2020 Style Goals: #2 Wear the Best, Sell or Donate the Rest w/ 5 Must-Ask Questions

Pamela Lutrell recommends closet clean out

Now that you have decided what you want your clothing to say about you, let’s dive into the closet with 5 must-ask questions in mind.  Over the holidays is usually a great time to re-organize the closet so that you wear the best and donate or sell the rest.  The top picture features either a fun garment I have decided to keep, or one I am going to send along its way….the answer is below.

Pamela Lutrell on Style Goal #2

I want to emphasize to take TIME.  Do not do this in a hurry.  Take it all out….all of it.  Then try it all on, stand in front of a full -length mirror and ask these questions:

  1. Does it meet the messaging you want to speak with your clothing? Always begin with the messaging first. If you chose five adjectives, does it say those adjectives or something completely different.  If you are an active, diligent, optimistic person, do not keep a garment that says you are sad or lackadaisical.
  2. Does it fit? Is it a flattering fit?  Do not keep a garment you can hide in…step out and enjoy life.  I will be doing more stepping out this year and less hiding…more later.
  3. Have you worn it in the last year? If not…why?  It may just need to enter its own retirement.
  4. Does it fit your current lifestyle? It is ok to have specialty pieces.  I certainly have them.  But, you don’t need that many and you need to know if they meet your style messaging and fit and flatter your body shape.  Are they worth the space to hold on to for just one or two wears a year.
  5. Is it aging? Do you honestly think the garment makes you look or feel older than you are or your youthful, vibrant self?

Now, for the clothing that survived these questions, consider how to hang them in such a way that is most effective for you.  Some women really like hanging jackets together, pants together, skirts together, blouses together, etc.   Pick a system that is the most functional for you.

I came up with my own way a couple of years ago and it really works best for me.  I hang my clothes in families.  I noticed I was always looking for a particular brand of garment, (where are my Soft Surroundings jeans, etc.)  so I now hang my clothing in these groups (the ones I wear the most)

  1. Chicos
  2. Soft Surroundings
  3. JJill
  4. Dillards brands: Eileen Fisher, Ming Wang, etc.
  5. Miscellaneous (thrift finds, other brands, etc.)

The two brands I wear to work most often are in the middle space of my closet.  This is the area that I spend the most time in.   Others are a little higher up, and miscellaneous Is on the low bar. I keep my shoes in shoe boxes with the shoe type clearly marked on the end of the box and they sit on a shelf.

I need to clean out big time.  I have clung to too many garments that have not been worn for a long time.  Though it is difficult to send some of them on their merry way, I must.  The top brands in top shape will go to consignment and the rest to Goodwill San Antonio.   I do store some seasonal garments and will use the new EarthKind Stay Away/Plant based bags to resist moths. (These are in the slideshow below).

Pamela Lutrell for Earth Kind Moth Pouches

The black/sparkly poncho above was originally from Nordstrom and it needs to go to someone else. (If anyone really wants it, the first to tell me they are  sending me a mailing label will get it!).  I have decided that it does not match my style messages and is not the structured garment look that I desire to move more toward this year.  That is why it will either go to one of you, or the consignment shop.

Cleaning out must be done by trying on clothing in front of the mirror and asking the questions above.  Sometimes just randomly tossing is not the answer…you might toss and wish later you still had it.  Also, there is no reason to hang on to clothes that do not say what you want to say about you!  This is Style Goal #2…clean out to have the best wardrobe pieces available that speak to your confidence and personal style.

I am beginning a major purge as you are reading this.  The day after New Year’s is now…keep- the -best -and- toss- or- donate- the- rest-day!   Have you ever cleaned out by trying on every garment to see if it fits with what you want to say about you?  Let’s talk!  2020 Style Goal #3 is tomorrow…don’t miss it!

I have an organizational slideshow below (I really want that scarf hanger)…hope it helps!  Several of you emailed your five adjectives yesterday and it was so much fun to read them and hear from you.  Tomorrow’s Style Goals post #3 will feature a slideshow for Karen, the first one to respond.  Keep them coming, ladies,  Happy 2020!



  1. Let 2020 be my year to stop hiding and trying to be invisible. My friends and family might not see me in this light, but it’s certainly how I feel deep inside. I accept your challenge … now comes the hard part! Happy New Year and thanks for your inspiration!

  2. I always enjoy your posts. I appreciate your insights and guidance which are relevant for all women over 50 – even 77 !! Happy New Year and thank you !!!!

  3. You are so welcome, Deborah. Let’s all make 2020 a huge year of joy and experiencing new paths!

  4. This is on my calendar for this weekend. I do purges seasonally, but am finding that I need one now. I have things I haven’t worn for years, and they will be going to consignment. I’m wearing a sweater today that is so comfortable for my day of watching football, but it’s not something I’d wear “out,” so things like this will be scrutinized! We do need comfy clothes for at-home days, but not as many as I’ve got! This post will be used to guide me along this weekend!

  5. I will be watching football too, Karen! Enjoy your comfy day and I hope the questions help you when deciding what stays and what goes. (Just have to add a Hook’em Horns! My team, The University of Texas at Austin won their bowl game last night…after a very difficult year!)

  6. Happy New Year to you, Pam!

    Excellent post. There are a couple of items in my closet that I purchased in the last year or so (on a whim, perhaps) but don’t wear. I like them … lots. But, just not on me.

    And I’ve finally realized that last part. Not on me.

    So, I’m going to pass them along to someone else. Who, I’m hoping, will find them to be perfect for them and will enjoy them.

    This is difficult, but I know it needs to be done!!

  7. One of my major goals for 2020 is to thoroughly clean out my closet. I have culled & donated many items, but it has been a long time since I have taken everything out & thoroughly cleaned it-vacuumed, wiped the shelves, cleared the cobwebs from the corners, etc. This is the year.

  8. Hi Becky…let me encourage you to do it soon! It’s a great way to start the year and if you wait too long it easily slips on the priority list! You got this!

  9. FYI, the scarf hangar is on sale at Target right now.
    I have had a major weight loss and have recently done this. Closet is bare. Time to shop

  10. Happy New Year, Pam! Love your blog and look forward to reading it this year.. Really appreciate everything you do! I am working on getting rid of items that I no longer love or are unflattering. Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Since I live in an area with very distinct seasons, I do this kind of clean out twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall. When I put everything back in the closet I turn the hangers around. Once I’ve worn an item, I rehang it with the hanger in the right direction. That makes if very easy to see which items haven’t been worn when it comes time for the next clean out.

  12. When you use consignment for selling items, do you leave them for the consignment shop to donate, if they don’t sell. I have had a problem with consignment in that regard. I know personally someone that I would prefer to give the items to if first they don’t sell. I give a lot to this person anyway, but try to sell things of more value. It is difficult to retrieve these items. How does that work for you, or anyone else?

  13. Hi Pat, I am sure every town is different. I only go to one shop in San Antonio and have been for several years. It is owned by a single mom who is an amazing businesswoman and very social conscious. Our agreement is that she donates what doesn’t sell. I only take her a small amount that meets her requirements and everything else is donated. For those in the area, please support The Garment Exchange, in-store and on EBay!

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