Do you have a closet filled to the brim with clothes, scarves, and shoes, but still feel like there’s “nothing to wear” every morning? Do you regularly end up wearing the same outfit most days — jeans + grey or black shirt + grey or black cardigan — because you’re overwhelmed with all the options?
That was me about a year ago. I had TONS of clothes but very few pieces actually “worked,” meaning they fit well, went with other pieces in my closet, and reflected my personality.
The problem wasn’t that I lacked options. The problem was that I had too many options. It’s like walking into a Vegas buffet and not knowing what to eat.
An overflowing closet (and dresser and jewelry box) only creates chaos and adds to our feelings of anxiety when it comes to getting dressed in the morning.
The solution to “not knowing what to wear” or resorting to denim + grey or black is to have less items to choose from.
It’s incredibly simple. Once I pared down, I could finally see what I owned and had more freedom to choose items with color and personality. Plus only having items that fit well makes decision making way easier.
Here are four things you can do this weekend to simplify your wardrobe:
1. Get rid of everything that doesn’t work.
Sounds simple, right? But this is typically the most difficult part of the process for me because I’m forced to physically SEE, all at once, all the stuff I have that I shouldn’t have bought. It’s a giant “LOOK AT ALL THE MONEY YOU WASTED” sign sitting on my bed.
Yes, it sucks, but the only way to fix the problem is to go through this step. You need to Kon Marie your closet like a boss. Just hold your nose and do it.
Have three baskets or buckets or piles ready and marked: Donate, Garbage, Keep. Notice there’s no “keep this in the garage or storage for six months and see if you miss it” pile. Forget that business. We don’t have the energy (or space) for clothing purgatory.
Take every single item of clothing you own and throw it on your (made) bed.
Pick up each item and figure out what to do with it. If it fits into one of these categories, it’s GONE (either donated or in the garbage if it’s not acceptable to pass on):
- It’s too big or too small or doesn’t fit “right.”
- You never wear it.
- The color makes you look sickly.
- You don’t love it.
I’ve found the greatest success in being ruthless with this process. Each item needs to fit really well and I need to really love it in order for it to stay in my closet. This means I have removed some really cute stuff from my wardrobe because it wasn’t right for me — my style or my body shape. (The Adore Your Wardrobe course is what taught me the importance of fit and color.)
This is also a good time to simplify your undergarments and accessories. Because these items tend to be inexpensive, many of us are good at collecting them but not ever wearing them. Do you really need 15 scarves? 35 necklaces? 9 different styles of underwear? 952 mismatched socks? Probably not.
If you’re real mad at me telling you to just get rid of your stuff with no buffer, check out this guest post on how to declutter in a way that doesn’t make you feel super overwhelmed or like it has to be “all or nothing”. I know we all handle this stuff so differently!
Most of the time, too many options means we pick none of them. I get overwhelmed at my 28 choices in bracelets, so I don’t wear any. Pare down and I bet you’ll have “space” (both physically and mentally) to actually wear what you have (and love).
2. Reassemble your closet in a logical system.
Now that you have a smaller pile of clothes that you love and fit well, it’s time to put your closet and drawers back together.
I work really, really hard to keep all like items together which is surprisingly difficult to accomplish. Instead of having some of my t-shirts hanging and some folded, they all are folded together. This keeps my supply in check and I know that it’s time to pass something on (or stop buying in the first place) when my shirt drawer gets too full.
3. Put together 2-5 everyday outfits that you love and take a picture of yourself for future reference.
I’m often paralyzed when getting dressed in the morning. I’m not especially quick on my feet and I end up feeling like “I have nothing to wear” which is crazy because I have a closet full of clothes. And now I have a closet full of clothes that I love and that fit, so I should be able to wear an outfit looks and feels great.
So, be proactive and get some combinations figured out now so you can get dressed and out the door quickly. Use your phone and take a picture of yourself in each outfit (or hang the items up on a hanger and snap a pic) so all you have to do is scroll through your phone’s pictures to get some inspiration.
4. Discover and document your sizes in the brands and styles that you love and keep that info handy.
This has been huge for me. Since I have everything listed, I can jump on big online sales without having to drive to the store to try something on OR have to order multiple sizes to try on at home and return the extra stuff later.
And you don’t have to go crazy. I now primarily shop at two stores (Nordstrom and Target), so I only need to keep a handful of sizes on my list. Here’s an example of what I have listed out:
See how easy that is? Yes, you may have to go to the actual store to try stuff on, but once that torture is finished you can do the vast majority of your clothes shopping online.
This can also really help if you see deals on your favorite brands at a store like Nordstrom Rack, Zulily or Amazon. Often times these will be costly returns or “final sale” and it can feel risky to buy. If you know your size, you can buy at a lower price with confidence!
After completing this process, my closet is much smaller. It actually looks kind of bare. But the handful of items that remain fit really well, are perfect for my body shape, and coordinate with other items in my closet and I can make my dressing decisions in a few seconds.
Looking for more resources?
I learned almost everything I know about fashion and dressing for my body type from the Adore Your Wardrobe course.
I one million percent promise you, it was worth every single penny.
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