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Posted  • Rob Lingle

Spring Cleaning - The Closet Makeover


Every day, when we wake up, we are given the opportunity to start over, to let go of the things that hold us back. One way to start that process is with a closet makeover. It’s a great opportunity to simplify your life (and make the mornings less stressful).

Celebrity-stylist Ashley Borders recommends a clean sweep:

“Don’t think of this as a chore,” Ashley tells us. “Get in a good mood, have a glass of wine, put on some good music, spend thirty minutes cleaning it out and have fun for three hours thinking about the future. One of the keys to happiness is letting go of things—in order to make room for good things to come.”


“When I am working with a client, the first thing we do is clear out the space," Ashley says. "You really must take everything out before you put anything back in. You don’t have to be Sarah Jessica Parker to have a Sex in the City closet—once everything is out of it, you can begin to think of it differently.

“You should think of your closet as more than just storage. Make it a place you want to be. 

"If you have a nice, big closet, why not consider a vanity? For a smaller closet, a mirror can create an illusion of space. I have used floating shelves as a way to display shoes and keep them out of the way, and a pretty light fixture can help create an inspiring space to dress.”


“I always have to remind my clients to trust their instincts, because if you think about it for too long, you can start to get sentimental.

“My method is simple. In addition to the clothing that we decide to keep—that goes back in the closet—we create three piles on the floor. A pile to donate. One for consignment, and one to toss. One garment at a time, ‘Give me a simple yes or no answer.’ Either we keep it or it goes in one of the piles. The point is to focus on the things that make you look and feel your best.

“Be brave … toss it and don’t look back … or keep it and wear it.”


“If there’s something you haven’t worn in a while, get rid of it (unless it’s an occasion piece).

“Clothing can evoke powerful memories, of course, but it’s important to make space for the new you. Even if the memory inspires you still, I would almost say donate it and go buy a piece that inspires you in a new way. Give it to someone who will appreciate it and make her own good memories.

“A really nice suit that doesn’t work for you anymore? Donate it (I give to Safe Shelter) and perhaps some other woman will find the confidence she needs to get a new job and better her life.”


“We women often have these grand visions—‘Someday it is going to fit again!’—but women also shop.

“Clinging to old clothing that no longer fits just makes you feel bad about yourself. It can be mortifying when it won’t zip or button. It just makes me feel bad about myself, and, honestly, styles change so much, you probably weren’t going to wear it anyway.

“There are lots of ways to sell your old things—consignment stores, eBay, even on Facebook—and the money can really add up. I say get rid of it and go buy yourself something that fits.”


“Once you pare down your wardrobe, you will have a better sense of what works for you, of personal styles and preferences, and of what you need and don’t need.

“Europeans tend to have smaller closets and almost minimalist wardrobes. Just take one look at French Vogue. As Americans, we feel like we need to fill our closets up. We buy things we know we might never wear. That Walmart mentality: buy, buy, buy. Once you have made some hard choices, however, the fun part is looking for those one or two things that will allow you to mix and match with style.”

“After all, there are plenty of other things to worry about, but the one really cool thing we get to do each day is get dressed.”

Ashley Borders is a stylist, editor, designer, and creative director with over 10 years experience in the fashion industry. She is also Fashion Editor for South Magazine. Based in Savannah, Georgia, Ashley also offers personal styling, personal shopping, wardrobe planning, and a closet audit that will change the way you think about fashion forever. Visit to learn more.

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