into rotation. It will be fodder for a future post.

Here are two outfits that were hiding in Erin’s closet, waiting to be discovered (and you’re not going blind – the pics are a teensy itsy bit blurry):

so cute, right?!

The belt inspired a whole conversation about "finishing pieces"

About dhanamura

When I was ten years old, I owned a mustard yellow sequined dress that I got at a garage sale. I stuffed it with rolled tube socks so that I would look more glamorous. That year I also got my first bottle of Chanel No. 5. I felt beautiful in my room, in that dress, smelling like Chanel. What you wear matters. It makes you feel things... or helps you to express things you already feel. Your feet aren't firmly planted on the ground, they are crammed into a pair of shoes. Love those shoes, or take them off.

7 responses to “Closet Audit!

  1. Jessica

    OMG! Love the two outfits!

    I don’t remember auditing my closet. But I do remember cleaning it out BECAUSE of you. Several times. And the fight with Eric over his! Ah, boys.

    • dhanamura

      I believe we snuck a bit of closet auditing in during the bedroom/book audit đŸ™‚ You recently cleaned out your closet in a major way – what did you learn from the experience? xo

      • That a piece of clothing will not suddenly become flattering just because you bought it and you don’t want to “waste your money” by throwing it away…

  2. So inspirational! My closet is running over with things I haven’t touched in so long! I love this idea!

  3. Lynnea Fleming

    That’s a brilliant idea! i’m so sentimental about clothes though, so I only ever manage a mini closet audit which usually glosses over a few horrid pieces that I can never get rid of =)

    • dhanamura

      Lynnea, is there anything that you can do with those pieces that you are sentimental about? It doesn’t honor any memories by having to cram things in your closet (having not seen your closet, I admit that I don’t know if you do that). But could you make a t-shirt quilt? Modify an item so that it better fits your life now? Do a photo essay on a favorite item and write about why it’s important so that you are liberated to give it to someone else who will actually wear it? Pack it away so that you have room in your closet for stuff you actively wear? Everything that you have in your home should serve and fulfill you – is your sentimental item doing everything it can for you in its current state?

  4. Pingback: Organizing your closet | Modern Homemaker: Single Edition

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