What is it?
Closet GPA (grade point average) is a concept that we use to describe how well our closets are doing in terms of functionality and style. I first heard of it while binging the Young House Love podcast when Sherry, who has a tiny wardrobe and uses a “uniform” model, discussed how she approaches shopping. It is essentially a breakdown of how well your closet is working for you and your lifestyle, represented by a grade that you assign. Your closet GPA is very subjective, meaning it applies to small, all-black collections like Sherry’s as well as large, colorful closets.=
Determining Your Closet GPA
First, assign a grade to each article of clothing based on functionality/wearability/your overall feelings about the item. An A-F and +/- scale is fine, but you will be converting those into numbers so use a scale that works best for you.
Next, average all of the grades-use those old college grade calculating skills to average the grades you have assigned your clothing. Or just use this GPA Calculator.
Obviously you do not have to go through every item of clothing and do all the math if that is overwhelming, but you can get a general sense of where your closet stands by using the formula loosely. For example, if you skim through your closet and notice a lot of things are unworn, don’t fit your lifestyle, or don’t fit your body, you know you have a pretty low closet GPA. We generally use closet GPA as a description of our clothing’s overall performance, we aren’t completely re-calculating with each item we bring in.
How do I raise it?
Step 1. Edit
Once you have a GPA for your current closet, you can use it to edit your current wardrobe and guide your future purchases. The easiest place to start is with items that got an F, just get rid of those at the start. For items that are in the C and D range, take them out of your closet and give yourself a time frame, maybe a month or two if they are in season, and if you do not miss them or reach for them in that time span, let them go! If you struggle with getting rid of things, ask a friend to help you. The first time I went through Kathryn’s closet she got rid of a ton of stuff because someone with no sentimental or financial attachment to these items was there to give a second opinion. You may fall into the trap of keeping something because it fills a gap in your wardrobe, or because you’re going to fit in to it “someday,” but try to be open to the idea of only keeping things you really love because it will make getting dressed easier, you will feel more comfortable, and you will be excited about your outfit every day.
“But Summer,” you may say, “I can’t get rid of things I need for work/my hobby/the gym because I can’t afford to replace them.” The internet has given us a ton of ways to sell those clothes that are not measuring up. For me, I have trouble letting go of black work pants, even if I don’t love them, because they’re a staple in my work wardrobe. I finally decided to list a few things online so they could find a home where they are loved and I could afford to buy a pair that I like wearing. I recommend Poshmark, eBay, or Mercari if you have the patience and time to sell items individually. Kathryn was moving so she used ThreadUp, which will let you mail all of your clothes in and pay you right off the bat, with just one trip to the post office.
This isn’t an ad, we just really love Poshmark.
Step 2. Shop smart
Now that you’ve gotten your closet edited, and maybe some extra money, you may want to fill gaps you created in Step 1. When you’re shopping for new clothing, grade each item you are considering. If you have gotten your closet to a 3.5, you don’t want to bring in an item with a lower grade that would bring down your overall GPA. If the idea of being an A student never appealed to you anyway, consider that if it doesn’t get an A in the store, you probably won’t wear it when you get it home.
Step 3. Maintain
Once you’ve gotten a good closet GPA, and you’re buying with that in mind, make sure your wardrobe is keeping up with changes in your life. If you make a career shift, become a parent, or your style changes re-evaluate and re-grade your closet to make sure that the high GPA it had before still applies to the person you are now.