Posted on 33 Comments

Wardrobe Woes? Conquering the Chaos

The Bane of Your Existence

Closet packed full of clothesEvery day it’s the same drill: You shut off the annoying alarm, contemplate getting up, contemplate calling off work, get up, put on the coffee, use the comfort station (fancy description for toilet), take your shower, contemplate calling off work again, consume first cup of java, do hair, do makeup, inhale deeply, then open the closet.

It’s full of all sorts of clothes, yet you still have not a blessed thing to wear. “What to do?” you ask yourself for the millionth time, as you once again contemplate calling off work one last time. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is gonna work today. “I hate my wardrobe!” you mutter as you angrily stomp away to grab another cup of coffee while you think about what to wear.

If this situation sounds vaguely familiar you can rest assured this is a global phenomenon faced by women and yes, men, the world over. There are many reasons why we find ourselves in this predicament but today’s focus is going to be on how to rectify the issue and it’s gonna take some fearlessness. Are you ready? Let’s do this!

Multi colored plastic hangers

The Assessment

Before diving into a full-blown evaluation of the contents within your wardrobe it’s helpful to have an end goal in mind. You can ask yourself questions like:

  1. What is it I’m hoping to achieve? Am I just clearing things out to make room for more stuff? Do I just want to be more organized?
  2. Where am I now or where do I hope to be in my career in the next 6 months? (For example if you’re a news reporter for a local station who doesn’t provide you with a wardrobe then you’re likely going to require more selections than the average consumer).
  3. If the long-term goal is a minimalist approach how will I be able to sustain the system I put in place? In the future for each new garment I buy am I planning to get rid an equal amount of items I currently possess?

After you’ve answered these questions begin the assessment in your closet by taking out all of your go-to pieces and set them aside. This is easy because you constantly use all of these  things therefore they are within reach.

You’ve Gotta be Ruthless

Go back to your closet and remove the remaining items, one piece at a time to decide if each will be tossed, donated and/or sold. It isn’t easy but this is where you have to be brutally honest.

Remember that gorgeous jumpsuit you bought two years ago that you just had to have but never wore? Well here it is, in pristine condition (with tags even), hanging there just as lonely and dejected as an extrovert in forced solitary confinement during spring break.

Then there’s those fabulous skinny jeans that are just a wee bit snug (originally retailed in the triple digits but you scored them for 50 bucks), every time you look at them they scream at you LOSE weight!! Who needs psychological abuse from a pair of jeans? Send them packing because here’s the thing, you understand that looking put together means wearing clothes that fit well.

Wooden drawer with one knob

Bottom line, you’re going to give, sell or toss the remainder of the closet. Yes, there can be an emotional attachment to the things you own, so to assist you in getting through this process it’s important to be objective, honest and do not linger over your decisions.

Do the setting aside of the go-tos, toss, donate and/or sell routine with your dresser, chest of drawers, armoire (wherever you store clothing). Depending on the amount of garments you own and how dedicated you are to change, this could take a few hours, days or (and I shudder to think about it), weeks.

Immediately toss the dated, damaged or otherwise unwanted clothing. You now have two categories left: sell and donate.

A word on selling: When you opt to sell your clothing there are several options available:

  1. You can do it online on your own through sites like ebay, Tradesy or Swap
  2. A brick and mortar consignment retailer like Plato’s Closet, 2nd Time Around (online too) or Consignment Pal Resale Directory
  3. An online consignment retailer who takes care of everything ThredUp, My Girlfriend’s Wardrobe Consignment Store, Delvage

If you are going to be selling any of your clothing to a consignment retailer, you’ll want to check their policies on acceptable items (some will only accept designer labels). Recently I chose to sell some clothing to ThredUp and because of the quantity of items, I took pictures (for my records) of each piece prior to shipment.

Okay, so let’s review: You’ve tossed the tossables, bagged the sellables and by now are packing up the donatables.

Bunch of full garbage bags

Remember how I said we would look at your go-tos in a bit? Okay, now’s the time to appraise your favorite clothes. Do they still fit well? Could they use some altering? Are they worn or damaged due to wear and tear? Ultimately you want to see what needs to be replaced and act accordingly.

If you keep only those things that you love you will be getting more value out of your investment. Plus, the added bonus of feeling fabulous is priceless!

33 thoughts on “Wardrobe Woes? Conquering the Chaos

  1. Stephn,
    I agree with you on this post. I go through my closet from time to time and toss out clothes I don’t wear anymore, especially pieces I am holding on to that I think I will get back into when I lose that extra 20 pounds! Ha, ha!! I had a sighted friend come recently and help me clean out my closet. it was wonderful. I got some new more fashionable pieces. We just went through my costume jewelry too. I feel so much better. It is like a burden off my back. Now I have a little system going and I don’t feel so bad about trying to hold on to things. IT is okay to let things go. I have a charity I donate to that comes to my home and picks up clothes and household goods so I don’t have to worry about getting a ride or finding a sighted person to pick thigns up for me.

    1. ” IT is okay to let things go.” hits the nail on the head Empish. I forgot to mention that I went through my jewelry as well and tossed a bunch of stuff. And you’re right about the burden being lifted. It feels fabulous not being held hostage by stuff that you aren’t even making good use of. I still haven’t dropped my bag by FedEx to send to ThredUp but the other 3 bags were donated and I can’t tell you how good this feels knowing that someone will be able to get some pleasure out of some of my belongings.

  2. Hi steph,

    I hope you love to read this story, find it here.

