The Great Closet Purge

 

joyful-closet-purge-clean-out-sarah-lazarovic

Some of you may recall that months ago I said I’d be minimizing the amount of clothes in my closet and transitioning to a Capsule Wardrobe. It’s taken me a while to post an update on this project because I didn’t quite achieved what I set out to, and I was dealing with a weird sense of failure. I didn’t want to report back that I couldn’t do it!  But I’m realizing now that I have no reason to hide in shame.  I’ve accomplished a lot since I’ve committed to live a more simple life.  Furthermore, it’s good for me to be transparent about the areas that I struggle with. It’s about the journey, not the destination, right?  🙂  So here goes…  My somewhat failed capsule wardrobe story.

Before we moved from California to Oregon in September 2015, I got rid of half my closet. It was an exhilirating experience, yet even after that I felt that I STILL had too much, which is why I attempted to do a capsule wardrobe.  That, and I like a challenge.

My goal was to have fewer than 60 items of clothing (including shoes and accessories but not including undergarments.)  I pulled out EVERY SINGLE THING from my closet (sometimes you have to make a mess to clean a mess), counted every single item of clothing I owned (I had somewhere around 130 items) and then created two piles: KEEP and DONATE.  The key questions I asked myself when going through my clothes were:

  1. Does this fit?
  2. When is the last time I wore it?
  3. Does this accurately reflect my style today?
  4. Is it damaged, and if so, will I actually make the effort to repair it? (Be honest!)
  5. If I was shopping RIGHT NOW, would I buy this item?
  6. Do I feel comfortable and confident wearing this?

As I mentioned, I wasn’t able to get my closet down to 60 items (most capsule wardrobe keepers have even LESS than this… incredible) but I was able to pare it down to about 80 pieces.  I should probably run through everything again – I’m 99.9% sure positive I hung onto some things I don’t really need.

If you missed my post earlier in the year about this whole thing, here are just TWO huge benefits of downsizing your wardrobe:

Owning fewer clothes makes your life easier.

  • Every day we make thousands of decisions, and the more we can pare those decisions down, the more mental space we have to go about our day, the more productive we can be in other areas. (Google “Successful people wear the same thing every day” and you’ll see what I’m talking about.)

Fewer clothes = Less clutter, Less laundry

  • This has been a huge benefit for my life!  As a busy mom who works from home, I can’t express enough how nice it is to have a MANAGEABLE amount of clothes.  (I mention the “work from home” thing because when I had piles and piles of laundry to deal with, it made focusing on work a lot harder!)

Now as you can imagine, downsizing my wardrobe means I wear a lot of the same clothes all the time, and that’s something I’ve become completely okay with.  I proudly have 3 pairs of jeans and a handful of t-shirts that are in constant rotation.  Sometimes, admittedly, I feel a little bored with my limited options, and I crave something new, but I have a solution for that.  If I’m going to buy something new, I need to bid farewell to something old.  (Following this rule of thumb is a great way to prevent having an excess of clothing.  It can also help with impulsive purchases.)

When it comes to getting rid of clothes, I like to donate them to charity, or participate in clothing swap parties. And when it comes to shopping for new clothes, I try to shop from second hand stores to promote the recycling of clothing.  I still buy stuff from other retailers, but I’ve been trying to make stores like Buffalo Exchange and Crossroad Trading Company my first stops when I’m in search of something new.

The biggest challenge I had when purging my clothes (and a continued challenge for me now when I shop for new items) is keeping my style more simple and streamlined, getting rid of (and not buying) a lot of patterned items.  My heart beats for a beautiful vibrant pattern but I found that it’s easier to mix and match outfits when I embrace a simpler look.  I did keep a few patterned pieces (mostly dresses for special occasions) but there was definitely a slight shift in my day-to-day style, and it was absolutely for the better.  My closet’s more like the In-N-Out menu now, rather that of the Cheesecake Factory (oofta!) Every item in my closet fits me well and is a style I love and would buy today.

