If we’re honest, most of us out there don’t look in our closets and only see stuff we consistently wear.
Clothes, shoes, and accessories can pile up, and if you’re anything like me, it doesn’t matter how many trips you make to Goodwill, there still seems to be things left over that you just won’t ever wear again.
This post will be a step-by-step guide to feeling better, dressing better, and having more confidence in every purchase you make. Solving your closet clutter will help you save money in the future by making better buying decisions, and you might even make a few bucks in the process!
1. Make Your Piles
Take a Saturday afternoon and clean your closet out. Make two piles of clothes. One pile to donate/resell, and one pile to keep.
Don’t over think this part, move quickly and sort everything based on instinct. It should take you maybe 15 minutes based on how much stuff you have. You can go back later and double check the piles to make sure you didn’t toss anything important.
If you find this task particularly difficult, turn to the “does it bring me joy” method as out lined in Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This will feel stupid at first but hear me out.
Step 1: Ask yourself, “does this shirt/pants suit/ sequined bowtie bring me joy?”
Step 2: If you hesitate at all, toss that sucker.
Step 3. If you still have a hard time throwing it out, thank the item for what it did. This is the part where you’ll feel stupid. But trust me, it works.
Thank that pants suit for the joy it gave you in the dressing room even though you never got the confidence to wear it out.
Thank that ugly purse your grandma got you because it showed you how much she loves you and how she thought about you enough to get it.
Thank those expensive and colorful knee high socks you wore at a pep rally once and the happiness it gave you when you and your friends all matched.
Thank it, then throw it in the toss pile.
2. Sort the Toss Pile
When it comes to the toss pile you have two options. First, you can decide if you want to resell anything on sites like Poshmark or at places like Plato’s Closet/Clothes Mentor. Second option is to just donate everything because you’re sick of all the stuff being in your house and it’s not worth storing it for the next couple of months while you try to sell it.
A note on clothes donation: Do not donate clothes with holes, tears, or anything damaged. Recycle/throw it away. If you don’t want it anymore for one of those reasons, no one else does. Thrift stores have butt tons of clothes to sort through and donating your trash slows them down. (The exception to this is if you know it’s something is expensive/fancy and repairable.)
3. Evaluate What You’ve Kept
Back to the things you’ve decided to keep! (Hopefully things you know for sure you’ll wear again).
Lay out all that you have (including accessories and shoes) and try to make at least two outfits with each piece (The exception to this is formal wear.)
If you have something you can’t wear with multiple things, it’s probably not worth keeping.
This exercise will also help you find holes in your wardrobe. Have a couple patterned skirts you love but have never worn because you’re missing a white tank top to wear with it? Go buy a tank top!
Now, simply study everything you have. This will teach you to know which things you actually wear. This way, you’ll have a clearer idea of what things you like next time you need to go spend money on something new.
Notice you wear almost all dresses in the summer?
Realize you only wear black all the time?
Is your wardrobe nothing but fall colors?
This may end up being a little depressing if you glance over at your toss pile and see all the floral blouses you bought in hopes of wearing something more “fun” and never did.
I am 100% supportive of wearing whatever makes you feel confident and beautiful, but it’s important to know yourself and stop wasting money on things you know deep down you’ll never wear. If you’ve never felt confident in a floral blouse, and know you never will, then compliment people who do, and stick to what makes you feel best.
Being familiar with your style saves you money in the long run and you’ll realize how much you’ve wasted in the past by buying things you know don’t fit well in your closet.
4. Going Shopping
When buying new things, unless it’s something for a specific event (i.e. cocktail dress), make sure the piece will pair with at least two of your items back home, and make sure you are not buying any duplicates. It doesn’t matter if the white pants are different than your other white pants- if you already own something similar, do not buy it. Keeping these thoughts in your head while shopping will save you money.
Now for trying on clothes, you should absolutely follow my philosophy:
If you don’t love it within the first 10 seconds, take it off, because you never will.
I’m going to make a fake statistic and say that 90% of wardrobe clutter comes from people convincing themselves in the dressing room for 10 minutes that they like something. Trying on clothes should be a short and sweet process, and instinct is everything. You should know immediately if you don’t feel comfortable in something or if it only needs a quick hem to be perfect.
The next thing you should do after buying something is to try it on as soon as you get home. Theres a chance you’ve just bought something you aren’t going to like as much in different lighting and in a more comfortable setting. Theres a chance your new pants are actually see-through, and thats going to make for a bad time.
Last note: Never go shopping when the store is about to close, if you’re with someone who “loves” everything you try on, or if you’re in a time rush. This will almost always end in bad decision making.
So there you go- 4 easy steps to prevent you from wasting money on clothes, while gaining some closet space and making your future shopping experiences a little more enjoyable.