When January comes around with its “fresh start” anthem it makes us want to (re)organize the house, our finances, our goals. We look for anything we can do to start the year off right to make it the best it can be. It’s hard work, but it’s always worth it. Everything becomes clearer, lighter, and simpler as we get rid of everything that no longer fits in our lives. This look at what we have is important so we don’t get lost among our things, but instead, they work in our favor, empowering who we are and helping us fulfill our potential. And that scrutinizing needs to reach our closet too.
Having a wardrobe that makes our choices easier, instead of getting in the way and wasting our time, makes all the difference in our everyday life. And because we are constantly changing, it makes sense to analyze our clothes from time to time to make sure they are in line with our lives. But for this reorganization to be truly effective and last for a long time, we need to review our wardrobe with certain criteria.
Over the years I have considered several things before coming up with this group of ideas that I feel really made a difference for me. I’ll share them below, and once you’ve tried them, let me know how they worked for you too!
1. Know your life
Before even opening your closet, it’s really important to stop and consider your life, routine, and consequently, what you really need in terms of clothing. We often end up with a wardrobe for a life we don’t have, and this not only makes getting dressed difficult, but it contributes to that infamous feeling of never having enough clothing, even when our closet is full. This happens for several reasons, but I will name just two. One is that sometimes we focus too much on one aspect of our lives (play or work) driven by enchantment or need (“going out” clothes are funner or “work clothes” are more practical), and end up ignoring the others. That is why it’s ideal to pay attention to whether what I have is proportional to what I need for each occasion or activity that I do during the week.
Another reason is thinking that we need something when we really don’t, whether it’s because of a list of “basic pieces everyone must own” (but that you don’t actually need) or because we keep buying something we think we will need one day, only that day never comes. For example, I can buy gym clothes with the thought that when I finally do start exercising, that will be one less thing to worry about. But I never do start exercising and those clothes just keep taking up room in my closet.
All of this groundwork requires conscientiousness and construction that we can only accomplish by knowing our lives and our needs. So before you even open your closet, stop, think, write, draw, really study how your life is divided and what you need in terms of clothing for each of these areas. A clear view of how your life works will show you how your wardrobe has to work as well.
2. Be clear on what you want
“So, are you saying I can’t buy gym clothes as an incentive anymore?” No, that’s not the point. Clothing can help us get to where we want to be, but first, we need to see what we need and then we can focus on using them to help us get what we want. Defining your goals, designating the difference between need and want and how these two things work together will help you identify where you should invest time and money first.
Keep in mind that clothes do nothing by themselves. Above everything, it is our attitude that breathes life into our clothes and makes them work for us. For example, I always had a hard time with everyday work clothes. I found them boring and something meaningless, after all, it was just work clothes, right? Anything would do. But over time I understood that what was “just work clothes” was what I wore the most, and they ended up making me feel “boring” and “meaningless”. While it was important to understand what I needed (work clothes), it was also important to understand what I wanted out of them because they would inadvertently affect me.
So the tip here is, take the notes you made above on the areas your life is divided into. Identify what you want from your clothing in each area. What visual do you want to present, message to give, feeling to evoke in each one? Which area isn’t quite the way you want it to be? Which one isn’t quite “you”? How have you been reflecting God’s love through your clothing? Where can you improve? What and where do you want to change exactly? Analyze with care. And if everything is already perfect, great! Keep going and enjoy. But if there is something you want to improve, being clear about it will give you a head start.
3. Analyze your wardrobe
Now it’s time to open your closet and analyze what you already have to bring your ideas into the practical world. This can be divided into two parts: cleaning out and reevaluating what stays.
The cleaning out part is nothing more than the one we’re already familiar with and should do often: remove everything that is at the end of its life (torn, broken, faded, stained), that no longer fits, and that no longer makes sense in your life. Now set aside everything that needs repair or that you don’t wear very often but has potential. This is also the moment to rescue pieces you love and had forgotten. We can divide our clothes in countless ways, but at this point identify what goes out, what needs to be repaired, and what stays.
The pieces that we remove from our closet may have a very interesting destination and we will talk about this in an upcoming post! But for now, the focus is to reevaluate what stayed. It’s at this point that all the work we did in analyzing ourselves comes to life. Identify if you have the necessary amount of clothing for your life, and how you can rearrange the pieces you already have to add that spark that was missing in some areas. At this moment of reevaluation, it’s worth trying things on, testing combinations, having fun exploring what already exists in your life that can gain new meaning. Creativity is an exercise, so just get started and plenty of ideas will surface. It’s fine if you don’t like some of the outfits you come up with, but what you do fall in love with keep in your heart. Some people like to take pictures to remember when they need outfit ideas or even to analyze later, and that can really be helpful, especially for those moments when creativity eludes you.
4. Don’t forget the accessories
When we clean out our closets, we usually end up focusing so much on our clothes we forget to consider our accessories too. In general, we use few accessories but they make a total difference in putting a look together. We have belts, glasses, watches, shoes, bags, hair ties, scarves, a lot of items that we can use to our advantage. Many times we can refresh an outfit that we always wear with the addition of accessories. But of course, choose pieces that make sense for you, just like you did with your clothes. When cleaning out your closet, pay attention to what accessories you already have and how you could improve your collection so that they can multiply the looks you’ve already created. This can also be a way to renew your wardrobe in a fun and inexpensive way.
5. Observe your addictions
There is no point in reorganizing our closet if we keep the same bad habits. Take this moment to see if you have any buying or style addictions. If even when you are wearing different pieces you feel like you’re always wearing the same outfit, something is wrong. If you have too many pieces that are exactly the same, something is wrong too. That means space and money are being spent on repetition rather than innovation. Also note addictions in some pieces and details that are not according to God’s will for us, and that we often keep wearing, thinking it doesn’t make any difference when it does. Look at the patterns, the colors, the fabrics, the combinations and think about how you can evolve. Or at least identify which repetitions bother you, and it will make finding a solution much easier.
Once you have completed each step, I’m sure it will be much clearer what you need (or don’t) to boost your outfits and make your wardrobe even more amazing just like you. I hope you have fun and spend time with these exercises to build a closet that works for you. Comment here what you think, what worked for you, and if you have an extra tip you learned along the way. We would love to know!