Too Many Clothes, and Nothing to Wear: The Solution

Many of us, especially girls, have the problem of having clothes galore… yet nothing to wear.  About three weeks ago, I decided to solve this problem.  Since I don’t have much free time, I couldn’t do it all at once.  I decided, instead, to do it in stages.  Here’s what I did.  Spoiler alert: it worked, and my life is so much easier now!

1.  Make the easy choices.

I know there are plenty of strategies out there as to how to sort through your wardrobe.  Most of these strategies seem to involve taking a day with no distractions, laying everything out neatly, and going through everything all at once.  Since I am so incredibly busy all week long (and I’m sure you are, too), I didn’t have this luxury.  I started by doing what I knew I could do in a short amount of time:  I got rid of what hadn’t fit since high school (even the cute stuff… sigh), the stuff that had been given to me as a gift but I’ve never really worn, the clothes I only kept because I felt obligated (camp t-shirts and items of that nature), and the clothes that I just plain didn’t like.

2. Make the color choices.

I decided that if a top didn’t match at least three bottoms (or vice-versa), I would donate it.  That one hurt a little… but it helped me narrow down a good many things that, in truth, I didn’t really wear anyways.  Once I had done that, I decided on colors to theme my wardrobe.  I have a terrible taste in fashion, so I (again) enlisted the help of Pinterest, with some good results.

Once I found a color scheme that matched what I had and what I liked, I decided that I would buy a couple pieces of clothing that went with the color theme, and would replace several that I had.  That way, I could replace uncomfortably-fitting clothes that I had kept because I didn’t have anything else, and I would have pieces that mix and match well (which is fundamental to the capsule wardrobe idea).

3. Acquire replacement pieces.

I didn’t want the usual thing to happen, where I buy cute clothes and they end up not matching anything.  I decided to go online and look at clothes I could find in stores near me.  I ended up going with H&M, because they were inexpensive (I’m a teacher in a small-town school, so I’m always broke), and they have an ongoing deal where you can bring a grocery sack of clothes to donate, and they give you a 15% off coupon.

I went to the H&M website, and looked through the options.  I decided on 12 pieces:

3 short sleeve tops

1 short sleeve blouse

2 sleeveless tops

1 button-down business top

2 cardigans

2 skirts

1 pair of pants

The specific ones I chose would go with the clothes I already had and wanted to keep.  Once I had picked them, I saved pictures of them, the names, and the prices to my phone.  I decided not to buy them right away, so that I could see if I still liked them in a few days.  By that weekend, I was sure that I still liked the clothes I had picked out online, so I went to the store to try them on.  Some I liked in person, some I didn’t, and for some I found a cheaper alternative.  I ended up spending about $60 for a short-sleeve top, a short sleeve blouse, a sleeveless top, two cardigans, and a skirt.  Basically, I replaced about two economy-size garbage bags of old clothes that didn’t fit, didn’t match, and I didn’t love with six new pieces that did all those things.

4. Match the socks.

Between my husband and me, we had a small moving box full of socks.  Every morning, we’d dig through to find a matching pair to wear that day.  Well, (quoth the raven), nevermore!  One day of Operation: Cut the Clothes was dedicated to socks.  We dumped all of them on the floor, matched everything, and threw away any that didn’t have a match or had holes.  Next, we donated any good socks that we didn’t like or want.

Then came the hard part: choosing what we wanted to keep.  We decided beforehand that we would only keep ten pairs.  That was enough to get through a week, even if we needed to use more than one pair in a day (if we went hiking and our socks got gross, or other such scenarios), and we wouldn’t be in a bind if we couldn’t do laundry exactly every seven days.

I kept one pair of long socks (for my boots), two cute and comfy pairs, two colorful pairs, two pairs of white athletic socks, and three pairs of plain white socks.

5. The results.

It’s been about three weeks, and I have been incredibly pleased with the results!  I still have to take my clothes to the laundromat, but because I have cut down on my clothes so drastically, I have been highly motivated to wash laundry every week.  That means that each time I do laundry, there’s only one basket.  I make sure that I don’t leave the laundromat until all the clothes are folded, that way all I have to do when I get back is put everything away.

Getting dressed in the morning takes very little time.  Since my wardrobe is narrowed down to include pieces that pretty much all match each other, and pieces that fit, I don’t have to spend 15 minutes every morning sorting through piles of clothes to find something that matches, and then changing again so that my clothes match AND fit.

I was worried that I’d really miss some of the clothes that I’ve gotten rid of, but the truth is, I don’t.  I kept what I love, and now my wardrobe is both comfy and classy.  This is definitely something I will highly recommend to everyone!

Have you gone through a similar wardrobe purge?  What advice do you have for others looking to try it?

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