In At Work, Capsule Wardrobe, Discussions, Discussions, In my closet, Minimalism, Organization, Style, Style, Wardrobe Help, Women

Wardrobe Organization Tips & Strategies – Part One Downsizing

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.

Example:

  • 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.

What are some of your strategies and tactics for downsizing on your items?

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. 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 with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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Posted on July 19, 2015

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12 Comments

  1. Carmen

    I did do the thing where you take all your clothes, dump them on the bed, and sort through them one by one. I found that this exercise resulted in some interesting insights about my wardrobe. For instance, I realized that I often buy light, summer-weight clothes in black, but do not, in fact, like to wear black in summer. Eventually,I organized my clothing into two separate wardrobes. One is mostly cool-weather clothes and is based on black and gray. The other is mostly warm-weather clothes and is based on blue and beige. It works for me.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      How strange we are!! I agree. I bought a lot of beige linen BLAZERS but never really wear them in summer. I’m giving them another shot this year before they get sold.

      I like the idea of two tone wardrobes .. or two season / weathers instead. I see that in my skirts. Wool for winter, linen for summer only.

      Reply
  2. The Luxe Strategist

    I’m not into the whole ‘spark joy’ test either, because as you said, lots of things sparked joy and that’s how they ended up with the stuff in the first place!

    One thing I do, that you also mentioned, is I don’t buy storage for new clothes. If my hangers are getting full, it means I need to get rid of something.

    Reply
  3. Lynne

    Spark joy doesn’t work for me either (I also don’t “thank” objects as I am decluttering them), but one question I ask myself does seem to work better than any other method I’ve tried: If I were in a store trying this on today, would I buy it again? Somehow, that seems to clarify keep or get rid of for items I am on the fence about.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Oh that is a good idea. I should try that — Would I buy it again?

      Reply
  4. Becka

    I too love options. I always give myself and extra hour in the morning to have one last cup of tea and then take my time picking out something to wear. My closet is truly my “happy place”. In the evening after I get home I often just spend time looking at my clothes, thinking of new outfits and coordinating the accessories in my head. When I feel I need to do a clean out I look at the items I haven’t worn in a while and often there is something off about the size, style or fit that’s so subtle that I don’t think about it until I’m wearing it and getting ready to walk out the door. These clothes I load up in the back seat of the car and take to my tailor. We go though each piece that I try on and I value her opinion far more than mine as I look in the mirror. I tend to like lady like, dressy tailored clothes the need to fit perfectly. I don’t sew ☹️ and I rely on her knowledge of how clothes are made. She might suggest lifting the shoulders of a jacket or taking the fullness out of a skirt etc. Things I would never have thought of to make the item more flattering. Whatever can’t be fixed I donate. As for seasonal items I to keep them all in rotation as the weather here in Pittsburgh in also very unpredictable ( except that it rains nearly every day).

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Tailors really know their stuff to be able to suggest certain things.

      Reply
  5. Sense

    OMG! Great timing! I’m doing this right now. 🙂 First I’m defining my target style, figuring out my best colors, best cuts for my body type and personality, etc. and alongside that, I’m also going through my ENTIRE wardrobe and getting rid of things that do not match the above definitions for myself.

    http://sensetodollars.blogspot.com/2019/02/wardrobe-makeover-defining-my-style.html

    http://sensetodollars.blogspot.com/2019/02/wardrobe-makeover-part-ii-know-thy.html

    http://sensetodollars.blogspot.com/2019/02/closet-cleanout-part-i-jacket-inventory.html

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      YAY!!!!! Thanks for the posts, will check them out

      Reply
  6. Anne

    This was interesting reading – and I love your four dresses!
    The tiny apartment trick works well for me. I have four drawers and two closets with total of 1,5 meters hanging space for my clothes. I take most of my woollen shawls and summer shoes to the basement for seasonal storage, but otherwise, when there’s no space, the most worn out things will go. That’s my Achilles heel. Since I love my clothes, I have difficulties getting rid of them when I have found a replacement and continue to wear them on rare occasions. I often have had clothes and shoes litterally falling apart while wearing them.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I find it VERY hard to get rid of favourites, even if they are dying.

      Reply

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