The best way to save money, and conquer your closet, is pretty simple. You’ve heard the saying:
If you haven’t used it in a year, you’ll never use it again.
When my sisters and I were kids, my mom had a different rule: if you haven’t used it in the last 6 months, throw it out.
I agree, that 6 months, is hardly enough time to figure out if you’re missing something, specially if you have a lot of stuff. Nonetheless, my mom claims to have an allergic reaction to 3 things: clutter, messes, and hoarding. It’s no wonder that the sickness, as we call it in our family has rubbed off on some of us. Like my mom, I’ve learned to love purging things periodically.
In hopes of helping you and friends whose names I won’t mention in order to protect the guilty, I’ve agreed to share my best organization tips. Starting with the place where most hoarding and money-wasting takes place.
Number 1: Organize your closet by sleeve length and color.
This is the easiest of all, yet the most overlooked, so we will start here.
How many times have you gone shopping for a blouse in a specific color or style? Weeks, or even months later, you find 3 very similar blouses at the bottom of a pile. Sorting by color, sleeve length or style simplifies the search.
No more Easter egg hunts.
Number 2: Evaluate your style & purge after every season.
My girls and I joke about the fact that the trendiest stores are stocked with all sorts of 90s fashion. Last week my 22 year old wore an almost exact replica of my favorite outfit of when I was in high school. She was even wearing my favorite shade of lipstick back then (blackberry). Though I obviously loved the funky zippered pockets on the black skirt, the black trench coat and black boots then… this is not an outfit I would wear today.
Trends, styles and seasons change. What did you wear last winter, that you probably won’t wear this one?
If donating anything that still has some good life left in it is not your style, don’t worry. You don’t have to do it right away. Set it aside, put it in a box and store it somewhere outside your bedroom. If you absolutely can’t live without it, dig it out and make a plan to use it. On the other hand, if months go by, and the thought of unboxing it, and bringing it back into your life is just too much work, it’s time to go.
Friends, I may ruffle some feathers here, but let’s be honest. It’s important to also consider our weight while working on this step. I carried and delivered 6 kids to full term! I’m 4’11” and I no longer weight the airy 105 lbs I weighed 22 years ago. It’s never-gonna-happen. I can admit that, and hold my head high, free of any false hope.
Quit hanging on the size 2 jeans you wore in high school. Consider that even if you were to fit into them, and even if they came back in style like the 90s funky zippered skirt my daughter wore, you may not want to wear them again.
Now that we’ve talked about purging, let’s move on to more fun ways to save money and conquer your closet.
Number 3: Create a capsule wardrobe.
Capsule wardrobes were all the rage 2 or 3 years ago, but no one talks about them anymore. I think that’s a shame because they are G-E-N-I-U-S.
The idea is to limit your wardrobe to a set number of pieces. A popular number for a capsule wardrobe is 37, but it can vary by season. Mine is 40. What this means, is that you narrow down the items you will wear (tops, bottoms, shoes, scarves, etc) to the number you specified. Therefore, there are only 40 items in my capsule: 3 pairs of shoes, 2 purses, 1 backpack, 2 scarves 1 poncho, 5 jeans, 1 jacket, 4 sweaters, 2 sweat pants, 2 hoodies, 4 t-shirts, 1 jersey (I’m a Packer’s fan), 12 assorted shirts. Decide on a good number for your and chose wisely.
Start by selecting your favorite things to wear. I have a pink sweater one of my girls gave me for Christmas, a pair of jeans that actually fit lengthwise (I’m short pants are hard to find for the vertically challenged), boots, etc. Take all those items you absolutely love to wear, items that fit you properly and are season appropriate; and combine them with new versatile pieces. So a pair heels may not be the best item to include in your winter capsule, if you only like to wear them with a spring dress.
Once you have selected your X number of pieces, (don’t make it too big, the idea is to simplify); pack up the rest. I love these foldable organizers, because they are perfect for the job, and don’t take up a lot of space. Don’t miss the giveaway of these at the end of this post!
I mean it, pack-it-all-up.
Don’t worry, you’re not getting rid of it all just yet. You’re just:
a) making space, and
b) figuring out if you actually-really-absolutely-gotta-have-it.
When winter comes to an end, re-evaluate, choose your new X number of pieces for spring, and again, pack up the rest. Once you’ve gotten into the habit of this, you will realize that there was so much in there you actually didn’t need.
Number 4. Re-sell & purchase at consignment stores.
For years, I donated everything we no longer needed (clothing, furniture, toys, etc.) to the local thrift stores. However my grandma moved in with us for a few months last year, and her influence has changed the way we as a family, look at money.
Grandma grew up in a generation where things lasted a very long time. So she’s just not used to the sort of disposable-everything generation we live in today. She also reminded us that “all things cost money, and we’re not made of money”.
Donating: though it’s a wonderful thing that makes you feel fuzzy inside, shouldn’t always be the first option. If I’m going to be a good steward of my resources, I ought to administrate them responsibly, by not spending money on things I don’t need, and by taking great care of the things I do have.
After you’ve organized, purged and created your capsule wardrobe take what’s left over to a consignment store. While you’re there, you can even do a little shopping and not feel guilty about spending too much. Most thrift stores sell items with original tags on! They may take a little longer to find, but you can find some real treasures.
For more tips on how to save money on clothes, check out this post from my friend Brandy over at Our Thrifty Home where she shares lots of ways to save money every day.
Now it’s your turn! Which of these four steps will you implement today? Share your comments or questions below, or join us in the Organized 365 Community on Facebook.