STUFF Project: How to create a wardrobe you love

clothes revised

After attempting the first challenge of purging 5 items a week, I realized that being more systematic about my purge may be beneficial (with 5 items being an absolute minimum). I’ve decided to assess one category of stuff at a time. This past week, I have planned out a complete purge of my clothes.

Reducing the amount of clothes in your closet will help you to: get rid of what you don’t need, provide clothes to people who do (donation), breathe new life to old clothes that were previously hidden, and increase the ease at which you pull together outfits.

After scouring the internet for strategies to implement, I found a host of solutions:

  • Only keep things that bring joy (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up)
  • Own a limited number of clothing items (Capsule Wardrobe)
  • Have only a few high quality versatile pieces (French Wardrobe)

The common message? Your wardrobe should be a small number of things you love.

This message is quite different from the ‘disposable’ fashion trend which encourages purchasing cheap replaceable clothing again and again every season. Disposable clothing  not only creates an incredible amount of waste, but also encourages outsourcing unethical production practices to keep costs at a minimum. The following 4 steps are how I will attempt to address these issues:

Step One: Remove any clothes that don’t bring you joy

I have currently gone through every piece of clothing I own. I have held it in my hands (or tried it on) and asked myself if it brings me joy. I created a ‘yes’, ‘maybe’ and ‘no’ pile. I immediately put items in the ‘no’ pile in bags for donation, as well as the vast majority of the ‘maybe’ pile unless it was highly functional and versatile (like plain white t-shirts). It took me one evening to complete, I thought it would have taken me much longer but once your on a roll it’s incredible what can be accomplished.

Step Two: Determine abundance and/or holes in your wardrobe

Assess your clothing items by categories (pants, shirts, blazers, etc).  After the purge I will determine if there any sections I’m missing or categories which have an abundance (to be further reduced)? For this step, I also plan to head to Pintrest to review my inspirational fashion boards to compare with my current wardrobe – this will help to further purge items which don’t align with my aspirations.

Step Three: Invest in the clothes you are going to keep

This includes (for me at least) a visit to the tailor – pants hemmed, repairing of buttons or small tears, dry cleaning if needed. The clothes that are in your closet should be investment pieces that you truly love (and continue to love). Make sure they fit right.

Step Four: Maximum of 10 new clothing purchases a year

I have a certain number of hangers (~40 would be my guess), which I have decided will be the number of clothing items in my life. I have about 10 additional clothing items to purge to reach my goal. However once I reach it, I plan to purchase a maximum of 10 new clothing items each year. This will help to encourage me to really think about my clothing purchases, in terms of what I need to give up to welcome a new item in, as well as being mindful of the quality and workmanship in each piece (helping me to focus less on cheap unethical purchases).

Have you taken a look at the clothes you own? Have you ever tried to reduce and/or improve the way that you managed them? How do you currently keep your purchasing and consumption habits in check? Interested in getting a handle of your closet with me? Let me know in the comments section below!

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22 thoughts on “STUFF Project: How to create a wardrobe you love

  1. Ever since my college years, I have practiced what you write here. With all the moving back-and-forth every year, I became a wardrobe minimalist by taking only what could fit in my Honda accord at the time. During my later years and after graduation, I continue to practice for several of the reasons you mention as well such as sustainability and for me in large part also for conscientious and social consumerism. I like your self-set limit of no more than 10 new clothing items a year. I am the type of consumer who only replaces an item that I am donating, particularly with shoes. With clothing, on the other hand, I may or may not replace the item or items, which depends on my answer to whether or not I honestly need it. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Last year I gave away my three white T-shirts to a friend who was about to buy one. I had been wasting time, water, and detergent on them. It was difficult keeping them clean using natural cleaning products, so I had to use commercial stuff and I wasn’t comfortable about that. I have kept the black and grey T-shirts. I don’t need commercial cleaning stuff and I don’t have to wash them so often, which is great.

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    1. This is actually an issue I have been struggling with too. I do still have some white clothing, but they get discolored so quickly, I think from here on in I will steer clear. Thanks for the pointer!


  3. Thank you Laura. I still have clothes from the 70’s. Haha. I loved that part of my life. I still wear them from time to time. They are back in style now. I shopped at thrift stores then and I do now if I buy clothes. I actually feel like I have enough clothes to last the rest of my life, so I rarely buy anything new anymore. I still need to get rid of stuff, though.

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  4. I did the same a year ago, after reading Marie Kondo’s book the first time. I got rid off almost half of my clothes. And I really didn’t even have that many clothes back then. Majority of my clothes are from thrift-stores, I think I visit a clothing store maybe twice a year! To buy socks, or gift cards for my kids. 🙂 But the problem with thrift-store clothes is that since they are so much cheaper and eco-friendly I always end up buying stuff I never wear. I do donate that stuff, though. So no harm done, I guess. I really enjoy reading your blog!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I completely relate. I prefer to buy thrifted clothes as well, but it is so easy to purchase more than you need. I read the Kondo book, and loved it! Great tips. Especially the ‘joy’ concept. It helped me get rid of things I was holding on to without need.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have moved often in my adult life and so regularly get rid of all kinds of things. I’ve been on the road now for 174 weeks and have seen how little I use. So I will keep that in mind when I go to buy new items.

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  6. This is a great post. I have way too many clothes. I used to think I liked having a really varied wardrobe, but I’m starting to realize I often wear the same pieces over and over. Time for a purge!

    For new purchases, I try to think about if it’s something I can wear for all seasons. For example if it’s a dress, can I wear it alone in the summer and with tights and a sweater in the colder months?

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  7. Thank you so much for stressing point 3! I think that when we invest in more high quality, sustainable and fair trade items, we definitely should try our best to repair them because they’re so worth it. Other questions I ask when decluttering are: when was the last time I used this?, would I buy this in stores if I saw it today?, and do I have anything else that serves the same purpose?

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  8. I don’t buy a lot of clothes, but I do have a fair amount of them in my closet because I hold onto them a long time. But I tend to keep only those I’ll wear. In fact, I just found a big hole in the elbow of one of my favorite sweaters. Guess that’s one I’ll have to part with. I don’t think patching is in my future. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

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