The Wardrobe Edit: Less is More
Contrary to popular belief, a wardrobe edit need not be painful. In fact it can be fun (scout’s honor) if you approach it with the right attitude. Look at it this way. The less you have, the lighter you feel…not to mention the more you wear what you have. (H-e-l-l-o higher ROI!) Here’s the really big plus: Donating your castoffs gives you the opportunity to do something really nice for others. (This is priceless.) So why not set aside some time this holiday season and sort out your wardrobe? Read on and you’ll see it’s as easy as A-B-C.
A) Advance preparation: It’s going to take some energy—and some time. So I suggest you eat something before and have plenty of snacks on hand. (Ditto for water.) Make sure you set aside a few hours—sans interruptions. This means no emails, phone calls or little ones (on two or four legs). You also need to set the mood so I suggest you have a playlist of your favorite tunes at-the-ready.
Set aside clothing and shoes for one season plus anything that can be worn year round. (Note: I divide the year into two seasons: warmer or cooler.) Make sure they are all in one area to eliminate unnecessary back-and-forth.
B) Baseline criteria: Now that you have all of your items together, you must try them on. I’m sorry, but just looking at an item is not enough – you’ve got to look at the item on you. Here’s why. The dry cleaner has a nasty habit of shrinking clothing over time. And let’s face it…”Things” (a.k.a. our weight) can shift over time. Not to mention it is easier to see stains, open seams, holes etc. when the items are actually on you.
With each item, consider the following:
- Color – Does the color flatter your skin tone?
- Fit – Does the item fit you now? If not, what is the likelihood of it fitting in the near future?)
- Style – Does the item represent ‘you’ and the image you want to project?
- Currency – Does the item look dated?
- Relevancy – Make sure you get rid of the clothing that does not reflect your current lifestyle and who you are today. Your closet should not represent who you were before children, when you worked in the city or when you weighted 10 lbs. more or less.
- Condition – Has it seen better days or is it worn out? (If so, please do not donate these items but instead place them in the ‘circular file’ – a.k.a. the garbage can.)
- Last Date of Wear – Let’s be honest. If it was longer than 2 years, there is a good chance that you will never wear it again.
Make your decision based on these objective criteria and take the emotion out of it!
C) Crescendo: Once you’ve gone through each of the items, organize what’s left. (There are different ways to do this but most people find it useful to organize their closets by type of item.) Reward yourself with uniform hangers, pretty storage boxes and other boutique touches!
You are now ready assess your castoffs. Determine items will be donated to a charity, given to a friend or brought to a thrift shop. Don’t forget to clean or repair the items (if needed) before giving them away. As an aside, you may be able to write off a portion of the value of your donations. (You will want to consult your accountant for guidelines.)
Congratulations! You now have a closet that contains only the items that fit and flatter you. Bask in the glory of a more streamlined wardrobe. But more importantly…Savor the feeling that comes from giving to those in need. It’s a feeling that’s much warmer than any sweater or coat you could ever own.