Edit Your Life : Your Wardrobe

I’m a former newspaper editor, and one of the things I learned was to edit brutally (no sarcastic comments about why I don’t do that with my blog posts). Cut out everything that’s not necessary, and you’ve got a more meaningful story.

I highly recommend editing your life.

Today’s edit: Edit your wardrobe.

Take a look at your closet — is it stuffed full of clothes you don’t wear? Do you have trouble picking out what to wear in the morning? Are there clothes you don’t fit, don’t like, or can’t wear because they are stained or torn? How about your clothes drawers? Overstuffed?

If so, your wardrobe may be in need of editing. Let’s be honest: most of us are in this category. And even though I’ve greatly simplified my clothing needs, every six months or so, I need to go through my closet to see if there’s stuff in here I no longer wear. I pull out a bunch of things and put them in a bag for donation. My closet is simpler, and my mind is more at ease.

To edit your wardrobe, here are some simple steps:

  • Pull out all the clothes from your closet. Put them on your bed. Now go through this pile, one item at a time, deciding what stays and what goes. Follow these rules:
    1. If you haven’t worn an item in months, put it in the donate pile. There’s a reason you don’t wear that item — you’re probably not going to wear it again for a long while, if ever.
    2. If you no longer fit an item, donate it. Yes, you plan to lose 10 pounds to fit into that outfit. Well, when you do, go to the thrift shop and get some better-fitting items. Until then, they’re taking up space in your closet.
    3. If an item is stained or torn beyond repair, donate it. If you can repair it, put it in a bag and take it to be sewn tomorrow (or do it yourself). If that bag sits in your house or car for more than a week, you’ll probably never do it, so donate it or toss it. For myself, I often keep stained or torn clothing, if I really love an item, but I only wear it around the house. I save the good clothes for company. 🙂
    4. If an item is out of style or doesn’t match anything else you own, consider donating it. OK, if you really love it and still wear it, go ahead and keep it. Butterfly bell-bottoms? You’re still cool.
    5. When in doubt, put it in a storage container, label it with today’s date, and put it out of sight for a few months. If you ever really want to wear it, it’s still there. But if you open it in a few months, and you never needed it, donate it.
    6. For seasonal clothes, such as winter or summer clothing, put it in a container and label it. When the season comes, break out that container. No use keeping it in your closet the whole year round. Where I live, there’s always tropical goodness year round, so this isn’t an issue.
  • If you still have a lot of clothes left, consider the following:
    1. Keep clothes that are of the same color scheme, and toss the rest. This way, everything matches, and you don’t have to worry about what goes with your chartreuse blouse. Neutral colors like tan and white are great, with some color tossed in. I avoid bright colors, especially those that bleed in the wash. I don’t like to worry about that.
    2. Keep clothes that are simple in design, and can be paired with anything. Jeans are a great example (not the kinds with bells and whistles, the simple kinds). You can put just about any shirt with jeans, and you’re good to go. Shoot for this kind of philosophy. Don’t have pants or a skirt that can only go with one or two other items. Be able to mix and match with ease and without some kind of complicated chart.
    3. Make comfort a priority. Looks are important, but comfort is more important. You want to be at ease in whatever you wear, so keep that in the forefront as you edit your clothing.
  • Hang the clothes back in the closet nicely, in some order. Pairing by color is nice, and has an especially nice effect if you use the same color hangers. If you have fewer clothes, they look much nicer in the closet.
  • Repeat this process with your clothes drawers. Throw out the torn underwear and stained socks. Once you weed out a lot of the stuff, fold them neatly and put them back in your drawers nicely. Again, fewer clothes look much nicer in your drawers.
  • Edit your wardrobe every 6 months or so. It’s best if you refrain from buying too many more unnecessary clothes, but I know some of you are shopaholics, and even the rest of us accumulate stuff over time. Make this a regular event, and you’ll keep your wardrobe nice and simple.

Personally, I simplified my wardrobe years ago. In fact, new employers know that I dress very simply, usually wearing jeans or slacks with a T-shirt or polo shirt and sandals or Docs. I’m a simple guy, and if my employer doesn’t like it, they don’t have to hire me. I feel my talents are more than worth any casualness. And when I need to dress up, I do have some button-down shirts and ties for emergencies, but I’m not comfortable in them on a daily basis.

I still need to edit my wardrobe, though, on a regular basis. I know when it’s time when it’s hard to find stuff, and when I look through my closet and find lots of stuff I rarely wear.

Simplify your wardrobe, and your life will be much simpler and stress-free. It’s wonderful. Give it a try!

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