The Spring Edit

My closet received a significant spring cleaning last week. I spent most of the day trying on every blouse, knit top, and pair of pants for the warmer months. (I edited the winter garments last fall.) Here is the last post I did about organizing the wardrobe.

Loud colors, most of the items in polyester fabric, ill-fitting garments, some handbags, and a few shoes had to go. If the tops pulled across the bust or the legs of the pants were too tight, the garments were boxed up for donation. If the day bags were never large enough to hold what I need and the shoes hurt my feet, out they went.

Styles change, and I do too. After careful review, many tops, pants, and jackets are on their way to new homes. The remaining blouses, shirts, and tanks fit my current needs. These items provide the styling options to wear them dressed up or down in an endless array of combinations.

I wear a tank top or camisole under a jacket or cardigan nearly every day in spring and fall. Tanks serve as a warm first layer in winter. Owning several in white keeps me from having to do laundry every other day.

The cashmere and merino wool sweaters, cardigans, and Clara Sunwoo tops are on another rail. (I hang lightweight sweaters inside out so that the shoulder bumps are on the inside.) I’ve already washed and put away the turtlenecks and bulky cardigans. I store them folded in a drawer with small cedar planks (to deter moths) during warm weather.

Scarves and cashmere wraps are folded and hung on felted hangers so that I can easily see them. Swimsuits are at the end of the rail. I often use a fifty-one-inch scarf as a sarong over a swimsuit. Scarves are infinitely useful, and they do not date, so I rarely edit those.

Handbags are stuffed with their dust bags filled with tissue paper. The hat boxes on the top shelves hold hats.

Since last summer, I have added a few dresses and ruanas to my collection. I am wearing one of my favorite ruanas in the post here. When I wear jeans and a tank, I always add a lightweight cardigan or a ruana. The coverage gives me a confidence boost since I’ve never enjoyed showing a lot of skin. On the hottest days, dresses are my best option. I search for cotton, linen, or rayon blends.

I donated a few jackets that weren’t right for me now that I mostly wear flats or low block heels. A long jacket with wider leg pants and flat shoes can make me look very short and wide.

I kept garments that fit properly, in mostly natural fabrics and neutral colors that flatter me. Many of the items work with each other for maximum mixing and matching. If something I am considering purchasing doesn’t fit within the priorities above, I’ll pass. The remaining wardrobe reflects the woman I am now and serves all of my current lifestyle needs.

The jacket in the photos below is an example of a style I can wear with most of the jeans and slacks in my closet. (It is doubtful I will ever wear this in a double-denim look, but if I did, it would only be with dark wash jeans.) The more tailored lines are very flattering for my shape, and it suits my taste. This jacket is one of my favorite purchases in a long while.

Similar if not, the same items as above are shared in the following links. JacketCashmere SweaterWhite JeansScarfBagLoafersSunglasses

Links for similar items in the image below follow. JacketWhite TeePantsSunglassesBagBoots.

Some styles no longer felt right for me this year, so I edited the items that don’t fit my current shape, style, or who I am now. I do not keep things that I constantly put on and then remove to wear something else. Each time I look at them, I am reminded that I have not worn the items or used them in a long time. That constant reminder is depressing. The customers at the local charity shop will benefit from the barely used items I donated.

If you edit nearly new items, you may want to resell them on Poshmark, Thredup, or eBay. Goodwill Donation Centers will accept textiles for recycling. I bag anything that is damaged or stained and mark it for recycling only.

I hope that sharing my wardrobe organization and shopping tips helps you determine what serves your needs best.

Shopping links may allow me to earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I do not accept gifts or collaborate with brands, but I do share the source when I find great items.

  1. Thanks so much for this post. I find it very helpful and informative. You are so knowledgeable and your closet looks so organized and tidy. Have a super day

  2. Great advice about editing! It’s so hard sometimes to let go of the past which is what this amounts to. I also look in my closet and get this anxious feeling when confronted with things I haven’t used in ages. Well I am planning to do this kind of edit soon and am inspired by the thought that its more powerful to envision my closet for the woman I am now rather than a past that won’t ever come back! This post will be re-read several times to get me in the right frame of mind; thank you so much!

  3. Hello Susan – I like the Talbots Jean Jacket you have on – my question is do you feel it hits you higher waisted since it has a seam around the middle? It also says it’s only 23″ long, but it looks longer on you. How do you feel about the fit? True to size?

    Thank you so much for your help.

    1. I bought a size larger because I want to wear it over sweaters. I like the fit very much. Jackets with a standup collar and a shorter length work much better for me now that I rarely wear heels.

