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It’s a new year! It’s 2020. Time for a fresh new start. Out with the old and what’s holding you back and no longer serving you for a new you.
More space, more organization, more you in 2020!
In this guide, I’m going to walk you through a unique approach to changing your life by cleaning your wardrobe from the inside out which will help you save time, money and space. This will also help you avoid and reduce overwhelm, busyness and burnout. Shopping tips are included as well!
Clean out and change your wardrobe, change your life.
You can use this guide not just for your clothes, but for anything that you wear – shoes, undergarments, belts, scarves, hats, bags, jewelry, etc.
The following steps will help you get organized with your life.
Set Up Rules & Constraints
Before we go through clothes & wardrobe, first, we’re going to set up rules and constraints for your personal wardrobe, fashion and style.
What’s a constraint?
A constraint is a limitation or restriction you put on yourself intentionally.
So to help you set up your rules and constraints, I want you to think about your ideal self and who you are and want to be. What do you love and what would you wear?
You want to be picky with it because it’s what you spend your money on, it affects how you feel and it’s how you present yourself to the world. Also, you deserve to!
Go through and decide what kinds of the following you want in your wardrobe and what you want to avoid:
- Patterns & design
- Style & type of clothing
Doing this will help make your life so much so much easier. You’ll make outfit decisions better and faster. Shopping is so much easier.
You’re not overwhelmed with so many options and decision, both with deciding what to wear and when shopping deciding what to get.
It’s easier to say no to things that don’t bring joy and save time, money, and space.
There is less noise, less chatter, less decision fatigue.
Think of it as having discipline with your wardrobe. We all know how important both your discipline and your wardrobe are, but few people ever put them together.
Having rules and constraints will give you freedom.
The less options you have, the better and easier life is. There is more focus, direction and purpose.
The more decisions and options, the more fatigue, overwhelm, anxiety, poor decisions.
Here’s an example of my rules and constraints for clothes so you can get an idea:
Neutral pinks (light, dusty, rose, mauve)
Whites & creams
Sometimes red, brown
Exceptions: grey for comfort clothes
Avoid: everything else
Stick to more solids in general
Avoid: striped, dots, zebra, snake, random, anything else
Soft & comfortable
Well-made and high quality (or appears to be)
High-neck (turtle or mock neck)
Casual & sweater dresses
Skirts & shorts
Avoid: deep v neck, long tops (can’t be tucked in), long dresses and skirts
Accessories, Jewelry and Shoes:
Gold jewelry, no silver
Platform heels & boots (comfortable)
Summer heels & wedges
Nude, black, pink, gold, or white shoes
Nude, black, pink, gold, or white purses & bags
Go for pieces which have pockets. Avoid those which should or could have pockets and don’t (jackets, cardigans, some skirts and shorts)
(ex: I wanted to invest in a satin bomber, but it didn’t have pockets and I thought that was a necessary component so I said no and was able to find one with pockets, but unfortunately it was sold out in my size so I will wait until it’s back in stock or I find what I want)
There can be certain exceptions or “sometimes” to your rules, but they should be really important and few and far in between. And make sure you take note of these exception or sometimes rules.
Now that you’ve set up your rules and constraints, it’s time to go through your clothes.
You’re going to create 4 piles:
1. I LOVE IT
You absolutely love this piece or you wear it regularly. It matches your ideal self. Follows your rules and constraints. No questions asked.
2. I LOVE IT BUT…
This is anything you absolutely love, but there’s something wrong with it. Either it’s damaged, it doesn’t fit, or it has stains. These are pieces you would BUY AGAIN if nothing was wrong with it.
3. I like it. I don’t know. Maybe.
This is for anything you second-guess. Anything you haven’t worn in forever. Anything you feel less than amazing about.
4. I want to get rid of it ASAP
You don’t like it, want it. Period.
While you’re going through your clothes, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this match up with my rules and constraints?
- Does it match up with my ideal self? Is it me?
- How do I feel in it? Do I feel good?
- Would I buy this again?
Once you’ve created the four piles, take pile 1 and pile 3:
Go through and try on each & every single item and while you try on, you’re going to try on as an outfit. So if you’re trying on a top, you’re going to try it on with a bottom.
This does two things:
- It’s easier to realize you should get rid of something if you try on, don’t like, doesn’t fit, it’s uncomfortable, doesn’t actually go with anything like you thought it would
- It gives you ideas for things to wear out of what you do decide to keep
Everything from Pile 3 should end up in Pile 1, Pile 2 or Pile 4.
While you’re trying on clothes, if you think that you’re missing something for an outfit with many different pieces, write it down and make a list of pieces you want to invest in to complete your wardrobe. Many often call this a capsule wardrobe.
If you’re getting rid of something that you would love if it were for something different such as color, list it down and take a picture.
Replace for better quality, better fit and match to you and your rules and constraints. Out with the old and in with the new (and better).
Try not to rationalize or make excuse for things you don’t absolutely love or don’t wear regularly. Remember to be realistic and stick to your rules and constraints!
If you’re having a hard time with any pieces:
Pretend you can convert a piece in to $10 or $20 or $50 or whatever dollars. Would you prefer to have the cash or would you prefer to have the piece?
Don’t be held back by how much you paid for something or the memories or that it was a gift.
If you don’t love it, want it, wear it… Let. It. Go. Free yourself!
There’s no point in holding on to something, just because of something you attach to it. That’s living in the past.
Take a picture of it, if it helps.
Once you’re done this part, you should only have three piles now.
Now you’re going to go through pile 2
You’re going to figure out what you want to do with each of these pieces.
Can it be saved and is it worth it to you?
If it’s stained, can it be washed, bleached, dry-cleaned? And are you willing to do so?
If it’s ripped, can it be fixed or saved? And are you willing to do get that taken care of?
If it doesn’t fit, can it be tailored and are you willing to get it tailored?
If yes for either questions, put it back in the pile. Or if no, take a picture of it and find out if you can buy the same piece or if there’s a similar piece to it then put it in pile 4.
Now, you should still have three piles but Pile 2 should be a lot smaller.
You’re going to take Pile 2 and put it away separate from your wardrobe, either in a bin or a bag so you can get those pieces taken care of. You could even put the pieces you would like to get tailored in your car.
With Pile 4, you can either ask and give away to family and friends, sell, or donate. Or you can do some or all.
Now, you should only be left with Pile 1.
it’s time to put back away and organize.
First, you want to take and put away seasonal/travel clothes in bins or drawers under the bed or in an extra closet or the garage.
For organization, it’s helpful to keep same types of pieces together, separated from other types. It’s a good idea to also use closet dividers as well.
If you set up good rules and constraints, you shouldn’t need to color coordinate too much.
After following the steps, you may have a list of pieces that you want to invest in for your wardrobe. Feel free to add to the list of what you feel you need and if you haven’t, create a list.
What this does is that it makes you plan for shopping and shop intentionally rather than just shop impulsively or for things that you really don’t want or need.
Once I finished going through and getting rid of clothes, I found that I felt like I needed less things than before I went through my clothes!
Make sure what you shop for and buy follows your rules. Even if for special events, it should be doable so you’re not just throwing out money for one event.
Think about what you can wear with it, whether it’s a top, bottom, shoes, jewelry or purse, and visualize the outfit.
If you’re shopping online, try on the pieces right away as the full outfit you would wear to help you realize if you actually love it all together and you would actually wear it.
If it doesn’t fit or you don’t absolutely love it 100%, return it ASAP! It’s so easy not to and just let space and money go to waste by doing nothing.
Now, enjoy your clean and organized wardrobe and especially, new you!