#278. I Got Rid of Most of My Clothes & Feel Awesome About It

Ever opened your closet and declared, I have nothing to wear! Even though your closet is so crammed, you couldn’t squeeze a sneeze in there.

Of course you’ve been there. You are a person.

I’ve been reading a lot about capsule wardrobes. The gist: You only have about 35 items that you absolutely love in your closet at a time. That’s all you wear for a full season (aka 3 months). Sound cool? I was intrigued. Then I started reading the Un-fancy blog and was sold. You can read more about it here.

To me, capsule wardrobes sound both exciting and terrifying.

On the one hand…

  • I always gravitate toward the same pieces.
  • Sometimes I’ll wear something not because I love it, but from the guilt of owning it and letting it rot in my closet.
  • Less options means less hemming & hawing when you’re getting dressed. It’s like a restaurant with too many items on the menu… so overwhelming!
  • I’m constantly promising myself I’m not gonna buy any more striped t-shirts, then can’t pass on the nearly-free striped tees at the Gap (ugh, so many sales!). Cheap stuff adds up to a lot of cashola, especially if you don’t really love or wear it.
  • I love the idea of only wearing clothes I adore. And think about how much time I’d save if I quit shopping as a sport!
  • Since I am now working from home, I also love the idea of making shopping NOT AN OPTION.

On the other hand…

  • Will I be judged for wearing the same stuff all the time?
  • Will I get bored? Will my clothes be boring?!
  • What if I pick the wrong stuff and hate my wardrobe for 3 months?
  • What about all the time and money I’ve invested in my current wardrobe (even if I never wear 50 percent of it)?
  • And will I end up doing laundry in just a towel because everything I own is dirty?

Though apprehensive, I decided to try it.

Here’s why: Paring down your closet forces you to identify what you love. It teaches restraint and thriftiness. Theoretically, it lessens your stress and ups your confidence.

But…

What I love the most is how this makes you set standards. It forces you to look at every pair of jeans or shirt and think, “if I could only have one, would this be it?” If we applied that thought process to our romantic relationships, jobs, friendships, travel, everything, do you think we’d all be happier? I think so.

So I purged most of my TINY closet (oh, old houses, you’re so quaint!). I am a little ashamed of these before photos, but here they are.

BEFORE

BEFORE: My jam packed closet, pre-purge.
BEFORE: My jam packed closet, pre-purge.

I took every item of clothing out of my closet & dresser and sorted it into four piles:

  • LOVE
  • LIKE
  • OVER IT, BUT NICE
  • HOLY $#!T WHAT WAS I THINKING

BEFORE: Emptying the dresser. Brutal. 
BEFORE: Emptying the dresser. Brutal.

Once I’d sorted everything, I was shocked. Only 15-ish things in the LOVE pile.

What have I been buying?!

The LOVE stuff went back into the closet. LIKE stuff went into a big plastic tub in the basement (I have two: fall/winter & spring/summer). The OVER IT, BUT NICE stuff went to Buffalo Exchange where I sold it and made $140! The HSWWIT pile went to Goodwill.

AFTER

Ahhhhhhhh... that's better. 
Ahhhhhhhh… that’s better.
AFTER: All of the shoes! 
AFTER: All of the shoes!

A year ago, I sequestered all of my shoes into our guest bedroom because I ran out of space. Here, I’ve selected 8 lucky pairs and moved them back into my closet. Hi, old friends!

And here is my TINY yet roomy closet:

AFTER: Breathing room for my duds.
AFTER: Breathing room for my duds.

Five nicely folded garments on the shelf:

AFTER: 5 measly items sitting on a shelf.
AFTER: 5 measly items sitting on a shelf.

Stuff I love, just hanging in my closet.

AFTER: Two jackets, a scarf and a sweater. That's it.
AFTER: Two jackets, a scarf and a sweater. That’s it.

WOW THIS FEELS GOOD!

There was, however, one item in my LOVE pile that didn’t return to the closet.

If you’ve seen me any time between September and late April, I was probably wearing my favorite sweater. I’ve lived in this cardigan for at least four years.

I am obsessed with it.

It’s like my own sartorial Velveteen Rabbit (though I hope it never comes alive because that would be creepy).

She's a Monet: Great from a distance, but up close it's a mess. 
She’s a Monet: Great from a distance, but up close it’s a mess.

These days, the cardigan is ragged and pilly, with a spots from spilled coffee and probably wine. She’s no longer fit for public outings, so I’m putting her to pasture in the most respectable way.

Per Sarah Von Bargen’s suggestion, I made her my house sweater.

Thank you for being there, sweater. I dedicate this song to you.

As of right now, I’m on a personal shopping freeze through December 31.

So far, I am actually loving it. Prior to the freeze, I did purchase a few new items to round out my winter wardrobe, but in general, I feel so light an unencumbered. It’s a good feeling.