    1. Hi Wilson, I will do that now. Thank you for the note.

      1. You are welcome! I thought you would like it.

  3. Wow! Look at all those bags! You really do mean ruthless.

    1. I am so sorry I’m just now responding to your comment. I thought I saw this yesterday but then couldn’t find it and chalked it up to my imagination and it’s funny because I remember chuckling when I saw it (or thought I saw it). I only ended up with 4 bags (3 to donate and one to sell). If I had all the bags in the stock image I’d toss myself off a bridge and I have a serious bridge phobia haha 🙂

      1. Oh, that’s a relief. I’m glad it’s a stock image. I was wondering what could possibly be left! 🙂

      2. Hahaha If I had that much stuff I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. Don’t get me wrong, I like stuff but too much makes me dizzy.

  4. Stephanae, many is the time I’ve left the house with only a t-shirt, tie, socks and my underwear, carrying only a cup of coffee out into the world, because my wardrobe has let me down. I can do this.

    1. Hahaha, Paul you slay me XD When I saw this comment a cartoon character came to mind but darn if I can remember who it is, or it’s highly possible it’s just a figment of my imagination 😉 I’ll tell ya good wardrobes are just so hard to find.

      1. Especially at a decent price. Until then, I ‘ll go naked into the world.

  5. A spot on post! First paragraph describes me in the mornings of late, staring at my wardrobe with no clue what to wear. Shoe choice is a problem at this stage of my knee recovery, because I normally decide on the shoe first before the outfit. It’s a struggle, not everything looks great with a pair of comfortable sneakers:-)

    1. Ugh, I hear hear you. I remember the days of ankle sprains, etc and having to wear sneakers – I was not a happy person. When not wearing sneakers I do the same as you, choosing my shoes first then the outfit. How is your knee coming along?

      1. Hi Steph! Thanks for asking, I went back to work a week ago but my knee proved not ready. So, I’m on sick leave at the moment till I see an orthopaedic. Hope you a lovely weekend.

      2. I’m sorry to hear that you weren’t quite ready to return to work, that can be so frustrating but sometimes it’s better to find this out now and allow the body to fully recuperate than to incur more lasing damage. I hope everything goes well with your doctor and I wish you a speedy recovery. Have a relaxing weekend.

      3. Thank you so much!

  6. Wonderful post!

    1. Thank you Wilson!! 🙂

      1. You are welcome, your blog is amazing!

  7. I’ve been on the road for 151 weeks now, got rid of some stuff, have purchased a few things, mostly at thrift stores, so I’m used to traveling with only a few things. It is really changing how I view what I want in my wardrobe in the future.

    1. Wow Katelon!! 151 weeks? I’ve only dreamt of living out of a suitcase but I love hearing other people’s stories on how they do it. Thrift stores are the best!! I haven’t been to any lately only due to logistics of getting to and fro but next time I get with one of my gal pals for an outing I’m gonna request a special side trip to one of my faves. I knew you traveled frequently from your blog. Do you ever get tired of it or is it the thrill of new and locales that keeps it exciting?

      1. I leapt out of Seattle Nov. 1, 2012, thinking I’d just be on the road until after 12/21/12, thinking that big changes were finally going to come to this planet, something I’ve worked for, for a long time. I thought that finally my bigger mission, one I’d known about since childhood, was finally going to happen.

        Obviously things didn’t go that way, so I’ve paid for some nights, stayed at friends for short times and mostly bartered to stay in places and towns I’ve been led to.

        This is a spiritual journey of living on faith, donations, and income from a few clients along the way, still doing my spiritual work to move this planet into its transformation to the light.

        I’m growing weary of not having a home base, a community and doing most things alone. I’ve been in San Diego quite awhile and ready to back on the road 🙂 I feel that the transformation is almost here and then I can do my bigger work, and hopefully have a home base at least and friends and family again.

      2. That is so interesting Katelon, especially in view of the fact that your initial venture was originally planned for just over one month. Your journey, I’m sure has had its ups and downs but your ability to remain committed is remarkable. I am glad to hear that you may be starting on your larger focus which will enable you to have a home base (I would imagine that would be weird for a bit after having been on the road for so long).

        I have a good friend who I lost touch with for years but then out of the blue she contacted me last year. She was in town for a bit and stopped by to see me. I was blown away when she told me that she was basically living almost like you describe (on faith) and just how well things were going for her. She’s lived all over the states and I so enjoy her stories of the places she’s been and the people she’s met. When we worked together (more than 15 years ago) at first I wouldn’t have pegged her for this type of lifestyle but after I thought about it she really is a free spirit. I worked with another young woman who sold all her belongings, (her and a friend then picked up and moved to Alaska and she’s traveled the world although “home” is Alaska.

      3. Oh…enjoy your thrift store trip when it happens!

      4. I certainly will, thank you 🙂

  8. what a nice post with lots of great ideas!!

    1. Thank you Lynz!!

      1. you always have such well organized and informative posts! helpful too

      2. Thank you Lynz!! That’s so wonderful to hear. <3

  9. We just had a “review” a few months back and aside from the great feeling of donating clothing to folks in need we now indeed are only faced with decisions on what to wear that we already know looks good…and makes us feel good.

    1. I agree with you Bruce, that donating clothing is a great feeling. In the past I would do it twice a year in the spring and fall but this year my goal was to cut back drastically and keep only what I need and make me feel good. It’s so liberating dealing with less stuff.

Let's chat!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.