Refresh and Renew: Step 2 To Creating A Closet That Makes Sense

pearsonphoto2018_010I hope you have enjoyed your newly organized closet! If you missed joining me for Get Organized: Step 1 To Creating A Closet That Makes Sense, you can read my blog post about how to do that here or you can watch my YouTube video on the process here.

I performed step 1 on my own closet via a live video in our Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas Facebook Group last Tuesday.  To watch that video, join the group here.  It felt good to get things organized, and I eliminated about 15 items that I knew I would never wear again.  They were cluttering my closet, and having the extra space feels good! Heck, now I have the room to buy more…smile!

For those of you who are ready for step 2 in creating a closet that makes sense, this week’s step is called refresh and renew because we are going to take a hard look at what you kept.  I am guessing there were some items that you didn’t pull out because you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of them or because you rationalized their value in your wardrobe and the potential that you will…someday…wear them again.  I know you did this because I did the same thing.  This week, I have challenged myself to wear some of those “sacred cows,” as I call them.  If I can create an outfit that I like with them, they get to stay, but if not, they have to go.

As I have analyzed the top 10 rationalizations I used to determine which items to keep, I think they are probably some of the same ones you use too.  For me, these are the main arguments for hanging on:

  1. I might lose weight and be able to wear this again.
  2. If I would just take this to a tailor and get it altered I would wear it again.
  3. This is still fashionable, and I still love it, so how can I let it go?
  4. I wore this item for my anniversary with my husband so I should keep it for sentimental value.
  5. I might need this for a party, vacation, or special event some day.
  6. I wouldn’t be caught dead in this any more, but I could wear it around the house or when I go camping.
  7. I can’t have too many sweaters, vests and coats; I live in Wyoming!
  8. This is a classic that never goes out of style.
  9. I can’t fit in this anymore, but I will use it as “motivation” to lose weight.
  10. I just bought this item last year, so it is a waste of money to get rid of it.

Do any of these excuses seem familiar? Building from this, I think we can create a list of corresponding questions that will help you evaluate what you kept to determine if those items really do need to stay in your closet another year.  So, here is what I want you to do: go through your closet and gather up all your “sacred cows” (the items that you have probably considered letting loose before now but always talk yourself out of) and every other item you did not wear in 2019.  Take them out of your closet into another room and then, one by one, answer the following questions for each item:

  1. I might lose weight and be able to wear this again. Is this item either my current size, ONE size bigger,  or ONE size smaller than I wear today? If the answer is “no,” it goes.
  2. If I would just take this to a tailor and get it altered, I would wear it again. Can I take this item to a tailor in the next 10 days? If the answer is “yes,” put this date on your calendar and keep it.  If the answer is “no,” it goes.
  3. This is still fashionable, and I still love it, so how can I let it go?  If the item is still in fashion and you still love it but haven’t worn it in a year, you need to evaluate why.  Take a minute now and try it on.  Maybe there is just a fit issue that you don’t like.  Perhaps it clings too much in the wrong places.  Maybe it is itchy.  Maybe it drains the color out of your face.  If you discover any issue with the item that has been keeping you from wearing it, it goes.
  4. I wore this item for my anniversary with my husband so I should keep it for sentimental value. This one is tough.  We tend to attach sentimental value to items we wore for special events, and we hold on to them for that reason.  For me, the decision to keep these items is really about space.  Do you have the space to hold onto items that you will probably never wear again? If the answer is no, it goes.  Is there another place that you could store them, say perhaps a cedar chest? If the answer is yes, move it.
  5. I might need this for a party, vacation, or special event some day. So I am particularly bad about number 5.  I had dresses I hadn’t worn in more than a year (and that I didn’t wear on my last beach vacation) that I was saving for my next beach vacation.  I had a hard talk with myself and they ended up in the “donate” pile.  After all, part of the fun of a vacation is buying something new for it.  Do you know for sure that you are taking a vacation or having a special event in 2020 that you would wear the item to? If the answer is “no,” it goes.
  6. I wouldn’t be caught dead in this any more, but I could wear it around the house or when I go camping.  Do you already have enough “wear around the house” or “painting” or “cleaning” or “camping” items? (I’m guessing your answer will be “yes.”) Are any of those worn out? (probably yes again.) Consider adding these items to your comfy group after you have thrown some others out.
  7. I can’t have too many sweaters, vests and coats; I live in Wyoming! Yes, hoarding coats and sweaters when you live in a state that has 6 months of winter seems to make sense, however, how many coats do you really need? Let me help you out: 1 long dress coat, 1 3/4 length dress coat, 1 casual coat, 1 sport coat (like a skiing jacket), and 1 spring coat.  Okay, okay…maybe you can add 1 trendy coat, but I’m giving you that one, coat hoarder….I’m speaking to myself here.  Coats are especially needed by the poor and disadvantaged, so that is even more incentive to get rid of them.  As far as sweaters go, if you didn’t wear it last year….guess what….it goes.
  8. This is a classic that never goes out of style. Another particularly tempting rationalization for me is the “you should never get rid of a classic” argument.  Well, here’s what I know about clothing from having been in this business for over twenty years.  Even when manufacturers and designers bring back a classic like the blazer, they change it just enough to make the older ones seem out of date.  The changes are small things like length, number of buttons, collar style, sleeve length, etc., but they are just enough to cause your “classic” item to become “vintage.”  Here’s my rule for “classic pieces:” if you haven’t worn it in the last TWO years, it goes.  Oh, and just in case you need to know what items qualify as “classic,” here is a list: blazers; solid collared, button up blouses; layering pieces like tanks, turtle necks and light weight sweaters; suit skirts in neutral colors; slacks in neutral colors; basic black dresses.
  9. I can’t fit in this anymore, but I will use it as “motivation” to lose weight. Okay ladies, I’m going to be in your business a little here.  Pardon me.  I have your best interests at heart, I promise.  Our bodies change as we age.  At 48, I am going through this very thing myself.  There are certain aspects of my body that will never look the same as they did five or ten years ago.  I am a BIG advocate for staying active and healthy, however, I am also realizing that I need to let some expectations about my body go.  Size 4 may be gone for me…I don’t know.  I’m working on it to see.  But, I definitely know size 2 is out, and I don’t want to work that hard to get back there any way.  If it is too tight or too small for me to get into, it goes.
  10. I just bought this item last year, so it is a waste of money to get rid of it.  We ALL make buying mistakes.  Who knows why we do it? Maybe we were influenced by a shopping partner or we were in the mood for something new or out of the box that day.  Whatever it was that caused us to buy it, we have questioned that decision ever since.  As an example, I pulled a pair of floral wrap pants out of my closet during the first step of this process that I just bought last summer.  I wore them once and then passed them up the rest of the season.  Why? They really weren’t me.  If it’s new, but you keep passing it by for other things when you get dressed in the morning, it goes.

