Have you ever gone to your closet and realised that, although it is bulging with clothes, you have nothing to wear? I think this would be a true statement for many women. The issue is not that there are no clothes in the closet, it’s often simply that there is nothing appropriate to wear for the occasion. One of the key decluttering tasks you will need to undertake in order to create your clutter-free life is to declutter the closet.
Problems with a cluttered closet:
- Clothes are hard to find
- Clothing gets crushed and creased
- Not knowing what we actually own
- Too easy to buy duplicates
- We wear the same couple of items over and over
- Clothes get lost and forgotten at the back
- There is no system of storage
It was a struggle!
Struggling with my closet happened most often to me when I was looking for something to wear to go out to dinner or to meet with friends. If I wanted to wear something that I usually wore to work, it would have been fine. These clothes would most likely be entirely appropriate for the situation but I can’t get dressed as if I am going to work and then go out to dinner. I just can’t do it.
One of my problems was that even when I bought myself something nice, I will often grab it on a work day because I could not find something else to wear. Suddenly the outfit was now a ‘work’ outfit and had to go out of circulation from my casual wardrobe.
I accidentally came across a solution to my problem: A capsule wardrobe.
Declutter the closet and create a capsule wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe is defined differently depending on who you consult but essentially it means:
1) A collection of clothes which only includes essential items.
2) The coordinating clothes and accessories are used as the basis for all outfits.
3) The items can be mixed and matched to create a wide range of outfits.
How I made it work
I decided to take the basic concept and apply it to my workwear. It is currently summer here so that has made it really easy. I identified 5 bottoms and 8 tops that are comfortable and appropriate and set them apart in my closet to wear exclusively to work. I then threw in a couple of dresses just to mix things up a little bit. I thought I might get bored with this but I’m 6 weeks in and that hasn’t happened so far.
One of the unintended positive side effects is that I now spend absolutely no time thinking about what I am going to wear in the morning. I simply grab one bottom, one top, throw on a coordinating necklace or bracelet and off I go. I have essentially created a uniform for myself. It still has plenty of variety so that no one but me would think of it that way but the positive effect on my life has been huge.
This now means that anything that has not been designated as ‘work wear’ is now available for me to wear out with friends or to dinner.
I love Courtney Carver’s Project 333 in which she challenges you to declutter the closet to wear just 33 items in 3 months and radically change your views on how many items of clothing you actually need.
While I was putting together my capsule wardrobe, I had a good declutter. I took out all of the clothes that were too small, too big, I hadn’t worn in forever or didn’t really like and got rid of them.
Follow these 3 easy steps to declutter the closet
The easiest way to declutter the closet is to pull everything out, go through each item and decide if it fits into one of 3 categories:
The toss pile goes straight into the bin because they are no longer good for anyone to wear. The donate pile goes into the trunk of the car to be donated to the Salvation Army next time you drive past and the keep pile goes back into the closet.
You can apply this concept to the clothes you need for the different roles in your life- work, parenting, housework, social life etc. I guarantee that it will be life changing.
Use the hanger method
One of the simplest ways to determine if something is being worn is to use the hanger method. At the beginning of the season, turn all of the hangers the wrong way around. When you return the item to the closet after it has been worn, put it on a hanger the right way around. At the end of the season, anything that is still on a backwards hanger has not been worn and can be removed.
Not sure where to begin with decluttering your closet? The S.O.S Decluttering System gives you all of the information you need to get started. Download your free action plan below.
Learn more on the Decluttering 101 Ultimate Guide page.