It’s an absolutely unbreakable rule for cleaning out your closet – you’re supposed to take EVERYTHING out of your closet, pile it somewhere like on your bed, try EVERYTHING on, and then sort things into piles for things to keep, things to donate, and things to “work on”.
I can picture that chez moi:
- Open bottle of wine.
- Take all clothes out of closet and put them on the bed.
- Look at stacks of clothes and feel a terrible combination of shame, panic, and sense of being completely overwhelmed by the situation.
- Drink wine.
- Try on a few of my favorite garments, and put them back in my closet.
- Take another drink.
- Throw up my hands in despair and put things back where they were…
I’m sure that some of you have done this the proper way, and have had great results. I’m eager to hear from you about how long it took, and what it was like to execute the project properly.
But for me, an incremental approach is the only way this is going to happen. So I’m going to go the “cluster” route. It works like this:
- Pick a dress, pair of pants, or skirt.
- Figure out at least two ways that I’m going to wear it. In the example of the dress above, I can be sort of casual-ish with opaque tights and flats, or it can be dressier, with sheer stockings and pumps. Your “cluster” might be three different ways to wear something – there are no rules here.
- Segregate EVERYTHING necessary to this “cluster”. I’m thinking of putting things onto my portable hanging rack for a few days, shoes on the floor, and accessories… somewhere…
- Move on to the next core garment, build the cluster, segregate the garments and accessories in the “keeper” area.
You could set aside part of your closet for the completed clusters, or you could put them somewhere entirely separate for a few days. (lots of people show photographs of storing their clothes on an open rack in their home, which looks cool, but bear in mind that light and dust are damaging to clothes – there’s a reason we have closets…)
I’m going to pursue this idea in my closet, because it will help me not only get my clothing under control, but it will also help me to see what shoes, hosiery, scarves and jewelry are actively being worn. Just trying on clothes won’t necessarily address some of my worst areas of clutter – I need to get a better handle on my accessory madness.
When I get to the point that I have a favorite item in my hands, and I see that there’s no outfit “cluster” in which this item works, I’ll have some clear-cut ideas about what shopping I might want to consider.
Items that never make it into a cluster – get donated. There’s a ton of people in the world who could use the things that are laying dormant in my wardrobe.
I’ve got four clusters chosen right now, and I’ve only used one Hermes scarf; the black and white scarf with my velvet skirt is an ancient Dolce & Gabbana. What does this tell me? (uh, my life has changed a LOT recently?)