Before you get started, get together a few supplies - a notebook, pencil, at least one laundry basket or bag, and an iPhone with Stylebook.
1. Define - Think about your lifestyle and typical outfits you wear throughout the week. Write down what you wear the most - and be honest! Edith Head wrote a great chapter on this in her book How To Dress For Success, which I strongly recommend as further reading.
2. Purge - Quickly go through your closet and remove clothes that can definitely go. Remove anything that is damaged, doesn’t fit, looks worn out, doesn’t fit your lifestyle, or no longer fits your personal style. If you have trouble deciding what stays and what goes, check out Katie Anderson’s Wardrobe Editing Decision Tree. Before you move on, bag up clothes for donation and toss damaged and stained garments.
3. Try It On - By this point, everything left in your closet should be clothes that you like and that fit you. Quickly try everything on and look in the mirror. You may also want a trustworthy friend who can help you honestly evaluate what you have left. If something doesn’t fit well, add it to the donation bag you started in the last step. Note items that you like but may not be right for your body type - you may want to search for replacements that are suited for you. Make sure you keep well-fitted basics for special occasions.
4. Divide - As you try on the clothes, make a pile for clothes that look great and fit your everyday needs, a pile for special occasion clothes, and a pile for clothes that are your absolute favorites. Note whether or not you have enough clothes for your everyday needs, and record what's missing. This is something that Ms. Head emphasized in her book. You’ll love your closet if it’s full of what you actually love to wear, rather than just what you love to look at.
5. Document - Add the clothes you’re keeping into Stylebook using these photo tips. Start by photographing your favorites first - this way, you can take a break and continue next weekend if you have an enormous closet.
6. Mix and Match - Use the outfit editor to start playing with your favorite items. Try to make as many different outfits as you can with each item. Divide your outfits up into categories like work, weekend, cocktail hour, etc.
7. Double Take - Use the Style Stats feature to find out which items were never added to an outfit. Take a second look at these items and determine why you didn’t use them. Do you feel uncomfortable wearing them? Are they inappropriate for most days? Do you need the perfect tank to wear underneath? Are they only for special occasions like a wedding or New Year’s Eve? Decide if you should keep these items and see if adding any complementary pieces could help you use these items more.
8. Wish List - Review your notes on what you wear in a typical day, what gaps you have in your wardrobe, and what items need to be replaced. Prioritize based on what will make your wardrobe the most versatile and then start constructing a wish list using the Stylebook shopping feature. You can search for items that you want by color, budget, store, and more. Watch a demo video on saving shopping items to your closet.
NOTE: Posts in the Style Guides series include affiliate links to some of the products discussed.
The closet organization app for the iPhone and iPad