Peace family, when was the last time that you cleaned out your closet? I learned some tips that are really helping me to make good use of what I have, and to be more confident!
Getting all the junk out helps you to not feel like you have “nothing to wear,” because instead, your options are narrowed down to things that you are actually capable of wearing. Some of these tips are common sense, but it really helped me to have them clearly spelled out.
Right now, get rid of: 1) things that don’t fit right, 2) things that make you feel gross and ugly, 3) things you haven’t worn in a year, 4) things you just don’t like, 5) things that need mending which you honestly aren’t going to fix, and 6) things that you wouldn’t buy again today. Sort things into four categories: love/keep, like/maybe, donate/sell, and garbage/re-purpose (things that are dingy, threadbare or damaged really should not be donated, but they make great rags for cleaning wood and silver, or can be cut and sewn into a really sweet bed for your pet, or given to an organization that says they can recycle them. Just be sure to designate that they are for recycling, not for wearing, so that non-profit workers don’t have to waste time sorting.)
If you plan to get rid of a little weight (or even need to gain a little,) and there are pieces that you really love but that don’t fit right now, put them into another closet temporarily so that it doesn’t make you feel sad to see them or take away energy when you’re trying to get ready in the morning. Again, we are simplifying our closets to pieces that we can actually physically wear so that you can grab and go with anything in there.
Also, if you have pieces that just don’t work, or which are completely worn out, think about why you originally bought the things that don’t work (figure out what attracted you, but also what about it didn’t work, so that you can refine your idea of what you want and avoid similar mistakes), or why you loved those things that wore out, so you can get a good replacement for yourself.
As for what to keep, keep items that you can wear in at least three to five different ways. For example, I have a royal blue shirt that I like to wear with a pair of white jeans, dark dressy jeans with blue heels, or a number of skirts that I have. Apply this same rule when you purchase clothing. If you can only think of one way to wear it, do yourself (and your closet space) a favor, and don’t buy it!
It also makes it easier to see what you have and put outfits together when you organize them by type and color. I have my shirts in rainbow order in one section, skirts/slacks in another, and sweaters/cardigans/light jackets in another. When it is organized and looks beautiful that way, I am a lot more easily inspired with new combination ideas!
Getting a few good basics like tank or camisole tops in navy, black, and white or cream, a pair of nice, dark jeans, and a nice jacket make it easier for you to mix different outfits together from what you already have in your wardrobe. I used to keep tanks and camis rolled up in a drawer, but I recently discovered that there are actually multi-hangers specifically designed for tanks and camis, and this has been a much better solution for me!
Remember that accessories can change the entire feel and look of a single outfit, so arrange them so that you can see what you have. For me, I used two very heavy-duty bookends that I already had to divide my purses on a shelf (I might build something better at a later date, but this is good for now,) and the best (and cheapest) way to arrange my jewelry was to hang my necklaces by color on a pushpin board, hang my fishhook earrings on an old window screen that I mounted to the wall, and sort my post-back earrings, brooches, broken jewelry that I’d like to repair, and other jewelry-related items inside of a cheapo, see-through craft storage box on the shelf nearby. Again, my goal was to easily see what I have in an organized manner, so that I will actually wear the things that I have instead of the same pieces all the time.
I also had a lot of baseball caps, which I hung in groups of three on coat hangers using plastic shower rings and rubber bands (to keep the rings from sliding around,) and I hung up my scarves by folding them in half and pulling the loose end through that loop around a coat hanger, like the tassel on a bookmark. In the past, I had my scarves rolled up and piled on a shelf on top of each other, which wasn’t practical at all. Now, I can see actually what I have. It was truly amazing, to rediscover all of the things that I already have and love in my closet!
With these improvements in my closet, dressing up has become a pleasure, and is no longer a pain! You also might find that making due with what you have, and coming up with new combinations, feels really good! Taking a picture of yourself when you come up with new outfit combinations can also help you to remember what looks good when you’re having a busy or tired day.
