Determined to De-Clutter

Just a few outfit outcomes for Winter 2020

…insert obligatory eye roll for all those skeptics out there who poo-poo resolutions/improvements/etc. at the first of the year (disclaimer: yours truly is generally one of those people)…


We all have to start somewhere — and while these moments (especially in January) seem to be historically fleeting in nature — there is that special spark that helps a whole lot of us to get up and go. I’m an avid Instagram-er and an amazing person I follow on Instagram, said (in the context of the New Years gym “crowd”) that we all had to start somewhere and remember those who made us feel welcome and supported when we embarked on our new chapter.

This new year has forced me to take a good hard look at a lot of choices – knowing that nearly all of “the things” I’ve been spending time stressing/thinking/stewing about are all CHOICES – from my career, to my fitness routine, food choices, and even the obsessive frequency I seem to think laundry needs to be done (raise your hand if you’re with me on the every-other-day laundry routine – oh, and if it helps, the laundry situation in our house boils down to 2 people…)

Who else can relate? Or maybe who else is still struggling to confront the fact that a lot of the issues we face are born out of choices?

I am still working hard to get back on the pavement (or even treadmill) to run again, post scary tendon issue this fall – so naturally, this busy-body had to find another way to focus New Years attention and a need for order on another outlet – enter my closet.

I’ve told several of my closest friends over the last few weeks that the walls in our apartment feel like some sort of trap from Indiana Jones – the walls feel like they’re creeping in each day. This might be symptomatic of 2 adults living in < 900 square feet, a year filled with wedding gifts, bulky winter apparel and the post-Christmas gift onslot. So after careful resolution-ish consideration, I decided to confront and tackle the hidden (every pun intended) items in our house .

I fell in love with this closet when I found this place several years ago – absent a window and a few other accoutrements – this closet basically is a small bedroom in most urban settings (hallelujah). But naturally having a large closet would make most folks prone to bringing more and more into their house because of the abundance of storage space. I admit that I love clothes and shoes and this closet has been my enabler.

The closet only days after moving in… the beginning of the end

Clothes and shoes have become a choice – alongside gaining 10 pounds (post nuptials and new job), feeling frustrated with my lackluster attempts at “pulling myself together” for work/play/everything in between – Pinterest scanning finally got to me over the weekend and I quite literally went to town on my portion of the problem-closet (my husband’s side was spared, for now).

The goal – DECLUTTER and CATALOGUE – I need go-to easy-ish but professional outfits for my career that awkwardly straddles business casual and tech-casual work environments

I found a lot of super intuitive and helpful resources out there and started with the following steps:

  1. Take everything out of the closet – I sorted everything by blazers, dresses, sweaters, blouses, pants, skirts, etc.
  2. Be honest – take a deep breath, turn on some of your favorite music to help motivate you and drown out those negative thoughts about your dress size, hair, makeup, figure, etc. – go through each pile and set aside all of the clothes that do not fit you – be honest – would you want to be introduced at a meeting or event wearing that outfit?
  3. Select your favorite items – for me it’s my Betabrand stretchy-yoga dress pants, leopard-print dress, black Veronica Beard blazer, and black Vince pencil skirt.
  4. Put on your favorite items and take risks – I started playing with the items I knew would pair well, but then took some “risks” by playing with layering (adding a sweater over certain dresses / shirts under dresses / etc.)
  5. DOCUMENT – once I found an outfit I thought would be both practical for work and made me feel confident (in addition to the forced fashion show I inflicted on my husband) I took a “lovely” selfie and started an album of my winter outfit ideas. We’ve all had a case of the Mondays or that bloated morning, so having a way to quickly flip and remind yourself what your options are can become a morning-routine gamechanger.
  6. The aftermath – so you have a large or small heap of clothes that don’t fit, don’t make you feel confident, aren’t seasonally correct, or the trend train has left the station (years ago) – decide what’s next for these garments – should they be donated? should they be stored in closet/storage containers until next season? should they be tossed (no one wants your worn-out, pit-stained shirts – trust me they don’t).

My goal with this amended closet, is to work with what I have until March 31, 2020 (no additions, without removals for staple items only) and then reassess what has/hasn’t been worn in that time period and start another review for Spring 2020 — check out the “amendment” and the “aftermath” pictures below. I plan to document my outfits each work day to help remind me what I’m wearing, so I can easily (and honestly) assess at the end of the period – what stays and what goes.

Just like the gym-goers out there, I am starting in somewhat uncomfortable territory and welcome support to stay on track – knowing that the pay off could entail:

  1. Less stuff – hooray for what Gretchen Rubin refers to as that one token empty shelf in your house (check it out in Happiness Project)
  2. Less wasted morning time / pre-work breakdowns – fingers crossed that the catalogue of outfit ideas with form- and loose-fitting ideas can suit a number of morning factors
  3. Less $$$$$$ wasted – when I stepped back, I was proud of how much I took out but still horrified at how much remained – hoping that towards the end of this first season, I can start to further pare down and rationalize the need to NOT shop for anything else (unless it’s a replacement for a worn out / damaged item)
From top left – the aftermath, blazers/sweaters/shirts/pants/skirts (bottom left), dresses (right)

One thought on “Determined to De-Clutter

  1. Pingback: Shattering the Streak – April in Progress

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