With Minimal Expense and Waste

Do you have a closet full of clothing you like, but can never seem to make an outfit? Does it take you too much time to get dressed in the morning? Do you want a wardrobe that suits your style without spending a lot of money on new pieces? Do you keep things that don’t suit you because you feel guilty throwing away perfectly good items? Read on to learn some tips for streamlining your wardrobe so picking clothes is fun and easy again!

Step 1

Get three boxes or bins, as well as several boxes or trash bags. Label one, “give away,” one “restyle,” and the last one “recycle.” You may also opt to have a “sell” pile. It is also helpful to have a trashcan nearby.

Find the name of a good tailor and a good shoe repair shop in your town.

Step 2

What outfits have you worn most often in the last month? Think about colors, textures, and styles that make you feel good. For example, I prefer saturated tertiary colors (display color wheel), along with grey, black, and cream. I like small patterns, very soft fabrics, and fitted styles. Some people look better in flowing, pastel garments with large prints and some prefer heavily tailored clothes in neutral colors. Think about what clothes make you feel happiest and most self-confident. Chances are, you intuitively know what looks good and you wear it most often when going out.

Step 3

Go through every item of clothing you own, including shoes, accessories, and undergarments. Go through one drawer, closet, or box at a time. Don’t get out everything at once; the mess can become overwhelming. Instead, let yourself do a bit at a time.

 First, remove everything from the drawer. Then, consider how often you have worn each item in the last year. Look carefully at each item; try it on in a full-length mirror if you aren’t sure.

 If you love it, it makes you feel good, and you wear it often, put it back in the drawer or into the closet. Organize your clothes as you put them away.

If you like it but there is something wrong with it or you don’t wear it often, figure out why you don’t wear it. Some common reasons not to wear something include: the cut or color is unflattering, it no longer fits, it doesn’t coordinate well with other items in your wardrobe, it is out of style, it feels uncomfortable or is damaged, it is only for special occasions (like a fancy dress, snow boots, maternity clothes, or a costume), or you may feel guilty for discarding it for sentimental or environmental reasons.

 Items with sentimental value, such as a wedding gown, graduation robes, or old uniform, are fine to keep. If you have a lot of commemorative tee shirts or favorite clothing from high school, think about why you are holding on to them. Consider putting most of these items in the give-away or re-style bins.

If you love it but it is worn out, consider what you like about it. Is it the shape, fabric, or color? Dispose of it, but keep these features in mind for the future.

If you love everything but the color, adore the fabric but hate the style, or it is missing buttons or needs other repairs, place it in the re-style bin. Be careful not to place too many items in this bin, as it will cost you time or money for each item. If it no longer fits, does not flatter you, or does not suit your lifestyle, place it in the give-away bin. If it has large rips or stains, or is just plain worn out, place it into the recycle bin or the trash.

A friend may a great help in making these decisions. A good rule of thumb: if your best friend or spouse doesn’t recognize an item or think it is flattering, you should get rid of it! 

Step 4

Do not procrastinate on this step! As soon as you have sorted everything, take the sell pile to a consignment shop. Anything they do not take, along with the give-away pile, should go straight to a charitable organization or a friend in need. Put proceeds from anything you have sold into your new clothes fund; save tax-deductible receipts for donated items. Put away the new cleaning rags or patching material you have gathered in your recycle pile.

Step 5

Now it is time to fix whatever is wrong with the clothes you have decided are worth your time and money to re-style. Do not put anything back in your closet until it has been repaired!

Start by fixing the easiest issues: replace missing buttons, mend small tears, polish shoes, remove stains, and have the local dry cleaner hem pants and skirts. Then, take the remaining items to a tailor and have them fitted or repaired. It will give your old favorites a new life!

Some items may require more creativity. For example, I used one unflattering sweater to create embellishments for a too-plain sweater in a coordinating color. I also made a comfy skirt out of old tee shirts.

Re-dye clothes in unflattering colors at home with good quality products. Think about what colors look good on you and would complete outfits you love. This is quick, easy, and inexpensive. As a bonus, if you dye several items at once with the same dye, it automatically creates coordinating pieces, which can solve lots of wardrobe dilemmas.

The cost and time required to fix these items may make you reconsider some items. Give yourself a deadline of two weeks to resolve any issues with your clothing. After that, you must donate anything that still has problems.

Step 6

Wear your new wardrobe for a while (at least a month) while you consider what items would best complete any outfits you would like to have. Sometimes, the right shirt or leggings can make several different outfits come together. Keep a pen and paper by your mirror or closet to make notes on what basic items you feel you need most and what they would go with in your closet. You can add these basics to you wardrobe as you can afford it.

Step 7

Congratulations! You should feel great about your newly streamlined wardrobe. Now, most things you own match each other and everything fits your look and lifestyle! Making fun outfits every day is easy!