“I said I’m sorry mama. I never meant to hurt yououu, I never meant to make you cry, but tonight I’m cleaning out my closet.” Ok, turns out Eminem did not write that song about his literal closet and his mother’s disappointment regarding it’s organizational state, but that doesn’t stop me from humming Slim Shady as I start Phase One of my 2016 Cleanse: My Closet and Wardrobe.
The past few years have been a whirlwind. 2014 brought a lot of changes and was essentially all reactive out of circumstance. Mr. A and I got married, bought a house, had Willy, I changed jobs twice and moved back to Minnesota. 2015 brought a state of normalcy and figuring out our new normal. We figured how to be Mr. and Mrs., watched Willy become a curious, crazy busy one and a half year old and fit in some relaxing travel. I’m looking forward to 2016 being a year of restructuring, organizing, and improvement and what better time to start that fresh out the gates. Instead of doing all the things all at once, each month I plan on rolling out a phase of change.
The first phase is my closet and wardrobe. It’s a little more detailed than simply cleaning out and reorganizing my clothes. As you can imagine through all of those life phases that happened between 2014 and now, I wore so many different things from my twenty-something wardrobe to maternity garb to right-after-baby pieces to my current state, of well…hipster trendy mom (clearly self proclaimed, but maybe hitting stores near you?! HA). Even a year and a half AW (after Willy), my style and body still continues to change, so I continually have to factor that in as well.
The first step of the closet and wardrobe phase is the easiest and hardest all at once (I swear it’s not a riddle) and I call it, “RID YO’SELF.” It’s the exact opposite of treat yo’self. I made a pact that I wasn’t going to buy a single item of clothing in 2016. Yes, the whole year, not a single sweater or pair of jeans (you guys don’t realize how many clothes I have). I’m intending this step as a challenge to stop looking at the Target clearance rack and buying a top just because it’s 30%. Those purchases add up. Not only in dollars, but also in time. I want to develop a more intentional way for buying clothes. I’m not and this cleanse challenge isn’t for the fashionista whom follows the trend wherever it goes. Instead I’d like to have a clear vision of what looks good on me, what I enjoy wearing and have a wardrobe that reflects classic, timeless pieces that don’t shrink after two washes.
Secondly, I rid my closet of lots and lots of things. I followed the below guidelines and kept reminding myself that clutter bugs don’t make friends:
- Just Do It: To go through every pair of shoes, accessory and item of clothing you need a lot of patience and have to be in a de-clutter mindset. That mindset is not a natural thing for many people, so if you start and find yourself saying, “but… but… but…,” try again in a few hours. Have a friend over to help you if you have to. If those few hours turn into a few days, you’re going to just have to bite the bullet and remember how refreshing it is when areas of your life are clean, organized and make sense. Think of it as necessary to your state of mind.
- Work in Piles: Start three piles, one pile of clothes to keep, one pile of clothes to donate and one pile of clothes in purgatory, pieces that you can’t decide where they go, and do a round of quick fire cleaning. This is basically to identify which items you can part with immediately and need little debate. Take your entire wardrobe and put it into one of those three piles.
- Set aside the donate pile and start the three pile process over for the clothes you just placed in the Keep and Purgatory piles. For each item, ask yourself:
- Have I worn this in the past 3 months? If not, it should immediately go in the donate pile. Those clothes that still have tags? – donate. If it’s a specialty item or something that you absolutely love, but don’t have many places to wear it, , place it in purgatory and put it through the other questions.
- Am I comfortable in this piece and does it make me look fabulous? If not, donate. Get rid of the pieces that are just OK. Get rid of the pieces that shrank in the wash and just don’t look the same as off the rack. They ain’t going back.
- Is this a timeless piece? Don’t you dare save that ombre lace crop top tank. If you’re most likely not going to wear it in a year, donate.
- Is this piece appropriate for my age and stage of life? Again, unless you’re 18 and have a completely flat stomach, don’t you dare save that ombre lace crop top tank.
- Does it have any tears, stains or damage? If yes, throw away. If you haven’t fixed it yet, you won’t fix it ever.
- Continue those questions until you’ve completely categorized your wardrobe into either keep or donate.
- Donate. Get it out of the house. Find some great organizations or consignments in your area and get it out of the house before you change your mind.
When you’re done, you should have the beginning of your core wardrobe. You’ll get a good sense of the colors and styles that you love and look bomb in and hopefully weed out some of the more trendy pieces that were just a phase. As a thrifty hoarder, this was difficult for me, but I did it and donated SIX trash bags of clothes, shoes and accessories. Stay tuned for what I did next in my closet cleanse and follow along as I fine tune my wardrobe!