Thursday, April 28, 2016

A 36-Hanger Wardrobe idea

It happens every year at this time - you would think that after living through 54 Aprils, I would know better. But we have a couple of warm days, and I start dragging warm-weather clothes out of storage... then the weather returns to normal (i.e. coats and gloves) and my closet looks like a I've lost all control. (because I HAVE let things get out of control...)

So I spend quite a bit of time thinking about organizing my closet. You already knew that! And this is my latest thought:


Step 1


Look at everything that's visible, and that I can remember from storage, and pick the 18 garments that I know I will want to wear in the immediate (2 weeks or so?) future. This isn't designed to punish me if the weather changes radically - it's more a goal of getting the clothes with which I wrestle each morning down to a manageable number.

Right now, the forecast is for highs in the 50s and lows in the 40s, so I chose the following:


white tee shirts - L.L.Bean (with my iron-on designs);
pants - Eddie Bauer, cardigan - L.L.Bean;
skirted leggings - Eileen Fisher, red sweater - J. Crew

white shirt - Lands' End; waxed cotton jeans -
Eileen Fisher (similar here); sweater - J. Crew; tee shirt -
L.L.Bean
; skirt - Uniqlo; sweater - Rika (not available)

1st dress - COS (not available); 2nd dress - J. Jill (not available);
3rd dress - COS (not available); chambray shirt - J. Jill (similar here);
cardigan - Dublin Woolen Mills (similar here);  jeans - L.L.Bean

Okay, that's 18 hangers...

Step 2


Look at everything that's left. Patience, creativity, and intelligence are all important here!

Put together another 18 ensembles (as many as 54 garments) from the vast unused remainders. Consider the upcoming weather (i.e. if right now I have the choice between a linen sweater and a cashmere one, I should probably be looking at the linen; even though it's cool right now, it's going to warm up soon.)

(no, all of my ensembles aren't identical, but since I don't even know what they ARE yet, I'm just showing place-holder garments)



Step 3


Put these 18 hangers into a large garment bag or two, and put them in my closet also. So they're there, but they're not THERE, as in "in my face" every morning.

And oh yea, if you don't have big garment bags, neatly arranging an old sheet over your 2nd 18 hangers would accomplish the same goal of protection and "out of sight-ness" that you want... Spending money shouldn't be a big part of this, until and unless you decide that this works for you.


Step 4


As needed by demands of the weather, or maybe twice a month (the 15th and the last day, maybe?), look at the current "active" wardrobe and choose an ensemble that needs to go on vacation. It might be that I've worn it constantly, or that it's now out of season... Remove those 3 pieces from my closet.

If I'm still completely contented with what I see, change nothing!


Step 5


If I decided to remove 3 things from my "active" wardrobe in Step 4, I need to look in the garment bag(s) and choose the 3-piece ensemble that most appeals, and that is most appropriate for the upcoming fortnight or so. Transfer each of the 3 pieces onto their own hanger, and move to the "active" wardrobe.


Step 6


Make sure that the 3 pieces leaving the 18 are clean, fit well, and are ready to store. Decide if these pieces are things that will be "back in the action" in the next few months, or if they're now sufficiently out of season to be rested in a remote storage area. (in my case, that's a big translucent plastic bin on the top shelf of my closet!)


Step 7


If the newly retired ensemble is going into "out of season", then maybe choose another ensemble to take it's place in the garment bag, with the rest of the "standby" garments.


Step 8


Repeat Steps 4, 5, 6 and 7 as often as needed, if the weather dictates, or twice a month if you're getting bored with your "front of closet" 18.



Okay, that's a complicated way to explain that I'm going to have a "rolling capsule" (nod to Debbie Roes at Recovering Shopaholic for introducing me to the term) of 18 pieces that I'm going to gradually shift, 3 pieces at a time. If you don't own 54 pieces of clothing, I salute you - you are my role model.

There aren't any hard and fast rules here - I just came up with this idea, so it's not like there's a well-established tradition around how this works! But the goals are to keep a generous but still abbreviated number of pieces visible, while having the "on the bench" pieces queued up in an orderly fashion, close at hand.

THEN, you can buy 36 really gorgeous wooden hangers...

does this make sense? feasible? helpful? too few options? or too many?  As always, your opinions are valued!

love,
Janice

NORDSTROM - Shop Contemporary Summer Dresses



38 comments:

  1. This is so admirable. In the greater scheme of things, the fickle weather doesn't last that long, but on a day-to-day basis, it seems like forever. We were in T-shirts and shorts a few weeks ago. Now it's cold again, and since we shut off the heat weeks ago we are shivering under three sweaters. It's supposed to last until next week. I don't mind wearing the same clothes, but I do mind doing laundry. So I want enough items to pile on for at least a week. I lean toward things that don't remind me of Christmas. I have a couple of chunky cotton sweaters, and layer underneath for added warmth, rather than pull on my super-warm yak sweater from Katmandu. Though with the heat off, the house is colder now than at Christmas. (We can't just turn it on again, either because it's a high-tech, low-energy system that goes bonkers if we do that.)