Finally, explore. Don’t be afraid to take the time to learn and look up fashions that flatter your body shape (some of the variations are hourglass, triangle, inverted triangle, and rectangle- even with a rounder figure, you will still have a basic bone shape), and look at famous people with a similar shape to your own in order to decide what you like and what you don’t like. Figure out what colors you are most drawn to, and what looks best with your skin, whether you are more warm-toned or cool-toned.
As you refine your wardrobe, look at your life and what you spend most of your time doing. Are you working in business and need structured, professional-looking pieces? Are you working at home and need comfortable clothes that a baby can get dirty, and that can serve you even if they get a few specks of bleach on them, plus some pretty things that make you feel beautiful when you go out or on date night?
For example, I want to dress nicely at the office, but I also do all of the yard work at my home, and I need clothing that I can cook and paint in, as well as items for doing training with my cats and going running, so that’s what my wardrobe should reflect. If I had all business attire, (or in my actual case, a few nice items that are too small after I gained some weight, plus 75% of my closet being old costumes, and about ten bridesmaid dresses- I wish I were joking, but I’m not,) it would take up space without having any practical use in my life. Since it’s summer right now, I put my gloves, mittens, sweaters and other woolen items (loose wool clothing like sweaters shouldn’t be hung, because it will sometimes pull and warp the fabric) into a plastic tub labelled “Fall and Winter,” and my grungy clothes into another tub labeled “Paint, Work, and Sweatclothes,” so that they are easily accessible, but not taking up mental focus (or making my closet look junky) when I try to put together a nice outfit.
You can also examine your heart. I struggled a lot with worrying that caring about my clothing would make me seem materialistic, but the fact is, humans are visual creatures, and whether it’s fair or not, we will be judged by our appearances. Your clothing can be a representation of the beautiful, useful soul inside of you. How do your clothes represent 1) who you are, your personality, and your life right now, and 2) who you’d like to be? Also, just because I gained a little weight is no reason to punish myself and make myself wear ugly, schlumpy clothes. I reassessed what I had in my closet, temporarily put away the things that I really love that don’t fit right now, and figured out how to recombine the items in my closet. I picked up a good pair of jeans and a few stylish shirts that I really love, and I am having more fun putting outfits together than I have ever had in my entire life!
Something to encourage you also, is this: remember that when you are shopping for clothing, ready-to-wear pieces are designed for an “average” body type with a B-cup bra, so that companies can sell clothing to the widest range of people possible. Discovering this fact gave me a paradigm shift. I passionately hated clothes-shopping my entire life, because I always ended up feeling like a freak, with hatred for my body shape compared to “everyone else.” Now, I know that those items rarely fit perfectly on anyone. The fact is, God made us all different shapes, and He thinks that’s good!
This last month or two has been the first time that I have ever managed not to take clothes shopping personally. Something doesn’t fit right, or looks bad on your body? The problem is with the clothing, not you! It was designed for a body that is a different shape or color from yours, and that’s ok. There are going to be other beautiful pieces that are flattering on you, and if your body is really difficult to shop for, you can always learn to sew! (Sewing patterns are also designed with a B cup/average-sized body in mind, but you can change a pattern with a technique called a Full Bust Adjustment or a Small Bust Adjustment [FBA and SBA].) You have so many resources to help you look and feel beautiful, and well-tailored! Plus, you can choose whatever colors you like, and have one-of-a-kind, “designer” items; they just happen to be designed by you!
Finally, cleaning my closet also inspires me to want to clean out my heart. Peace family, what coping mechanisms, attitudes, or beliefs are in the closet of your heart, that really don’t “fit” anymore, now that you are a believer of Christ? We can let go of those things, give those things over to him, and replace them with new, beautiful things that he has for us. Read the Bible so that you will know his gifts. Praise God and remember his benefits. He has so much more for us than we usually remember or implement! You are beautiful and valuable, his treasured creation.