Q. Constance, I have a different problem. A large closet…lots of clothes but nothing to wear. And I don’t like to part with things. I have started a get rid of box, consignment, good will, yet the closet is still full. Might need to add I have range of sizes due to my weight fluctuating. Maybe others have my same issue, would love to hear some advice. Although I am certain I know what I should do…lol. Hope all is well with you. Nicole R.
A. I suspect your Get Rid of Box is not full enough! And your fine, non-wasteful blood is not helping things.
A successful closet overhaul always begins in the mind.
The bulk of your existing clothes do you no favors when it comes to you getting out the door each day in a timely manner, and looking your best. That is because they no longer represent who you are today. They are castoffs, leftovers from another time in your life. And if you come across any item that shows it, whether you see faded dye or pilled fabrics or misshapen silhouettes, out they go. I had a hoot not long ago getting rid of a pair of white, sky-high platforms and matching white leather miniskirt, among other dinosaur garb.
Some of us have tendency to hang on to the past, and when we do this we are not treating ourselves quite kindly. Your collection of clothes should be concise and on-point to who you are today. It doesn’t matter if your budget is endless or strict, either.
Back to the mind. A lovely lady wears lovely things. This means you. Once you have accepted this, each of your items should be examined with respect to the 3Cs – Cut, Color, Characteristic. If a piece does not pass all three of these criterion, into the box it goes. Be ruthless.
Pretend you are doing it for someone else, and play Bitchy Personal Shopper if you must, where you imagine you are throwing away closet castoffs for a particularly discriminating client, who happens to look just like you!
Wooden hangers are nice, but space gobblers they are for small closets
I have a small closet. This is a good and bad thing. Good because it keeps me disciplined in terms of hauling home and storing tons of junk, which is to say, clothes that do not pass muster when it comes to the three Cs: cut, color and characteristic.
Having a small closet means that you have to go through ruthless closet overhauls every season or so, and bid adieu to those things that no longer fit, are not in great condition or don’t help you communicate your best self to the world.
So in the end you have a nice collection of things you can pull out at any turn and wear, wear, wear. This is a good thing.
The downside of the bad closet is that it’s unforgiving. You have to make choices all the time, and it doesn’t leave you any leeway to store fun stuff, like a florid and heavy collection of flamenco dance outfits, for personal instance.
In a contest, velvet hangers beat wooden ones for space saving
*To ease up more space in your closet, there are many things you can do. One is to replace bulky wooden or, shudder, plastic hangers, with these sleek and skinny velvet ones. I purchased a few packs of velvet hangers (10 for $5.00) at a discount store.
Velvet clothes hangers are very thin—each wood hanger takes up the space of about three—and the material is sticky, in a sense, so clothes adhere to it and there is very little slippage.
I replaced all of my nice-looking but space-gobbling wooden hangers with velvet clothes hangers, and have freed up about 20% more room in my closet. For a small closet, that’s like one acre.
Velvet clothes hangers are rather delicate, so they are ideal for women’s clothes. I don’t think they are sturdy enough to handle men’s jackets and heavier items, so keep your sturdier hangers for those.
I’m as guilty as the next gal, or guy, when it comes to wearing the heck out of a lovable new item or ensemble. So much so that, a month or so later, the item has been used and abused…and looks it. And if you’ve ever heard me preach my fire and brimstone lecture on how you’re too good to be prancing around in used and abused clothes–well, just know that there is no excuse for wearing stained, ribbed, pilled or misshapen clothes unless you are trying out for a local production of Les Misérables.
Here are some ways to put the brakes on the wear of your wardrobe, shoes included:
Think of your closet as a revolving workspace. Items check-in and check-out. Few, if any, will stay forever.
Regularly comb through your closet with the eye of a bitchy personal stylist and purge, purge, purge those items that are no longer up to snuff. Cart them out of your house immediately. (Putting them in a bag “for later” doesn’t count.)
Buy fewer clothes, and buy better clothes. Better does not always mean more expensive. Better means higher quality. Why? Quality=lasts longer.
There is something that saps the life from a bag, pair or shoes or clothing item when it’s worn heavily. Jeans excluded. Resist the urge to wash and re-wear–the repeat–that fantastic new tunic that wears as comfortably as a sweatshirt and looks and feels as chic as the French Riviera. Let the item rest in-between wearings, and lean on the rest of your wardrobe in the meantime.
Know how much cleaning is just the right amount. There are some items that will need cleaning more than others. A lady whose ship I passed in the night told me that she loved black dresses and cocktail parties equally. She did both a lot and, since going to a innocent cocktail party for a couple of hours is hardly the equivalent of mud wrestling, she would mini-dry clean her dress in between light wearings by letting it hang aloft in her hotel room near an open window or balcony, and place it in the bathroom when she was taking a shower for a little steam cleaning.
See your closet with new eyes. There are many self-evident reasons for cleaning out your closet. A few of them are psychological. One is that you will re-discover items that you like and look good on you. Another is that, with these new eyes, you will contemplate new concoctions, new ways to put together clothes and accessories so that they look like something else entirely. Something groovy.