Cleaning out your closet is a great way to make space for new purchases.


Shopping is always fun, but smart shoppers such as Style By Jury’s David Clemmer know that it’s more fun and rewarding when you know you’re getting what you really need.


Before you head out on your next trip, spend a few hours with your closet practising some tough love. Start by pulling everything out of your closet. “I know it sounds like a hideous task, but believe me there’s no other way,” Clemmer says.

He suggests making four piles: The “keeper” pile is for clothes that look great on you. “If you have outfits that you love but haven’t come off the hanger for at least a year, you’ll have to figure out why,” he says. “Maybe the colour or fabric or cut is wrong for you, or maybe you’ve got nothing to accessorize them with. Put these in the ‘keeper’ file for now.”

The “giveaway” pile is for clothes that are in good condition but don’t fit properly, are outdated, or just don’t feel right when you wear them. The “trash” pile is for is for items that are torn, fatally pilled, or just plain worn out.

The “alterations” pile is for items that need a stitch here are there to get them back into circulation. For this pile, Clemmer insists you set yourself a deadline. “I take this pile and place it by the front door so I can’t leave the house without tripping over it,” he says. “This way I’m motivated to get to my seamstress without delay.”

Shoes are a whole separate issue. Toss or donate the ones that don’t fit properly, are out of style, or are badly worn. Then clean and polish the rest. Remember to keep a few pairs of dress shoes even if you haven’t worn them for a while. If you have a pair of shoes that looks amazing but you have trouble walking in them, Clemmer suggests keeping them anyway. “Shoes should be comfortable, but if you won’t be walking much, it may be worth the extra effort to be fabulous.”

Once you’ve gone through this exercise, you’ll notice that there’s still a pile of odds and ends, such as hats, coats, luggage, random workout gear, and so on. These things belong elsewhere. Use the front hall closet for coats and hats. Use a storage locker for luggage, off-season clothing, and other large items. Group your clothes by season and put them in cloth bags that are clearly labelled. This way they’re easy to find quickly when you need them.

Now you should have some breathing space in your closet. Hang up all your “keepers;” when your alterations are completed, hang those up too. Take a good look because you’ll soon be saying goodbye to some of those old friends. Next week were going to show you how to make sure your “keepers” are earning their keep, where the gaps are in your wardrobe, and how to figure out what to pick up on your next shopping trip.

  • Watch Style by Jury tonight at 8:30 ET, PT exclusively on W Network (