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  2. Weather options are always my downfall and I can't believe how often I have the thought that I don't have the right topper for the weather and I have plenty of clothes. But I also get confused by viewing too many wrong season clothes. I love that your rolling capsule system is weather influenced. I am trying out relegating the cold season stuff to one side of the closet and turning my back on them, as it were. I know you've said you go to the gym a lot so maybe that's how you don't dread periodically lifting down and hoisting back up a large container from the top of your closet?

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  3. I live in New England where we have had a couple of warm days but mostly we are in a chilly 50ish pattern for a bit, which is fine. Problem is almost every year in this interlude I have to head somewhere MUCH warmer and more humid for a 4 day meeting. I can never quite cope with having to drag out the linen & lighter cottons, never mind transition to summer shoes and legwear. It's a problem! I almost feel as if I should anticipate this in the fall when I put away the summer things--pack a little bag for the May meeting and surprise myself, but I have a feeling that will never happen.

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    1. That IS a great idea. With all the help we get from Janice, you could put together a mini travel capsule for hot weather getaways and it would be ready to go. At least it would be a great start. I think I'll try to do that. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  4. From Margie in Toronto - going through this same process myself as we've had the same weather swings as well - 10 days ago it was in the high 70'sF and last night it was back down to freezing. I've chosen a few sweaters to dry clean/wash and store already so that I could start to make room for the new summer sweaters which will be integrated into my work wardrobe starting next week. Pants are still Fall/Winter. Tops are gradually being switched over. I've designated one drawer to hold the cleaned and ready to be put away items but purchasing a couple of garment bags and a couple of plastic bins is on my list for this weekend. I'm not up to doing a number count at the moment (got a wee it carried away with the new Summer purchases) but your list looks pretty comprehensive and would allow swaps depending upon individual circumstances so it seems about right to me - now if I could just get rid of the winter coat and gloves!

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  5. I'm lucky enough to have a big enough closet that I can have everything out at once. Around this time of year, I tend to have *everything* in it's category (tops, bottoms, etc) but as the weather gets hotter, I'll move the warmer garments to the back of the closet. In the winter, I move my summer stuff there. Every so often I'll pull things that I haven't worn for a while and put them front and center - sort of a use it or lose it method. After a few weeks of trying to wear those things first, I usually have a pretty good idea of what I can incorporate back into the wardrobe and what I can give away.

    And though you haven't mentioned it, I recently read Marie Kondo's follow-up book, and re-did my kids' dressers in her style - they were actually delighted! I've never seen a kid be delighted by a drawer of t-shirts before!

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    1. Suzan,
      I also am blessed with a large walk-in closet so all of my seasons stay up year round, but I do switch cool and warm season clothes into prominent or less prominent areas, depending upon the given season. I also am doing the placement of less worn items in a front and center location and am finding some new combinations that I hadn't thought of. In addition, I start each season by turning my hanger hooks facing forward on the pole to see which clothing items I've actually worn during a season, because their hangers will be facing backward towards the wall at the end of the time period.

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    2. I forgot to add that my seasonal colors and fabrics vary from season to season, so each quarter I feel like I have a new wardrobe with some transitional overlaps. I have come to terms with the fact that I'll never be a minimalist, but that's OK with me, as I only now purchase items that will work with existing colors, weights, fabrics, and neck styles, etc. in a given season.

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  6. I love ideas! Ok here goes. I have two systems going on at the same time.
    I have created a spread sheet of most of my clothes. They are listed (I love lists) as toppers, tops and bottoms and then oraganised by type. For example knitted tops - singlets, short sleeved T-shirts with low necks, short sleeved T-shirts with high necks and then long sleeved T-shirts. I have the list sorted in a rainbow but list really does't have to be sorted. I wear singlets when maximum daily temp is over 30C, short sleeve low necks when temp is between 30C and 25c. High necks 25C to 20C and long sleeves under 20C. Since I have clothes listed I daily just work my way through the list depending on the temp. Can be a bit of pot luck and my outfit doesn't always match.
    So that has the tops sorted!
    The bottoms (skirts) have been put in another list and are rotated (worn) 2 days at time. Right now I have 8 skirts in rotaton so that is a total of 16 days. My toppers (vests and polar fleeces) are in weekly rotation as well. This list is stuck on my fridge so I can see what I have alocated for the day. I am using technology to my advantage. I am not sure how clear I have been... :( Carol S

