Do I Have Too Many Clothes?
Clothes have always been my downfall. I love shopping, trend spotting, and updating my wardrobe. Is this a problem for you, too?
But when do you have enough clothes? Is it possible to have too many clothes? Just how many clothes is too many?
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5 ways to know if you have too many clothes
Is your closet busting at the seams?
Do you open your closet and feel like you have nothing to wear?
Does selecting an outfit in the morning take more than 2 minutes?
Do you feel like you need to buy new clothes with every fashion trend?
Is it hard work to put together an outfit every day?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, it might be time to reevaluate your wardrobe. By making a few simple changes and weeding out items that aren’t enhancing your life, something amazing will happen to your closet.
…if you never again opened your closet and said, “I have nothing to wear.”
…if your closet was full of only clothes you loved and looked good on you.
…if your clothes worked together to make getting dressed easy and carefree.
All of this is possible and I’m going to show you how.
The secret is not buying more, it’s actually having less!
Use the 80/20 Rule for Your Clothes
If you apply Pareto’s Principle (the 80/20 rule) to your wardrobe, it means you wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time.
Only 20% of the clothes in your closet actually work for you.
That means there’s a lot of clothes in there that can go and you won’t even miss them.
I’ve applied the 80/20 rule successfully year after year to my closet, but this time was especially important.
Why? Because I recently downsized from a house to an apartment. I love the easy lifestyle of the apartment, but to gain that carefree life, it meant parting with a lot of unnecessary belongings.
My husband and I used to have our own separate closets, but in the new apartment, we now share one walk-in-closet. We both had years of clothes that needed to be purged in order for them to fit comfortably in the new space.
I used this closet clean out method for both my husband and myself.
Guess what? I don’t miss any of the clothes that I got rid of. In fact, I feel like my closet is actually working better for me now than it has in years.
In the rest of this post, you’ll learn how to have a closet that works for you, open it every day and easily pull outfits together, and have more by living with less.
How to Successfully Cut Back on Your Wardrobe
Step 1 - Sort Your Wardrobe
Here are the steps to follow when sorting.
Plan time to do this all at one time. It may sound like a daunting task, but once you get started sorting your wardrobe, it goes rather quickly.
You begin to develop a keep/toss rhythm that is best done all at one time. It’s much easier to get it done all in one shot than to come back to it and keep restarting the same project.
Go Through Every Item in Your Closet
This includes shoes, hats, belts, scarves, coats, bathrobes, pajamas, socks, and underwear. You will be surprised how much those items accumulate in your closet.
Remove every item from your closet when doing this. It may be helpful to have a friend or family member around to help especially if you have a hard time parting with things.
A little moral support (or even a shove) can really help when you are trying to go through your belongings.
With Every Item, Ask Yourself These Questions
Question 1: When is the last time I wore this?
If it’s been longer than a year, toss it. Chances are, you can give me a reason why you never where it. It needs to be altered, it’s uncomfortable, it’s dry clean only, it’s ripped or stained, you hate the color, etc…
I can almost guarantee you won’t have an epiphany and start wearing it.
Question 2: Am I keeping this item for sentimental reasons even though I don’t wear it?
Memories don’t need to be attached to an item to have that wonderful memory. That special moment will always be in your head and heart even if you part with the garment you were wearing.
Imagine how much space you would clear up if you got rid of items you don’t wear that you are keeping for sentimental reasons. I’m looking at you prom dresses, college sweatshirts, wedding gowns, date night sweater, and grandma’s scarves you never wear. Put these items you don’t wear in the Toss pile.
Question 3: Is this item in good condition?
We all have a favorite grungy tee-shirt great for painting, gardening, sleeping-in, or just relaxing around the house. But is your closet full of more than one of these items?
If an item is stained, ripped, moth eaten, stretched out, or faded, it’s time to put it in the toss pile.
Question 4: Does this item fit me today?
Do you have a fat wardrobe and a skinny wardrobe? My husband is notorious for this. We found his closet had a variety of sizes depending on whether his weight was up or down.
In fact, some of his “other size” clothes had been moved to the garage more than ten years ago and were all out-of-style. Even if he lost the weight today, he wouldn’t wear those clothes, he’d go buy new ones that fit his current lifestyle.
In addition to the clothes being the correct size, remove clothes that need to be tailored or hemmed. Don’t put them back in your closet until they have been altered to fit.
Toss any items that don’t fit you today.
Question 5: Does the item fit my current lifestyle?
