I hope you have enjoyed your newly organized closet! If you missed joining me for Closet Clean Out Challenge One: Get Organized, you can read my blog post or watch my live video from my weekly Wednesday Night Wardrobing video from last week here.
I performed step 1 on my own closet, and it felt good to get things organized. 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:
- I might lose weight and be able to wear this again.
- If I would just take this to a tailor and get it altered I would wear it again.
- This is still fashionable, and I still love it, so how can I let it go?
- I wore this item for my anniversary with my husband so I should keep it for sentimental value.
- I might need this for a party, vacation, or special event some day.
- I wouldn’t be caught dead in this any more, but I could wear it around the house or when I go camping.
- I can’t have too many sweaters, vests and coats; I live in Wyoming!
- This is a classic that never goes out of style.
- I can’t fit in this anymore, but I will use it as “motivation” to lose weight.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 want to watch my video explaining this process, watch my live video from last night. You can find that in our Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas Facebook Group here.