How to Declutter Your Closet, According to Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba - LEAD
Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

What’s the point of hanging onto something if you haven’t worn it since that one Christmas party three, four, maybe even five years ago? If it’s tucked far into the deep, dark depths of your closet, then it’s time to say buh-bye.

That’s at least the fashion philosophy Jessica Alba unwaveringly abides by. “Three-fourths of my closet are my staples. I know my body shape. I know what my classic items are. I have my perfect blouses, my perfect flats, my perfect jeans,” Alba tells InStyle of what we’d find behind her wardrobe doors. “But, a quarter of my closet will be those more trend-oriented and season-oriented items.”

It’s those pieces, of-the-moment favorites we’re all obsessed with, that you have to part ways with once the time is right. “I like to keep my closet pretty lean. It’s still big and it’s probably excessive and it’s exploding, like, any other girl’s closet,” she tells us, explaining that while you’d likely find every designer from A-Z in there, she keeps a tight edit on what stays.

Her must-keep items? “My favorites are classics, like my Chanel, my little Chanel bag. I’ll always want my little tiny Chanel purses, in any color,” she says. “Knee-high boots, as long as they’re not too high and crazy. Everyone should be able to pull them out—I can wear them with a dress, I can wear them with jeans. That’ll always be OK.”

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As for how she determines how to donate other coveted goods, it comes down to whether or not they’re timeless. “Anything that’s too statement, that’s usually fun for a season or two, but I will probably grow out of it," she says. "Timeless stuff, I’m gonna keep until I wear it to death."

When it’s time to purge in a major way, Alba takes one particular approach. “All of the stuff that you haven’t worn in the last year—put it on, take a picture of yourself, and if you don’t like how it looks, and you haven’t worn it in the last year, you should probably get rid of it,” she suggests, explaining that it’s best not to hang on to items you’ll only wear “when I lose 5 pounds” or “when I go to Coachella.” “You have to love it right now and it has to be right for you today.”

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Selecting what to say yay or nay also has nothing to do with price. “You shouldn’t be so attached to material things ‘cause ultimately, the only thing that really matters is your memory, right?” she adds. “I have some memory items that I will never part with—and they’re not expensive.”

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