I must say, part of the reason I cleaned out my closet so throughly was all due to Volunteers of America coming to take donations from my curbside. This was a great motivator to look through my stuff and know that everything I give will make a difference somehow. It also made me quite merciless in deciding to toss items: if I don’t love it, someone who needs it will use it. Isn’t that better?
With that in mind, I sorted through two closets. One closet I use for storing clothes I don’t wear at the moment (winter clothes for example), and for “afternoon” clothes. That’s what I call anything I wear that isn’t work related. My other (smaller) closet is where I store my work clothes, and my everyday items during summer.
I created 8 categories that I wrote down on cards to make it easier for me to consider the purpose of each item and keep my clothing piles separate:
- Love: work
- Love: afternoon
- Meh: work (need to keep, but not excited about)
- Meh: afternoon (need to keep, but not excited about)
- Special Occasion
- To be donated as soon as it’s replaced
Once I sorted out all my items, I did several things:
- I created a spreadsheet. I wrote down everything I kept, why I kept it, and where I got it from (when possible). The reason for this was simple: a. I am crazy and seem to have free time. b. I really can’t tell what I have or need just by looking at my closet. This is how I ended up buying so much during 2014-2015 but tossed out most of it. and c. This will allow me to see if I am really creating a sustainable wardrobe. That is, do I have enough great basics? Do I have enough items I love? Is there a clothing brand I should avoid? Yes – ASOS! & Nordstrom purchases I tossed most of what I bought from these two stores. See? The spreadsheet is already paying off!
- I placed my winter gear in a plastic IKEA container, to keep it out of the way and keep my closet decluttered.
- I beheld my clothing collection! Leaner and satisfyingly simple. Also, it made me think of Liz Lemon looking for a white dress in her closet only to find she has mostly grey clothes and wondering if she’s depressed (See 30 Rock: Mazel Tov, Dummies! 19:07 minutes into the episode).
So, Now What?
Let me start out by saying that about a month ago I decided to really really look into my finances. Like…Really look into them. I’ve been using Mint for years, but I never really took a close look at my expenses and earnings. I decided to create (what I refer to as a crazy-person’s) Numbers spreadsheet with ALL THE DATA I COULD FIND. Expenses, earnings, debt, planned purchases, long term goals… All of it. If you want to hear about this, please let me know and I’ll write a post about it.
I mention this spreadsheet because this is how I created a shopping budget for me and my husband, and this will determine what I can buy, and how frequently I can buy new accessories and clothing items. This new budget number was really a head-scratcher for me, at first. It seems like a lot, but not enough. It seems limiting and liberating. It was only after I dug into my existing clothing spreadsheet that I realized how to plan my future purchases.
It was easy to see what I was missing, and it was easy to see how to create a long-term plan for my wardrobe. I really want to get away from purchasing clothes because I feel like it, have the money, etc. I want to be purposeful in building a collection I love and want to wear. So now, I have a purchase game plan and am looking for specific items that meet my budget and needs. I plan on purchasing no more than 3 items a month with a monthly budget and *one* yearly mega luxury splurge. One is coming up soon, possibly involved Hermès and I’ll write about it soon.
Finally, let me just say that this is what I am trying to do, and by no means is something I think you have to do to be amazing/responsible/eco-friendly/best-person-ever. I hope it works for me, but it might not. My purchase budget is also what suits my finances, and might not suit yours. This is an experiment, nothing more, and I hope you enjoy reading about it, and add share your thoughts and experience.
The next post in the series will talk about my thoughts on creating a capsule wardrobe, how I plan on sorta borrowing from that concept, and how my future purchases spreadsheet looks like.