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Do you struggle to find something to wear each day, yet your closet rod is sagging under the weight of all the clothes you own? It sounds like it is time for a wardrobe purge. One that includes critical questions that will help you pare down that wardrobe to clothes that make you look and feel good and then keep it that way.
Essential Questions To Ask Yourself When Decluttering Your Wardrobe
The First Round: Gather All Your Clothing Into One Place
I am not a big fan of the Marie Kondo style of decluttering as a whole, but I do agree with a few elements of it and one of those elements is to gather all like items together before you start decluttering–at least with clothing.
Find an area of your home where you have enough floor space to dump all your wardrobe onto and then gather it all. By all I mean all the jackets, your gym clothes, those off-season clothes, scarves, and hats. If you wear it on your body, put it on the pile.
As You Sort Your Clothing, Ask Yourself These Questions
I created a printable list of these questions that is yours free when you sign up for my weekly newsletter. I suggest printing it out and reviewing it often as your sort your clothes.
1. Does it fit well at any time of the month?
This is about to get very TMI, but I have two different sizes of pants in my dresser. One that fits me three weeks of the month and one that fits me one week of the month. My cycle makes me bloat. If yours does too, I get that! So go ahead and keep those pants that are kind of loose three weeks out of the month, but oh so comfortable that other week when everything else feels too tight. But be reasonable–a cycle only lasts one week, and you know how many of those days you are actually bloated, keep just what you need to get by until you return to normal size.
2. Is it stain free?
Toss items with stains, even if they are small. Trust me, others are noticing and even if they are not, you know it is there and will feel self-conscious. Just get rid of stained clothing.
3. Is it free of rips and holes?
Unless the holes and rips are fashion statements, get rid of the item.
4. Has the color faded?
Faded clothes tend to fade your coloring too. You want to look alive, not faded–so toss faded clothing.
5. Does it look a little too worn?
There is a fine line between fashionably worn in and “oh my, I look like a slob.”Don’t cross the line. Be ruthless and toss items that are noticeably worn no matter how much you love them.
6. Is it still in style?
I mean in style now, not in the 1990s. If you honestly don’t know what is currently in style, pick up a magazine or two and flip through them, stroll through your mall, search Amazon fashion. If your clothing isn’t at all like what you see, then chances are you have held onto it too long–time to toss.
Yes, some pieces are classics, but not all! Be honest.
7. Does the color flatter me?
I have never taken a colors course, yet I know that the color lavender makes me look like I am about to die and so does the color yellow. I also know people compliment me more when I wear certain shades of blue and green, which I assume is because they look good on me. You probably know the same things, so why are you hanging on to that pink shirt that makes you look like you are currently three days from death?
8. Do I love how it makes me feel?
We all have articles of clothing that are in great shape and the perfect color for us, but when we put them on we just don’t “feel it.” Stop pretending and toss it.
9. When was the last time I wore it?
If you haven’t worn the item of clothing in the last 12 months, toss it.
10. If I saw it on the rack today would I buy it?
We all make buying mistakes, give yourself grace and get rid of it. You don’t recoup your costs by letting it sit in the closet haunting you, that just breeds negative feelings and who needs those?
Round 2: Go Through What You Kept One More Time
Now that you have gotten rid of all the easy to toss items it is time be ruthless so that the real gems in your wardrobe can make you shine.
11. Does what I have left fit comfortably in my closet and dresser?
If the answer is no, you need to be brutally honest about how much clothing you need (see the section on capsule wardrobes).
12. Do I have something similar? If so, which one do I like better?
If you are looking at eight black tops, you don’t need all eight. Which four do you like best? Now which two?
13. What does it go with?
To create a wardrobe you love and one that allows you to get dressed in very little time each morning, you need clothes to go together. Study the links I share in the capsule wardrobe section of this article to figure out just what you need to create a coordinating wardrobe.
14. If I were leaving for a month right now and could only bring one suitcase, would this piece of clothing make the cut?
When you are staring at a massive pile of clothing, this question will make you honest about what clothing you love. Toss the rest.
15. Does this piece of clothing suit my current stage of life?
Those dresses and slacks from your work days might be in great shape and fit great, but if your current stage of life has you staying home most days while you care for young children, they might not be so practical.
16. Will I wear it next time we have hot weather? Cold weather?
If you hung onto an item for next season simply because it was in good shape ask yourself if you will really wear it next time the hot or cold weather comes around? Or have you grown bored of it? Did you really like it in the first place?
Round 3: Shopping For New Clothes
Now comes the fun part–shopping for new clothing. But only when you need to. In order to not have to do a major purge of your closet again you need to be more careful about what you buy and what you keep when you buy new items.
One thing that helped me keep a small wardrobe was buying a set amount of good quality wooden hangers and not allowing myself to buy additional ones. I also have a rule that all drawers in my dresser must close with ease–if they don’t, it is time to go through them and give away items. I keep a box handy for discards at all times.
Beyond sticking to those two limits, I ask myself three questions when I am out shopping for new clothing. These questions have helped me avoid closet explosions for years.
17. Is this similar to something I already own?
Don’t end up with eight black shirts again! Keep tabs on what you already own and what you really need.
18. Do I need this or am I buying it for other reasons?
Stay out of the clothing stores unless you genuinely have a need. Emotional shopping rarely ends well. If you are blue, try calling a friend. Happy, get up and dance. Frustrated, get out and walk.
19. What piece of clothing am I willing to toss to make this piece a part of my wardrobe?
Practice the classic one in one out rule of housekeeping and you will never have to spend time decluttering again.
20. What would I wear it with?
That shirt might look killer on you, but if it is going to mean you have to buy new pants, new shoes and a new coat–pass on it.
Take The Capsule Wardrobe Plunge
If after your closet purge you still find yourself staring at your clothing every morning wasting precious time trying to put an outfit together, then you might want to consider creating a capsule wardrobe. In a capsule wardrobe pieces are picked so that they coordinate with all the other pieces in the capsule so no matter what you grab, you will look great!
I researched exactly how to create a “livable” capsule wardrobe and found two articles that were extremely helpful to me
I like how the author uses clothing she already owns. She also doesn’t include workout gear or night wear.
This author also encourages you to create your first capsule using what you own. I love her visual on exactly how much to include in your season capsule–nine tops, five bottoms and five pairs of shoes. She also does not include what she considers her “base wardrobe” in her seasonal wardrobe capsule. These items are things such as work out clothing, outerwear, accessories, and loungewear.
I hope these questions and examples of capsule wardrobe rules help you end your clutter frustrations.
Need decluttering support? Join the Snail Pace Clutter Removers Facebook group.
3 More Posts On Decluttering And Clothing:
- 20 Websites Thrifty People Use To Save Money On Clothing
- 52 Weeks To A Simplified Home: Decluttering At A Realistic Pace For Busy Families
- How To Start Decluttering When You Feel Overwhelmed
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