Have you ever looked in your closet and said?
- “What a mess!”
- “Why did I buy this?”
- “What am I going to wear? I’ve got to be out of the house in 15 minutes”
What feelings does a morning like this bring on?
Frustration, Resentment, Anxiety, even a little Depression.
I understand and I’ve had those same thoughts and feelings. Seems that our closet conversations can set the tone for our entire day. We start our day with negative thoughts and messages and sure enough, we have a really bad day!
What if instead we looked in our closet and said…
- “What a great space. I love how it is arranged and how everything looks!”
- This is such a great color, I’m so glad I bought this!”
- “I will put this top with these jeans and grab a jacket for later. Let’s go!”
Now, what feelings are you having?
Happy, Confident, Empowered, maybe even a little Excited.
With these thoughts and messages, how do you think your day will go? What kind of decisions will you make? When we start our day with positive thoughts and messages, we usually have positive days and if we have some adversity, we can face it more confidently.
So how can we change the conversations we have each morning? How can we get our closets and our clothes to talk nice to us again? How can we start our days with positive messages?
We need to fill our closets with clothes we want to wear and get rid of the other stuff! But before we start cleaning out, we first need to identify our personal style. Your personal style reflects your uniqueness and tastes and then allows you to express it and present it to the world. The clothes you own and wear need to align with your style.
Identifying your personal style will help when you start Sorting and Purging your clothes.
Fashion blogs and books have identified 5 style types—the names vary a little depending on who wrote the article:
- Feminine or Girly
- Modern or Classic (these are the same, trust me!)
- Casual or Sporty
- Bold or Edgy
- BOHO (everyone agrees on this name!)
Let’s look at each just a bit more and see if you can easily identify which is your style.
Activities may change but styles tend to remain consistent throughout our lives.
Feminine or Girly:
Think frilly or flirty. Soft colors. Lots of florals and prints with details like lace, ribbons, bows.
Modern or Classic:
Think simplicity and elegance over trendy. Little Black Dress (LBD) with pearls. Solids colors.
Casual or Sporty:
Think sports fan or yoga instructor. All about comfort. It can still be fashionable—athleisure wear is very popular with celebrities going from workout to lunch out!
Bold or Edgy:
Think hipster and glam. Bold colors and combinations. Details like zippers, metal snaps, and animal prints.
Think free spirit and nature lover. Vintage, Resale, Repurposed or Handmade.
If you are not sure which of these you most identify with, look through magazines and see which outfits you are drawn to. Also, check out a couple of your favorite clothing companies’ blogs to see if they have articles about styles.
Here are a couple I use:
Wardrobe Oxygen: https://www.wardrobeoxygen.com/about/
Now that you have identified your personal style we can start working with your clothes. But before we get started on the clothes let’s prep the space. Remove everything from the closet and give it a good cleaning—dust, vacuum, remove the trash. Also, repair and improve it. Fix any rods that may have broken, add a rod if you can up high for out of season items, change light bulbs to more energy-efficient and provide better lighting (LEDs are great!).
Remove any item that does not belong in your closet and take it to the room or space it does belong. No judgment, I know you just need a place to stash stuff before the in-laws arrived!!!
Now visualize how you want your closet to look. Where do you want the dresses to go? Where should the jackets go? The final arrangement may change, but I hope that by visualizing you are encouraged to really sort and purge items to get to a place where everything in your closet makes you happy, energized, and ready to put your “best self” out into the world.
We will use the acronym SPACE: Sort, Purge, Assign a home spot, Containerize, Evaluate
Ask yourself some questions:
“Where am I in my career?” “Do I need professional suits & dresses anymore?”
“What are my hobbies or how to I spend my free time?” “Gardening, Painting, Volunteering”
“What is my family situation?” “On the go Mom? Empty Nester?”
“What is my current fitness level, health, weight?” “Recovering from surgery or just lost weight”
SORT & PURGE:
Sort: The first thing we need to do is get ALL YOUR CLOTHES together, but, please do not just pile them on the bed (I know you have seen it on Tidying Up—but that is for dramatic TV, not real life!). Gather everything from under the bed, inside the bins in the guest room, wherever you have put clothes, find them and bring them together. Now start sorting them into categories—put all the jeans in one pile, put all the dresses in another, and so on. This way when you start to try on and pick which items are staying you can see exactly how many jeans you’ve picked to stay instead of bouncing back and forth and not knowing how many you are keeping. And depending on what phase of life you are in you can also decide how many pairs of jeans do you need. If you are volunteering at the local thrift store you will need more than when you were working at the bank or presenting cases in the courtroom all day. And you will not need as many dresses or suits now.
Save any bins you empty and all the best hangers! Also, save boxes that are clean and in good shape. These will be used in the containerize step or at least a way to carry items to the donation center.
Purge: Let’s make 3 piles: Yes, No, Maybe.
The Maybe pile we will come back to after we have put all the Yes items back into the closet and can see if we need to fill in any gaps in our wardrobe.
Items in the No pile can be donated, sold or disposed of. Selling used clothing is not always easy if you don’t have a good consignment store nearby. Sometimes it is just easier to donate it and let someone else worry about selling it.
Items in the Yes pile go back into the closet on the best hangers. I like to use the same hangers throughout the closet, and they can be all plastic or all felt, but never metal ones from dry cleaners! If you don’t have enough good hangers, put on metal temporarily and as a final step count how many you need and purchase matching hangers. I promise it makes such a difference in how your clothes look in the closet if everything is on the same type of hanger!
ASSIGN A HOME SPOT:
Let’s set an expectation here. Your closet is NOT going to look like the photo in The Container Store sale catalog. First you have more than 6 items and second, your clothes are not all white or beige! But uniformity will help.
Start by putting all your YES items back into the closet. A few people like their closets to be color-coded, but most want theirs arranged by category. Be sure when you are returning items to the closet that you hang everything uniformly—collars facing the same direction, hang pants so the pockets are facing out (helps identify which pants/jeans), dresses and skirts hung facing same way.
Immediately get rid of the NO items—trash bin or donate. This is their new home spot!
Place the MAYBE items in a storage bin for now.
Typically, we are talking about shoes but this can also refer to bulky sweaters, scarfs, even jewelry. Use the containers we saved to at least give yourself some temporary storage solutions.
Pick 10 combos from the clothes you have kept. Lay them out together and take a picture (then return to the closet). Wear these out and see how you feel and if you get any feedback on how you look. I bet it will be positive.
If you feel like you need help with combinations, check out different Capsule Wardrobes online. Allison on Wardrobe Oxygen does capsule wardrobes every season. They are designed to show a few items used in multiple combinations.
As you wear the 10 combos you picked, start thinking of your next 10 and see if you have enough in your closet or if you need to add some items back from the Maybe bin. Give yourself the first month to see if you need to pull items out and add them to your closet, if not, take anything that remains in the Maybe bin to a donation center. You should now have at least 4 weeks of clothes that you can wear any day and feel good about yourself.
Also, use this guide for help with different style charts: 41 Insanely Helpful Style Charts Every Woman Needs Right Now
It was written in 2015 but has some good information.
(PS—there is also one for men that I think every guy needs to read 1 Simple Style Cheat Sheets For Guys Who Don’t Know WTF They’re Doing)
Now can you hear it? It’s your closet saying
You Go Girl
You Got This!
Be the Winner God created you to be!
There is no one like you!