The Great Closet Clean-Out 2011
I mentioned in my "weekend scenes" that I finally took-on my closet in a major way (i.e. "The Great Closet Clean-Out 2011"). I'm pretty disciplined about regularly "weeding" through my clothes, giving a bag here and there to Goodwill or bequeathing an unworn but still loved item to a friend, but I've never really gone "all-in", and it was starting to show... Lately it seemed every time I walked into my closet to get dressed, I would just stand there all flummoxed and frustrated, and finally, out of sheer desperation, I'd just grab the same thing I wear every day despite a seemingly bulging wardrobe.
So the plan was to be ruthless, to assess every single item of clothing hanging in my closet with an end-goal of keeping only the things I wear and really love (the "really love" part being especially important). Key to my success in this endeavor was a bracingly honest (but well-intentioned) collaborator or two... Enter my mom and Audrey, who were seriously awesome at the task, so good, in fact, they could go into the closet editing business. In addition to the collaborators, I would recommend a good chunk of uninterrupted time (at least three hours), as well as a sense of humor, thick-skin (to deal with all that bracing honesty) and perhaps a cocktail or two...
In terms of process, we kept thing pretty simple. Before my mom and Audrey joined me, I went into my closet and removed everything (including shoes, handbags and jewelry) that: (A) I hadn't worn in six months (I was hard-core, so I bypassed the cushy, oft-recommended, one-year guideline) and (B) I had worn but didn't really love...
At this point over half my closet was gone.
The items remaining were things I wore frequently and loved while wearing. In fact, I had a little moment of sartorial peace looking at what was left... My closet was sparse and highly edited, and, for a second, I seriously considered just ditching everything I'd removed and calling it a day. But I resisted; and instead Mom and Audrey settled into the two little chairs in the corner of my bedroom while I tried the whole lot on.
This is the part where the sense of humor and thick skin came in...let's just say there was a lot of laughing and several refrains of: "what were you thinking" and "were you drunk when you bought that." Awesome. But the three of us (Audrey was a surprisingly involved participant) were swift and efficient. We only waffled over a few things, and when we were on the fence about a particular item, we took the time to try it in new ways, making absolute certain that if I kept it, I would actually wear it. Almost everything else was an instant "toss". In the end, I kept maybe 10 things out of a ginormous pile (probably 40 items total), so turns out my initial instinct to just ditch all the "maybes" wasn't really that far off.
The finished product
The exercise also exposed the glaring holes in my closet. I discovered that I needed more throw-on, casual stuff for schlepping around with the girls -- some easy knit dresses, a few more t-shirts, etc... I also needed a couple of options for slightly dressier activities, ideally things that started out special but could become even more dressy with the addition of a great necklace or shoes. I was thinking some metallic or fun prints (resulting in the purchase of that Madewell number).
I would definitely count the closet clean-out as one of the more productive/fruitful "organizing" projects I've done in years. It was a big undertaking but more than worth it, as now, every time I walk into my closet, I'm happy. I know (and really like) everything that's hanging in there, making getting dressed every day infinitely easier. I would highly recommend.
As for the cast-offs, most of it is headed to the local woman's shelter, but I did set aside a dozen or so items to sell, so as soon as I have time to snap pics and get them up on the site, I'll let you guys know...in case you're interested ;-)
Labels: getting dressed