If you’re interested in purging your own closet but don’t know where to start, let me know – I would love to help you!  Trust me, it’ll feel like a weight has lifted off your shoulders.  It’ll at least make your laundry baskets lighter.

Swapping: The New Shopping

SWISHING.jpg

Last week, I coordinated a clothing swap party for some of the local moms in town. It was a great way for us to clean out our closets and score some new (to us) attire without opening our wallets! If you’re curious, keep reading.  Since I have to make my son his dinner pretty soon, I’ll keep this short and sweet. 🙂

Some people are weird about second hand stuff, and I get it. There’s a bit of a mental hurdle to get over when it comes to buying used items.  As long as things are in good condition, I’m all about it.  Not only is buying second hand a money saver, it’s also the most eco-friendly way to shop.  Buying used goods cuts down on manufacturing demands, give items a longer life, and keeps things out of the landfill.  Anyway, let’s cut to the chase!

Here’s what my event details said:

Clean your closet and trade your stuff at a party where everyone leaves happy and no one spends a dime!

WHAT TO BRING:

  • Women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories in good condition (no stains or tears.)
  • Please leave socks, undergarments and swimsuits at home.
  • Accessories include belts, purses, jewelry, scarves, hair clips, etc.

WHAT TO EXPECT:

10:00 AM – Bring your items to be swapped. Sip, nibble, window shop and mingle!
10:30 AM – Everyone draws a number to determine the order and we enjoy 1 round of ladies selecting 3 favorite items in the order drawn.

~~~The remaining time is a FREE FOR ALL. Walk around and take what you like (be nice, please, no hair pulling!)

(There will be a room/bathroom provided for anyone interested in privacy while trying on clothes.)

* All leftover items will donated to the Paying It Forward Store in Portland.
Kids are welcome.
* Complimentary breakfast treats will be provided!

13119825_10100372214636367_685541466821282771_o

There were about 10 of us at the party, with a few kiddos running around.  Some of us didn’t know each other before that day, so we made some new friends too!   We all walked away with some great items, and together we filled 6 large garbage bags of women’s clothes to donate to a local charity that helps the homeless.  It was a morning well spent, and we’re already planning the next one: a kids clothes and toys swap!

Alright, someone’s getting hungry, time to swap my blogger hat for the chef one… I’ll sign off with this illustration by Sarah Lasarovic.  So good.

Buyerarchy.jpg

 

 

All About Clothes!

First things first: Watch this video that Grist.org posted on their Facebook page this week.  It talks about clothing waste and how to be more responsible when it comes to purchasing (and getting rid of) clothes.

If you have clothes to donate, consider using freecycle.org or donate to a local charity.  I’ve been making donations to a local organization here in Portland called the Paying It Forward Store, which is a monthly pop-up shop where people who are down on their luck can come and pick up anything they want or need for free.  It’s such a great way to contribute to the community.  I’ll talk more about this on another blog soon. 🙂  Anyway, here’s the video.

 

I mentioned earlier this week that I’m going to be stepping up my game with a Capsule Wardrobe.  I’ve been donating clothes, but I still have a ways to go.  This isn’t something I’m taking lightly.  It’s both a big undertaking and significant change in lifestyle for me, the latter point being exciting and, if I’m honest, a little scary.  But I’ve been thinking about it for about 6 months now, and I’m ready to commit.

Now… this project is easily one of those things that could keep getting put off until the cows come home.  After all, life is BUSY!! I’m a work-from-home mom with a toddler, so my weekdays are jam-packed, juggling those responsibilities, and I’d much prefer spending my free time  (AKA the time when my son is asleep) doing something I love, like spending time with my husband, watching a movie, drawing, painting, listening to music, writing… *Le Sigh* So many hobbies, so little time.

Nevertheless, I plan to start the Capsule Wardrobe Challenge TOMORROW.  I’ll be counting all of my clothes, tallying up the numbers and then breaking down the specifics of what my new and minimized closet will look like…  I know the procrastinator’s catch phrase is “I’ll start tomorrow”, but seriously… I will!  STAY TUNED!!!