Skeletons in your closet

Skeletons in your closet

I’ve spent an embarrassing sum of time watching What Not to Wear. My dream was once to take over for Stacy London whenever she was ready to retire from the show. I guess her agents never got the memo.

Photo: Discovery

I used to cringe at the way
she and Clinton Kelly would ambush unsuspecting victims’ closets. They would quite literally make every single item disappear from the racks. I’ve always wondered what they would allow me to keep and what they would force me to toss if they ever scavenged through my closet. I grew to love that moment in the show where the fashionista duo would get rid of every piece of clothing that didn’t represent the person well. It allowed for a clean canvas in reinventing the wardrobe.

There comes a time each year, whether it be a birthday or a change of season, that everyone should look into that tiny room that outwardly defines them: the closet. I took advantage of this opportunity during my birthday this past August and I was surprised at the amount of things I held onto over the years that didn’t accurately depict my current style and probably never will again. Stacy and Clinton would’ve been ashamed.

In true Leo fashion, I’m not a fan of clutter so when I could barely fit a newly purchased blouse in my closet, I knew it was time to let go of the clothes from way back when even if they represented a special moment.

It’s important to remember that memories don’t belong in your wardrobe. They belong in photo albums.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand the family heirloom that has been passed from generation to generation whether it’s your grandma’s vintage sweater or your great aunt’s beautiful floral skirt. I’m not saying to throw away history. What I am saying is to get rid of that shirt you held onto because it brings you back to that time you kissed ‘what’s his name’ in high school. Those jeans you’re coveting because they were the pair you were wearing when you went on that rebellious adventure with your best friend that your parent’s may have finally heard about years down the road. But let’s be real, those jeans will never fit you again and you’d probably never be caught dead wearing that shirt today. Yet, they remain in your wardrobe stealing space from the clothing that currently suits you. Write about the unforgettable life experiences in a journal. Don’t keep them in the back of your closet where you’ll never look to be reminded about those funny, sentimental moments in life.

Photo: One Kings Lane
Photo: One Kings Lane

We should feel joy when we look into our closets rather than feeling weighed down by the excessive amount of bulk. When it comes time to cleaning out your skeletons, ask yourself if what you’re seeing sparks joy in your life. If it doesn’t, there’s no need to have it in your closet. Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, makes a good point about those things we can’t seem to let go of even if they don’t spark joy. She says, “Stop a moment and ask yourself, “Am I having trouble getting rid of this because of an attachment to the past or because of a fear of the future?” Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.”




If you’re constantly complaining about having nothing to wear but your closet holds more clothes than the amount of shoes owned by Carrie Bradshaw it’s probably filled with clothes that don’t suit your current style. Reevaluate what you love and remove anything that doesn’t fall under that category.

Motivation: You get to go shopping to fill the space with items you need and love.


If you’re wasting too much valuable time digging for things you can’t find, it’s time to organize and remove excess items. There is absolutely no need for 20 different striped shirts (guilty). Not only will this give you more space in your closet, but your clothes will be less wrinkled if they have more breathing room. Also, invest in thin hangers. They work wonders in minimizing wasted space.

Motivation: You can spend more time doing the things that are important rather than wasting hours getting ready for that event you don’t even care to go to. Downfall: You’ll have to come up with a new excuse for being late but let’s not lie to ourselves. We’re probably all pro’s at that by now.

Photo: PopSugar
Photo: PopSugar

Start noticing the items that never work every time you pull them out to be worn. If that tank top never quite fits the way you want it to why do you keep putting it back in your closet? The closet fairy isn’t going to come and transform it into the piece you want over night. Kick it to the curb.

Motivation: You’ll never have to be frustrated by that same piece of clothing again and you can give it to someone who will love it. Peace of mind and charity all in one.

*The Salvation Army uses funds from donated clothing sales to help adults with addiction to find hope, help and a second chance at life.

*If you’re in need of quick cash, bring your clothes into Buffalo Exchange where they buy selected items from you. The company annually donates proceeds to local charitable contributions.

*To make cleaning out your closet a little more fun, ask a few friends to take on the challenge with you. When you’re done, have a swap party. After all, one girl’s trash is another’s treasure.

Photo: Clueless
Photo: Clueless

Not everyone in this world can have Stacy and Clinton hold their hand through the process of uncluttering and reinventing. If you need more strategies or help in this area, consider reading Kondo’s book. You’ll not only master your closet organization skills but you’ll learn how to be surrounded by only the things in life that spark joy. Take the plunge and tidy your closet once and for all. It doesn’t have to consume your time but it will be worth every minute you put into it. And when done right, you won’t need to continue the daunting task very often. As Kondo says, “Tidying is not the purpose of life. Pour your time and passion into what brings you the most joy, your mission in life.”


Love & Lyons,


Gabrielle Lewis

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When Gabrielle isn’t writing or traveling the world, she’s gallivanting around her hometown of New Orleans as her friends’ “yes woman.” She enjoys daily afternoon naps with her cat and trying out a new brunch place every Sunday after church. Cheese and waffles (but not together), and golden sunsets are a few of her favorite things.

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