New Year’s Closet Cleanout: What to Keep and What to Replace

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As we celebrate the end of one year and look forward with anticipation for the next, many of us yearn for a New Year’s closet cleanout. After all, a new year brings the perfect opportunity to not only make a few resolutions, but also to add some fresh staples to your wardrobe!

When you’re going through the clothes you have on hand, it’s important to think about which pieces are worth saving (like basic tops and quality handbags), and which you might want to retire (like those costume earrings you haven’t worn in years).

So that you can be sure you have enough space for all your new pieces, here are some tips for what to keep, and what to replace in the new year.

What to keep

Just because you’re doing a closet cleanout doesn’t mean you have to purge everything that’s currently in there. In fact, while you might feel tempted to start fresh, there are quite a few staples you should seriously consider keeping on hand.

Pieces you wear for multiple occasions.

Many of us have an assortment of go-tos we always come back to wearing, even if we have tons of other options available. If you have a few items like this in your drawers, don’t toss them!

  • Save a couple of versatile wedding guest dresses that you keep on heavy rotation during wedding season. This way, you’ll have something on hand if you’re in a pinch and a last-minute fancy occasion comes up.
  • Bring that cozy cardigan that you wear over everything to the front of your closet so that you can pull it out whenever you need it.
  • Even if you want to add some new cute shoes to your collection, save the styles that you wear often. You’ll avoid the risk of sitting at the dinner table in uncomfortable pumps when you’d rather be out dancing!

Source: Alena Ozerova/

Tried-and-true basics.

Classics are always worth saving because they can add a touch of timeless elegance to even the trendiest of outfits.

  • Neutrals age gracefully even as trends change. Basic black, white, tan, taupe, navy, blush and olive green stay in style season after season.
  • Keep the concept of the capsule collection in mind as you’re cleaning out your closet. Save pieces that pair well with one another and can create all sorts of different outfits with just a few swaps.
  • Some silhouettes stand the test of time. Basic tees, boutique jeans, a pair of crisp white sneakers, a structured blazer and an A-line skirt are all worth having in your wardrobe.

Staples that make you smile.

Believe it or not, what we wear can often impact how we feel. If you have an item of clothing that makes you think of a loved one or reminds you of a favorite day, that sentimental value is well worth a slot in your wardrobe.

  • Save the special heels that you wore on your favorite first date. Even if you’re not superstitious, they’ll put a spring in your step if they make you smile.
  • If you received a sweater or jacket as a gift from someone you care about, you might want to preserve the memory by way of this special treasure.
  • Don’t ditch the dress that fits you like a glove, or the sweater that brings out the blue in your eyes. Pieces that mean something to you should be saved.

Source:Damian Lugowski/


From styles that have fallen out of favor to pieces that are beyond repair, every item in your closet reaches its final day at some point.

  • Affordable accessories that are extremely fashion-forward don’t tend to stay on trend for more than a season or two. You can easily swap some of these out for fresh pieces that are new and now.
  • There’s absolutely no shame in shifting sizes over time, but you also don’t need to hang on to pieces that haven’t fit in a while. See if your beloved favorite comes in your new size, instead!
  • Clothing doesn’t last forever, and while a certain amount of wear and tear is normal, there comes a time when something passes the point of no return. If your dress shirt has yellow armpits that can’t be removed, or your pants have a large hole that can’t be patched, a replacement is in order.
  • Not all items we have an emotional attachment to bring back happy memories. If you have pieces that make you think of something you’d rather not relive, remove them from your closet and donate them to someone who can use them to support their own new, positive stories.

While you may feel inspired to go on a shopping spree to replace some of the items you’re retiring, keep in mind that there’s no rush to fill your drawers right away. While you might want to take advantage of those end-of-season deals, it’s okay to wait until you find what feels right.

New Year, Fresh Looks

The new year brings new opportunities and is really the perfect chance to freshen up your closet. While these tips can certainly be helpful in guiding your wardrobe revamp, remember to let your heart lead a little bit, too! Fashion is such a personal experience, and it’s important for you to make decisions for what to keep and replace based on whatever fits your experiences best. When you’re happy and confident, you’ll be stepping into the new year in style.

Photo source: Source: Anton_dios/

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