Take a moment to think about your everyday life and the clothes you gravitate to on a daily basis. Your lifestyle today may not be what it was a month or a year ago. You may have changed jobs, become a stay-at-home mom, started college, started a career, or even retired.
Most likely, your wardrobe will change as well. Get rid of the clothes that don’t fit your current day-to-day life.
It’s okay to keep a few pieces such as a favorite little black dress, or dressier clothes for evenings out and special events. Just make sure you limit it to pieces you really love to wear.
Question 6: Does this item work with other items in my closet?
One of the reasons people don’t wear something even if they like it is because it doesn’t go with anything else in their closet. It may be an item you received as a gift or bought out shopping with a friend and it’s more her style than yours. But, if you’ve tried to put it on more than once and it just doesn’t work with your wardrobe….you know what I’m going to say….toss it.
Question 7: Do I feel good wearing this item?
This is the last question and the most important. How do you feel when you wear this garment? If you don’t feel good in it, most likely you won’t wear it very often, so put it in the toss pile.
After going through these 7 questions, your closet should be left with a lot of pieces you really love to wear!
Step 2 - Organize Your Closet
Now it’s time to put everything back in your closet.
Since everything is out of the closet, it’s time to organize your wardrobe so you can “shop” it every day.
Nothing feels better than opening a well organized closet and selecting an item just as you did when you originally purchased it.
First - Organize by Classification
It’s important to group like things together. Not only does it make them easier to find, but you’ll also be able to see where you might have gaps in your wardrobe (more on that later).
Group Items in the Following Classifications:
Second - Organize by Color
Believe it or not, this is my favorite step in the organization process. When you organize by color, it makes your entire closet feel like something special. It’s like you have your own boutique right in your home.
Organize from light to dark in this order:
White, Pink, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet, Gray, Black
Even if my stack of legging includes somewhat neutral shades, I still use this method. For example: 1 navy, 2 gray, and 5 black. It gets sorted from light to dark.
It adds a cohesiveness to your wardrobe and uses the same principals you would find in a retail store.
Third - Hang Blouses, Shirts, Dresses, Vests, and Jackets. Fold everything else.
When you hang your garments, make sure everything is facing the same direction and in color order.
I have a typical closet. Nothing custom. No fancy shelves or built-ins.
It’s a hanging rack with a shelf above it.
I have two baskets on the floor for lingerie and socks.
I have a shoe cabinet to organize all of my shoes (except my boots). Then i use the top of the shoe cabinet to store pj’s and t-shirts.
By organizing with this method I have more than enough room for all of my clothes and even some room to expand.
Fourth - Stop Buying Fast Fashion
Fast fashion is so appealing, isn’t it? For a very low price you can get the latest trend, wear it a few times, and then throw it out.
But you don’t. You keep buying more and it accumulates. The outfit you bought and wore twice is so last-season but it stays in your closet for years taking up space and gathering dust.
And those garments are not helping you put together a wardrobe that works for you. Why? Because most of the fast fashion items are just that. They churn and burn. What was in last month isn’t in today. It’s what I like to think of as treadmill fashion.
You buy one outfit and it doesn’t work with anything else you own. It’s trendy and out of style before you can even take it out of the bag and hang it in your closet.
There is an easy way to turn that around. I’ll tell you how in the next section.
Fifth - Buy Essential Pieces
Rather than buying fast fashion, there’s an alternative. Purchase essential pieces or “basics” that are building blocks in your wardrobe. Instead of buying a single outfit, you’re purchasing items that can work together to create hundreds of outfit options.
What are essential pieces? Keep reading for a list of items every woman’s wardrobe should have.
Every time you buy something, try and think of how many other items in your closet you can wear it with.
Essential Pieces for Your Wardrobe include:
Down vest in black or navy
Simple pullover in a color you love
Simple cardigan in a color you love
Navy or black blazer
Pencil Skirts in neutral colors
By putting together these pieces, you’ve actually created a capsule wardrobe.
This is an area of your wardrobe where you can really have fun and splurge a little. Follow current fashion trends and add pieces that add pop to your wardrobe. For example, if plaid is an in trend, why not add a big plaid scarf to your wardrobe?
Use accessories to add personality to your capsule wardrobe. For example, it’s a Saturday and you’re wearing an oversized sweater and jeans with a pair of flats. Your friends call you to go out for the evening, so rather than changing clothes, simply change your accessories. Add a pair of heels, jewelry, and maybe a sparkly bag. If it’s cool outside, add a scarf or wrap, too.
Whew! We covered a lot on this blog post. Now you know how organize your closet and create a wardrobe full clothes you love to wear.
Did I leave anything out? Let me know in the comments below!