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  7. I do something I loosely based on Project 333 after reading about it here. I rotate my entire closet quarterly, by the season shift for my area. So this means that in June, September, December & March my entire wardrobe changes and I never feel like *I have nothing to wear* or *I am so tired of wearing this*

    I have (roughly) 30 pieces per shift (I also sew my wardrobe, so the 30 ebbs & flows with fabric or patterns I may find in the course of a season, I try to sew the season before I will want to wear something)

    I keep a list in a notebook of what I have so I don't "forget" about a skirt or jacket I may not have seen for 9 months and it makes it easy to say yes to a piece of fabric or to rethink the purchase if nothing will go with it. (again, something I've learned here =) )

    I know that I would never be the woman who could live with 30 or even 60 pieces for an entire year (after year). I would get bored and resort to wearing the same few things again & again out of apathy. I like the feel of having an entirely new (seasonally appropriate, ie: breezy cottons for summer, velvets for winter, etc) wardrobe every few months.

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  8. Once again, Janice, you have given we wonderful practical advice for my closet "problem". The temperature fluctuations this time of year make me crazy when trying to dress. I am going to try and sit down and implement this plan by the weekend!

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  9. I love the comments above and how to avoid the out-of-sight-out-of-mine syndrome from which I suffer. Having just moved put ALL the clothes (good, bad, and ugly) in the forefront. Now I get to use your techniques to get the beast under control.

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  10. I think I have 45 or 46 garments total - winter and summer - or will when I purchase the 4 or 5 things I need for summer. I've followed a lot of your advice and have finally found my best colors. It's fun to begin to restock my closet with favorites that look good!

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  11. I like this idea a lot. Here in New England we can experience the weather of all four seasons in as many days. I'm not quite dedicated enough to do a twice-a-month examination, but I'm going to try at least the 36 hanger approach. That should be enough to take me through to consistent weather. :)

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  12. Janice,
    This is a very interesting concept. Tricia T. suggested wearing a bottom piece twice before laundering. My goal is to have one topper and two tops for every bottom piece. This gives me a fresh top with each wear and chic, completed ensembles I can rely on. Living in the coastal zone of Southern California I do not have the extreme seasonal changes, it's more of a color, fabric change. Still, enough to think about the versatility of each garment piece. I love reading your tips every day, Janice. This keeps me striding forward to a "less is more" wardrobe that I love.

    You're the best!
    A faithful fan,
    PT

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  13. Oh my, all of you are so organized. I am very impressed but I know I won't follow in your footsteps.
    I switch my clothes twice a year fall and spring as Vancouver's temperature shifts are not as dramatic as other places. I organize my clothes in my closet by type and that's it. All the sweaters and t shirts stay in their drawers all year. I don't have a plan or a schedule and wear what fits the purpose. I know that means I do not use my clothes to the maximum.
    Deb from Vancouver

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  14. As always, another wonderful idea Janice! Living in So Cal I really don't have a "winter wardrobe" and a "summer wardrobe" - with the exception of a few sweaters and a couple of strappy tank tops, I pretty much wear all my clothes year round. However, this gave me a great idea for moving the sweaters I wear only occasionally in summer to the back part of my closet and move the tanks and lighter tops towards the front!

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  15. It strikes me that this plan is rather like efficiently planning a weather-appropriate travel wardrobe for a two-week staycation. :) I do something similar by--especially in transitional weather--by looking at my calendar and the weather forecast, then trying on and planning a week's wardrobe (including accessories, cardigans, shoes etc.) and hanging each assembled outfit on a mini-clothing rack in my bedroom. At the end of the year, anything that hasn't made its rotation onto the mini-rack is given away or put into storage (until I finally realize I should, in fact, have given it away). This has all been inspired, I must say, by your blog, Janice!

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  16. Oooh, Janice, I like the way you think! Ok, that sounds a bit Klute-ish but I do like your passion for setting a process to wardrobe selection! With the aim of taking away the headache, the dilemma, of daily choice. So your ideas today? Totally helpful. Totally feasible. I can't wait to get started!

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  17. Oooh, Janice, I like the way you think! Ok, that sounds a bit Klute-ish but I do like your passion for setting a process to wardrobe selection! With the aim of taking away the headache, the dilemma, of daily choice. So your ideas today? Totally helpful. Totally feasible. I can't wait to get started!

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  18. Good idea. The weather is so changeable here in London at the moment. Freezing one moment sunny the next.

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  19. Maybe it's a silly question - but what if you have a very small (or no) closet, and almost all your clothes are in drawers? Would you move things from top to bottom drawers to rotate? Put them in a separate unit altogether?

    I'm still working on building a couple of 4x4 capsules after years of never having a wardrobe plan, so I don't know if I'm even close to this point yet anyway, but I was just wondering!

