Closet Declutter: Error Prevention

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This post continues the previous post about spring cleaning of your closet and will look at the ways you can prevent errors when getting rid of items. By that we mostly mean diminish the cases where you feel bitterly sorry you’ve disposed an item. However, this strategy is also useful to avoid the opposite case: keeping items, whose place is no longer in your closet.

Error #1: The ambition/temptation to do it all at once

No, you won’t. It’s not possible to do it at once, if we are talking about the average or above average closet clean-up. You can’t mentally sift all the clothes at once, it happens level by level. Once you do the first round you might think you are over. Most likely in a few days, some of the remaining items would pop-up in your mind because you have the clear idea that you don’t need them as well. And again, and again.

Each round of declutter reveals a new layer of your wardrobe that needs to be put under the radar. And again and again, until you reach the desired amount of clothes. The process actually never ends but after the initial rounds, the pace of throwing away would go down and down.

The process never really comes to an end but after the initial rounds, it greatly slows down.

Problem #2: The fear to let go something you’ll miss

This fear makes us indecisive and timid in our efforts. Luckily, there’s an easy fix for that: bring a storage box. Put a date on it, or not, but in any case put there any items you have a daunting feeling you’ll be bitterly sorry to get rid of. Let time do the math: you will either need them and reach back to them or you won’t and you will feel reassured their time with you is over.

Decision-support strategy #3: Wear your closet!

It might sound banal, but the true way to find out if you like to wear something is to push yourself to wear it. Do you feel forced that you have to put it on? The items you want to keep are those you don’t feel an obligation to wear but gladly do so. Ideally, you “can’t wait” to wear them. Apart from the desire, you might find out that these trousers were shorter than you thought; the shirt was indeed tighter; the vest stays ugly just above your thigh bones etc. etc. Going from the idea to the action of wearing an item is a very, very good way to reveal whether this piece really has the place in your closet you thought it deserves. When you look at the item you imagine one thing. When you wear it, you might discover that reality is completely different.

The items you want to keep are those you don’t feel an obligation to wear but gladly do so.

Alert #4: Caution! Ever-green items

A red lamp should start flashing in your mind for items that are a combination of:

  • classic silhouette/cut
  • high-quality natural material
  • traditional color
  • perfect fit
  • good condition

Note that the item must be a combination of ALL the above. You might wonder: “Will I ever want to throw away such an item?” Yes, it happens and that is why you have to be careful what you throw away. Let me give two examples from my own declutter journey:

Case 1

An Icelandic sweater, made mostly of thick wool. Lovely colors of gray, navy blue and white. Fits me perfectly, looks like new. At one moment I decided I’m not wearing this multi-colored thing any more but I kept it in a storage box. When I went skiing, I saw one skier wearing similar. My love for the thing was immediately rekindled and I couldn’t wait to drag it out of the storage box and start wearing it again.

Case 2

A double-breasted wool coat in clear dark brown with a belt. I put it in a storage box, eventually donated it. Never felt sorry about it. Each time I saw a lady wearing a similar coat I remembered this one and never felt the need to have it back. The reason? The color! I just don’t like dark brown. Although I can occasionally wear it, I have trousers in this color, putting on a long coat in this color simply means dressing my whole self in a tone I dislike. An important lesson learnt.

Wearing a dark brown coat simply means dressing my whole self in a colour I dislike.

Decision support strategy #5: Check online shops, search for outfit ideas

Nordstorm has a very good filter of products based on many of its features. Have doubts about this sweater? Search whether something similar can be bought now e.g. if it’s contemporary enough. That will help you resolve your doubts. I have a style similar to the models of Ralph Lauren, so I frequently check the brand’s website for guidance on my own items. Recently I was wondering if i should keep a V-neck cotton sweater I’ve had for some years. I found two Ralph Lauren variations that looked quite like mine, so without any hesitation, I kept my own sweater.

Another option is to check Pinterest or simply search the web for inspirational images how women style and wear a similar item. When you see how people wear it you might get better idea whether you like it or not.

Looking at how people wear an item, gives you a better idea whether you like the thing or not.

The UByDesign digital wardrobe app is indeed a great helper with outfit ideas and logging the outfits you’ve seen and created using your own clothes. The AI-stylist will help you with suggestions how to wear clothes you are not sure about. The Outfits sections allows you to easily build outfits with your own clothes. Once you wear an outfit or an item, you can mark it as worn. The app allows you to sort and filter by these wear logs and you can clearly track what you actually wear.