Closet Inventory: How to Decide What You Really Need

The season is changing which means it is time to start shifting to your cooler weather wardrobe. At the start of every new season I like to clean out my closet as I swap out my wardrobes (warm weather vs. cold weather). Doing it every season gives me a chance o really think about what I did/didn’t wear the past few months. Taking time to discard any pieces that I am no longer wearing and using is so refreshing and a great way to start a new season.

Each time I clean out my closet I like to do a “closet inventory”. By inventory I mean I really take note of what I have in my closet, what migh need replaced (due to stains or wear and tear) and what I may be lacking or need. By taking inventory of my closet, not only am I able to prepare for the season ahead and make sure that I have what I need, but I also get refreshed memory of the items I already have in my closet.


I prefer to clean out my closet and do “inventory” at the same time. For some people, that may be a little over whelming so you can do it at different time, but I do recommend cleaning out your closet before you do inventory (see tips here for cleaning out your closet).

Taking an inventory every season (or at least once or twice a year) helps me keep everything organized and helps me keep a realistic attitude when it comes to what I need or want. So here are some tips for closet inventory:


It is important to know the purpose of doing a closet inventory. Each season I find myself wanting to stalk up on all of the cute seasonal trends but truthfully, I don’t ever really need most of them. Closet inventory is to focus in on what you actually need and curating a closet that is full of timeless versatile pieces that work together. Taking inventory will help you fill in the “holes” in your closet and help you figure out what your wardrobe may be lacking (or may have too much of).


I strongly recommend having an organizational system for your closet. If you don’t already organize your wardrobe you should really consider it. Having a system makes it so much easier to find certain pieces. Everyone has a different preference of how to organize weather it is by type of item or color. I opt for a combination. I keep all of my tops/blouses together, sweaters, jeans, dresses, and so on. Then within each respective category I organize by color. All cream tops, black tops, navy tops, etc. It may not seem like a big deal, but really its a game changer. After you have everything organized diving in will be so much easier.

After you have organized your closet, take a moment to really take note of what you have and then you can begin to go through your closet for inventory.


After you have cleaned out your closet and organized everything, get a notepad to help you make a list as you do “inventory”. The list is where you will right down anything that needs replaced or that you know you will need for the next season.

Think Seasonally: While taking inventory you may realize that you need a items for more than one season. It is fine to take all seasons into consideration when doing inventory, but focus on the pieces that you will need for the closest upcoming season.

Want vs. Need: The hardest part. When going through your wardrobe it can be so difficult to determine if an item is a want or a need. Do I need those red pants or do I just want them to wear with a certain blouse? Really focus on what you already have. It is ok to add a few pieces that you want for fun, but really think about what they will add/contribute to your current wardrobe.

Ask Yourself Questions: Ask yourself questions throughout the process to help you narrow down what should go on your list. When considering an item ask the following: Do I have other items to go with it? Would I wear it? How often would I wear it? This will help you distinguish “wants” from “needs”.

Replacement pieces: After cleaning out your closet, make a list of any basic pieces that you had to get rid of you will probably want to replace (unless you already have a back up). For example, a white tee-shirt, brown belt, nude flats, etc. Anything that you wear regularly that isn’t a statement item. Use your best judgement here… If you have 5 white tee shirts you probably don’t need to replace one…

Closet staples: Staples are versatile pieces that you would wear often (at least a few times a month). What are the staple pieces that you always find yourself wishing you had? Do you often wish you had a blazer? Or a pair of black pumps? Staples pieces will be different for everyone (see my top 5 here). So just because a blazer is a staple for me doesn’t mean that it will be one for you too. Maybe yours is a cardigan or a pair of everyday sneakers. Add these items to the list.

Taking inventory of your closet will not only help you stay organized but hopefully make getting ready in the mornings a bit easier. Your closet will be easier to sort through and you will know exactly what your options are. Taking inventory is also a great way to help you limit your shopping or at least shop with purpose.

Check in soon for tips on shopping with purpose!


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