Okay, that’s it.  These are the top 10 rationalizations I have made (and I’m guessing you have made) and my answers for them.  If you need some more motivation or emotional support in this step of the process, join me while I apply these 10 questions to my own closet in a live video on our Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas group page on Facebook on Tuesday, January 14th at 10 a.m.  To watch the video, ask to join the group by clicking this link.

Or, if you want to watch my video explaining this process, you will be able to see that on YouTube or our Fashion Crossroads Facebook Business Page on Saturday, January 11th.

See you next week!

5 Steps To A New Year Closet Clean Out

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It’s a new year…the time to move out the old and move in the new!  Perhaps you’ve already made a few New Year’s Resolutions.  I like to start the year by getting organized.  I find, when I feel organized, I feel more in control and less frazzled.

One of the first places to get organized is your closet.  There is nothing worse than starting the day out with a harried rush to put together an outfit and putting on and then taking off several outfits before you decide on one.  You can make getting dressed in the morning a breeze and a pleasure with a few simple tips on closet organization.

  1.  First, each year you need to remove the items you haven’t worn in a year.  So, if you didn’t do this at the start of the winter season, do it now.  You will be tempted to talk yourself out of removing items, so don’t second guess this process. Don’t worry that you will have to get rid of anything.  Instead just separate out all of those items and lay them somewhere out of eye sight.  We will get back to this pile later.
  2. Second, separate your tops, bottoms and dresses and put them together.  This will make putting an outfit together so much easier, and you will begin to see holes in your wardrobe that you never noticed before.
  3. Third, within your tops, organize them so that the short sleeved tops are together and the long sleeved tops are together.  If you have both summer and winter in your closet, also separate them by season so the summer are together and winter are together.  Do this same thing with your bottoms.  Put your leggings, slacks, jeans together by category and season. Last finish with your dresses.  Put your sleeveless, short sleeved and long sleeved dresses together and separate them by season.
  4. Fourth, color code each section.  Do you remember learning how the memorize the colors of the rainbow with the ROYGBIV acronym?  It stands for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.  Put each section, for example short sleeve tops, into this color order.  Keep the hues together: pinks go with reds, turquoise with blue or green depending on the color, etc.  Finish with your neutrals in this order: white, tan, brown, grey, black.  When you are finished, you should have each section organized by color.
  5. Fifth, now let’s tackle that pile from step one.  First go through it and separate out any item that is out of date, pilled, stained, torn, un-hemmed, etc.  These go in the donate pile.  Then, consider each remaining item carefully.  If it is a classic piece, like a black blazer, keep it.  If you love it and can’t part with it, keep it one more season, but if you haven’t worn it when you repeat this process next year, donate it.

Now, stand back and admire all your hard work.  You now should be able to clearly see what you have and what you don’t.  What do you notice.  You probably can quickly see that you tend to buy certain colors.  You might notice that you are really short on blouses but have a ton of pull over tops.  Or you may see that you need some more long sleeve tops.  Perhaps you have too many jeans.  When your closet is organized, it will talk to you, and you can be a smart shopper in filling in holes rather than just buying because you love it.

The other benefit to this process is ease of putting outfits together.  Now, when you choose your slacks for your work day, you can go to your jacket section and choose one that matches and then to your shell section and choose a coordinating shell.  No more searching through an unorganized mess.

If you’re feeling really industrious, why not do this with your purses and shoes too?  Believe me, it is worth the effort!