How to Downsize Your Wardrobe

posted on: Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Do you have a closet packed with clothes and still feel like you have nothing to wear? Do you always find yourself reaching for the same pair of jeans and ruffled t-shirt? Do you always look at that one thing on the hanger and tell yourself you are going to wear it soon, as soon as you can find another thing to complete the look? Well, let me tell you are not the first one to be found standing in front of your closet, looking perplexed, and feeling like you are about to rehash your worst relationship!

I have been trying to simply my life, and one of the areas I knew I had to address was my closet. I had jeans in a size that I will no longer be, or it may take an eon to get to again; I had a stash of old, big t-shirts for that time when I would do some community service like painting a fence in a park (has not happened yet); I found a pair of pajama tops that had no bottoms (no idea where they went). The sad thing is that this is what I found after already donating three boxes to our church clothing swap! I mean, really?

So I started rehashing, and although I don't think I have fully purged my closet of all that I could purge, I think I made some headway. I am now the proud owner of 5 short sleeve t-shirts, 5 long sleeve t-shirts, 3 tank tops, 4 light cardigans in my dresser. I also reorganized all the clothes that are on the hangers and it ended up looking like this:

To me, that is a great start! Still a long way to go, but I thought I would write down some tips and advice I have gathered from all my reading about the topic.

1. Identify what works for you: Amy E. Goodman, author of Wear This, Toss That, says, "Pull out the five things you would wear every day if no one was keeping track." Take a look at what you just pulled out and ask yourself a few questions: What image does it project? Is it soft and ruffly or crisp or tailored? What parts of your body does it accentuate? Is it comfortable?

2.  Analyze your choices: Take out five things you wish you hadn't bought and ask yourself this: Did you buy it for the thrill of a bargain? Is it good or bad quality material? Did you buy it because it was trendy? Was it a last minute purchase? Is it high maintenance? Do you have anywhere to wear this? Your wardrobe should reflect who you are now.

3. Any missing pieces?: Once you start ridding your wardrobe of those old, overused, faded, too tight, etc., clothes, you may realize that you now have some holes to fill. Take a good look at what you have left and see if you need any key pieces that could work with several of your outfits. But wait, don't just run out and buy them immediately. Based on what you have learned about your wardrobe choices, do the next step.

4. Shop Smarter: Before you open your wallet and swipe that plastic, run through a checklist in your head. Will it work with your lifestyle? Where will you wear it? Does it coordinate with at least four other pieces in your wardrobe? Can you wear it year round? Is it good quality? Does it flatter you and does it fit well? And when you take them home, don't cut off the tag yet. Try them on in natural light with other pieces in your wardrobe as well and see if it matches well, etc.

Understanding how I shop for clothes makes me a better shopper in the future and I don't end up throwing some stuff out and then going out and replacing it. I also realize that my tastes have changed and that I gravitate more towards fewer pieces of clothing but better clothes. Maybe I don't worry too much about what other people think of me anymore, but I lean more towards classic and not trendy. My dream would be to someday, have a wardrobe the size of what I would take on vacation. Scary, right? But it really is so liberating to see those cardboard boxes fill up with stuff that I can donate to the local thrift store!

Have fun waltzing through your wardrobe and see if it is time for you to downsize!


  1. Hi, I just found your post because I'd like to organize my closet/ clothes;in actuality, a project that's been consuming my life since we moved in our new place 3 years ago. What if you have vintage clothes that you just can't part with because you know they are one of a kind, yet feel too old to wear them!?

    1. Hello, LaGabberGirl! Can I just say that I totally relate about organizing one's closet? It seems like a never-ending ordeal, but if you chip away at it a bit at a time, I know you can show it who's boss! If you need more tips or a plan of attack, feel free to email me directly at Happy to help.

      To answer your question, I'll be honest, I have no vintage clothes at all. What I consider vintage are the ones I brought with me from India when I first came to America :D But, I did some research for you and found this link to have the best advice:

      And now, thanks to you, I have learned something new. Thanks again for visiting the site, and hope you return often.


    2. I hope that is what you were looking for. If not, I am happy to look with you to help you find a perfect solution. Have a great day.

    3. Ha. Sorry, you got me on a roll. Organizing does excite me :) Here is a blog that I read often and where you may find more ideas. The writer of this blog does an excellent job and you will find yourself returning more often than not.


  2. Found this link while searching Google, thanks


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