With all the increased time at home, many women are directing energy toward their  closets. Having your stuff organized is a good thing.  But having a closet full of the RIGHT STUFF is the real win.  So how do you make the very best decisions about what stays and what goes?  The acronym FETCH defines the entire process.  Here are some guidelines …

#1 – Filter out things that aren’t wearable.  Things that are limp, frayed, stained and otherwise damaged need to go.  Things in need of minor repairs stay in the mix for now — we’ll decide later whether they are worth the effort.

#2 – Eliminate excess duplication.  How many pairs of black pants do you have?  It’s not unusual for me to find a dozen or more in a client’s closet,  and to hear reasons why 9 or 10 of them aren’t so great.  Narrow down to the 2 or 3 best quality, best fitting ones and ditch the rest.  Same for white shirts – keep only the best.  And white T-shirts – same story.

NOTE: Black pants and white shirts  and T’s – while universally touted by fashion mags as “Must Have” items – are actually flattering on only about 15% of women.  Ultimately you may decide they simply aren’t for you.  But that’s a conversation for another day.

You can also eliminate things that are hopelessly out of date, dowdy, itchy, shrunken or just plain too small.  You are probably not going to take that 20 pounds, and if you do you can reward yourself with a shopping trip.

#3 – Take all the remaining items out – stuff in drawers too – and construct a “YOU-tique”.  It’s the ultimate shop-at-home experience and everything is FREE!   I like to tackle this step with the garments on a portable rack for best visibility. But layouts on the bed and floor can work too.

Here’s where the judgment calls get tougher. I’ll provide some guidelines is a separate post.  Let’s keep our focus on the PROCESS for the moment.

#4 – Categorize.  As you choose items to “buy” from your YOU-tique,  return them to the closet in category groups.  You decide what makes a category – is it all pants together or jeans separate from dress pants?  Your call.  All tops together, or segregated by fabric?  Or by sleeve length?  It’s up to you.  Just establish a system and stick with it.

While you’re at it, you can Color-ize within each category.  I do neutrals first – dark to light – then rainbow-order colors,  Red family, Orange if you wear it, Yellow (another maybe), Greens, Blues, Purples.

#5 – Hang everything.  You won’t see and can’t readily access – and therefore won’t likely wear – things that are folded and stuffed in drawers or on shelves.  You’ll find tips on best ways to hang various garments HERE

Then Have fun mixing and matching new outfits, while noting any gaps you need to fill during the end-of season sales, which should be doozies this year.  More on that later …

Chances are that when the quarantine period is over, you’ll be donating the items you’ve decided to discard.  But first, read this information about Doing Donations Right.

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About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.


  1. Marge on April 21, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    Your articles are so helpful! I’m in my early 60’s, retired, a sewist, and have a quick question: How does one know when an article of clothing is becoming out of date? I tend to hang on to pieces that I love. However, I wonder when is it time to let it go, especially if the quality, color, and fit still work? Thank you!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on April 21, 2020 at 3:47 pm

      Generally if the deign is understated and classic it shouldn’t go out of style. But what a fun idea for an online class – everybody wears something about which they have that question and we learn from each other’s examples. I’ll put that on my to-do list.

  2. Randi on April 21, 2020 at 8:44 pm

    Wow – I love the concept of a “YOU-tique”! This feels like an enormously helpful frame of mind to have when re-organizing my closet. Already I can think of a few items I would have otherwise hung on to that I wouldn’t “buy” now for my YOU-tique. Thank you.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on April 22, 2020 at 12:25 pm

      I do find that clients have an emotional reaction to letting go of things, so looking at is as re-buying the items puts them in a much better head-space to make good decisions. Glad that resonates for you.

  3. Suzanne Godwin on April 21, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    Love this article. I have been cleaning out my closet. This is a good time to clear out the old and keep what truly makes me happy . Our neighborhood is having a clothing pick up in lieu of a neighborhood garage sale. Clothing will go to charity and also will be sent to Kenya.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on April 22, 2020 at 12:27 pm

      Way to go Suzanne. Sounds like you live in a neighborhood of smart, compassionate people. Don’t overlook the fact, though, that sometime things – especially basic pieces – that don’t generate joy on their own can be wonderfully valuable when you use them in mi/match combos. So double-check that aspect before you actually dispose of things.

  4. Marlene Milligan on April 22, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    Nancy, I just wanted to share that I started going through my closet today focusing on #1 and 2 above and what a liberating task. I got rid of old worn items and those that do not fit. I filled a bag with items that may need some alteration. I retired a little over a year ago and I have been struggling with what I should be wearing every day. I went through all my like color pants as you suggested and rediscovered some more casual pants that I have now designated for everyday. I also decided to get rid of those items I have been wearing even though I don’t like them. Its has been a fun and enlightening project so far.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on April 22, 2020 at 8:23 pm

      Great work – thanks for sharing your progress!

  5. PAM NEWMAN on April 26, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Hi Nancy. I’ve begun the process of cleaning out my closet. I had a dual purpose. I started by moving my heavier winter clothes into another closet. I moved clothes that I need to try on to see if they still fit to a rack on my bedroom door to try on later. I was able to purge a few items. Then I took clothes from my out-of-season closet, and was also able to purge a few items. That’s as far as I got for now. What do you do when you have many of the same color in an item, and they are all still in great shape and I love all of them? For instance, I have a lot of off-white sweaters. Thanks, Pam

    • Nancy Nix Rice on April 26, 2020 at 8:49 pm

      Sounds like you’re making good progress – bravo! About the off-whit sweaters, it’s fine to keep them if you love and ar them. Especially if they are various weights or styles or levels of dressiness. If some of them are duplicates, you might rotte a few out of action – say to a different closet – and swap them out from time to time so they feel new.

  6. Pam Newman on April 28, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks Nancy – great advice! Another question – is there some kind of tool to aid in zipping up the back of a dress? I have a couple of dresses I don’t wear because they are so hard to zip up and down,

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