Tis the season for resolutions! I love this project I’m presenting today because it can work for so many resolutions- getting more organized, saving money and producing less waste.
My goal last year was to spend less money. I was really bad at buying clothes when I had an occasion or impulse shopping but I wasn’t actually buying clothes I needed. Another dress with skeletons on it even though I already have 2? Sure! New jeans because mine have holes in them? Not so much…
I also seemed to have an entire closet of clothes and nothing to wear? I’m sure I’m not alone in that! So last January, I started tracking the clothes I was wearing to get a better sense of what I had. It was a game changer!
Here’s what I did to tackle my closet:
- Start by going through all your clothes. And I mean, ALL of your clothes. For me, that meant going through those underbed storage bins that held my “seasonal” clothes, aka, “The Out of Sight, Out of Mind” clothes I hadn’t looked at in over a year.
- Responsibly get rid of the clothes that no longer fit or you know you will not wear. You can coordinate with friends who are also looking to clean out their closets and have a clothing swap; sell them on line at Poshmark or send them into Thred-Up; donate them to Goodwill; for tshirts, you can make them into a quilt or grocery bag (DIY coming for this next week!) etc. There are so many ways to eliminate the waste in your house without adding more waste to landfills. If there are any clothes that you are unsure about, keep them in your closet. By tracking what you wear throughout the year, you can re-evalutate those items at the end of the year.
- In a spreadsheet (I like Google Docs so I can access it anywhere), track all the clothes that you decided to keep in an Inventory tab. Based off my wardrobe, I broke everything down into the following catagories: Bottoms, Tops, Cardigans/Jackets, Dresses, Shoes and Brooches. Your list will be different depending on your personal style and the items you are looking to track. Below is an abbreviated version of mine for reference. I like to also sort things by color in each category to make finding an item easier when I’m planning an outfit.
- I also have a tab for seasonal items which I rotate onto my Inventory tab throughout the year. I color coded them so I can see them better on my inventory and make an effort to wear them when they are in season. This helps prevent the “put them away and forget them” mentality. It will encourage you to actually rotate your clothes in and out seasonally if that is something you are interested in. I also keep special occasion outfits on this tab. You, understandably, aren’t going to keep a dress appropriate for a wedding on your inventory which you are using daily. Having them noted on this tab though, allows you to see those items more easily instead of forgetting them in the back of your closet.
- In a separate tab, set up the outline for your month. You may find it helpful to include on this tab the weather and any events you have going on that month. This can help plan your outfits better. I tried out both of these and found because my office is so cold, the weather didn’t have much impact on what I wore but it was helpful to see if I had plans.
- At the beginning of each month, I go into my monthly tab and rough out ideas for outfits. I try not to wear a piece twice if I have other options. If I have 5 pants, I’m going to try to plan outfits for all 5 before wearing my favorite jeans for a second time.
- I put the outfits I’m planning to wear in gray. The monthly outfit planning usually takes me about 1 hour to do. I’ll put on a show and work through my outfits as I watch an episode of Witcher or The Crown. There may be some changes as the month goes on but I find that I stick to the outfits pretty closely because it makes things SO easy.
- As I plan my outfits for the month, I put gray ‘x’s by the items I plan on wearing in my inventory tab as shown.
- As the month goes on, I change my planned outfits to black as I wear them. I also change the small, gray ‘x’s to large, black ‘X’s. When I describe my process to people, this seems to be the part that is the most daunting to them- keeping track of the outfits throughout the month. In reality, it takes me less time to update this document then it does to check my emails or Instagram and I usually do it while on my lunch break.
- At the start of each month, I’ll begin building outfits off the items that I didn’t use last month. So with the example above, I’d start with the tops that weren’t used last month like the Navy blue T, Purple Dashboard Confessional T or Grey Lace Trim Tank top. If you have no pieces that weren’t worn, then try and make new outfits from the same pieces. For example, in January I wore my black floral top with black skinny jeans so for February, I’ll try to style that top differently. Maybe I’ll pair it with the denim skirt and black flats. This helps you get out of a clothing rut with wearing the same things all the time.
- At the end of the year, you’ll have a spreadsheet of all the items of clothes you own and how often you wore them. As you can see from the picture below, I like to keep the gray ‘x’s so I know what I had planned to wear but actually never did. To me, it shows that even when I tried working a piece into an outfit, it was just not something I wanted to wear when the time came and I can probably get rid of it. The below is a shot from my actual inventory from last year. I didn’t end up wearing those three shirts in red so I pulled them out of my closest. The ‘ – ‘ indicate the months I didn’t own the item (like the Blue Frank Turner tshirt) or they were out of rotation (like the Burgundy Boat neck tshirt). That helps me differentiate items I wasn’t wearing and items I didn’t have. As for the items that were worn sporadically, like my Blue Flutter Sleeve T, I have to decide whether I like it enough to keep. Maybe I give it one more year and aim to wear it X amount of times and if I don’t meet it, I donate it. That’s up to you!
So that’s my closet project! By tracking my wardrobe this year:
- I was able to see what I wasn’t wearing because I didn’t like the item and responsibly get it out of my closet (I donated some items through Pacts donation project with Goodwill and re-purposed some old tshirts into bulk bags. )
- I was able to see that I wasn’t wearing some items because I didn’t have anything to go with them. In that situation, I was able to thoughtfully purchase clothes I actually needed.
- I didn’t suffer from “I have nothing to wear”. I actually saw that I had more then I could wear in a month and began to appreciate the clothes I had more! I was also mixing up my pieces more so things felt fresher and new. It really cut down on the feeling that I needed to shop.
So there you have it- a closet organization project that will help you get organized, spend less money on junk clothes and appreciate your wardrobe a bit more.
What do you think? Will you be cleaning out and organizing your closet this month? What are some other organizing you guys plan to do in 2020?