I have been swirling around ideas on organizing and displaying clothing in your closet to optimize and see what you have so that you wear and LOVE it.
I have been reading like a mofo, from books, to articles, to watching articles, and I decided to compile everything I have come across as a strategy so far, into two posts.
The first post (this one) is Downsizing, Getting rid of it, Decluttering, whatever you want to call it.
The second post is Displaying and Organizing it.
9 Strategies for Downsizing and Decluttering
They may all sound the same, but they are not, trust me. There are subtle tweaks and differences:
Tactic #1: Simply reviewing what doesn’t work any more
This following test for each piece, helped me get rid of about 1% of my wardrobe.
- Too small — and I don’t ever plan on losing any weight to get back into it again
- Ripped — It would bother me, even the TINIEST rip, especially if it’s a cheap-ish (non-designer) dress or skirt
- Stained — This was easy to get rid of because you cannot ever dry clean sweat or armpit stains once they’ve set
- Too much work — Pilling all the time, have to shave it to make it look new.. ugh. Just get rid of it already
That’s it. The rest, I felt, fit, looked good, made me happy, and I wanted to keep it all. So I moved on to the next tactic.
Tactic #2: KonMari – Spark Joy!…
In my case, “spark joy” does jack for me. You all know what this is.
You pull EVERYTHING out of your closet, EVERYTHING. I mean ALL of it on the bed.
Then you go through one by one, each time, putting it back on the hanger, and placing it back in the closet, reviewing each item to make sure if it sparks joy or not.
Apparently the process of actually removing it all from your closet is very important because you need to see the closet completely empty and open for possibilities.
Then, you need to make that physical action and decision to pick said items back up and put it on the rack <— which in many cases, people may not want to do, seeing as they don’t actually want to clutter up their open, “clean” new closet again.
It’s a visual stimulation / game / trick.
It failed miserably for me. I mean, I didn’t get a single item out of my closet. Not a one.
So I moved on.
Tactic #3: Or the Spark Money! trick…
Sparking joy? THEY ALL SPARKED JOY. This was a lost cause from the start.
But…. when I started thinking about RESELLING the pieces.. omg, I filled up 5 clothing bags FULL of clothes, shoes, boots, … you name it.
I got rid of a good chunk, about 10% of my wardrobe which is HUGE for me because I have hundreds of great pieces, and I really focused on what I wouldn’t wear, why and whoosh it went into the garment bag to be sold.
I felt so good afterwards, and my closet breathes a little better as a result.
Tactic #4: Upgrade your items & stop buying duplicates
This may not apply to you as a strategy, but I happen to own a lot of duplicates.
Sorta, kinda like this — SAME DRESS… FOUR TIMES. Am I insane or what?
(But this is an amazing dress — the drape, the pockets… they are stunning).
Honestly, I have about 7 plain-ish white shirts but to me, they are ALL different.
- Banana Republic linen shirt
- James Perse linen shirt <— on its last legs, the BR linen shirt is its future replacement
- Banana Republic Tencel white shirt
- Equipment silk shirt <– on its last legs, the BR Tencel shirt is its future replacement
- XOOS classic cotton button-up shirt <— I wear this often, it is my “crisp cotton” shirt
- Grana black-tipped white silk shirt
- Gerard Darel ivory bow-tie silk shirt
So for me, getting rid of duplicates is difficult because I LOVE a great ivory and white shirt, but I have to stop collecting them so I have.
My new plan is to actually replace (and/or upgrade) pieces I love in my wardrobe rather than buying new all the time. It forces me to wait.
Upgrading my items, makes more sense to me because I can go shopping but it has to be BETTER than what I have in my wardrobe.
Tactic #5: Box up your on-the-fence items
Another strategy I have not tried but heard a lot of success about is this one:
So if you are on the fence about 20 items, put them in a box, label them “Donate” or “Sell”, and then put it away.
6 months later, if you haven’t missed the items, you can just donate it right away, or bring it in and “sell” immediately.
I would have ZERO success with this because I know I would first of all write Sell on the box, and secondly, I’d go through the box and want to keep everything. Womp womp.
Tactic #6: Number of Hangers for Total Clothes
This works very well for me as a tactic. If I run out of hangers, I have to get rid of stuff. Done.
This is much easier because I have a finite goal / rule, and it is easy for me to see.
I use this tactic often and will purposefully get rid of items just to stat under my hanger rule.
Tactic #7: Turn the Hangers for the One Year Rule
I haven’t tried this but my partner has and it works great for him. You put all the hangers facing one way.
When you wear something, you turn the hanger the other way. Anything you haven’t worn, gets donated / sold after a year.
Again, this does not work on me. I would think: OH BUT I WILL wear it next year.... and then keep it.
I can’t do this, I have to get it out of sight, out of mind, and/or sold for it to leave my closet.
Tactic #8: Seasonal Clothes and Archive the Rest
Some people put all their winter and autumn stuff in storage when it is spring/summer, and then switch it out when the weather changes.
I have no space for this (no basement!), no time and absolutely no desire to keep switching my clothes in and out every season.
Also, sometimes I wear summer pieces during winter, but with a sweater, so a linen tank top is not necessarily ‘ summer-only ‘ for me.
Weather is also very unpredictable here in Canada. It can be minus 22 Fahrenheit (or minus 30 celsius), and then the next week, it is warm, like spring is here.
Awkward, if you packed away your light jackets.
I can see this working really well for many people because you can just go visit your Archive Closet and shop it again, discovering old pieces to be made new again.
Tactic #9: Capsule Wardrobe with a 30 pieces Remix twist
Same idea as the seasonal clothes thing, but people choose ONLY 30 pieces to wear the entire season (4 month switch-out) rather than doing it by seasonal-wear.
They choose a few tops, few skirts, few dresses, and wear only that, remixing it here and there.
Again, not something that I have any desire to do, or would work for me, because I enjoy OPTIONS. I like seeing all of my skirts, even if I really only want to wear the blue one this “season”. I want to know that I can change on a whim and wear the purple one instead.
I don’t like being limited, but I can see how this takes decision stress out of dressing for many, but I actually find the choosing of the outfit process fun and relaxing, not stressful and annoying.