How many clothes are too many? Ten tops? Twenty? Fifty? How many clothes do you own? How many clothes do you wear? How many clothes do you need? Numbers! I want the numbers!
Right now at least some of you are thinking- ‘OK- there’s probably something I can get rid of. But LA- what do I do? Where do I start? Please LA- help me.”
Ok- maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. Maybe I shouldn’t think of myself as “WhittleWoman” the superhero who blogs by day and curates wardrobes by night (FYI- I do have few enough clothes that they would fit in a standard size, old school phone booth) But- this is how I started my less is more closet philosophy.
- Take a week and write down exactly what you wore everyday. Every item of clothing or accessory, and what were you wearing it for: Work, date, coffee, etc
- Really look at your clothing diary: determine the categories that you normally dress in and figure out what percentage of the week you need to wear a certain type of clothing. (If you work a job which requires you to wear clothing of a certain style that you do not wear any other time, you have to account for how much time is spent at job versus other activities. If it’s a third of your waking moments, then guess what a third of your wardrobe should be)
- Which leads us to: percentages. (yes- there is math involved) What percent of your week are you in comfy clothing? Active wear? Formal? Casual? Elegant? Knowing how often you wear certain types of clothing helps us know how much we need.
- Now- go into your wardrobe and pull out the pieces that you LOVE (these are the pieces you automatically reach for when you get dressed) These are going to be the building blocks of your wardrobe.
- Make outfits using these pieces. Outfits that you love and feel confident wearing.
- Put these pieces of clothing in another place. These are the clothes that are not going anywhere for the time being.
- Take out every item of clothing that you own and put it on you bed. Every item.
- Once your clothes are out of your drawers and closets pick up each item of clothing:
- Does it still fit? If the answer is no, unless it has HUGE sentimental value, put it in the donation pile. If you are keeping it for any other reason than wardrobe, put it aside where you keep memory things. Keepsakes do not belong in active wardrobe.
- Does it need repair? Buttons? Seams? If you can and feel it’s worth it to repair, then put it in a “fix” pile. But if it’s not repairable or not worth it to you? It’s ok if you don’t want to fix something- just put it in donations- someone else will gladly wear it
- Do you love it? Seriously, is there something about the item that makes you feel good? Does it serve a specific purpose or need? (you need it for work, for an activity- you don’t necessarily love it, but definitely need it) If it doesn’t, put it in the donation pile.
- What if it’s a maybe? Here’s my thing with maybe items. I understand how you might want to narrow your closet down more before you start tossing everything, so I will allow you a maybe pile. But here’s the catch. You can’t have more than five items of clothing in your maybe pile at a time. When it looks like a sixth item is making it’s way in, you must pick one of those items and either donate or keep. It is imperative that you keep the maybe pile manageable because otherwise you will just have a big maybe pile and not have gotten rid of anything.
- Things with tags still on them. If you bought the item in the past week, or bought it on sale at the end of a season and you haven’t reached appropriate time to wear it, then fine. But if you have things you’ve bought and haven’t worn…..
It is not easy to evaluate every item of clothing that you own. It can be an emotional experience. But getting rid of extra baggage is a good thing. Think of the space, both in your head and in your closet, that you will save. I know there are a lot of people that equate material possessions with happiness. And I want you to think if owning things really makes you happy: is it owning a lot of things, or is it owning certain special things?
This seems like a lot of steps, but really, this whole thing is step one. You have to get rid of what doesn’t belong before you work on what does belong.
Tomorrow- we start to curate.