#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.


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: 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
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.


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.


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!

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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!