I sometimes feel like my closet is a time capsule. It represents years worth of styles, moods, and temporary fads, and the end result is a super eclectic collection of clothes that don't really go together. I usually fantasize about decluttering my wardrobe and simplifying my closet about ten times a week.
On the simplicity site TreeHugger, living section author Katherine Martinko said, "All too often, clothes create unnecessary stress first thing in the morning. Many of us have dressers and closets overflowing with clothes, and yet feel as if we have nothing to wear. The problem is that we fall victim to fads and trends, impractical styles, irresistible deals, and the urge to shop." She also said, however, that the solution is simply simplifying. "By reducing the number of items in the closet and leaving only the practical, comfortable basics (a.k.a. the kind of outfits that make you feel fabulous and indomitable all the time – and you know exactly what I’m talking about because we all have a few of those outfits), you can save time and [...] keep your mind clear for much more important decisions later in the day."
Furthermore, in an article for Psychology Today, CEO and strategic-thinking expert Nick Tasler noted that the more decisions we make in a day, the less effective we become at making them, which is a phenomenon in psychology known as decision-fatigue. Spending a ton of time agonizing over what to wear in the morning could actually make you a less-effective decision-maker later in the day when it really counts.
If you're tired of your wardrobe adding extra stress and frustration to your day, and want to feel as if you always have something to wear that you actually like, here are seven tips to simplifying your wardrobe that should help.
1. Assess Everything
Tiny House Talk, a site devoted to smaller living spaces and life simplification, recommended first pulling everything out of your closet when embarking on a wardrobe simplification project. Put everything into three piles: keep, donate, or throw away. And in terms of "keep" make a physical list of what you have before hanging them back up.
2. Figure Out What You Really Wear
Now that you have a preliminary "keep pile," figure out what you realistically wear from it on a regular basis. In an article for Apartment Therapy, site editor Janel Laban said to, "Turn around all the hangers in your closet so the hooks are pointing towards you (wrong way round). When you wear something, put it back with the hook the normal way. In six months, any hanger still facing the wrong way is holding an item you haven't worn, ready for the donation bag." If you only have seasonal clothes hanging up, then shorten your time limit to just a couple months to see what you wear in that season.
3. Ask Yourself If It Fits
On a piece on her website about simplifying your closet and figuring out what exactly to get rid of, author and lifestyle blogger Courtney Carver said to start by simply asking yourself if the item in questions fits. "Not, does it fit in five days or five pounds, but does it fit right now," she said. If the answer is no, toss it.
4. Ask Yourself If You Love It
Carver then says to go through what you have in your closet and simply ask if you love each piece. If the answer is no, or your first thought is how you don't like something about it (how it fits on your shoulders, where it falls on your knee, etc) then again, just donate it.
5. Go Easy On The Statement Pieces
A piece on Real Simple about creating a well-balanced wardrobe suggested focussing on basics. Make sure you have things like a pair of black pants, versatile tanks, and basic blouses to serve as your staples, and then focus on acquiring a few patterned items and statement pieces. It's the basic staples that will make getting ready each day super simple.
6. Consider A Capsule Wardrobe
If you're super serious about simplifying your closet, you can consider creating a capsule wardrobe. According to Today Show Style Contributor Lililana Vazquez, a capsule wardrobe is about editing the clothes in your closet to only those that currently fit you and can be used in many different outfits. She said that if you stick to these requirements, you should be able to limit your closet to 30 items or less. "You've got to be cut throat with this process," she said, "if you haven't worn it in a season or the season before, it's got to go."
7. Be Honest Without Yourself
This last one is a personal tip. I have wasted so much money and closet space on items that I never wear, because at the end of the day, I just don't feel they are me (I'm looking at you, backless dress and peasant top). Try to be super honest with yourself before you hop on a new seasonal trend and really assess if it's something you can see yourself wearing, or if you're just buying it because you hope you'll suddenly become the kind of person who "wears this kind of thing."
Deciding what to wear each morning should never be an additional source of stress in your life, and you should never feel like you can't find anything to wear in a closet brimming with clothes. If your closet is weighing you down, take a weekend to implement some or all of these tips, and I promise you'll feel so much better when you open your closet doors each day.