My New Wardrobe Rule

KBB_clutchesI used to play this sad little game with myself whenever I was having a bad day- I would go into my closet and I would pick out my most hated outfit and wear with an angry kind of pride, as if I wanted to project to all of the world that I was having a bad day. I was determined to make myself look as ugly on the outside as I felt on the inside.

The worst was whenever I received a compliment at the office or out on the street about the outfit that I had chosen. I couldn’t understand how clothing that I felt made me look frumpy and bloated could be admired by a stranger. Maybe they were just being nice in order to mock me, or worse, pity me. Then I’d get angry and think, “How dare you try to ruin my bad mood with your kind words!”

I am so twisted.

One day I was explaining this weird little habit to a friend of mine when he held up his hand to stop me. “Wait, hold on. Why do you keep clothes that you don’t like?”

So maybe he was a guy and he didn’t really understand. Or maybe I was the one not getting it. After all, I had half a closet’s worth of clothes that I didn’t wear half of the time because I had grown sick of them, or because they were old and had fallen out of fashion.

I think I said something crazy like I needed variety and we both thought it was weird so he dropped the subject, but ultimately in this scenario I really was the crazy person because I could not let go of things that made me feel badly about myself.

It took a lot of soul-searching but I eventually decided that I did not want to be that person that held on to things for the sake of having “things”. I wanted, I deserved, to fill my home with only the things that I loved. Why shouldn’t that ultimatum apply to clothing and accessories as well?

So I purged my closet of all of the things that no longer fit, were bad choices, or- let’s face it- were just plain unflattering. My wardrobe was decidedly slimmer, but I was satisfied- it was actually really easy to give up an abundance of choices in favor of a smaller wardrobe full of favorites that made me look and feel good.

It may seem silly to think of re-organizing or purging your closet as something that can improve your life emotionally, but paring down my wardrobe using my new rule has given me a boost in my self-esteem. I still have the occasional bad hair day (like, pretty much every other day) but I’m buoyed by the knowledge that even though I might feel like I’m dying on the inside, outwardly I can project an image of competence and self-confidence and show people the best of myself even when I’m feeling at my worst.

Plus, it makes getting out of the door in the morning way easier for this night owl. Trust me on this one.

KBwB-BFlower-50Have you undertaken a closet re-organization lately? I want to hear all of the grisly details. Indulge me below or drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com. And if you’re looking for even more inspiration on how to get your wardrobe just the way you want it, I’ve got some best practices for organizing your clothing and more here.

Cleaning Out My Closet

KBB_mess_of_clothesIt was getting to the point where I couldn’t close my drawers. I couldn’t even get dressed in the morning. I had had enough.

It was time to follow in the footsteps of Eminem, and begin cleaning out my closet. Literally speaking- I’m not so sure how I feel about that metaphorically.

Ideally, editing your closet is something you should do regularly. I like having garbage bags or laundry hampers at hand to use for sorting, extra hangers, and a pen and paper for jotting any notes. Make sure you’re near a mirror!

Put on your favorite radio station or make a fashion show mix for your iPod. Pour yourself a glass of wine, dim the lights- why not invite a close gal pal for a second opinion?

Make sure you have a clean space on your floor or bed and get started! If you’re overwhelmed, start small– choose to empty one drawer, or start big by emptying all the things off your hangers. Then it’s just a matter of going through every piece of clothing you own. Don’t forget your laundry basket! (Just remember to put the dirty stuff back afterwards.)

I like to stick to one major rule: nothing goes back into your drawer or closet unless you are absolutely sure you want to keep it.

The stuff that doesn’t go back into your closet can be divided into two piles:

The discard pile should include things that you’ve outgrown, shrunk, and are stained, ripped or faded. (That includes any socks or underwear!) Check your clothes for funky odors. Retire anything you haven’t worn in a year or more. Try things on and be honest with yourself about what looks good. If the cut or color of something isn’t flattering, or doesn’t make you feel beautiful, it can find a better home elsewhere.

Sort as quickly as you possibly can to avoid lingering over decisions. When you’re done, stick the discard pile into bags to be donated- because that’s what you’re doing instead of throwing out your clothes. Right? RIGHT?

I also have a “pending” pile. It usually includes anything that I like that needs mending, as long as the repair is feasible and I’m willing to devote time to fixing it (or the money to pay someone else to).  If I have multiples of one type of item, I usually throw them on the “pending pile” too so that I can come back to them for re-evaluation.

Really try to keep only the things you’d use, or you’ve promised yourself to use. If your wardrobe seems to be missing certain staples, or you find yourself letting go of basic wardrobe items that need replacing, jot them down.

At the end of my cleaning frenzy, I was left with five shopping bags of donations, and a list of the gaps in my wardrobe so the next time I go shopping, I know what to look for and where to cut myself off.

And I can close my drawers.

KBwB-Flower-50

How did your last closet organization session go? Got any tips and tricks for us people who like to hoard a crazy amount of T-shirts like I do? Drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com and tell me how you got your closet from bomb-site to bombshell. Want tips from our fashionistas for wardrobe basics that will help flush out even the most label-starved lady? My sister L writes a great fashion blog that has tons of practical tips on how to incorporate the fashionable into any wardrobe.