Cut the closet clutter for a lifetime — and save money too — by learning how to bring home only clothes you love and need.
By: Jennifer Phelps, Houzz Contributor
You’ve banished your excuses, sorted your stuff and lightened your load. Your closet looks great! You’ve celebrated your accomplishment and are basking in the glory of your newly purged space. So … now what? Nature abhors a vacuum, as they say, so you may feel compelled to fill it to the brim right away. But you can limit the clutter and continue to breathe easy if you adopt just a few healthy habits.
1. Take a picture — it really will last longer. Take a photo of your newly organized closet and refer to it regularly. Keeping a record of your closet at its best will inspire you to keep it that way.
2. Keep your eyes on the prize. Arrange clothes so you can see them all: by style, color, purpose — any manner that clicks with you. In drawers, consider organizing pieces like pretty little logs so nothing gets overlooked at the bottom of a stack. When it’s there at a glance, you’re more likely to wear what you have and less likely to purchase accidental duplicates.
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3. Don’t be tricked by magic gadgets. It may be necessary to invest in a few (a very few) effective and space-appropriate bins or dividers to help you wrangle your wardrobe. However, avoid expensive and gimmicky systems that really don’t suit your space or your stuff.
4. Cut the stress by making more with less. If you keep your wardrobe simple by pairing more classic and versatile pieces with a few trendy pieces and accessories, you can keep the clutter down and make getting ready a breeze. Pair what you have in several different ways to create new outfits, and you’ll see how abundant your newly trimmed-down wardrobe really is. Then purchase only the essential items that will allow you to stretch your core wardrobe even further. Choose quality over quantity; wear what you love and wear it until it wears out.
5. Check yourself at checkout. Big budget or small budget, this is by far the most difficult challenge for many. Take a close look at your purchasing habits and get a grip on impulse buys. They cause clutter, waste money and can make you feel bad about yourself. Frugality in the moment does not equal self-denial in the long term. It simply allows you to prioritize expenditures for what is truly most important to you. Do you want to travel, take a class, buy an important gift for someone else or maybe save for an emergency or investing? Look at what you spend on clothes, and you might be shocked by what you might have accomplished with that money. But if you can’t resist buying, return the item as soon as you see the light. Unworn clothing is nothing more than wasted cash hanging in your closet.
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6. Be true to yourself. Be sure that your wardrobe suits your actual lifestyle and is an authentic reflection of who you are. Having too many clothes can suggest you haven’t really found your own personal style, so once in a while take a fresh look at your entire wardrobe. Lay out only the pieces you love. Is there a theme, a common cut, color, style, comfort, fabric feel or fit? Keep this in mind as you shop, and you’ll keep expensive and cluttering missteps to a minimum. It’s worth remembering also that clothes that fit properly, in whatever size, are always more flattering than ill-fitting ones.
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7. Make release rewarding. Discover the fun of consignment, find a charity you love or host a clothing exchange party. Honestly, consignment isn’t for everyone. If your nature is to take it personally if the shop doesn’t accept all of the clothing you bring in, then it’s best to steer clear. But if making a few bucks will ease the pain of separation, then consignment is a great way to go.
Find a cause you support — such as a women’s job training program that can immediately use your professional cast-offs or an animal shelter’s thrift store — so when you discover that old camisole stuck in a drawer, you can drop it off the next time you leave the house.
Spice up your wardrobe by having a clothing exchange party with friends. Bring a potluck dish, whip up a batch of pomegranate martinis and fill a bag with clothes to trade. Agree beforehand to take home only half the amount each of you brought and give the rest to charity.
Being honest with yourself about how your closet got so messy in the first place will go a long way toward helping you keep your new space fresh. It’s entirely up to you whether a neat closet will be an ongoing battle or become your happy new normal. In any case, knowing yourself and rolling with life’s changes will help you keep a closet that reflects your most beautiful self, so you can always feel like a million bucks.
[Photo: DJ’s Home Improvements]