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that time … my closet went on a diet

I know what you’re thinking.  You cleaned your closet.  Here’s a medal.  (insert sarchasm….)

But all kidding aside, this time its a big deal.  Not only is cleaning out my closet a big deal, I’m going to tell you why its a big deal for you, too!

I’ve heard rumors that on Monday mornings, when all of us are attempting to get ready in the morning, the most terrible thing happens.  We have NOTHING.TO.WEAR.  We peek into our filled closets, looking at racks of clothes, yet, nothing can be put together to frame a full ensemble.

This was my dilemma week after week, morning after morning.  I would lay in bed running through my closet in my head trying to put together a workable outfit.  “No, that dress is in the laundry.  Nope, those pants are still at the dry cleaner.  That shirt doesn’t fit me. Right. Now….”

And then.  It began.

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I think it was a few months ago, when I scheduled a clean out your closet party.  The party ultimately was cancelled due to weather, but the idea was there.  Friends swap clothes in a fun setting, everyone goes home with fun new pieces, and those pieces that just aren’t loved enough go to charity.  I really was excited to make this happen, and promised to reschedule, but we weren’t in warm weather, more predictable months, yet.  I wanted to use this party as an excuse to clean out my closet, but add new to me pieces to my closet.

Fast forward a bit to a few weeks ago.  I still had an overstuffed closet that was taking over two more closets in my house (the guest room and the downstairs coat closet) and my husband offered me space in his, just in case.  That was the final straw.  Really?  I now need FOUR closets?  Anyone outside of Beverly Hills will think that is pure ridiculousness.  Why not just convert our  guest room to a full-sized walk-in closet?

Ugh.  I’m NOT doing that.

Instead, I’m going to come BACK to the real world and realize that the proper term for what’s going on is: Hoarding.

So I got on the good ol’ interwebs, and found out that I’m not the only one with this problem of collecting the same blouse over and over in a different color, but never wearing it.  I mean, I would like it, it would look good on me at the store, but I’d get home and just wear it once, sometimes never, and then it would sit there, next to its fraternal twin, never to be worn again.

Then I found it:

Capsule Wardrobe

Funny.  When I heard about it, I pictured living inside a space station for 3 months.  Or toting around a backpack through Europe one summer after high school.  It was a foreign concept for me to attempt to take my entire, 500+ (ok, let’s get real – more like 2000+ piece wardrobe) and take it down to 37 measly pieces for a season.

But I had to do it.  I had to attempt to purge my wardrobe, break through the guilt associated with it, and simplify my mornings.

So how did I do it?

First, I read this fantastic article by UnFancy.  I don’t want to repeat everything she says, so I encourage you to spend some time on her site if this is something you would like to do.  I will, however, give you my story and what I did with it.

A capsule wardrobe is meant to save you time, money and energy in the morning.  Hallelujah!  I believe I just heard angels singing.  It is not supposed to be stressful getting rid of your clothes, it is supposed to feel like weight is pulling off your shoulders.  With every garment finding a new home, even in the garbage bin, you should be at peace.

However….  This is the big however….  I couldn’t commit to 37 pieces (and that INCLUDES shoes) starring me in the face for a whole, 3 month season.

Not with both work and play to contend with.  Not with special events and parties and happy hours and gobs of other excuses I am romantically fantasizing in my head right now.  Yes, I attend them, like once in a blue moon.  But these excuses were circling around my head of reasons why 37 pieces just.wouldn’t.work.

So, here’s the deal I made with myself:  I could have TWO capsule wardrobes.  Makes sense right?

One for work, one for play.

And I wouldn’t count shoes.  I think its a crime in 14 European countries to include shoes in the cut.

If you are playing along at home, that means I allowed myself 74 pieces of clothes with the following exceptions:

1. SHOES
2. undergarments
3. workout clothes *cough* that I might *cough again* wear
4. PJs
5. Hubby’s shirts that chill out in my closet because they smell good
6. Swimsuits, though I do have more bikinis than this mama really needs

That sound reasonable?  I mean, there are 30 days in a month, so that’s two pieces of clothes a day.  I think that’s reasonable.  I can do laundry once a week and still have plenty to work with.

The Great Purge

I woke up last Saturday motivated.  This was the day of my big project.  I even told friends and family I had a big project.  Why?  Because I didn’t want to chicken out.  I didn’t want them to pull me away and say, “hey, let’s go to the grocery store because that sounds like more fun!”  I wanted to really do it this time.  Not just do 1/4 of it and give up.

