A New Concept for Closet Clean-outs

Last weekend I was doing a Color Certainty consultation and closet clean-out with a new client  — an artist, a fan of vintage designer garments and a sewing enthusiast with exquisite skills.  She had a personal story behind every item in her closets and drawers … each one was like a dear friend, and letting even one of them go was obviously stressful, a bit frightening, even painful.

It quickly became obvious that the normal culling process just wasn’t going to work for her.  And since the so many of her pieces were too bright and cool for her slightly warm and very subtle coloring, she wasn’t going to be able to purge it fully without first acquiring some replacement items anyway.

So we devised a multi-step process: 

  1. Remove as many of the too-bright items as she could spare, but only as far as the basement, where she could have unlimited visitation rights.  The assurance that none of her decisions that day would become permanent immediately reduced the anxiety level by about 90%.
  2. Give herself permission to reclaim any basement piece she discovered she couldn’t live without … at any time.
  3. Make a pact with herself that each time she added 2 new items in her optimal colors and styles, one of the the remaining not-quite-right choices would move to the basement rack.
  4. Expand her accessory collection so she can create more finished outfits from a smaller number of pieces.

I’ve already heard via email that she found several tops in ideal colors at a favorite consignment store.  Sounds like she’s on her way to the wardrobe she always wanted.

Could this adapted method of culling closet contents work in your life?   Have you developed mind games of your own for the clean-out process?

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. Laura DeLong on September 14, 2018 at 11:12 am


  2. Betty Sphar on September 14, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Great story, Nancy. Having been thru a closet cleaning with you, I think my closet is pretty good. But … things change. As I get grayer and as my size changes, some things look less good. If I wear something (or put it on and take it off) that I decide really doesn’t look great, I put it in a spare closet. I can reclaim it if I really miss it, but then I remember why I moved it out of my bedroom. Eventually those things will leave the house. Not quite yet, but eventually. And meantime, my closet presents me with choices that I really love.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on September 14, 2018 at 2:38 pm

      I’m pretty sure there is at least one Chinese proverb about the value of small steps, right?

  3. Jeanna on September 14, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    I love that! I could totally move things to the basement without feeling like I was making a huge decision, then after a few months I could tell my husband to take them out of the house, but not let me see him do it…

    • Nancy Nix Rice on September 14, 2018 at 2:31 pm

      A co-conspirator — just what we all need!

  4. LC on September 14, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    You are awesome, Nancy!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on September 15, 2018 at 11:04 am

      Why thank you! You can email me directly with that message about once a week if you like 😉

  5. Constance Spaulding on October 20, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    I mad an agreement with myself a few years ago that I’d get rid of an item from my closet for each of the new things I buy. So, new jeans? get rid of a pair of old ones…
    it helps.

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