I’m pretty excited about this week’s series, Organize My Wardrobe. One of the reasons I’m excited is because I plan to play along with the rest of you and do a little work with my own wardrobe. If there’s one thing we need to always stay on top of in our lives, it’s our clothes collection. As clothes constantly come and go in our lives, we need to be sure we have a system in place to organize our wardrobe every step of the way. Each day this week I will explore a different topic:
- Monday: Clothes Clutter Control Part 1 [Reducing clothes clutter]
- Tuesday: Clothes Clutter Control Part 2 [Creative ways to sell/donate unneeded clothes]
- Wednesday: Clothes Arranging 101 [Organizing clothes storage spaces]
- Thursday: Savvy Shopping [Saving money while buying new clothes]
- Friday: Long-Term Clothes Management [Developing good wardrobe habits for the future]
What is clothes clutter?
So today I’d like to start off the series by tackling clothes clutter. Just what do I mean by clothes clutter, you ask? In general I mean clothes that you don’t need or don’t wear that are just taking up your precious space and causing stressful clutter. I’m not going to get on a pedestal and tell you all to be minimalists and have one pair of clothing. I happen to love clothes myself! What I would like to do is take you through a step-by-step process of fine-tuning your clothes collection to get it down to a manageable and appropriate size. It’s time to take a deep breath. You can do it! And remember I’ll be doing it too.
Step 1: Sort your clothes
The first thing you need to do is go through your clothes and begin sorting. This first step is fairly easy actually, so enjoy it! Simply go through all your clothes items, one by one, and start sorting them into the following categories:
A. I wear this regularly.
B. Hmm, I haven’t worn this in a while…
C. Uh, I’ve actually never worn this.
D. Wow, I had no idea I owned this!
E. Gosh, I wonder if this still fits me?
F. Ugh, did I actually go out in public wearing this?
Step 2: Make piles, lots of piles
Make piles, rearrange sections in your closet, whatever works. Just get everything sorted and BE HONEST. Also while sorting, be sure to keep in mind things like seasonality (i.e. you don’t wear winter clothes in summer and vice versa) and other conditions like pregnancies (i.e. certain clothes don’t fit when you are pregnant, but you will resume wearing them again afterwards). Now let’s tackle the individual piles:
- PILE A [I wear this regularly.]: Yay! Put these clothes right back into your closet. You love them. You wear them all the time. These clothes have the qualities you should be looking for when you more closely examine the rest of your clothes in piles B through F.
- PILE B [Hmm, I haven’t worn this in a while…]: A good rule to go by is to ask yourself this question: Have I worn this in the last year? (again, consider seasons). If you haven’t worn it in ONE year, then you will likely never wear it again. Find a box. Use this box for all the clothes you decide to get rid of. We’ll call it the CCC box (for clothes clutter control).
- PILE C [Uh, I’ve actually never worn this.]: This is a phenomenon I’ve encountered with my husband before. Now I don’t want to pick on him here, I just want to illustrate a point. When we were packing up his apartment to move into our new house, I discovered clothes in his drawers I had never seen him wear before. He told me they were clothes he had purchased for amazing prices at thrift stores with his brothers years ago. Buying clothes at thrift stores is a wonderful practice, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a problem with the system if you never actually end up wearing them! Put them in the CCC box.
- PILE D [Wow, I had no idea I owned this!]: This pile could be a fun one, but it could also be a sign that you have too many clothes. On one hand, you might discover a clothes item you didn’t remember you had because somehow it had gotten shoved way back into the bottom drawer of your dresser. That’s fine. Resurrect it and wear it. Put it in PILE A. On the other hand, you might discover a clothes item you didn’t remember because you have several closets full of clothes and couldn’t possibly keep track of them all. This is an indication that you might have too many clothes.
- PILE E [Gosh, I wonder if this still fits me?]: This pile gives us a chance to play dress-up! But be warned, you might be disappointed. A few days ago I tried on a dress I wore on the first date I had with my husband. Guess what? It didn’t fit. In fact I could barely get it on. Oops! I’d better cut back on the ice cream a little. In any case, clothes that don’t fit really should just go into the CCC box. I know I’ve said it before and you might be thinking it now, “but what if I lose weight and it fits me again someday?” Great! Lose weight (I hope to do this!). But be honest with yourself–by the time that happens, will you still want to wear that dress? See PILE F.
- PILE F [Ugh, did I actually go out in public wearing this?]. This is the pile of clothes that cause you to scratch your head and ask yourself how in the world you ever went out in public wearing something so wacky! Fitting with the pile letter, these are perhaps the clothes you’d give an ‘F’ grade to. Let’s face it, clothes go in and out of style so quickly it’s ridiculous. But again, you need to be honest with yourself. Will you ever wear those parachute pants again? What about that sweater that looks like something straight out of the Cosby Show? If a shirt just makes you shudder looking at it, put in the CCC box.
Wait a minute, you didn’t mention shoes!
Nope I didn’t mention shoes. In fact I didn’t really get much into specifics at all. The above list of ‘piles’ is meant to be a general guide. You can use the guide for shoes, as well as jackets, undergarments, hats, and anything else you can wear. As far as specifically managing individual clothes items goes (like your prized shoe collection, for example), I’ll reserve those topics for another day.
What about kid’s clothes?
Excellent question. While today’s guide won’t work exactly with kid’s clothes as well as with our clothes, it still fits in most areas. What you need to consider is the further element of clothes-sharing and hand-me-downs, something we’ll actually discuss in more detail tomorrow.
Speaking of tomorrow, here’s what’s coming up in the Organize My Wardrobe series: I’ll outline some creative ways you can get rid of the clothes you put in your CCC box, from making a little money, to helping someone in need.
How does clothes clutter control work out for you and your lifestyle? Do you have any stories to share?