I even enlisted Mini Me to help with the promise that she might get a few pieces from my closet.  Its great that she wears the same top size as me AND thinks my clothes are cool.  Winning.

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So here’s what I did:

I split the room off into 6 piles:

1. Keep – like really really love this item, it fits, omg I can’t part with it.
2. Store – its fall/winter, I like/love the item and I will make a decision about this later.  It’s going in a tub.
3. Mini Me – she got her own pile that was her keep pile of items she loved
4. Sell – items in great condition that were worth consigning/selling online
5. Donate – hello Goodwill.  You are still in “good” condition, and belong in a black trash bag.
6. Trash – holes, stains, goodbye!

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While I sorted, Mini Me folded and put in the storage bins.  I tried things on (with my full length mirror – eek!).  We spent hours upon hours pulling things out, trying things on, and really making great decisions.  This was not a 2 hour process.  This was a full day of decisions.

I kept telling myself these questions:

1. Do I love it?
2. Do I need it?
3. Is is it in great condition?
4. Do I look good wearing it?
5. Does it enhance my look?

If I couldn’t answer 100% YES YES YES, it was outta here!  This was so hard.  I would start thinking about how much I spent, or how long I’ve had it, or the memories I made with it.  And Mini Me was there, asking me those questions.  Or coaching me through it.

“It’s ok mom.  Someone else can love it too.”
“If its a winter item, you can store it and make a decision later.”

She was also trying to steal some of my good items:

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Beyonce she is not!

The Results

It was a mess in my room, but ultimately it was worth it.

We donated 3 large trash bags to Goodwill (and they even went out the same day – that’s a big feat for me!)
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I have a mound of items to sell on Poshmark – starting this week:

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But most importantly, I have a cleared out closet that is easy to see what I have in it.
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I don’t have any plans for those shelves just yet.  And that back wall may actually be prime real estate for an inspirational print.  Who knew I had that kind of space?
The dresses and coats that were hanging out in other closets have been also added back into this room (after purging those I didn’t want).
I found I still have more “play” clothes than work clothes, but I will use LeTote to offset some extra costs associated with those.  I still feel I should purge a few more play clothes than I have, but I got rid of most of it.
Next Steps
 
My next step is to work up some kind of mock outfit arrangement and post it in my closet.  These pieces go to this outfit, etc.  Like you see on Pinterest.
I also know that come fall/winter, I have 3 bins that are currently sitting in Hubby’s closet (nicely stacked, mind you) that will need to be gone through.  I allowed me to not feel AS MUCH guilt as I could have.

I will sell items on Poshmark for about 60 days, and then I will take them to a local consignment store.  If they don’t take them, I will donate them.  I have made a pledge with myself that I have 60 days with these items and then they are fully out of my house/life.

 

What I learned

I learned that there is a huge weight off my shoulder and that I do need to stop hoarding.  After reading UnFancy’s declutter post, I ventured around her website a bit more and found strategies on how she purchases for next season.  While I don’t feel the need to buy a lot of things, I have the tendency to want new items, just because.  I will try to employ some new strategies on how to purchase items that will fit better into my wardrobe.

I also noticed that Sunday, Mini Me started purging her wardrobe.  No joke.  Late afternoon, she snuck away and started pulling items out, grabbed some garbage bags and started sorting her things.  This, my friends, was unprovoked, un-mommy-motivated.  She truly saw what a big difference it made in my life, and saw that she, too, could do something about her closet.  I know for a fact she has over 125 shirts alone.  This is a stupid amount of shirts for a girl who is still growing.  And I think she realized that she, too, has items she has never worn.

I read somewhere recently that if we want to find peace in our life, we should stop trying to add things to our lives (like more organizing bins), and instead, take things away from our lives, stop complicating things.  I used to think that material items would make me happy.  But they aren’t.  They are cluttering up my life and my mind and just added to chaos.  The more you get down to basics, the happier you will be.

I’ve taken away our television usage – I’m happier.
I’ve taken a vacation with no electronics – I’m happier.
Eaten simpler foods – I’m happier.
I’ve purged my closet – I’m happier.

I’m learning that living a more simple life is making me happy.  What other simple things make you happy?  Are you going to try to put your closet on a diet?

 

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