Backward Hanger Challenge

My closet goal is to have quality, not quantity. For me to love and feel good in every item I have hanging in my closet. I think I have probably given away at least 4 trash bags of clothes, shoes, and jewelry. My thought process is most of my things are decent and if I’m not going to wear them, someone else should.

In my quest for a perfectly curated closet, I have begun the backward hanger trick. Here’s how it works: Once you have worn an item of clothing, return that item to your closet, placing the item’s hanger backwards. This lets you know this item has been worn and cannot be worn again until all other hangers are backwards too (ideally). This will get me wearing the clothes I never wear, or forget to wear, and get me out of the clothes I always wear. It will show me which items I always reach for and what items I never touch. Trashbag #5…maybe.

I have been doing this challenge for almost two weeks now and it’s working for me. I have been wearing clothes I never put on for whatever reason. It takes a little bit more time because I can’t just go for my fave jeans and blouses, but I’m wearing  outfits I never knew I had.


How to Clean Out Your Closet

It’s a lot of time, like an entire intensive weekend, but totally worth it in the end when you look at your neat, organized closet.

So here’s how I de-cluttered my wardrobe:

1. Tossed the following items:

  • Organized Elfa ClosetTorn
  • Stained
  • Irreparable beyond belief
  • Unwearable

2. Sorted the rest into two piles:

  • Sell/Donate
  • Keep

3. I sold/donated the following items:

  • Items that didn’t fit
  • Colours I don’t wear any longer (like black)
  • Duplicates

The questions I asked while going through the rest of the pile:

I allowed myself to keep only 5 sentimental items – baby blanket, hand-painted t-shirts made by my mother, and hand-tailored garments she had tailored for me when I was born.

  • Is it something I’d really wear again? No – Sell/Donate.
  • Does it look good on me and my body type? No – Sell/Donate.
  • Does it fit any longer? No – Sell/Donate.
  • Have I worn this in the last year? No – Sell/Donate.
  • Is there a duplicate that I can get rid of? Yes – Sell/Donate.
  • Are there tags still on it? Yes – Sell/Donate.
  • Am I keeping it just for sentimental reasons?* Yes – Sell/Donate.

Padma Lakshmi's Closet

The sentimental part was difficult so I had another set of questions:

  • Do I really need to keep this?
  • Why am I keeping this?
  • Can I just photograph it?

4. I set the items to donate/sell out of sight and out of mind.

I didn’t donate or try to sell the items until a month or so later, just to make sure I didn’t want to wear it again. If I kept it out of sight, I wouldn’t be tempted to pull it back into my wardrobe.

5. I re-sorted again going through those questions above:

I went through the process again and again until I was satisfied with my super small keep pile’s goal of cutting it down by 50%.

6. I re-sorted my keep pile into:

  • Kept for sentimental reasons
  • Take to tailor (taking in the darts to make it fit better on the bust)
  • Repair at home (sewing button on)
  • Keep as a favourite

The result was that I’d keep only pieces that I’d truly wear on a regular basis, which is the main goal of any minimalist’s closet.