I’ll be posting pics of my wardrobe & outfits starting next week. EEEK!

* * *

PS This isn’t the first time I’ve tackled fashion. Remember when I wore that god awful hot pink jumpsuit (sold it to Buffalo Exchange, btw!), or waited in an hour-plus line for over-priced yoga clothes, OR my favorite… PRESS-ON nails!

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Comments (20)

  • Diana 3 years ago Reply

    Such a cool idea.

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago Reply

    Seriously, it has been like a massage for my brain! I can’t even describe it. What a relief.

  • Michelle 3 years ago Reply

    I am fascinated by this. I’ve purged my closet tons of times, but never with the intent to get down to 30-40 items. Everyone I’ve talked to says it’s amazing.

    I will do it someday. Probably soon.

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago Reply

    Go for it! I did have a near-cry moment when I was trying to assemble my 35 items, but I made it over the hump eventually and couldn’t be more thrilled.

  • Paige 3 years ago Reply

    I love it! I own three different pairs of pants (2 are the same except for a hole in the right knee of one of them). It’s been this way about 4 months. After pairing down I was anxious about people caring. No one has yet to comment, or probably notice. Working on something similar now with my shirts… 🙂

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago Reply

    It’s so funny how much we THINK people notice what we’re wearing, but honestly, hardly anyone does. It’s like the time I went a week without makeup and no one noticed. Go for the shirts!

  • Emily Landsman 3 years ago Reply

    I am slowly purging my closet, including 10 years of business suits I no longer need/hope to never have to wear again. I have so far been unable to do a major purge, but about once a month I pull 3-4 items and they are added to one of three piles (upcycle somehow-possibly into a quilt, goodwill, or trash.) even at that slow speed it feels good and cleansing! i also haven’t purchased ANY new clothing in about 6 months.

  • Jill 3 years ago Reply

    WEIRD! Not your post… But the fact that I just learned about you on Saturday (Weekly Dish), found a link to this post from The Small Change Project, and have had "sort clothes" on my to do list for way too long. The stars are aligning, time to reduce!

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago Reply

    I love when worlds collide! Seriously, sort your clothes and be ruthless! It’s scary, but totally worth it. De-crapify your life! 🙂

  • Kate Sommers 3 years ago Reply

    So inspiring! Hmm, maybe over Xmas vacation.

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago Reply

    Perfect time for it! I will gladly crash your organizing sesh and give you unsolicited opinions.

  • Melissa 3 years ago Reply

    I found you through your podcast and LOVE your blog. This has been on my list of things to tackle (along with a Whole 30) and your post has me inspired. Looking forward to a fresh start to 2015!

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago Reply

    Aw, thanks for listening AND for checking out my blog, too. Have almost nothing but good things to report about the Whole30 & the closet purge. Do it! You’ll love it (or at least learn something about yourself). And speaking of yourself, go fork yourself. xo

  • MoM 2 years ago Reply

    Life has so many complications & stresses. Organizing your closet (and for that matter, all cupboards & drawers) certainly helps. I have periodically done this my entire life!!! It feels SO good, but needs to be tweaked every so often!!! Nice job Molly!!!

    molly mogren katt 2 years ago Reply

    Thanks MoM!

  • Jen 2 years ago Reply

    I’ve been meaning to do this for months! I’ve cleaned things out that I haven’t worn in a year or so, and gotten rid of other random things that I don’t wear or don’t fit, but I’ve been unable to make the full commitment to a capsule wardrobe. My biggest excuse is "what if I get rid of something and need it in the future? What if I’m like "Way to go for getting rid of that _ that I really could have worn today!" Know what I mean? Any ideas on how to get over that hump and just do it?! Thanks!

    molly mogren katt 2 years ago Reply

    Here’s the move: put stuff you think you maybe might want some day in the future in a bin in your basement/garage/attic/storage unit. Just get it out of your daily space. If you need something from the bin, by all means, go and get it! I did this, and never even gave it a thought until spring rolled around. I will say, opening the bin was actually fun and almost felt like shopping after not seeing the items for so long! But most of the stuff I ended up getting rid of.

  • Annie 2 years ago Reply

    Impressive payout at Buffalo Exchange! I have a huge bag of stuff to sell and am thinking about selling it there. I have used LikeTwice.com before and made a little dough and have also heard of ThredUP – lots of options these days! It’s hard to know which one will get you the most for your clothes. I’m intrigued by Buffalo Exchange’s new sell by mail option as I loved the convenience of doing that with Twice!

    molly mogren katt 2 years ago Reply

    Tell me about it! I about lost my damn mind. Every other time they’re like: Here’s your $6 in-store credit or $1 cash pay-out, bye!

    Heard about LikeTwice. Will definitely try it!

    Annie 2 years ago

    Just went to the website for Twice and I guess they shut down/morphed into eBay Valet? Weird.

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