Two weeks ago I did as promised: I pulled every single solitary thing out of my miniature walk-in closet, and I also pulled all of the hidden clothes and shoes out of the auxiliary wardrobe. I stacked everything in categorized piles — which is already a huge improvement over the previous mess — but have avoided trying to analyze what’s there. Yet. And then I cleaned the empty closet! Which is now my favorite room in the house. This past Saturday, I counted:
- 13 jeans
- 17 pants
- 4 sweats/leggings
- 7 shorts
- 8 skirts
- 7 dresses
- 20 shirts/blouses
- 38 t-shirts
- 24-ish tank tops
- 7 vests
- 13 jackets (as in blazers)
- 2 coats
Plus too many (outerwear) jackets to round up and count. And then there are the sweaters:
- 14 cardigans (not counting the ones on the needles)
- 18 pullovers (including two turtlenecks)
- 6 vests/tunics
This doesn’t include pajamas or exercise clothes, nor socks and underwear. Nor does it include anything in the underbed boxes, which is all basically souvenir clothes. (Favorites from other times I can’t bear to part with, plus the dress I got married in, etc.) I had recently gone through those and narrowed the contents considerably, so I’m leaving well enough alone with all that. For now.
I don’t wear a lot of shorts or t-shirts (you’d never guess that by the count) and essentially never wear skirts or dresses. So there are some very obvious and easy cuts to make right off the bat, and I did make two grocery bags’ worth this weekend. But I’m going to take this whole process very gradually: assessing what’s there, thinking about how I want to be dressing myself, and deciding what is allowed back into the closet vs what goes to Goodwill, consignment, Dress for Success, or the studio rag bin.
I’ve established three rules for the allowing-back-in part of that equation:
1) Everything must fit into the closet, with room to spare. No more clothes in that Ikea wardrobe. And the closet mustn’t be full so that it’s immediately a problem again the next time I buy anything.
2) Putting a thing back in the closet has to be a no-brainer — no talking myself into anything or trying to figure out how I might be able to make use of a thing where it isn’t obvious.
3) Nothing shabby. If there are wardrobe staples that have clearly seen better days (and there are!) then they are to be replaced, not kept. I’m asking myself “If I were to run into someone I haven’t seen in years, would I be pleased or horrified that I had this on?” If the answer is not pleased, the item is not allowed in the closet, no matter how well-loved it may have been.
So I have my work cut out for me, but like I said, I’m just going to take it slow. The mess wasn’t created overnight, and it won’t be solved overnight either. I only wish I had time to really read and ponder Sarai Mitnick’s ongoing Wardrobe Architect series, which is jaw-dropping in its depth and apparent thoroughness. But even dipping into it here and there is giving me a lot to think about.
I’ll have more to say about the sweaters. There are shockingly few I wear given how many of them there are …