Capsule Chronicals: Cleaning Out My Closet
I literally cannot hear (or read or write) those four words without singing the Eminem song. I just can't. The 90s kid in my fights to get out like a demon and I start singing. So, forgive me if I spontaneously bust out into song in the middle of this post. It's not me. It's 90s me, the same one who decided I should own denim overalls in my mid 20s (in the 2010s) and buy Mr. Sketch markers at Michael's the other day. It happens to the best of us, y'all.
Anyway - remember a couple weeks ago, I posted about a little thing called a Capsule Wardrobe and why you need one? Well - I thought we'd go beyond just why you need one, but how to make it happen. And first thing's first - it's time to clean out the closet. It's time to get rid of all those things you don't wear, don't need, that don't fit.
And I'm sure you've cleaned out your closet before... but this is a whole new approach. It's not just about getting rid of old ratty things, it's about pairing down your wardrobe so that it works for you and so that you love it. So I'm laying out a step by step.
Set up your Station
You need three piles or baskets - 1. Keep, 2. Toss 3. Sell
And you'll need to take everything out of your closet. Yes - everything. All hangers, all the stuff in the back corners, all the shoes, even everything out of your dresser, your underwear drawer even. ALL of it. I like to use my bed as a sorting surface which is better than the floor, I think.
Go Through Item by Item
And for each item, ask yourself these things (yes - EVERY item!)
- Does it fit your lifestyle? As much as I looooove Vera Wang ballgowns, being a WAHM doesn't exactly allow for those often, or..ever. So, unfortunately, when I was cleaning my closet out, I had to make the tough decision to get rid of all my Vera Wang ballgowns. You get the point though, be honest with yourself and about your lifestyle. Appreciating a certain style, look, or piece of clothing doesn't mean you have to own it yourself.
- Does it fit your body? Have clothes that fit your body right now. If you do lose weight and have to buy new clothes, you'll be excited to do that then. But right now, clothes that don't fit are just taking up space in your closet and serving as burdens to fit into someday. Let go and let future you deal with size changes. Plus, I think if I don't have bigger sizes to go into, I'm less likely to get that out of hand anyway knowing the consequences are eat all the doughnuts and be naked, or reel it in and wear my jeans next week.
- Have you worn it in the last month? A month is a relatively small amount of time, but the whole point of a capsule is that you should be getting use out of your clothes. If the answer is no... then why? Because you have nowhere to wear it? (see the above) Because it doesn't fit? (see other above) Because it's out of season? Then store it until it is! If you're just not wearing something, it's not worth keeping.
- Is it versatile? Most items are surprisingly versatile if they fit you well and if you have the items to pair them with, so this is a pretty broad case. But if you hold up and item and can only think of one event a year you'd wear it to, or one pair of pants you can wear it with, it probably doesn't belong in your closet.
- Do I love this? This is the most important question because having a capsule wardrobe is all about having a wardrobe full of meaningful and useful items. And love is subjective. You may just love it because it's a pretty item or holds sentimental value, or you just feel super confident in it. That's a good reason to keep something in itself. If you hold it up and just love it, then consider keeping it. Things that have inherent value to you are easy to incorporate and you can find other pieces to make it more versatile and more valuable to your capsule.
Keep | Toss | Donate
Keep - Things that fit you and your life, are versatile, and loved - those things are going back in your closet. But not before you take a picture of each item, or at least jot down on a piece of paper what you have left.
Toss - I do not literally mean throw your clothes into a landfill. But certain things, like old underwear or badly stained/ripped/etc things can't be donated or consigned. Most recycling companies will pick up clothing to be recycled or I found this post pretty helpful in what to do with those items otherwise.
Consign + Donate - Anything left over, I always try to consign first. You may not get a whole lot of money back, but anything you do get back is worth the hour or so it takes for them to go through your clothing. And after that, I head straight from the consignment store to drop off the rest for donation and pick up a receipt for a tax deduction.
And then you're left with a smaller wardrobe, likely with lots of gaps to fill to make it the perfect capsule, and no idea what to do next, right? Well, maybe not now. But next week I'll have a post on where to go next and how to start re-building your wardrobe.
No go - Fly to your closets! Remove everything and clean it out. And when your spouse comes into the bedroom wondering why your bed has been taken over by the contents... simply reply
"I'm sorry little Mama. I never mean to hurt youuuuuu. I never meant to make you cry, but tonight I'm cleaning out my closet. (So go watch GOT somewhere else because I'm busy. Love youuuuu."