      1. Hello Susan! Thank you for styling the new Talbots denim jacket. I like the first pic best, with white pants. I will give that a try! It is a very flattering look on you. More onto the question above. When you went up to size large, to accommodate possible sweaters underneath, did you switch to a size Petite Large? I ask because sometimes when I go up a size the sleeves might then be too long. Also, the hot-link is for the Petite option. I ask, because I am going to order online. Thanks for your input! By the way, I envy the sparseness of your closet!

  4. Excellent and encouraging post! It is the time of year to reassess the wardrobe and start editing. I always feel like some clothing items that need to go bye-bye are thumbing their nose at me because I vacillate pulling them out of the closet. Time to be ruthless!

  5. Susan, I love the statement “the woman I am now”. This makes all the difference when cleaning/editing your closet. Who I am now after retiring, living through the pandemic, creeping into my sixties to name a few changes. I am keeping a positive outlook and looking forward to the future and I want to dress that way. Comfortable and casual but classic. Thanks for all your help❤️

  6. I think the most useful line in this post for me is “styles change and so do I”. I find it hard to let go of something without guilt if I spent money one but no longer fits who I am now. This is my going to be my new mantra and what a healthy way to look at editing the closet.

  7. Your post came at the most opportune time. I’ve been looking at my closet, knowing I need to sort and eliminate items I don’t wear or don’t fit right. You’ve given me the encouragement to now forge ahead. Thank you Susan!

  8. Hanging light weight sweaters inside out! Great idea, I would have never thought of that. Thank you for your timely posts.

    1. For what it’s worth: I hang some sweaters, mostly long ones, for ease of viewing them. And of course I hang all jackets and shirts. However, what I do is take old laundry plastic bags and wrap them loosely at the ends of the hangar. All my hangers are either big wooden ones from IKEA or padded ones from my local thrift shops. That is, I create a soft puffy lump of plastic bag and air where the shoulder rests. It makes a huge difference and really avoids shoulder bumps altogether.

  9. Are you keeping your portofino blouses even though they are polyester? I find I cannot wear anything polyester because it makes me feel clammy winter or summer.

    Love your blog—I’ve learned much especially through all your photos.

  10. Great post! I am overdue for a long try on session to see what fits and does not and what does not serve my style any longer. I have had some great success selling items on Poshmark. I read that 85 percent of donated clothing ends up in landfills, but that an item re-sold reduces trash and impact on environment by 79 percent. That was startling. So I started selling high heels when I had to give them up two years ago – only flats and lower block heels for me now. And I have been selling handbags I no longer use that were in great shape. As I move closer to retirement, I am selling items used infrequently and items that no longer feel like me as I move closer to retirement and want things that are more versatile and comfort is key. This week, I sold the last skirt suit I had along with a nice tank. I have sold more than 100 items that were in good condition. I have gotten really positive and kind feedback from a wide variety of women who love the items so I feel this approach does a lot of good.

  11. Great tips for editing a spring closet. I love the idea of letting go of the woman I used to be or the life I used to have. Dressing for who I am now and the life I am living now is so freeing. Your closet is perfectly organized and a great inspiration.

  12. I love love love this post. I have been doing the same thing with my cooler weather clothes since the days have really warmed up in FL. I have two big bags ready for donating but this post has given me encouragement to keep editing since I have many more items that fall into the different categories that you mentioned. I always hesitate when something is new or barely worn but no more. I am determined. Thanks again.

  13. Enviable closet! Do you follow the adages – one in/one out, and if you haven’t worn it in a year, it’s time to go? (Covid year excluded of course!)

  14. My local library has a fundraiser each fall to sell
    high quality donated handbags and jewelry. They
    make thousands of dollars for library programs!

  15. The Jean jacket and cognac-colored pants are a great combination. The pants are especially nice. I have a similar jacket, I’ll have to pull it out and wear it. And I’m due for a closet clean out. Thanks for sharing outfits and thought processes, they help me tremendously.

  16. I love that your organized closet highlights the colors you love….royal blues, reds, black, white. You could probably walk in with a blindfold on, pick any three items and they would coordinate!
    I feel like in a non-Covid world, I live 3 lives….everyday running errands (casual but hopefully put-together), Gramma (very casual, crawling on floor wardrobe), and work/church/events (dressier including weddings, funerals, parties). And, then there’s the season tickets to our favorite college football team- I have a whole set of shirts, sweaters and jackets just for those weekends!
    I’m trying to use your principles to make my wardrobes coordinate. Thank you!

  17. Love the tissue paper in handbags! Genius! And sweaters inside out. Fantastic! Thank you! I’m always learning from you.

