Updated: May 11
These past few days of wearing “favorites” -- how did it make you feel? Do you have a clearer idea now of the kind of clothing that should go in your unified closet?
Now that you've made such great head way into determining your style, it's time to eliminate the obvious "no’s” from your wardrobe and come one step closer to a closet that makes you feel confident and joyful. That's right, it's time for...the minimizing stage....
Tackling our messy closets and unruly sense of style can be overwhelming. It is very difficult to have perspective on the items in your closet and know when it is time to say goodbye to them.
How does one go about “minimizing"?
You're probably familiar with the standard clean-out technique, often covered in magazines and organizational books like this: you go through your clothing and make three piles! One KEEP, one DONATE, and one CLEAN / MEND pile. You've probably heard this basic idea a million times. Unfortunately, that is thinking too small.
Three simple steps to minimize your closet:
Transfer your previously-determined “favorites” to the back of your closet and we will consider this your “KEEP section”. You won't be wearing any of these over the next few days, since you'll only be wearing items in ‘Limbo’... which will basically consist of any non-favorites left in your wardrobe at the end of this minimizing process.
Section out "I'm going to need this” items.
These are the items you might not enjoy wearing, but they have situational usefulness that will arise eventually. Items in this category will vary depending on your circumstances, but can include:
Interview-appropriate clothing. It's ideal to have 2-3 different outfits, since getting a new job can often involve multiple rounds of interviews and you might not want to wear the same blouse to each one.
A number of very-dressy wedding- and cocktail-appropriate clothing. The number you keep is largely dependent upon your stage in life and what social circles you run in.
Specific "work clothing," particularly if your environment requires business attire, business casual, or you have an actual set uniform. Those things will (obviously) need to stay accessible for the work-week, so keep them sectioned together towards the front of your closet.
You can always create a second, work-appropriate, Capsule Wardrobe, separate from your weekend-wear capsule.
Heirloom clothing that holds deep sentimental value (i.e. mom’s wedding dress) and
extreme cold-weather clothing which depending on your location might be necessary for a small segment of the year. Get these things out of your day-to-day space. You are going to need the cold weather clothing but it doesn't need to be mingled in with the rest of your consistently-useful clothing
(put it in a tote or in a hall closet).
As for heirloom clothing such as a wedding dresses these types of items should NEVER be hung up in a closet covered by (God-forbid) a plastic dry-cleaning bag.
I went to fashion school remember and I know a lot about the proper storage of textiles. Purchase appropriate archival garment storage supplies on Amazon for the item(s). The objective of Archival Garment Storage is to protect textiles from their two main enemies: the ultraviolet rays found in sunlight and acid from sources such as skin, wood and wood-based products (paper).
NOT TO BE INCLUDED:
Clothing that is too small or too big. I had an extremely difficult time with this part. It took me 3 years to accept that after being pregnant, I will never again fit into any of the 16 pairs of Frankie B. Size 00-0 jeans I had hanging in my closet.
I was also holding onto my maternity clothing from my stillborn son Theodore in hopes I would maybe someday become pregnant again and have a living child. Donating my maternity clothing was an enormous step in accepting and adapting to my new normal, knowing I would never be the Mother of a living child.
Keeping “fat” clothes is bad ju-ju in my humble opinion. It is a visual aid of self-doubt. It’s telling yourself “you’ll gain the weight back”. Say “fuck you!” to your ‘fat’ clothes and get rid of them by donating them to a local charity.
Be honest with yourself, are you actively trying to lose weight? or are you hanging on to that dress(es) that you can’t zip up as an incentive to lose weight? Either way when you see them in your closet it makes you feel unhappy with yourself and that’s not what my capsule wardrobe is about. So get rid of them by donating.
When you lose weight you can reward yourself with beautiful pieces (hopefully from a resale or thrift shop) that flatter your new figure (and you will be armed with the knowledge I giving you now when you are shopping for said additions).
Do not leave the "I'm going to need this" items in with the rest of your clothing. They are visually cluttering your space, and your goal is to make it easier to find and keep track of the stuff that brings you joy. A guest-room/hall closet or tote can be the perfect place to put this category; it's still accessible, but it's out of the way.
Gather the remaining clothing and donate it. Donate it immediately. Once those bags, boxes, bins are in your vehicle, I want you to haul ass to the nearest donation center. The human mind is incredibly powerful and we will find any excuse to go into those donation bags with an excuse like; oh no! I think I accidentally threw_____ (fill in the blank) in with the donation stuff! You didn’t throw anything in the donation stuff that didn’t belong in there, I promise!
Once you have handed over your donations your step will feel lighter and your body will be more relaxed.
Reward yourself for this huge accomplishment with a mani/pedi, box of wine, bubble bath, or bag of crack...whatever blows your hair back (unless it’s shopping!).
I told you this was an ongoing process and baby steps is the key to making it happen. We aren’t done yet but, the hardest part is over!!! To be continue....