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  20. I admire all the organization ladies! I want to be organized, I really do, but I just can't seem to pull it off! If you could see my closet right now you would nominate me for an episode of Hoarders! Yikes! I have a very large closet and I think it has become more of a curse than a blessing! When I had a small closet I was forced to regularly purge and organize. Now I just keep cramming it in.........I do have my donation piles started but I can't seem to get motivated to finish the job. For you psychology majors I'm sure there is some hidden meaning there. LOL! I really like this idea Janice. Maybe I can do 36 hangers........makes it seem less daunting than organizing the entire wardrobe. Thanks for another great post!

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  21. Nothing to do with this post, but saw these and had to share with you!

    http://www.clarksusa.com/us/womens/womens-view-all/womens-heels/Swixties-Sling-White-Patent-Leather/p/26116068?utm_source=criteo&utm_medium=remarketing&utm_term=261160684050&utm_content=300x600&utm_campaign=lowerfunnel


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    1. Look at them in black... With pearls!

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    2. Aren't they fun! Thank you for sharing the link.
      Robyn in Tasmania

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    3. I'm SO HAPPY that I don't need any shoes right now - you'd have me seriously tempted...
      hugs,
      Janice

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  22. I was exhausted by step 4. I have about 30 pieces (not including scarves and shoes)and stick to that for one month. Then I can rotate in and out pieces not getting used or not right for current climate. Seems to be working. I allow a small corner of "wild card" items if I get too bored with my capsule ... I might refine my capsule and "wardrobing" after I've used this system for a year or more. I'm finding I'm more creative when working with less.

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    1. I'm trying to get to where you are now! One thing that I need to address once and for all is getting rid of some of my "office clothes," now that I work at home. But it's hard... they're beautiful, and I loved wearing them. But I do need to be a bit sensible...
      hugs,
      Janice

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    2. That's about where I am now too, "wild card" items and all. But I find that I am always getting rid of things that I don't end up wearing -- things I just HAD to keep -- so my wardrobe is getting smaller. I buy new things but fewer than I get rid of. The things that are left, I really love. So while I don't have the super-small wardrobe, I feel happier and happier about what I have (and, I think at least, I look better and better!). I've decided that I am just not as much of a minimalist as othters, but I am liking the place I'm getting to.

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  23. This year's long autumn presents similar rethinking in Hobart. We're now enjoying cold starts and ends to the day with warm middles. I have relatively small storage place for clothes, and don't particularly enjoy 'filing' clothes (stationery is a whole other story!). So I do a quick review - about an hour - every eight weeks or so, to choose what will be in the drawers and wardrobe for the time ahead. Everything else is in a big box in the top cupboard.
    I think it helps that we have a cool temperate climate, so for most of the year I have at least a couple of cardies and jackets in rotation, it's just the weight that varies.
    Having fewer, and better, coordinated clothes (thank you Janice!) makes it all easier. And I don't get bored because the 8-week rotation is frequent enough, plus wearing different scarves helps keep things fresh.
    I'm very impressed by other people's systems, though, and Janice I think the clothing bag idea is clever.
    Robyn in Tasmania

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  24. i like this idea and it seems particularly nice if one has to travel a lot, as there are no surprises or hunting through and sorting in the moment (i am thinking last minute work trips). perhaps 18 seems on the low end if one has a very different work and home life, though; i.e. suits by day and jeans by night...? idk, i live in a 4 season area, so i know i *could* store some things out of sight, but having been lucky enough to have a decent sized closet, i like to have everything out all at once. i don't keep things stuffed, so there is enough light and air to see everything at one go, and only my few formal evening dresses and wedding dress are tucked away at the very edges.

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  25. At first I wasn't certain what to think of this, but after thinking it over, I think it is brilliant.

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  26. I love this idea. How would you approach clothes shopping with this approach? Do you buy an entire outfit or just keep adding pieces?

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  27. Sounds complicated. At the beginning of each season I put together 6 complete outfits with a couple of layering options for weather changes for 3 types of activity: Home/errands, Office, Social & Trips. Having these go-to outfits simplifies dressing and it's clear where any gaps are if I don't have the right items to put the outfits together. I push the rest to the back of the wardrobe, but have photos of everything so if none of the 18 go-to outfits suit the occasion I can find alternatives easily.

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  28. I am so glad you that you have adapted my rolling capsule method to your needs and are finding it useful. I have worked with my rolling capsule now for months and find it so easy to adapt to weather changes. I use 15 items and when an item get worn 5 time I can either change it or roll it back in. It always amazes me how changing just one item give so many more outfit options. I love my rolling capsule and cant imagine dealing with my wardrobe any other way now.

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    1. That sounds very intriguing!

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    2. If you would like to know more Gail I wrote a guest blog about it on "Recovering Shopaholic". It is archived under rolling capsule. Hope you find it useful

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