  18. Is that a white tee or is it a white tank with the jean jacket and cognac pants? And do you mind sharing the brand and size? Thank you.

    This is a wonderful column and you are looking so confident and beautiful.

  19. I love the pictures of your super neat and clean closet. Gives me the inspiration to do the same with my wardrobe. Not there yet, but in the prosses and I have you to thank for encouraging me and others. I love the idea about not having to purchase new clothes all the time but to integrate what I have and by adjusting clothes/jewelry/shoes/scarves, etc. I can have a “new” looking outfit without costing a lot and not having to pack as much when traveling. Thank you for your continued advice and great ideas.
    Clara from Iowa

      1. I learned a really cool hack years ago from Clinton Kelly of What Not to Wear – it is a way to store your sweaters on hangers so no dents or stretching out. I do this for all my thinner sweaters so they are hanging in the closet with blouses, tees, and tanks. Here’s a link to the video:

        I fold and store bulkier and out-of-season sweaters in an IKEA storage cubby with pull-out “drawers” and do the cedar plank similar to Susan’s tip.

  20. Awesome post! Thanks for the heads up about the sale. I find that shorter jackets work better for me now too. The jean jacket looks great on you. I am large breasted, do you think the upper pockets on the jacket could be a problem for me?

    1. Lorrie, others might disagree, but I feel that breast pockets always draw attention and add bulk to that area.

      1. I always make sure any pockets have a straight line and no flaps. I recently saw a jacket that featured curved flaps on the pockets at the bust. Details make a difference.

    2. My apologies for not answering your question. I am careful with the details on the pockets but won’t discount the item just because it has pockets. If it has flaps, buttons, or braid, I will likely pass.

  21. Susan, I just donated an extra large box of clothes to Goodwill yesterday! Wear do you purchase your basic tank tops and camis?

  22. Hi Susan, I actually look better in dresses than I do in pants. (pear shaped body) I love the small print dresses in your closet. Would you please share label names and places of purchase. Thank you.

  23. I always love your closet organizing blog posts! So inspirational. I’ve been cleaning my closet over the last week, but you give me new incentive (and permission) to do more. Thanks!

  24. This is a very helpful post. You make a lot of great points. What you said about donations is spot on “I bag anything that is damaged or stained and mark it for recycling only.” I’ve heard that often times donation centres incur unnecessary expenses when people donate unusable items and they must discard those items. Thank you for your hard work and thoughtful posts. Your blog is a pleasure to read. I appreciate not having to dodge advertisements to get to the content. Kudos to you!

  25. Very timely article, thank you. How many pairs of pants do you suggest for a person who wears pants/jeans 99% of the time? Also, how many jackets are needed. I find I have far too many clothes but don’t know where to start culling the ones that fit and I like. Thank you.

    1. I would create a smaller wardrobe of things you think you need, and store the rest somewhere else. You can always add items if you guessed wrong.

  26. Hi Susan, I must admit that I too have closet envy. So much room! I have a question though. I don’t see any pants in your closet. Do you keep them in another closet? How do you store them? Hang or fold?

    Thanks for all you do!

  27. Can you tell us where and what style you purchase your white tank tops? I need some new ones to wear under my jackets, and I am finding it hard to find good fitting ones for us gals over 60.

  28. Great ideas and organizational tips as always! You are so inspiring! My life is more organized than I ever thought possible because of you. Thank you.

  29. This post is fabulous! Thanks for sharing your well organized closet. Gives me motivation to do mine this weekend! I have far too many things in my closet that don’t get worn or are ill fitting or I just don’t like so this is a well timed post! Thanks again.

  30. So thankful to you for showing this jacket! I was just about to order the Levi’s Women’s Original trucker jacket and find this to be much more suited to my style!

  31. Susan…. Thank you for the inspiration. I have the same feeling this year…..I just needed a gentle nudge to get myself motivate! I am an organized person at heart but I hold on to things….No more…I’m on a mission. Love the look of your closet! Isn’t it refreshing to see it everything in its place and all ready to wear!

    I LOVE your blog!

  32. Perfect timing and a great inspirational post! I’ve been staring at my closet and knowing I need to get motivated to organize it. The pictures of your closet did it. Your tips are just what I needed to get started. Thank you, Susan.

  33. Thanks for the tips to edit our clothing. It sounds better the way you described purging! We do change, our style changes. I appreciate your time and input, it is so helpful.

  34. Susan, the order in your closet is inspiring! But how do you keep everything from getting dusty?

  35. What a useful post about editing the wardrobe. What color are the bag and shoes in the picture where you are wearing white jeans – are they warm rose? Thanks sfor the info.

