Over the course of the last month, I've been talking a lot about cleaning out your closet. I've offered advice, hosted a challenge....heck, I've even been on TV talking about the importance of getting rid of what's not working. I've loved seeing the pictures of bags upon bags of unwanted, unworn, unneeded clothing being taken out of closets, and sent to places where people who DO need clothes can give them new life.
But, as the old saying goes, those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it. What I mean by this is, if you don't understand how your closet got to the state it was in, taking clothes out is great, but I guarantee eventually, it's going to look exactly the same as it did if you don't change your ways. What habits do you need to break to end the closet overwhelm cycle for good? Here are just 3 things I see clients do repeatedly. Recognize yourself in any of them?
Buying the Same Shirt in Many Colors
I understand the appeal of this strategy. You like the top, so why not make life easy and buy it in 4 or 5 colors? Well, here's what happens. You leave the store with 4 tops you like, but after a few months, you're bored and feel like you look the same every day. So, you hit the stores again, and find a NEW favorite top. You like it, so why not buy it in a few colors? Later, rinse, repeat. Problem is, you probably don't get rid of the 4 you bought previously, so now you have 8 tops, but really only 2 different styles...so, bored of looking the same everyday, you hit the stores again. It's a never ending cycle. There's an easy fix for this--stop buying the same top in lots of colors. If it's a good basic layering piece, stock up in 2 or 3 colors (I have the same tee in white, black, and gray), but if it's the main point of your outfit, just buy 1.
Keeping the Items You're Replacing
This one I see ALL the time, and it drives me crazy! Here's the scenario. Your favorite jeans have seen better days, and it's time to replace them. What to do with the old ones? Well, common sense would tell you that since they're worn out and unwearable, you should get rid of them. However, more often than not, tired pieces get "downgraded". "I'll just keep these for gardening", women tell me. Really? You don't have a garden, Linda. "I'll just keep this in case I need to run to the grocery store" is a line I've heard a thousand times.. This one just plain confuses me. Let's assume you're in your pj's, and need to go grab milk. Why change into something shabby? If you have to change anyway, put on something suitable to be worn in public. They'll let you in the grocery store with decent clothes on, trust me. I've seen it. If you need a few 'lounge around or go the grocery store" pieces, why not pick up a couple of casual, comfortable dresses that look nice, and let these ratty things go?
I've even seen work blouses get downgraded into "lounge around the house" clothes, and I ask you, in the history of ever, have you EVER gone and deliberately changed into a button up polyester blouse to lay around on the couch? I bet my entire collection of cute sneakers that you haven't
Also, in case my husband is reading this--you do not need 4 pairs of painting jeans, for the love of pete!
There's a simple fix for this one, too. Stop doing it! If you really need clothes for gardening/painting/cleaning, keep just a few things for those activities, but stop downgrading other clothes you won't actually wear into these categories.
Thinking Your Things are Worth Something
Before you get offended, hear me out. I once had a client, we'll call her Linda, who, during our phone consultation, told me about all of her expensive, high-quality shoes she just couldn't part with, even though she wasn't wearing them anymore. Given her address and profession, and the way she spoke about her things, I was expecting a wardrobe full of red-soled beauties. Instead, when I got there, I found a closet full of dated Bandolinos. Don't get me wrong, I love a good Bandolino as much as the next girl, but you gotta admit, they aren't investment pieces. If you're planning to bequeath your 2002 Bandolino mules to your kids when you pass on, you can pretty much rest in peace knowing they won't be fighting over your estate.
Anyway, I had to point out to Linda that these weren't the investment pieces she thought they were, that she couldn't make any money by selling them, that her friends wouldn't want them, and no, they weren't too nice to donate "just anywhere". Yeah, it was a little awkward.
After talking it through, we got to the root of the issue--she bought them at a time in her life when it really was a stretch to afford Bandolinos. So in her mind, the shoes were a luxury purchase. I pointed out to her that she wasn't in the same place anymore--either in style or lifestyle, and that she needed to let her wardrobe evolve to reflect the woman she was today.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again--Clothes are inherently worth nothing. Their only value lies in what they can do for you. A piece that is versatile, flattering, and makes you feel good has a lot of value, right? A piece you cant wear, or aren't wearing anymore, has none. It doesn't matter how much either one cost. One is valuable, the other is not. Focus on having a valuable wardrobe, regardless of how much something cost.
Monday, April 16th Phase 2 of the Cut the Clutter Challenge starts! This is where we really dig deep into what's working for you and what isn't, and what easy steps you can take to have a wardrobe you LOVE! The challenge is taking place in the Spring 2018 Capsule Community Group, which means you need to be a Community or VIP subscriber to participate. There's still time to join, and you can even catch up on Phase 1 before we start!
I hope to see you there!