Monday, 11 May 2015


by Sea Dean
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A couple of weeks ago I got to a task that's been on the back burner for a long time, and it feels so good: Clearing out my wardrobe and reorganizing my bedroom. I started with my wardrobe. I took everything out and only returned things that I wear regularly. I have a collection which I wear only for painting, a collection for lounging at home, a collection for attending shows and my docent duties and a collection for casual outings. Believe it or not, that was only about a foot of closet space.

Then I turned to the big pile left over. I spread this over several days because I find it so depressing. One day for pants and skirts all tried on with a generic black top. One day for tops all tried on with generic black pants. One day for dresses, swimsuits (OMG!) and everything else. Everything on the pile has one or more problems which are the reason they never get worn, the question is, can that be fixed by cleaning or mending, or is it past hope?

A few weeks earlier I had moved my bed in order to gain better access to my wardrobe, but I didn't like the position, so after the wardrobe purge I moved it again and now I love where it is. I can actually sit on the end of my bed and open the wardrobe and survey my good work. Yay!

I found this list on Daily Worth for the time saving type of closet I have now created.

What You Need

Your capsule can contain as few as 35 items (excluding workout clothes, undergarments, and pajamas), but don’t beat yourself up if that exact number doesn’t serve you. To get started, here’s a sample capsule wardrobe, which you can adjust according to your workplace and lifestyle:
  • 2-3 work pants (fewer if you work in a creative office and wear jeans)
  • 2-3 dresses
  • 2-3 tanks
  • 2 pairs of jeans (dark; white or a lighter color)
  • 1-2 skirts
  • 3 blouses (short-sleeved, long-sleeved, sleeveless — depending on climate, body, preference)
  • 2-3 T-shirts
  • 2-3 blazers
  • 3-5 sweaters with variation in weight and warmth
  • 5-10 pairs of shoes (include boots, sneakers, flats, heels, sandals)
  • 3 jackets/coats (winter, spring/fall, raincoat)
  • 3 handbags (year-round, summer, evening)
  • 2-3 scarves (one heavy, one light)
  • 4-10 pieces of signature jewelry
Most capsule wardrobes will be rooted in neutral colors and classic pieces, but it’s nice to have a few standout pieces with creative details and edge. Those items can still operate as some of your signature staples, despite the fact that they aren’t neutral. Remember: Neutral is relative — for some it may mean stripes, while others will interpret it as black or tan.

So what to do with the leftover pile? 

If you are keeping something for sentimental value or because it is beautiful fabric or embroidery, consider making a cushion cover, tote or quilt from the fabric.

For things that need a small fix, set aside a day, or an ongoing place in your schedule to attack it. If you have some favourite TV or radio shows or painting classes on the net, do it at the same time and the task will fly by. Likewise schedule in a time to pay attention to any spots or hand washing.

Remember granny with her regular wash day? You will feel a wonderful connection with your Mum, Grandma and ancestral women stretching as far back as you can imagine. Yes they all had to attack the mending and cleaning piles at some time.

You will be left with a pile that doesn't fit and never will. Things that are totally out of style and you will never wear again. Special pieces like bridesmaid, prom or wedding dresses etc. and you need to give some deep thought to why you are keeping them. Here is some advice from a new book on de-cluttering Marie Kondo The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I find this particularly appropriate when dealing with a bursting closet.

"At the center of Kondo's approach is the Japanese word tokimeku, which means “flutter” or “throb.” Kondo advises keeping only the things that make your heart flutter or that speak to your heart. She asks that you pick up each item in your home and ask yourself whether it makes you happy — specifically, if it sparks joy. If it doesn't, out it goes. No more holding on to stuff because it cost a lot or you think it might come in handy someday."

Those clothes that I keep that may "one day" fit again do not make me happy, and if I do lose a heap of weight I would rather gift myself with a few special pieces that are right up to date, not tired old pieces that have been in my closet for year. OUT THEY GO!


Don't worry about stains or rips, many charity organizations take things and ship them to factories be used as cloth or shredded and made into paper. Cotton is particularly valued for this but fabric is made into patchworks, bags, wallets etc by third world craftswomen. Better than going to the dump.

Do you have a friend in need of baby clothes or do you know someone down on their luck? That is the most direct form of help you can give.

Do some research on the various agencies in your area and choose one to donate to that has values you believe in. One large store which is one of the largest growing enterprises in North America, (I wont mention the name) is mainly in it for profit and little goes to charity. Many, such as the hospital auxiliary, support only a facility that you and your family will certainly need at some point.

Reward Yourself

Before you start, choose something to reward yourself with when the task is accomplished. Perhaps treat yourself to something new, cake and coffee, a spa treatment or even a little holiday. If you can persuade a group of friends to do the same thing, you could even have a clothing swap or a girls night out.

So, are you on board? Comments always welcome below.