So, the kids are back in school and, if you’re anything like me, you’re excited to finally have the time to get your home in order. I’m pretty good about keeping up with things here day to day, but my master closet was just becoming an anxiety inducing space. I had collected way too many items, yet kept shopping so all in all it just became way. too. much. I would get anxious just entering the space – the space I was, at one point, so happy to have has my own. I knew I needed to grab the bull by the horns, so to speak, and just get it done.
Before I tackled the beast, I did some research. I asked my Instagram followers for any tips. (Thank you, by the way!) I read online about closet organization and purging and capsule wardrobes and so on and so forth. I just didn’t want to do a light purge like I’ve done in the past, I actually wanted to make a difference in my wardrobe and in the space of my closet.
The thought of a capsule wardrobe to me was refreshing but not realistic. I knew I needed to get rid of a significant portion of my wardrobe (my goal was 40%) but going down to the bare minimum of clothing and rotating twenty or so pieces à la capsule was just not for me. I just need a bit more variety. (Even if that variety is all stripes). And I’m ok with that!
So, if you’re anything like me and caught in the middle of too many clothes and wanting less but not way extreme, I hope you find this helpful. Here are some tips I learned along the way of my master closet purge.
- Make a top ten list. When I was brainstorming and researching this project I actually sat down with a notepad and wrote out my top ten favorite items to wear. Items that are a given – I put them on and am happy with the result no matter what. This had to include everything from workout gear to pj’s to going out. I found that my list generally matched what I was reaching for over and over and over again in my closet. For example, almost every single morning I wake up and put on a Gap breathe tank top whether it’s for the bus, to run, or errands. When I finally dove in to work on my closet I kept those (I own five) and the other work out tank tops (that I hadn’t touched in years) I got rid of. Makes sense.
- Set the mood. This may sound super silly, but I do think it helped me. For someone that loves to organize, I really dreaded this project solely because, well, it didn’t feel good to me to get rid of things I had spent money on. (Some of which I barely….ok never, wore). It felt wasteful, and it was admitting to myself things needed to change. So I made it all a bit more fun. I lit one of my favorite candles (no. 30!) and played some music. If you want a chuckle, work on your closet with Andrea Bocelli’s ‘Time to Say Goodbye.’ I actually was laughing out loud.
- Remove everything from your closet. EVERYTHING! This was, hands down, the best piece of advice I received. Maybe it was a mental thing, but since everything was out it helped the decision making process about what to put back in.
- It’s going to get worse before it get’s better. If you are someone like me who panics with mess and clutter just take a deep breath and remind yourself of this: it’s going to be a gigantic mess. And then it’s going to be great!
- Let yourself own pieces that women should just be able to own. Even if it doesn’t make sense with your lifestyle. Do I ever wear a black pencil skirt? No, not at all. But owning one is ok. Owning five, is not.
- Get over the guilt. It’s ok to give away something even if you spent a lot of money on it. Even if you never wore it. Even if it was a gift from so and so. And, even if you absolutely still love it and want it but you are just plain sick of wearing it. I had a few dresses I still was madly in love with, but, I had just worn too much. So they took up space in my closet because I still loved them, but, never wore them. They have to go. And it’s ok.
- Be ruthless. I got to the end of my purging, everything was hung back in the closet all organized and beautiful and I immediately thought ‘huh, I still have a lot of clothes.’ Even though I got rid of 117 items (!!!) my closet still felt full. So, I went back in. I was ruthless. Anything I had hesitated over putting back in, I got rid of. One dress actually went back and forth to the closet and donate pile a few times. If that is happening, it’s a sign to donate!
- Sleep on it. Even after you are ruthless if you still feel things are too much but can’t cut any more down, sleep on it. I tagged about eight pieces to rethink about in the morning. I ended up keeping two.
- Learn from your top ten. Now that I’ve realized I live in Gap breathe tank tops (almost daily) that is all I need to buy. Even if J Crew comes out with a suuuuuuper cute striped one, at the end of the day I’m reaching for my top ten’s. In the future, I will replace those when they get worn, not buy a bunch of random ones. Figure out areas in your wardrobe where you can do this. For me, it was work out gear, pajamas (I love Old Navy tanks and pants!) and jeans. (As far as jeans are concerned I used to be such a jean snob! I thought the higher the pricer the better the fit, quality, look – etc. Yet honestly so many more affordable options are just as good, if not better . Old Navy rockstar jeans make me feel like a million bucks and their new 24/7 line literally makes me feel like I’m wearing pajamas. Kut from the Kloth is a great line too. I even don’t want to take them off immediately when I get home! What a concept.)
- Find a plan for your clothes you aren’t keeping that makes you happy. Whether that is donating, selling, whatever it may be. For me, I’m lucky enough to have younger sisters a similar size, so, my still loved pieces head their way. I recently saw a photo of my middle sister, Allie, in Montana in a dress I had given her a few years back that was mine. It made me so happy to see her look so darling in it!
Up next? I’m going to dive into my top ten items, going over why I love them as staples and how they can be mixed and matched. Stay tuned….