    Sharon Burkhardt
    Kettering, Ohio

  36. I want you to know how much I appreciate your posts and information. And I love that there’s none of the flashing ads that so many bloggers have had to resort to for Revenue.

  37. You have encouraged me to donate several of my clothes.
    I absolutely love the organizational tips and mainly the pictures. What an informative blog.
    Thank you for sharing your ideas!

  38. I heard about this girl once who everyone thought was the best dressed girl in school. They thought she must have lots of clothes. A girl was in her room one day and saw her closet. She had 12 items of clothing.
    I’ve thought about her often and try to remember that I don’t need many clothes. They just need to work together. I love how organized your clothes are. Knowing who you are and what activities you need clothes for and not a fantasy lifestyle but be realistic with what you need, goes a long way to keeping the number of purchases down.

  39. What a great looking closet! Last year I did a deep purge and already feel like I need to do it again. You are so right when you say you want to wear clothes to reflect the woman you are now and that our tastes change. It was hard to let go of some of my favorite shoes, but you are right if they pinch or hurt, they must go and now that I am retired, flats are mostly what I wear anyway. Thanks for sharing and with a new season on the rise, I am sure I’ll be doing some further purging.

  40. Oh I really liked this article. I looked at my closet and said well maybe later. But i’m starting now. I have so many scarves I’m going to really wear them now. But In Michigan we have 2 more months of cold and snow. Boo hoo

  41. Was so delighted to see this post! I had been wondering how you stored your handbags and it was like you had read my mind

    I enjoy going through my wardrobe each season and found your rationale for slimming down your wardrobe affirming.

    As time passes (2 years since leaving the workplace professional environment) I am searching to find my look. I am 64, and have always loved fashion, however my lifestyle is a bit more casual than yours but I find your posts inspiring and take ideas and adapt to fit me.

    Thank you for sharing your ideas and lifestyle.

  42. Thanks for sharing your closet with us. I have been editing lately with spring coming but I have been more cautious than usual. This last year was not a normal year for any of us. I didn’t wear so many items of clothing because I wasn’t in restaurants or church. So I am waiting another year and see if I wear the clothes when life returns to what I call normal. I have also told my adult daughters and friends the same thing about what to give away and what to keep. If the clothes don’t fit, they probably won’t fit next year either so those items can go. Some days I just dressed up to go no where. It helped to boost my spirits.

    Have a great weekend and hi to Mr. Mickey.

  43. Thank you for a closet view, very helpful.
    Can you post on how to mix & match outfits & packing for a week in Florida?
    Thank you, Jen

  44. Susan, you have always been such an inspiration to me and you continue to do so! As I am settling into my role as a retiree, I can really relate to your thoughts on “reflecting the woman I am now”. Thank you for continuing your positive outlook. I always look forward to reading about your adventures!

  45. Susan,
    I enjoy your articles very much and especially like seeing how to use the things I already have in my closet, updated by something current. I look forward to more posts on your blog. Thank you

  46. Hi Susan,
    I’ve always enjoyed reading about your adventures and your life!
    One problem I’m having with my wardrobe right now is figuring out which things I didn’t wear last year because I was home due to COVID as opposed to things that just don’t fit my lifestyle. I don’t doubt that I’ll be doing much more virtually even as things open up again. This results in a lot of dress/work/professional clothes that I likely won’t need again. Do you have any suggestions about how to approach this revamping of my wardrobe? I feel kind of bad about giving away many very nice professional clothes…

    1. Think of ways to wear some of those dressy clothes casually. A nice blazer with jeans and loafers is a great casual look. A dressy tweed skirt worn with a jean jacket can be another way to wear the professional wardrobe casually. Sometimes it just takes looking at things in a different way to see more options.

  47. Oh my! My closet is a 4th of yours. But I too have purged items old and no longer useful. I love your posts. You are so organized. Now I just have to find myself a “Mr Mickey”

  48. Susan,

    What a great idea for hanging lightweight sweaters! Why I never thought of it before, I don’t know. Your other editing suggestions resonate all too well, so the next cloudy day closets will beckon.

    Keep well.
    Leslie R.

  49. Wonderful information! Thank you. I have 2 clothing racks set-up in my basement right now to help me transition seasons. It’s overwhelming. I have way too many clothes, so this post really helps. With your help, I’m concentrating on getting the basics that I have organized and editing out the colors and items that I don’t particularly like, but have kept, either because they are fairly new or they were expensive…oh the guilt! Clothes should be fun and it should be fun to get dressed and look your best each day. It is depressing, as you say, to be so overwhelmed that it becomes a chore.
    Thanks again and happy weekend!

