It’s Closet Cleanout Time

Overview & Purpose

The point of this exercise is to create a closet that is functional, organized, and a bit fun!

The goal of a closet is to set you up for success, help you save time by being organized, and promote your personal style. We become what we wear, so what image do you want to project to others around you? Confidence, success, happiness, health?

First, we need to begin with a blank slate – this seems extreme but it does work! Pull everything out of the closet. You can do this section-by-section, or all at once. I prefer to do it one section at a time.

Whatever you’re keeping goes back in, but in an organized way. Everything that doesn’t go back in should be stacked in piles for donations, resale, or alterations.

To begin, please follow these guidelines with each section:

  • If you do not want an item anymore then it goes to donation.
  • If it still has a tag or hasn’t been worn, then it can go to a resale shop.
  • If it needs altering then set in that pile (except shirts).
  • If it doesn’t fit because of weight loss or weight gain then set it aside to discuss with your haberdasher.
  • If you haven’t worn it in 18 months to 2 years then donate it!
  • If items have permanent stains, tears, fraying, or moth holes, either donate them or discuss with your haberdasher.
  • Once you are done with a section, place it in a pile. Keep each pile organized by color!



Follow the above guidelines for each of these categories:

  1. Jeans (they are usually everyone’s favorite)
  2. 5-pocket cotton or stretch cotton pants
  3. Trousers (think cotton khakis, flat front cotton pants, corduroy, etc.)
  4. Slacks


Here are the rules for deciding what stays and what goes:

  • Look at the “age” of the slack, trouser, or jean.
  • Does it still go with the sport coats and shirts in your closet?
  • Does it have the right fit for your present style?
  • Remember that it’s okay to let something go to the donation pile.



Sport Shirts

Sport shirts are a staple in any wardrobe, and some are classic, like a denim shirt. For each shirt in this category:

  • Make sure they still fit, not too snug or loose
  • Look for stains, fraying, holes
  • Examine the collar, cuffs, armpit, fronts
  • Does the style still work with what you want for today?


Dress Shirts

Same steps as above, paying particular attention to the fit of the neck and body. Dress shirts can not be cut down if you have lost weight. The neck, and shoulders never look good after the alteration.

Short Sleeve Polos (collared)

This is the one item that every man has a lot of in his closet, especially in Dallas! These versatile shirts can be worn with slacks, jeans, and sport jackets, and can even be worn for work at times. Organize them by color and follow the same steps as with the other shirts, with these additional notes:

  • Collars should be clean
  • Polo shirts should have no logos or country club names anywhere
  • Golf shirts should be kept in a different place, with your activewear


Short Sleeve Tees

Use the following categories as guidelines when selecting which tees to keep:

  • Solid color tees in cotton, silk, linen, or blend
  • Solid color tees that look a bit dressier and can go with a sport jacket
  • A balance of V-neck and crew neck


Tees can be hung (folded over so as not to stretch the fabric out) or placed in a drawer. Graphic tees should go in a drawer.

Long Sleeve Tees

Same guidelines as short sleeve tees; can be used for layering as well.


Follow all the same steps, with these extra guidelines:

  • Keep three or four of your most frequently worn or favorite sweaters out on a shelf where they can be accessed easily.
  • The others should be in a drawer.
  • When sweaters are out of season, place them in storage bags or containers to prevent moths and bugs.
  • Clean them before storage if they have been worn!


Suits, Sport Coats, Jackets

General Questions:

  • Do they still fit?
  • Is the style current and in line with the image you want to convey?
  • Are they fresh? Do they have an “old” smell?
  • Do they still have the same “fabric feel” as they did when you first bought them?


Coats and Jackets

  • Which ones can be worn with denim?
  • Which ones can be worn with 5-pocket trousers (this is an important current trend)
  • Which ones can be dressed down with a tee, polo, or sport shirt?



  • Which ones can be worn with an “open collar” look?
  • Do you have a go-to suit for a wedding?
  • Do you have a go-to suit for a funeral?
  • Do you have at least two suits you could wear to an important business meeting?  (If the answer to this is no, get in touch with your haberdasher!)


Closet Organization

Closet organization is all about what’s appropriate for your lifestyle. Do you live in a suit five days a week, or jeans? What do you need to wear every day to earn your living? The answers to these questions will determine how your closet should be organized.

Whatever attire you wear for your vocation should be front and center to promote success and positive reinforcement on a daily basis.

If you are a lawyer, for example, then your suits and sport coats need to go in the main section of your closet. On the other hand, if you are the CEO of an advertising agency then your denim, jackets, sport shirts and tees should be in the main section.

Golfing is a sport and a hobby, and unless you’re Tiger, it probably does not provide you with the income to be successful, so your golf wear should not be in the main section.

Place each section back into your closet by your vocational needs, and keep complementary categories near each other. For example, sport coats should be near dress shirts and slacks.

Each section should be organized by color. For instance, your dress shirts might be in order of white, ecru, yellows, oranges, greens, purples, blues, reds, grays, browns, and black. Once you get everything in order, you’ll be able to see what your wardrobe is missing in terms of color, pattern, and design. Don’t be surprised if your shirt colors lean heavily toward blues – most men have 60% to 75% blue dress shirts!

When you get to the point in the process where you’re ready to move forward with donations or resale, call your haberdasher for assistance! Since we’re all home for a few days thanks to the weather, this is the perfect time to give your closet some fresh energy and let go of items that no longer serve you.

When you open your closet in the morning, you should feel empowered and motivated by what you see, and excited to choose an outfit that will set you up for a successful day. If you do not like what you see, send me a picture so I can help you bring some fun and enthusiasm back into your closet!

Kory Helfman
Ken’s Man’s Shop
Dallas Haberdasher