Ever open the closet and feel like you just have nothing to wear? You look at the space stuffed with clothing, shoes and accessories, but nothing looks appealing. In fact the more you have, the harder it is to find anything to wear. This is closet clutter, and I’ve finally experienced the secret to having more is really in decluttering.
I’m sure every spring you are ready to declutter, but I’m talking about something different. Just a few months ago, I found a great article on a closet capsule that challenged readers to try 37 items for a complete season (3 months). I’m going to be honest: I didn’t get anywhere close to that, but I did pair down a lot. The article encouraged readers to focus on shopping less, yet buying more. I’d love to share my own experience with a major overhaul of my own cluttered closet.
Stripping Down the Closet
My closet was packed with all of the trendy and bargain buys I had found in the past few years. Like most of you, I like to declutter my closet regularly, so I’m not talking about having clothes leftover from high school prom or anything. My sweaters were packed away in seasonal storage boxes in an upstairs closet and the only things taking up space in my closet were the clothes I really expected to wear. The challenge starts out by instructing you to take every single thing out of your closet. Then, you separate your items into piles:
Keep: Strictly your favorite pieces. Only the things you actually love wearing, feel good in and fit.
Ditch: Items that are in poor shape with stains, tears or heavy wear.
Donate: Items that are great, but just not 100% perfect for you. Stop telling yourself you are going to loose a few pounds to fit it, or that you will actually feel like wearing it at some point. If you avoid it when you see it, then donate it.
Hold: There are bound to be some things that you just can’t get rid of, but you aren’t even sure why. Put these in a box to store in the attic or top of your closet. If you don’t need anything out of it within three months, don’t even open it up – donate it.
Reduce Your Choices
Part of this challenge is in realizing how many trivial decisions you force your brain to make each day. Do you have time for breakfast? What will you eat? What will you wear? Does that still fit? Will those shoes make your feet hurt? What is your day going to look like? Do you like this song on the radio? Would you rather listen to news? And on and on.
These choices are made instantaneously, but they aren’t without consequence. Have you ever noticed that by dinner time you don’t even know what to make? Do you notice how around bedtime you aren’t very productive and you probably feel like there is nothing good on TV? This is decision fatigue and it happens when our brains are exhausted from data overload and insignificant choices all day long. Everything from social media newsfeeds to your office workload is going to add to that mental strain your brain isn’t naturally equipped to handle.
But here’s the crazy thing: reducing the choices in your closet will reduce decision fatigue.
When your brain doesn’t have to decide if the outfit will look good on you or not, you’ve eliminated one (or several) decisions from your morning routine. With a closet capsule, you’ve narrowed down your closet drastically to only your very favorite pieces.
You will even start to see a lot of your personality showing through in what’s left. I ended up doing this declutter process three times within a few weeks and reduced my closet by 75%. I can honestly say, my closet has never felt more inspiring and choosing an outfit has never been easier.
Stop the Shopping
Now, don’t run out and fill your closet back up with bargain buys. I’m the queen of shopping, finding awesome things and being thrilled about the money I “saved” doing it. But, there is a problem. If I buy 10 on-sale shirts because they are a great price, then I’m loading back up my closet with lots of mediocre choices again. Instead, I could buy one or two quality tops that really fill the holes in my closet for the next season. Part of creating a closet capsule is in only shopping one time for items you know you specifically need for the next season.
It’s not about owning less — it’s about owning better.
Stay tuned… Next, we are going to talk about how picking the perfect basics will help expand your small wardrobe with more outfit options.