Do you ever stare into the depths of your closet with no clue of what to wear? Or maybe you have trouble matching shirts with anything other than that one pair of jeans you put on daily? Answering “yes” to these questions might lead you to think it’s time for a shopping spree to increase your outfit options. However, this is actually a sign that it’s time to purge the wardrobe and get back to the basics. Once you’ve established a solid base of clothing, it’s easy to find a cohesive style which reflects your inner personality and looks great!

After living away from home for a year, I realized that I had an overabundance of clothes. There were plenty of clothing items I had left behind, but even some of the pieces I brought to APU went unworn all year! Now I am focusing on pieces of clothing I actually like and use. In order to do this, I’ve had to go through a process of getting rid of old or rarely worn pieces, narrowing down clothing styles and limiting new purchases.

The first step is the most painful but also the most important: ditch the clothes you never wear and donate them to a nearby thrift store. Start off with pieces that no longer fit or are uncomfortable. Remember, the clothes stuffed at the bottom of a drawer should be the first to go – if you never wear it now, you never will. Putting on an outfit in the morning and then quickly changing into something else means it is time to get rid of it. If you find an article of clothing especially difficult to part with, stick it in a bag and set it in the closet. If you don’t find yourself wanting to wear it, donate it after 30 days. Anything that is worn out, recycle instead of donating.

Some pieces of clothing are just way too cute to really get rid of, so host a clothes swap with your friends! Set aside the pieces you love that either don’t fit properly or don’t match the style you’re going for. Ask some friends to do the same thing and plan a time to meet and try on each other’s clothes. Once each person has tested out a few new looks, keep the pieces that work. This way, everyone can pick up something new for free, and you’ll be comforted knowing that friends are using the clothes you loved (just not enough to wear).

Now that you have cleared out your closet except for your favorite pieces, it is time to prep for future shopping plans. First, purchase new clothes to replace worn out, well-needed pieces. Consider if you want the new pieces to be identical to these or if you will go in a different direction. You might try out a new look, such as switching from all skinny dark-wash denim to a pair of light blue mom jeans. Pick out the basics that speak to you. The key is to purchase items that fit your body type and make you feel confident while wearing them.

In order to limit your future spending and narrow down your style, select colors and patterns to create a cohesive look. Choose your neutrals and stick with them as a base for your wardrobe. Pick the neutrals that look best with your skin tone and hair color. Then, choose a few colors and patterns to focus on. In order to easily mix and match, make sure these do not clash with one another.

If a few pieces in your wardrobe do not fit your recently selected palette, there is no need to immediately throw them out. However, in the future, intentionally purchase items that will go well with the majority of your clothes. In order to have a cohesive wardrobe, various items need to match so pieces are interchangeable. This is most convenient when taking a minimalistic approach, and versatile clothing options are also extremely helpful while traveling.

When rebuilding your wardrobe, only buy necessary items or pieces you truly love. If you don’t love an item while trying it on, don’t purchase it. Only buy what you need unless you try on a piece and can’t stop thinking about it later. For example, if you need new sneakers, decide beforehand what style and color you want. Buy a pair that is made well and fits nicely. Perhaps while you are shopping, you find a dress that fits perfectly and looks adorable. If you will wear it regularly, it is worth it to make the purchase.

Finally, don’t forget to pick out staple accessories. These are accessories that will be worn every (or almost every) day. This typically includes pieces such as watches, earrings, glasses, hats and belts. Some people decide to be very tame or minimalistic with their accessories, while others go with big statement pieces. Choose whichever feels right to you, but stick with one style and stray from it only occasionally. Accessories are extremely fun to play around with and can completely change an outfit. Either way, invest in practical accessories to wear regularly.

Now that you have cut out the clothing you never wear and purchased a few needs and loves, you need to maintain this cohesive closet. The most important thing to remember is to not buy things unnecessarily. Do not buy a piece in a color that matches literally nothing you own. If it looks good but is uncomfortable, it is not worth purchasing. Whatever you buy from now on should be both comfortable and practical while instilling you with confidence.

The process of remaking your wardrobe may take time, so think of it as a work in progress. Have fun with it! Tweak your style and try on outfit combinations you wouldn’t normally wear with the pieces you own. As long as you’re willing to try something new, you will never run out of original looks to rock for the season.