As you focus on improving your finances, diet, home, etcetera, let me call your attention to your closet. Do you know what’s in there? If you are working at sticking to a budget, your closet should be the first place you ‘shop’. If you are working to lose weight (with the MOL Fitness Challenge), trying on your clothes is a great motivator. As a wardrobe planner helping clients to reclaim their closets, we follow three steps: Reduce, Reuse and Replenish. Here’s how it works.
Make an appointment with yourself and put it on your calendar.
- Grab a friend – your very best, brutally honest friend and ask for her help. There is no way to be objective about your own stuff. Buy her a latté, pour her a glass of wine, promise to reciprocate, but somehow rope her in for an hour or two.
- Grab a few baskets so you can start making piles of things that need to be altered, sold or donated.
- Prepare to try on. If you are on the modest side, remember to wear undergarments that won’t make you feel overexposed.
The hardest part is the reduction process. This can be a rather grueling task if you do not purge on a regular basis. It is also the most satisfying task, because you will see immediate results.
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- Start going through your clothing items one at time by type of apparel. For example, go through all your pants, than skirts, than dresses, etc.
- You should try on anything you are not sure of. You should try on anything your friend is not sure of, even if you think you are sure it is fabulous.
- The things you leave in
your closet should fit your body, fit your lifestyle and make you happy. Now sometimes at this point a client will say, “If I follow that rule, I will not own a pair of jeans.” Since you probably need jeans, keep the best pair (or two) and realize jeans are the first item on your Replenish list.
- Keep a small number of items that don’t fit your lifestyle most of the time, but are necessary for certain occasions. For example, if you never wear a suit but own six, keep the best and most versatile.
- A word about size. Do you keep clothes that don’t fit? Here is my guideline. If you are currently in a serious weight loss program or are in the midst of a body change because of a major physical condition (like pregnancy), remove the clothes from the central part of your closet. Put them in a different closet, under your bed, or at least push them to the back until you can wear them. If you have been the same size for two years or more, it is probably time to rid yourself of things that don’t fit. You will be happier focusing on the clothes you can wear.
- Make a pile for the things you love, but are in need of repairs or alterations.
Now that you know what you are keeping, we will tackle what you have removed.
- Your alterations pile should include anything in need of obvious repair. Things you have not worn because they have a missing button, torn hem, or broken zipper.
- Your alterations pile should also include anything that almost fits great, but is not quite right in one place. Here are the most common alterations I encounter: shortening a skirt to the knee, letting out a trouser hem for length, taking in the waist of gaping jeans/pants, shortening a top to hip bone length, adding darts through the rib cage, adding a dart under the arm on sleeveless tops and adding a snap at the bust of button front shirts.
- Items that are in great condition, but not right for you, can be sold at consignment or on eBay. If something is from a well known store or designer it will be much easier to sell. Accessories are generally an easy sell too. Consider the cost of cleaning, postage and your time when deciding to sell it as opposed to donating.
- It’s not hard to find a place to donate clothing. Places looking for women’s apparel in particular are
Dress For Success, The Family Place, Brighter Tomorrows, and Genesis Women’s shelter, to name a few.
- As you put things back in your closet, group items according to type. Have your bottoms grouped by jeans, pants and skirts. Group your dresses by day and night. As far as tops go, I mix types (with the exception of jackets) and group them by color. I think it makes it easier to pull outfits together.
- When you visit the tailor with your alterations, ask for pricing up front so you can decide if it is worth altering an item or more economical to replace it.
- Take a look at what you have purged and start keeping a shopping list. It is much better to buy a single item to complete an outfit you have then to buy something you will need to build an outfit around.
Congratulations! Don’t you feel better? Shopping and getting dressed will be so much easier now that you know what you have and what’s working. Never, ever, take financial or nutritional advice from me, but if you ever have questions about what your wardrobe, let me know.