January 6, 2015

New Year's Resolution: Rein in that Wardrobe

Every few months I "clean out" my closet by going through my drawers and skimming my closet rods for any pieces I haven't worn in a while. And when I say a while, I mean I can't remember the last time I wore the item. Each time I come away with about five pieces I can part with.

And last week, while skimming a post on A Beautiful Mess on being content with the things you own, including your closet, they mention a capsule wardrobe. Now I've never heard of this so clearly I had to do some research. The post led me to Un-Fancy a style blog by Caroline who lives life with four capsule wardrobes, one for each season. This girl allows herself 37 articles of clothing / pairs of shoes for each season! When one season ends, those pieces get stored and a new set comes out. At first I thought this is just crazy, you'd wear the same thing every day... and after reading into it more I started going over in my head all the clothes I go through in a season, and guess what?! When it comes down to it, there are probably less than 40 items I wear on a regular basis. Sure I have lots of extra options I can throw on when bored of the same 'ole, but would I notice that fifth plaid shirt if it was gone? Probably not. Caroline's testimony really got me thinking about all the crap I've refused to give up.

So now I'm purging! Let's be clear, I'm not going to try and start living with one suitcase of clothes or start living via a capsule schedule. I just know I couldn't accept that. But I really scrutinized my closet and oh-so many shoes. Typically when I do a clean out, I think "when did I last wear this?" This time the question was, "If I remove it from my closet will I miss it?"

I'm quite proud (and also appalled) to report that I purged over 130 items from my closets and drawers. I had to stop counting after that because I was disgusted. Of that total here is what went buh-bye:

10 pairs of jeans                   13 skirts                      15 dresses
26 tops / blouses                   21 tshirts / tanks         11 pairs of shoes
And lots of other crap!
Before and After.
So many hangers retired!
I'm also proud to say that this purge was actually quite enlightening. I learned a few things about myself throughout the process.
  • I cannot part with my Chucks collection
  • Colored jeans were a thing of my past
  • I tend to purchase things that are monetarily cheap, even if they don't fit well or I don't need
  • My style has definitely evolved
Chucks Forever.
My bestie Amber makes fun of me because I have a pants closet. And yes I pretty much did (notice that past tense). My excuse to Amber was I have two separate wardrobes: one for work and one for play. So my pants closet was "mainly for work." This purge made me question, do I really have two separate wardrobes?

Over the last couple of years, as I've matured (not aged) my style has too. The older I get the more my weekend wear looks like my every day 9-5 look. The biggest enlightenment of this project is that I've been lying to myself. I don't have two wardrobes, nor do I need two. I've been hanging on to old things so I could hang on to the images of past years. I had to accept that I was never going back to that stage in my life.
The pants closet is now only 50% pants!
I took my reject pile to Crossroads Trading looking to sell anything they would take, and the rest was going off to a donation center. After they went through all my stuff they offered me $46 and change for about 5 items. I graciously accepted and let them haul the rest of my possessions away to the donation bin. Ten minutes later on the drive home I had a mini mental freak-out about how much money I just dumped down the drain for a $46 return. I immediately regretted getting rid of all that stuff... for about five minutes. And then I came back to my senses and since that mild freak in the car I haven't thought twice about anything that went buh-bye.

So long story short, A Beautiful Mess's post has helped me shape a 2015 New Year's resolution and hopefully a lifestyle change. In 2015, when shopping I'm going to try and make a point to focus on items that will enhance my wardrobe and evolve with me. I'm going to try my best not to buy items just because they're cheap or will look great with one outfit. So guilty! And that's my New Year's resolution that I didn't know I was making!
There is actual space between shirts...
For those of you who want to learn more about capsule wardrobes, check out Un-Fancy's guide on how to build a capsule for three months at a time. Give her website a look, it's pretty inspiring. And lastly I'll end with the best piece of advice I picked up from Un-Fancy... if and when you're ready to purge do so by emptying your closets. It's a lot easier to toss something when it isn't already hanging in your closet. TRUST ME.

Here's to 2015 and fresh starts!