  50. I learned so much from this post and am fired up to do some serious closet purging this weekend! I was especially inspired by your expressing that certain items do or don’t work for your current lifestyle needs, that styles change and you do too. What a great lesson on being true to who we are today and embracing that. It is stagnating to try and cling to our younger days and usually does us no favors. I like to look at each new decade of my life as a lifestyle icon of its own.
    You are an inspiring example of style and taste evolution truth! Thank you lovely lady!

  51. Thank you for today’s blog. I too keep my closet the way you do, but your blog today made me think why am I still keeping pieces I haven’t worn. The criteria you setup makes perfect sense…as your comment “styles change and so do I”. Your blog has motivated me to really clean out my closet.

  52. Your closet is so neat, it has inspired me to get busy and clean mine and organize!! I love your timeless, classy style!!

  53. I am impressed with your closet edit & need to do the same with mine. I have tons of clothes but they just don’t seem to be in any order. It looks that you hang like colors together. Also, I’m wondering the size of your closet because it looks like you fit it all in nicely. I have a fairly large closet but things still don’t fit in. Any suggestions. Thank you

    1. The closet is a walk-in style off the master. It measures about 8′ x 12′. I could fit all of my clothes in it, but I have three bedrooms plus a bonus room over the garage so pants, some shoes, and summer bags are upstairs. Click here to see the last post on storage.

  54. I love your classic styles. My friends want me to buy skorts but I am not sure 2 inches above the knee is a flattering look. Do you have an opinion on skorts?

  55. Hi……can’t wait to get home from Arizona and start my closet organizing. You’ve given me so many ideas.
    I have purchased so many of the things you have worn in your blogs and love them all. I can’t wait for the 30% off at Talbots, I’m getting that Jean jacket
    Enjoy your weekend……..KZ

  56. Susan, you knocked it out of the park again! Since following you I have cleaned out unworn and unflattering looks out of my closet. I have replaced them with colors that work for me and my body. Yet I still get overwhelmed when trying to put together an outfit to go out in during the day. Switching to summer clothes was even more overwhelming. Your comment about most days wearing a tank under a jacket or cardigan sent of lightbulbs. Trying out those combos opened up my entire closet and hundreds of possibilities. Thank you, once again.

  57. Love the tips for getting the closet cleaned out as I am reluctant at times to cull. But it IS a valuable process. Thank you!

  58. I very much enjoyed your I do for most of your posts. AFter reading, I was thinking of the last time I did a closet clean out–it had been maybe a couple of years ago! So, being inspired, I tried on all of my fall/winter clothes that were hanging up, and was surprised how many did not fit my older body or my current views on fashion! I ended up donating a large pile of clothes to the Salvation Army, as it is time for someone else to enjoy those pieces. Thank you for posting this!

  59. Susan, did the green pants purchased on vacation go? I recall you struggled to work them into daily looks. I love green, but have been challenged with a similar pair of pants!

    1. I gave those dusty green ones to my sister, and she loves them. I bought a pair of dark olive ankle jeans. They work so much better with my coloring and other garments. I believe we can wear any color as long it is the right hue for our coloring.

  60. One of the best tips I’ve learned from you was a while back when you shared to hang sweaters inside out to avoid shoulder bumps! What a help that has been this winter! Thank you again!

  61. Since you don’t wear stilettos anymore, which by the way, you always looked very feminine in, do you have any advice to give to mature women regarding the negativity of those types of shoes? For instance, I developed painful bunions from years of wearing heels to the office every day for 30+ years.
    I wish someone would tell younger generations the
    down side, instead of pushing the “Sexy Look” as lots of movies and magazines do.

    1. I still find a two or three-inch heel more comfortable than flat shoes, but I avoid anything higher. I have friends who have terrible bunions, yet they never wore heels. My physician tells me they are hereditary for some folks. Look for shoes that are comfortable but sleek. Shoes with pointed toes or almond toes are always more dressy than rounded toes. A low vamp makes the legs look longer. (The vamp is the part that covers the top of the foot.) A two-inch block heel shoe can be more comfortable and flattering than a totally flat unstructured shoe.

  62. Your posts are so welcome, especially during this time. It is so refreshing to read about how you enjoy life and make the most of each experience. I also appreciate your honesty and respect with regard to enjoying life in our 60’s and beyond. Thank you so much!

  63. I Love your tip about hanging your sweaters inside out so the bumps are on the inside! Very clever. I am off to do the same. Thank you Susan.


  64. I love revisiting your organization posts! You continue to inspire and inform my style, shopping, and closet clearing.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.