Tips and tricks for simplifying your life, starting with your wardrobe!
This year, one of the goals I’ve made for myself is simplifying my life. What do I mean by simplifying? I mean avoiding clutter, cutting down on useless stuff, using up things that you’ve accumulated, reducing things you do not need, and keeping things organized. The result: less sorting, less time wasted, less cleaning, less stress and a life that relies less on material stuff. This can apply to multiple areas of you life, which is why I’ll be doing a couple posts on this to share some of the changes I’ve made to simplify my life. Let’s start with the…wait for it… your wardrobe.
Sometimes it seems like there is never enough space for clothes. Between closets and dressers, clothes are hard to sort, organize and reduce. And when you have a wardrobe like this it makes it hard to choose outfits and makes laundry day long and tiresome. Naturally your wardrobe will grow as your needs grow. Work clothes, workout clothes. But I like the idea of having a wardrobe that will fit into any space and a wardrobe that serves you well in any circumstance. For inspiration, I checked out my favourite vlogger Ingrid Nilsen’s video: Living with Less: Closet Organization.
It brings me to some tips I have for keeping your wardrobe simplified.
1. What to Keep, What Not to Keep
Clothes accumulate over time for a few reasons: if you take good care of your clothes, they will last a long time, you keep clothes that have memories tied to them versus how they make you feel know, you’re keeping something till it fits you again, you buy more clothes than you wear, or worse, you never throw anything away ever! But you need to. So here’s some questions to consider when sorting your clothes: is it in good shape or has it lost its shape? does this item fit? does it make you feel good? have you worn it in the last 3 months? will you wear it in the next 3 months? If you answer no to 3 more or more of these questions…donate!
2. Seasonal Changes to your Wardrobe
To keep you from getting overwhelmed by your wardrobe, change it over every season or if you live in Canada, twice a year. I classify this as Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter. I have one box that I store away each seasonal change. Last fall I pulled out my thick sweaters and warm PJs from my box and packed away my shorts and sun dresses. I cannot wait till spring to pull out my warm season clothes again! By doing this you make it easier to sort your clothes throughout the year and you also look forward to opening that box every time.
3. How to Organize Clothing Type/Styles
One thing I struggled with in my closet was being able to walk in and pick an outfit easily and in little time. In fact it hadn’t to the point where it was making me late for work in the morning. To tackle this, I started with tip #1 and sorted through and donated clothes that just weren’t doing me any favours. Then I reorganized how my clothes were sorted. I had originally had them sorted by type and then colour. While this had worked in the past, I wanted to try something different, so I organized my clothes keeping in mind more subcategories of use. So instead of classifying all tops under the same type then colour coordinating, I divided my tops into different sections: button-up shirts for work, fancier blouses or shirts with nice fabrics, shirts that are cropped or need to be tucked into pants or a skirt and tops that are casual, but could be worn to work (all hung in the closet and then arranged by colour in their own sections) and lastly my at home casual shirts in a drawer of my dresser. This has really helped me in picking out clothes for work in particular.
4. Tackling Shoes
Shoes also need to be assessed and donated accordingly. Not all shoes should be treated equally. I have my every day shoes in our front hall closet, making it easy to pick them out and slip them on, shoes for other seasons stored in a Rubbermaid closet organizer for when I will need them and then one medium sized box for my dress heels which I wear very rarely. I’ve used this opportunity to determine what shoes I wear most which will from now on act as a guide when I’m shopping for shoes. So instead of buying what I think I will wear or what’s in style, I buy what I KNOW I will wear.
5. Keep Things Where they Belong
This might seem obvious, but once you have worked this hard the trick is getting it to stay this way. So just make sure you keep things where they belong. Always hang clothes back up if you’re not or done wearing them. Always put them back in the same spot. Keep empty hangers on one end of your closet for easy access. Always take the time to properly hang or fold clothes instead of making a mess. Your clothes will stay organized and in better shape from this simple effort.
6. Repeat and Repeat and Repeat
I suggest repeating steps 1 through 5 multiple times a year. This will force yourself to stay on top of all of these tips. Plus this type of organization takes consistency and cannot be done all at once. You need to practice it throughout the year and repetition is key. Try to do this at least twice a year and I promise your life will be much more simplified.
7. Reduce What you Bring into your Wardrobe
It feels good simplifying things. Living with less stuff helps you appreciate the good things. Instead of buying lots and wasting money or buying lots and it all being cheap, think of each piece of clothing as an investment. Think long and hard before buying something. Think of the following things before you buy any item: does this go with at least 3 other things in your wardrobe? will you wear this more than once? does it fit you now AND feel comfortable? can you afford it? is it worth the time it took for you to work to pay for it?If you answer no to two or more of these questions, reconsider buying it. Leave it. Go home and think about it. If you get over it, it wasn’t meant to be. If you can’t stop thinking about it, then go for it. Either way this practice will help you take less stuff into your wardrobe which will make steps 1 through 6 easier to tackle.
The last word is that quantity does not equal quality, but quality does not necessarily equal quantity. That is to say that it’s not about how much you have, or how nice your clothes are either. It’s about having the right amount of nice clothes that you will ACTUALLY wear! Finally you can stop saying: I have nothing to wear! So good luck in simplifying your wardrobe.