In Discussions, Discussions, Money, Shopping, Style, Wardrobe Help, Women

Organize and shop your own closet to save time and money

Whenever I feel like I want to refresh my wardrobe, but I don’t want to (or shouldn’t) spend any money on new things, I do the following:

  • Catalogue my current wardrobe
  • Shop my own closet
  • Make a list of Wardrobe Wants

Catalogue my current wardrobe

I like going through my wardrobe, I like cleaning (purging, de-cluttering) and organizing it, and knowing what I have, so I can dream up of new outfits so I can shop my own closet easily.

Once I started going through and itemizing items and cleaning it out, I realized I had a LOT of grey sweaters. In fact, it was the main colour in my closet as a neutral.

I realized that it was also the reason why I never reached for certain items because I chose my favourite grey sweater every time (‘Only grey sweaters, AGAIN?’).

So my solution was to catalogue my clothes onto my iPod Touch, using Picasa to see it on my desktop by:

  1. Taking stock photos (if I can find them) online
  2. Taking pictures of the clothes themselves
  3. Taking pictures of me, wearing the clothes (ideal, but I’m very lazy)
For example, here are my dresses:

Now that I know what I already own, and I won’t be tempted to buy yet anything similar to what I already own, like another red wrap dress.

I recently did something similar in my mother’s closet, and let me show you the two items she has an overabundance of:

Yellow Cotton Vest Shirts (6)

Mom-Yellow-Vest-Shirts

Pink Collared Shirts (8)


Mom-Pink-Collared-Shirts

Granted, these items look really nice on her skin tone, but she doesn’t really need yet another pink shirt or yellow vest.

Shop my own closet

It can be hard not to want a new outfit after you see people wear different things, or a certain striped shirt you think would be perfect in your closet.

The truth of the matter is you may already have the components for a similar outfit (or at least, I KNOW I do), and you may just need a small accessory like a red belt to finish it off.

I “shop” my own closet, by going through, organizing it, purging pieces I know have gone unworn for too long, and really scrutinizing if I should keep an item or not.

At the end of the exercise, I usually end up creating new outfits and my desire to buy new things disappears after I realize I can’t really fit any more into my suitcases unless I get rid of other items.

Make a list of Wardrobe Wants

This is an exercise I go through on a regular basis. It can be easy to lust after new items, but are you missing other key essential pieces to tie everything together?

If so, then you might be wasting your money on yet another pair of jeans, but are missing the right pair of business casual herringbone trousers to wear with 50% of your wardrobe.

My Wardrobe Wants:

  • Thin Red Belt — I don’t want to spend a lot of money, and I’m being very picky about the belt
  • White Casual Blazer — Not structured; Thought I found it but the fabric is all wrong
  • Plain Brown Leather Mid-Calf 2″ Heeled Boots — To wear under trousers during Autumn and Winter
  • Men’s Watch — I have a few contenders in mind, but I don’t want to pay a ridiculous amount
  • Thin, Supersoft Leather Jacket — I am waffling between one in an inky blue or a dark brown
  • Beige Trenchcoat — I obviously love the classic, minimalist looking ones, but I want a good price
  • Navy Wide-Striped T-Shirt — I am very picky about the spacing of the lines for this shirt
  • White or Ivory Drape-y Dress — I found one, but the neckline was very lowcut…
  • Brown Flats — Replacements for my worn out Rudsak ones; Am looking at Frye Carson Flats
  • Black Suede Round-Toe Pumps — I think they’d look great with a good chunk of my dresses
  • White Straight-Legged Drape-y Pants — Found at H&M for $40! They’re perfect & the right $$
  • Olive/Khaki Sweater — Found it as a thin wrap sweater last year at Lululemon for $98
  • Striped Dress — Found it! Comrags Brady Style French Striped Dress for $300
  • Red Dress — Found it! Consignment Diane von Furstenberg Red Wool Utility Wrap Dress for $136
  • Olive/Khaki Dress — Found it! Bionic Genia Olive Dress by Mark Foreman, deeply discounted for $50
Wardrobe-Wants-List
Items Pictured Above:

How this will all save you time and money

  1. You won’t buy yet ANOTHER grey sweater again
  2. You won’t waste time browsing and looking for things you don’t really need as an Essential Item
  3. You won’t waste less money because you will stick to your list!

Of course, in between looking for these Wardrobe Wants, I found pieces that were not really on my list, but overall, I’ve stopped myself from buying things I know I already have duplicates of in my wardrobe.

Do you do something similar?

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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11 Comments

  1. Tania

    There are some apps to catalog too although I looked at a few but never really used any. Shortly after downloading I moved to Maui and it kind of became unnecessary as I’m in jeans and a T nearly every day.

    I love to go through my own closet although I probably spend way too mucy time doing so but yes, you start to see your “patterns” and “gaps”.

    I realized recently I do buy too much of what I use nearly every day (casual clothes) and I don’t need any more so I did buy a few dresses that could be dressed for day business attire or could also be worn at a casual evening event or a day charity event by changing up the shoes and accessories. Although I don’t need a whole wardrobe of business appropriate clothes, I do need at least two for those times I have to attend a meeting, after work or other event where ripped jeans and a black T won’t suffice! Since I no longer fit into my old ones, I was lacking in that area. Finding a piece at the last minute as needed doesn’t work on Maui where the shopping is quite limited so I need to be prepared.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I’ve stopped shopping as much as possible. I’m really trying to stick to vintage pieces, and to reuse what I have in my wardrobe. I did fall into the trap of buying 2 scarves in Paris, but so far, I haven’t added on any other items!

      Reply
      1. Tania

        Oh girl, how could you not buy a scarf or two while in Paris! @saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.:

        Reply
  2. Alex Waddell

    Awesome Idea! I just finished cataloging my pants and skirts. Dresses and shirts next. Picasa is a great tool – thanks for the suggestion!

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      You’re welcome!

      Reply
  3. S
    SWR

    Love the Frye flats.  Question for you:  If you were building/acquiring a professional wardrobe for the first time, what would be your most minimalist list of must-haves to get you through about 12 weeks of full-time working?  

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      Oo I love these questions!!!

      Flats — to walk to and from work
      Heels — 1 pair on black or brown
      1 pair of grey trousers (hemmed for those heels)
      2 wrap dresses — I am a huge fan of easy outfits
      3 work tops — for the 5 days
      2 sweaters
      2 coats (winter and autumn)

      That’s it. That’s kind of how I pack every week for work.

      Reply
      1. S
        SWR

        Fantastic advise; I’ll probably do one blazer and one sweater and non-wrap dresses (suiting dresses?) because I need to be pretty formal .  And even better- I have everything on this list except for the dresses.  Win!

        Reply
  4. E
    ElleX

    I don’t do this but want (and need) to badly. 

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      It is really refreshing and freeing!!

      Reply

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