We women have a love-hate relationship with our closets. When the closet is neat and tidy, we’re having a love affair and when it’s a big hot mess – well not so much. But something dawned on my recently when after yet another round of sorting, folding and organizing I suddenly realized I hated most of what was in my closet.
Yup hated and that’s when it finally dawned on me the solution to creating and keeping the love affair going was to reduce my wardrobe – throw out what I hated and only keep the items I loved.
So, that’s what I did, and I’m going to share with you today how you too can reduce your wardrobe and finally have a permanent love affair with your closet and always look smashing.
HOW TO REDUCE YOUR WARDROBE
My former self did some pretty severe damage in the shopping department of many stores. The result was a closet full of clothes. Nothing was off limits either. I had dresses, jeans, blouses, blazers, coats, shoes…oh the shoes, pocketbooks. You name it – I purchased it, in droves.
But what typically happened was I would reach for those tried and true outfits I loved the most because they looked the best on me. The rest of the stuff just took up space. I can see you shaking your head in agreement with me.
Look, I’m not proud of my past bad shopping behavior. I’ve spent years course correcting those years of destructive and insatiable over consumption. It’s fabulous and gratifying to be on a different path, one not controlled by the desire to always need more and more. Even so, I still feel like I am digging out of the mess I created over 15 years ago.
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I’m going to share with you my process for reducing my wardrobe and keeping only the things I know look fabulous on me.
First I want to say that I did not pick some arbitrary number like only 40 hangers or let’s see if I can live on six outfits. That wasn’t on my radar at all. To me, it was having a closet of clothing that I liked and liked me back.
So when I dove into the process, it was easier than I thought it would be because the criteria were firmly established. Does it fit and if it does do I look good in it?
If the answer was no, it had to go!
It’s been a couple of months since I took drastic measures in my closet and reduced my wardrobe and I can honestly say I’ve never been more thrilled to open the closet. I don’t miss a thing I got rid of – not one piece of it. Now when I walk into my closet I like everything I see. Getting dressed is straightforward and easy because I have only the best of the best to chose from. It’s easy to keep it neat and organized too!
Here are my best tips to reduce your wardrobe and start loving your closet again:
- PURGE – Here is where the rubber meets the road. Open your closet and purge ruthlessly. Keep only the items you love and look good on you. Pay no mind to cost, how long you’ve owned it, IF you might wear it, etc. Use these two simple criteria to decide what to keep and what to get rid of.
- HANGERS – In order for everything to look good in your closet and allow you to see exactly what you are keeping and therefore going to be wearing, invest in some good quality hangers. I love the skinny hangers with the velvet that prevents items from falling on the floor. But you chose which hangers work best for you and your closet system.
- TOSS, DONATE, SELL, CONSIGN, KEEP – Just because you’re getting rid of clothing doesn’t mean it has to be a total loss. Items may still have value or use in them. Here’s a few guidelines on how to dispose of your clothing as you reduce your wardrobe:
Toss – For me this is simple, if the clothing has rips or stains or is completely worn out I toss it. I’m not going to donate any items in disrepair as I find that disrespectful to those who have less than I do. Unless the item can be used for either crafts or cleaning (think rags) I’m going to throw these things away.
Donate – Typically items with a lower dollar amount, say yoga pants that are still in good shape or a blouse from Old Navy are items that I usually donate.
Sell – These are items that I feel would do well in a yard sale but I wouldn’t consign. I’ve made a lot of money selling clothing at yard sales but you have to display them correctly to get the most money for them. Any items that don’t sell during the yard sale are donated. For more information on how to sell your stuff, check out these detailed posts.
Consign – These are my higher end ticket items like dresses, blazers, pocket books and shoes I’ve never worn.
Keep – Because I’ve worn every size from 8 – 18, I did decide to keep some clothing that currently doesn’t fit but when it did I loved it. Right now I have a goal to lose 30 pounds by September and so I don’t want to have to buy clothes if I don’t have to. So I kept a only the clothes I remember ALWAYS wearing when I was a bit thinner. I thinks this is ok to do as long as you use the same criteria as above.
- DEVELOP A SYSTEM THAT WORKS FOR YOU – Everybody’s closet system is different so you may need to do some rearranging every now and then until you find the solution that best works for you and your closet. When I moved, I lost my big walk in closet and now have to side by side closets with shelves in the middle. I had to make some changes to how I set things up. It’s still a work in progress and I haven’t quite found the seamless system I had in my old house. Give yourself time and be patient and until it works.
- GUARD YOUR CLOSET – Now that you’ve finally reduced your wardrobe and have fallen in love with your closet again you’re going to police what you put in there. Be mindful when you do shop that what you buy is something you love, looks fabulous on you and you know you WILL wear, or your closet will soon be filled with clothes you hate.
- Think quality over quantity when making a purchase. One well-made blazer you’ll wear again and again is better than a bunch of blazers that are poorly constructed and look less than stellar on your body.
- I’ve found that sticking to a particular brand or specialty boutique works best for me. I recently started using Stich Fix and find the quality of the clothing and their understanding of the shape of my body allows me to chose specific pieces that work well in my wardrobe. Overall it ends up saving me time and money.
Finally, make sure you do a re-eval on a regular basis. Usually twice a year in the spring and fall I go through my closet and purge any clothing currently not making the cut.
This way my wardrobe is always fresh and guaranteed to be holding only the clothes I love and look good on me!
How about you? Are you ready to reduce your wardrobe and fall in love with your closet again?