How the 50-50 Closet Purge Revolutionized My Style

I’m one of them—a former New Yorker who saw the light (literally) and took part in the mass exodus to Los Angeles last year. No, no, it’s not just the perfect weather that convinced me to move 3000 miles away (although it certainly helped) but rather the complete creative renaissance in the art and design worlds. Oh, and my dream job here at Who What Wear, of course.

Overall, the move proved to be pretty seamless, in terms of packing up my life—that is, aside from the closet portion. Like most, my NYC apartment was small. Like, really small. It had a closet the size of an airplane overhead bin.So to make it work and store all the clothes and accessories I gathered from years of working in fashion, I stuffed items into every small space I could. I’m talking about two wardrobe racks that took up most of the space in my bedroom, storing sweaters in the kitchen Carrie Bradshaw–style, and so on.

While I knew my new L.A. home was larger, it wasn’t Beverly Hills manse size, so I knew I couldn’t take every fashion piece with me. Plus, in no way do Angelinos need 200 heavy knits and winter coats. I tasked myself with figuring out how to purge yet still feel confident about my wardrobe offering. Rather than practicing the Marie Kondo method, I devised my own system: the 50-50 method.

What I did is go through each individual item in my closet and fully analyze each piece with a specific set of criteria. Have I worn it in the last year? If not, it went. Could I wear it a multitude of different ways? If not, it went. Note that if something couldn’t necessarily be worn over and over again but made me genuinely feel happy looking at it (i.e. my silver-striped Thom Browne shirt), it stayed. After spending days going through my wardrobe piece by piece, I quickly realized that I really only ever needed 50% of what I was hoarding in my tiny apartment—the items that I really truly wore and loved.

All of that other stuff—promotional tees, dated trends, items I haven't worn in seasons—were just extra and weighing me down. Purging half (FYI, I donated the unwanted pieces) not only made the physical move easier but actually made me fall in love with my wardrobe all over again. Yes, even those items like my classic black turtleneck and jeans that may seem basic. I realized that while standard, I adored them because they made my wardrobe, well, a wardrobe, and ultimately embodied my personal style.

Are you feeling the urge to clean out your closet? Keep scrolling to check out more on the 50-50 purging method. Plus, go a bit further if you want to help round out your wardrobe once you clean out with those classic, never-going-out-of-style pieces.

What's your trick for cleaning out and organizing your closet? Let us know in the comments below!

Opening Image: Apartment Therapy