Are You Getting Buried By Your Clothes?
I hear it all the time,”My closet is so over-crowded I can’t find anything, but I don’t want to get rid of anything.” I completely understand. We have so many memories in our closet. But, it’s time to begin the process of letting go.
Because what was once a fun and creative collection process can become oppressive, frustrating and just sad. We stare at the tightly squeezed jumble of clothing that appears unorganized and confusing, and we know that something is not right. We know that we could not possibly wear everything in our closet, but we keep everything anyway. Well…now is the time to clear out most of the clothes, because I promise you, it will make your life easier, happier, and more confident. I promise.
Here are 4 things you can do to be F.R.E.E. of closet clutter:
F – FIGHT THE URGE TO BUY MORE
There is always going to be something to buy. At every turn you are bombarded with an overpowering message of consumption. And the desire to “hunt and gather” is in your DNA! You need to actually FIGHT — stand up again advertising, stand up against a culture of buying more, keeping up, staying current, more, more, more. Here are 3 ways to do this.
First, eliminate the temptation simply by avoiding stores both brick-and-mortar (easy to do during a pandemic!) and online (more difficult to do) stores that encourage binge or impulse shopping by having lots of “fast fashion” at low prices and sales that tempt you to buy, buy, buy.
How many times have you said, “I couldn’t resist buying all these clothes because they were ALL on sale?”
Second, make a commitment to buy only what is essential, and make a shopping list and stick to it. Your shopping list describes exactly what you need, such as button-down cotton tunic blouse in white. I advise my clients to keep their shopping list on their phone, and whenever they’re in a store, they can refer to the list. No guesswork. Use a 24-hr policy if you are in a store or see something online. It means no longer buying on impulse, but instead, give yourself time to consider whether or not you really need it.
Third, shop your closet first. When you see a cute outfit on Facebook or Pinterest, before you click on the store link, go into your closet and see if you can put together a similar outfit! More often than not, you have almost the exact outfit. Use advertisements as inspiration to create the outfit out of what you already own.
R – REDUCE YOUR CLUTTER BY PURGING
Once you’ve fully committed to fighting the flow and keeping the influx of new stuff out, it’s time to ruthlessly purge everything.
I don’t recommend a frenzied throw-everything-out purge, but rather, a smart purge using what you know about your best colors, body shape & proportions, style preferences, and lifestyle needs. Keep what you love and will wear. This is what my latest Zoom class, “Uncluttered Closet: The Joy Of Capsule Wardrobes.”
Hang on to clothes that are currently useful. Simple, right? Well…we have a way of talking ourselves into the possibility that maybe we’ll wear it some day so keep it. My advice is to give yourself permission to let go of anything you aren’t actually using, and it (or sell it!) to someone who might actually get some use out of it!
Here’s the rub — you also have to give up the GUILT. What’s done is done. You spent the money. Hanging onto something simply because you spent a lot of money on it isn’t serving you. If the piece has value you’ll be able to recoup about 40% of what you paid by consigning and selling it. That’s better than nothing!
My final piece of advice when purging your closet is to give yourself permission to donate or sell your inherited pieces from loved ones. Keep one or two pieces of jewelry or hats from your mother. But, let the rest go. It’s okay. She’ll understand.
E – ESTABLISH YOUR OWN SHOPPING RULES
No one but you knows how many clothes you need (I can help you determine your clothing needs through my concierge closet services). Some of us prefer more mix-and-match choices and the ability to self-express through different looks every day. Others prefer a minimal, everyday, style uniform with enough pieces to create put-together outfits without stress or guesswork — using accessories to change up the looks.
Let’s face it, most of us already have enough clothes. Even with a thorough purge, we’ll still have more than enough clothes to wear.
Make your own rules about how many pieces hang in your closet. For example, if you enjoy variety and choice, use the number of hangers that fit neatly in your closet without crowding — say 60 hangers. That’s the number of pieces you can have at one time. (This doesn’t include your dresser drawers which could be stuffed with tee shirts and sweaters! You get the point.) Instead of buying more hangers to accommodate a buying spree, make a shopping rule that you have to eliminate the same number of existing clothes to accommodate the new.
If you’re a minimalist, you likely don’t even enjoy shopping, so create a shopping rule that requires you to purchase at least three new pieces every season so you keep your wardrobe fresh and updated. (I can help you decide what new things to buy each season!)
If you’re a maximalist, not exceeding the number of hangers rule may keep you from buying too much.
E – EVALUATE QUALITY VERSUS QUANTITY
In an era of “fast fashion” it is so easy to be attracted to lower priced clothing. Most of us have been persuaded to buy an inexpensive, trendy piece at one time or another because even though we knew it wouldn’t last more than one season, it was okay because it would be out of style in a year. The world has been binging on cheap clothing for years! The adverse effects are finally catching up with us. Our landfills are choked with discarded fabric, and our closets are bulging and confusing.
One way to reduce clutter is to STOP buying cheap quantity over quality. Choose, instead, to own a small number of high quality items that coordinate and fit beautifully. Instead of being swayed to make a purchase because it’s a good deal, look at the long-term value. For example, classic pieces never go out of style. They are generally made from higher quality fabrics and include tailoring that makes them fit better.
That said, there are always exceptions! I remember a project I did in fashion design school where we had to evaluate the differences between a high end designer piece and a similar fast fashion piece. I chose two jean brands, Justin Timberlake’s William Rast jeans, $220, vs. Old Navy’s $39 jeans. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the fabric, stitching, and overall design of the Old Navy jean stood up very well against the designer jean. So, you can find good quality that will stand the test of time at a low price. But, it takes a keen eye!
Many of the high quality clothing manufacturers such as Eileen Fisher, are adopting more sustainable practices, using recycled fabric and disposing of dyes and harmful chemicals more responsibly. This is a good sign for the future of our planet!
MAKE A COMMITMENT TO CHANGE
Finally, be F.R.E.E. of closet clutter! I promise you will never regret it. Your loved ones do not want to go through mountains of your clothing, so get rid of it now, and be free of the clutter.
I would like to invite you to join me to get started on your closet decluttering lifestyle on Thursday, October 15th, 12=2pm Pacific | 3-5pm Eastern, for a 2-hour Zoom class, “Uncluttered Closet: The Joy Of Capsule Wardrobes.”
Join me to get started learning about the art of capsule wardrobes and how you can pare down your closet and have just the right clothes for your lifestyle.