When I didn’t have financial responsibilities beyond gas and entertainment, a large portion of my money went to buying clothes. There was no rhyme or reason to my purchases, just whatever I thought was cute or trendy at the time. During college, I started working at Anthropologie and couldn’t help adding as many pieces as I could afford to my collection. I didn’t buy out of need, I bought out of enjoyment and desire. Consequently, my current wardrobe is an amalgamation of fashion styles and ten years of clothes collecting.
Three factors have changed during the past year or so that has made my hodge podge of clothing a bit difficult to work with.
- We moved from sunny Southern California to Northern Idaho with its four season climate. Suddenly I was forced to relegate my large arsenal of shorts, tank tops, and sandals to a plastic bin in the garage for half of the year. Weather extremes exposed large gaps in my wardrobe that I hadn’t previously noticed.
- I’ve been about the same size since high school, but my surprise pregnancy certainly changed all of that. Not only did I need to purchase maternity clothes, I am now
combatingtrying to embrace my new post-baby body, which doesn’t really fit into all those pre-pregnancy clothes.
- Only having one closet in our entire house, combined with a softening heart towards simplicity, has made it abundantly clear that I have too much clothing.
Me and my wardrobe have reached an impasse of sorts and it’s high time I did something to repair our complicated relationship. It’s about time to haul out my warm weather trappings to do a clothing switcheroo and I couldn’t think of a better opportunity for some closet Spring cleaning. Does your closet need some TLC? Follow along as I freshen up and trim down my wardrobe.
Before I even touched my clothes, I did some wardrobe soul searching. Ask yourself these questions:
- What do I do on a daily basis and how do I want my clothes to play a part in those activities?
- What’s my wardrobe personality? (Are there certain colors you gravitate towards? Do you have a fashion icon? What clothing styles do you love/hate?) This may require some time in front of your closet. If your own clothing doesn’t give you some answers, create a fashion board on Pinterest. After awhile you will start noticing recurring themes which will help you later in this closet cleaning process.
- In this season of life, what are my (realistic) clothing needs? Beyond the basics, what are some of my clothing wants? Arm yourself with a list, mental or otherwise, to be used later on in the process.
- What do I want my clothes to say about me?
My Style Guide board on Pinterest say a lot about my taste and wardrobe desires. I like simple, feminine silhouettes and a bit of lace is never a bad idea. I gravitate towards neutral colors (plus blue) that I can accessorize with earrings or scarves. Now that most of my day involves caring for a baby, I’m looking for a streamlined wardrobe of classic, quality pieces that allow me to mix, match and look put together with little effort. I know I need to replace worn out basics and weed out some overly trendy purchases from the past.
This here is the messy part. My bedroom looked like a tornado had hit before I was done. Make sure you have a few hours to devote to this project before you begin.
- Haul out every piece of clothing you own, regardless of the season.
- Separate pieces by category – whatever makes sense to you and your collection. Some of my categories were: workout clothes, outerwear, jeans, graphic t-shirts, camisoles, pajamas (of which I have a large collection, come to find out!).
- If, like me, you love to organize things, make your piles color coordinated. This will help you recognize personal trends in your wardrobe. In addition to my pajama collection, I discovered an abundance of black sweaters and event t-shirts.
Cull That Clothing!
Now we have arrived at my least favorite part – the culling process. This involves trying things on and making lots of decisions. I chose to go it alone, but you may find it helpful to recruit a friend to assist you with this part. Try EVERYTHING on. That may seem extreme, but it’s easy to let certain pieces slide under the radar because you think they fit or you want them to fit…
For the first round of culling, evaluate pieces for style, fit, and quality. Does it fall in line with your wardrobe personality? Does it flatter your shape? Is it stained, ripped, or stretched out? When you put on a piece of clothing, it should make you say “yes!”
If it’s an automatic no, put it in a giveaway pile. Make a separate pile for keepers (the ones that make you say yes) and a pile for maybes. I moved all the no’s out of the room so I wouldn’t be visually distracted or confused by multiple piles of clothes. After this first round, everything in your wardrobe should at least fit well. I don’t fit into many of my postpartum pants but decided to give myself some time (and grace) to slim down a bit before I put them in the no pile.
Use a second round of culling to make sure your wardrobe is full of clothes that flatter, as well as fit. This is where an objective pair of eyes may be handy. I focused on piles of similar items, like my stack of black sweaters. One that fits perfectly is better than a few that are only so-so. My post pregnancy body shape is more curvy than when I bought most of my clothes, so this was a super fruitful round of culling for me.
Donate you culled clothing to a thrift store or charity. I dropped off my no pile the same day I culled in order to avoid letting some of those pieces sneak back into my wardrobe. You could also host a clothing swap with friends.
Congratulations! You should now have a lighter, fresher closet.