This week, I’m delighted to have Lani Inlander of Real Life Style back as a guest on the Mindful Return blog.  She’s been our go-to working mama fashion guru in the past (see To Buy or Not to Buy? What’s a Working Mama to Do About Clothes?).  And today, she’s here to help us with that summer closet purge.  Check out her top 5 tips for clearing closet clutter.  Then join us for this summer’s session of Mindful Return’s Wear Your Power Course!  Here’s Lani:


What did I do with my Memorial Day weekend? In addition to multiple pool outings with the kids and quality time with family and friends, I completely reorganized my closet while switching it over for the season.

Usually my closet is a well-oiled machine which only requires pulling out the past season and putting in the new, moving things around as necessary. This time, I knew my closet needed a major overhaul.

Now that my kids are 5 and 7, I am back to wearing more “real” clothes.  (I.e. dry clean only investment pieces.) I was frustrated with my closet all winter, feeling as if I couldn’t see my clothes well enough to remember to wear all of them. What a great problem to have: too many good clothes that are not getting worn enough! Toward the end of the season I pulled out the pieces that had not been worn and gave myself a chance to wear or donate them.

Even your favorite fashion stylist needs a tune up every once in a while!

Most major life changes bring with them a major wardrobe change.  Not to mention each new decade requires a wardrobe re-calibration. Have a few kids and suddenly there are clothes in your closet (or in endless bins and boxes!) in so many sizes and styles, even a personal stylist would want to throw her hands up and start over.

Of course most of us can’t just buy a new wardrobe and really do want to wear some of our old favorites again.  So we keep all of these sizes and styles around, waiting to see if they will again be of use.

In the meantime, how do you get dressed every day? What should be in your closet? Do you even know what your style is anymore?  Here are my top 5 tips for clearing closet clutter.  And some other ideas of ways I can help.

5 Tips for Clearing Closet Clutter 

  1. One season only. Have only one season at a time in your main working closet. You don’t need to be looking at winter sweaters in summer or shorts in winter.
  2. Use seasonal switching to re-evaluate. Switching your closet for the season forces you to pay attention to which fabrics are appropriate for which time of year, narrows your focus to only the clothes you should be wearing, and forces a review of your clothing as you move it in and out twice a year.
  3. Recycle any clothes that have stains or holes or are otherwise worn. Don’t just keep wearing something because you always have. Really give each piece of clothing a good look to make sure it doesn’t need any repair or to be replaced. Use the last month or so before you switch your closet out to wear anything you have not yet worn that season. If you can’t seem to bring yourself to wear it in that time, donate it to someone who will.
  4. Look for the gaps in your wardrobe. Was there something you wanted to wear but didn’t because you didn’t have the right piece to go with it? Grab it at the end of the season while sales are happening, or put it on your calendar to shop for at the beginning of the next season.
  5. Plan for 5 work days. Want to make sure you wear your favorite pieces before the season is over? Put together enough outfits in the front of your closet for the next 5 work days. Can’t do it without a struggle? Maybe you need to sign up for our Wear Your Power course to figure out what you are missing!

Stop living with the frustration! Make fashion fun again. Find the joy in getting dressed. Yes, you. You can do it.

Don’t worry, I am here to help! If you are not already a private client of Real Life Style and are not quite ready to make that leap, we have an affordable summer course for you. On June 24th I will begin the third session of our four-week long Mindful Return Wear Your Power E-Course, which will give you the experience of working with a personal stylist at a fraction of the cost.

I chose to partner with Mindful Return, a resource for working parents to navigate pregnancy, parental leave, and the return-to-work journey, because I believe in the power, efficacy, and importance of the work they do.

During the four-week course, you’ll get two new lessons and prompts each week (plenty of time to do your homework between lessons!). And you’ll receive feedback directly from me, a personal stylist with over 20 years of experience, and from the other mamas in the course. No shame, no blame.

Everyone will be there for the same thing: to get her style straight and her fashion groove back!

During the 4 weeks of lessons, you’ll learn how to:

  • Take stock of your fashion journey
  • Edit your wardrobe
  • Define your style type
  • Find your Power Color
  • Shop for the 5 must-have pieces for your work wardrobe
  • Put it all together with outfit guidelines and styling tips
  • Sign up now! The course begins June 24, and the first 10 people to sign up get a free 30 minute consultation with me! Use promo code MR25 for a $25 discount off the $199 price of the 4 week course.

You deserve the same thrill I now get every time I pass my super organized closet, filled only with clothing I love and can’t wait to wear.

Wear Your Power, 4-Week E-Course


Back to Work After BabyIf you need more help getting your head in a better place to return to work after maternity leave, join us for the next session of Mindful Return.

Want more practical tips on working parenthood?  Check out my book, Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave


Our Gift To You

At Mindful Return, we know that calm, thoughtful planning, and time for reflection, are keys to success in working parent life. Our FREE guide, 99 Questions to Ask Yourself Before, During, and After Maternity Leave, is our gift to you and your new bundle of joy.

Thanks! Check your e-mail for more information.