Wardrobe Audit: Not As Seen on TV (Closet Work)
If you read my last post, and followed the steps, congratulations! The actual “work” will be so much easier! Make sure you tackle the Closet Work when you are fresh, and do not start if you need to go to bed in 3-4 hours!
Grab Your Supplies
Review your prep work adjective list/Style Recipe draft. Get out your vacuum cleaner and a duster. You may as well clean your closet while it’s empty. It is much easier when you are not fighting shoes on the floor and hangars on the rod! You will need a full length mirror, good lighting, two good-sized boxes or bags for Give Away, and Throw Away, and water. Auditing is thirsty work!
Dive into Your Closet!
Take everything (Yes, everything!) out of your closet, and lay it on your bed. If you can’t fit it all on your bed, lay a sheet on the floor and put the overflow there. Take anything that is not part of your wardrobe (old tennis rackets, lost hidden Christmas gifts, trip souvenirs, empty shoe boxes, old dry cleaning bags) and get those out of your bedroom, and out of your way. Grab your vacuum cleaner and a duster; take five minutes and clean your closet, the shelves, the hanging rod, the floor. It’s surprising how much dust and dirt can find its way in there.
Now that you have a clean closet (personal boutique) to return your clothes to, it’s time to tackle the clothes themselves. You are going to assess each piece, one at a time. Pick up each piece, try it on, and ask yourself these questions: (You may need to modify the first one if you are pregnant, or in a post-partum phase… (If baby is three, that is not really post-partum any more!)
- Does it fit me? (If you know it doesn’t fit, don’t worry about trying it on. Save your time, and skip to number 7.)
- Does it flatter?
- Does it align with my adjectives, and how I want to be perceived?
- Does it make me happy?
- Would I buy this again if I saw it in a store today?
- Does this suit the woman my adjectives describe?
- If the answer to any of these is no, then it should not be in your closet. If no, put it into one of your boxes or bags. If a charity shop can sell it, wonderful! Note: If you wouldn’t buy it from a charity shop its present condition, be brave and put it into the throw away box.
- Pick up the next item and repeat the process. And again.
Notice that I did not ask if you have worn it in six months or a year. Time rules are arbitrary, and don’t work well for special occasion wear. Maybe you have a beautiful fitting cocktail dress that you love for weddings and the rare occasion, but you just haven’t had a recent occasion. Keep it! The same goes for very seasonal clothes. We have relatives who live in cold climes. Winter where I live may not require a serious parka, but if we travel to visit family in the winter, I don’t want to be buying a new coat. I store really out of season items (wool sweaters in summer, and the above-mentioned parka) in a storage box elsewhere in my home, and keep a small box under my bed with the clothes I wear for yard work or when we go camping; these don’t need to clutter up my closet. My closet is small by American standards (about 4 feet wide) and stores all my in season items. My dresser contains only undies, accessories, and workout gear.
Sort and Organize
Everything that passes the test has earned a place in your wardrobe, and can be put back into your closet. As you put items back in, group them by category, all the tops together, bottoms together (you can subgroup as well–by skirts and trousers if you like), dresses together, etc. Within each category, order the pieces by color, and from light to dark. This is a timesaver! When looking for that pink top in the morning, you won’t have to hunt through a rod full of clothes. If it is not there with the pink/red tops, it must be in the laundry. Sorted!
If you did not assess your shoes and bags, now is the time to do so. Group belts, bags, and shoes in the same way. After the clothes, shoes, and bags are done, let’s get those boxes/bags for charity out to the car. Take the throw away bag or box to the trash. (If you have fabric recycling in your area, run with that! The less in the landfill, the better.)
Capsules and Shopping Plans
Now that you know what you have, it’s time to see what you need. With fewer (and easier to see) clothes in your closet, it’s time for some capsule planning. A capsule is about 10-15 pieces that mix and match. Try two toppers (sweaters, vests, or jackets), 4 bottoms, six tops, and three pair of shoes. Every top should coordinate with every bottom. A capsule like this can create 72 outfits, not including the variety you can add by changing shoes and accessories. If your work wear and play clothes are very distinct in refinement level, you may need to build a capsule for each. If you do not have enough pieces to create a capsule, you now know what wardrobe holes need to be filled.
Say you pull out the 6 tops and two toppers, but your only bottoms are one pair of jeans, a dark trouser, and a grey trouser. What might fit your lifestyle? A denim skirt? Or maybe a grey straight skirt for work? A pair of slim chinos? If you like dresses, maybe a great LDD (little dark dress) to dress up or down is the right choice for you. Start a shopping list for the next time you are out and about. Filling those wardrobe holes will give you the biggest bang for your shopping buck, and less frustration in front of your closet in the morning!
One last hint… I love the hooks inside my closet door on which to hang my clothes for the next day up in the evening. Voila! Less decisions in the morning means a less stressed me!
Step back and look at your new custom-curated boutique… Satisfying, isn’t it?
I find lost treasure every time I go through my closet. What did you find that you didn’t know was in there? Please share in the comments below!